Ar­ro­gant Is­rael is un­will­ing to be a part­ner for peace

Arab News - - Spotlight - ABDULKHALE­Q ABDULLA

The Pales­tini­ans are ready to make peace with Is­rael. How­ever, Is­rael is not ready to re­cip­ro­cate. Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est polls, about half of the Pales­tinian pub­lic want to make peace with Is­rael and many are so des­per­ate that they would be will­ing to ac­cept a one-state so­lu­tion, in which Arabs and Jews would have equal rights under the Is­raeli flag.

They are, how­ever, rightly op­posed to the im­posed peace as­so­ci­ated with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s plan. This Amer­i­canspon­sored deal would leave them with frag­mented ghet­tos on less than 20 per­cent of the land of his­tor­i­cal Pales­tine. Af­ter 70 years of search­ing in vain for jus­tice and an in­de­pen­dent state, no one should blame them for re­ject­ing this ul­ti­ma­tum.

To­day, there is an Arab part­ner for peace, but there is no Is­raeli part­ner. The Arab gov­ern­ments want to give peace a chance, but the ex­treme right-wing coali­tion firmly in power in Is­rael does not. Arab states pro­posed a peace plan of their own, but this 20-year-old Arab peace plan has never been re­cip­ro­cated by any Is­raeli gov­ern­ment. At the Beirut Arab League sum­mit of 2002, 22 states unan­i­mously adopted the Arab Peace Ini­tia­tive — a his­toric doc­u­ment that of­fered a for­mula for end­ing the wider, lin­ger­ing Arab-Is­raeli con­flict.

More sig­nif­i­cantly, even Arab pub­lic opin­ion, es­pe­cially among the younger gen­er­a­tion, is grad­u­ally inch­ing to­ward ac­cept­ing Is­rael. Only a few lu­natics in Iran con­tinue to use slo­gans about de­stroy­ing Is­rael. So, iron­i­cally, at a time when Pales­tini­ans and Arabs want to rec­og­nize Is­rael, nor­mal­ize re­la­tions with it and live in peace, Is­rael is not in­ter­ested. It is too ar­ro­gant to think of peace these days.

The lat­est polls in­di­cate that more than half of Is­raeli set­tlers sup­port the uni­lat­eral an­nex­a­tion of the West Bank, re­gard­less of the re­ac­tion of Arabs. The an­nex­a­tion is op­posed by Arabs, the

UN, Europe and the rest of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. More than 1,000 Euro­pean par­lia­men­tar­i­ans is­sued a let­ter last week out­lin­ing their strong op­po­si­tion. This an­nex­a­tion plan is a war on peace. The few ra­tio­nal voices in Is­rael — which are against the op­pres­sion of Pales­tini­ans and re­ject the an­nex­a­tion plan — live on the mar­gins of the coun­try’s pol­i­tics.

For more than 70 years, Is­rael has been on the wrong side of jus­tice: Oc­cu­py­ing Pales­tine, bru­tal­iz­ing Pales­tini­ans, build­ing il­le­gal set­tle­ments and set­ting up a fortress apartheid state. It has de­vel­oped into a po­lit­i­cal beast that is to­tally out of con­trol and cer­tainly on the wrong side of peace and history.

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