Middle East

Four things that must change for any Middle East peace plan to work

Strategy Room: Joe Lestingi and Robert O'Brien on talks between the US and Israel

 

Even before Wednesday’s Trump-Netanyahu White House meeting, there had been much conjecture that the ‘Two State Solution’ is dead. Palestinians and much of the international community blame the hundreds of thousands of Jews who live in peaceful communities (aka “settlements’) on the disputed West Bank for being the major impediment to peace.

The Iranian nuclear issue aside, here are four key roadblocks to peace that Israelis hope President Trump will insist be dealt with:

1. The UN and European Union must stop bullying the Jewish State. Israel is continuously pressured by the EU and Mideast Quartet to commit to accept their peace plans, complete with borders between Israel and the new Palestine to be dictated by the UN Security Council. That body, through its infamous 2334 Resolution has defined all territory captured by Israel 50 years ago in its defensive Six Day War as “occupied Palestinian” lands.  This includes the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City and Judaism’s holiest sites, which were also rebranded as exclusive Muslim sites by UNESCO.

No Israeli government right, left, or center would ever acquiesce to returning to the pre-1967 lines - which were dubbed “Auschwitz Borders” by the late Abba Eban.

Such a move would render the Jewish state defenseless, leaving it with only a nine-mile-wide border in its heartland.

2. Today, terrorist Hamas constitutes a de facto state in Gaza with 100,000+ rockets, terrorist squads and an underground highway of terror targeting Israel’s southern communities. The group has just appointed a new chief: Yahya Sinwar, a top militant commander, who has killed Israelis in the past. Palestine Authority(PA) President Abbas himself has been unable to even visit Gaza, for fear of assassination.

If Israel was forced into deal with the PA, it would, in effect, would be confronted with an untenable three state solution.

Unless the international community has plans to remove Hamas from power, no Israeli government could agree to two Palestinian entities including one led by a murderous terrorist group with a genocidal covenant.

3. Jew Hatred. Hamas, from its founding charter, to the statements of their officials, social media and religious leaders inculcates the absolute hatred and destruction of the Jewish people.

When Israelis are shot, stabbed, or run over by Palestinian terrorists, candies are distributed to children in Gaza by celebrating adults.

The Palestinian Authority isn’t much better, naming sports venues, schools, and streets, in honor of Palestinian terrorists who murdered innocent Jews. Teachers’ lessons, Imam’s sermons, online outlets and TV, all reinforce the message that their Jewish neighbors are interlopers who stole Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem from them.

Here are some horrific examples from teachers, principals and employees of UNRWA, (largely funded by U.S. ($380 million in 2015), EU ($136 million), and UK ($100 million). It is the main teaching institution of Palestinian children.  As revealed by UN Watch , it highlights 40 Facebook pages operated by UNRWA-employed principals and teachers in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Self-identified UNRWA teachers posted photographs of “our beloved” and “the great” Hitler; and a principal who used an UNRWA online community discussion to declare that God “should not have left any of them [Jews].”

Another UNRWA teacher’s public Facebook page shows an image of a Jew with three guns and a knife trained on his head; the Hebrew caption reads “Blood = Blood. #KillThem.” In Arabic, it says “Kill the settlers.” His cover photo shows a Hamas terrorist in front of a scene of destruction in Israel, with the words in Hebrew and Arabic “We are waiting.” UNRWA employee Hatem Asaad, shows a poster on Facebook glorifying two young terrorists who murdered four Israeli Rabbis while praying in a Jerusalem synagogue.

Is it any wonder that there is no dearth of young Palestinian volunteers to become terrorists?

4. Corruption among their leaders is the bane of the average Palestinian. The EU reports of “losses” during 2008-2012 alone of 2 billion pounds (over $3 billion) of aid transferred to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Just imagine, the attention the international media would give if Israel had absconded with $3 billion in humanitarian aid.

For years, Hamas diverted cement and other construction materials meant for rebuilding civilian homes and infrastructure to build up an underground superhighway for terrorists targeting Jews. Small wonder that the Palestinian Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN), reports that 81 percent of Palestinians believe that Palestinian Authority institutions are corrupt.

Add to all of this the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon whose rockets can strike anywhere in Israel; the ISIS, Syrian, and other terrorist forces in the Golan Heights; and Al Qaeda affiliates operating in the Sinai.

Despite it all, the majority of Israelis are ready to negotiate with their neighbors for a better future.

Israel awaits a true partner who no longer preaches Jew-hatred to its children, that speaks for all Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza and which can deliver on its promises.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is Associate Dean, Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. Follow the Simon Wiesenthal Center on Facebook and on Twitter

Rabbi Marvin Hier is the Dean and Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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