At the World Economic Forum in Jordan this week, Israeli President Shimon Peres gushed about the peace process, US Secretary of State John Kerry gushed about the peace process, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas...well, he used the word peace, though it's debatable as to what was his end goal.
At the end of the day, it was still Israel that bore the blame for the peace process' stagnation, at least according to the Palestinians (with no clear objections from Kerry).
After listening to Peres, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat insisted that nearly all Israelis want peace (on Arab terms), and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the only obstacle to reaching that achievement.
While wrong for many other reasons, that statement demonstrated the flimsy grasp the Palestinian Authority has of the concept of liberal democracy.
You see, Mr. Erekat, Netanyahu speaks for a majority of Israelis, because a majority of Israelis either voted for him or for parties they knew would support him in the premiership. And given that the peace process was (and always is) such a major campaign point, we can be fairly certain that Netanyahu's views on the topic are shared by, if not a majority, a very large percentage of Israelis.
That's how an actual democracy works. Not that we'd necessarily expect you or other PA officials to fully understand that, given the pseudo-totalitarian nature of your regime. (As a side note, can we all stop pretending that "Palestine" will be a free and open democracy?)
Oh, and Mr. Erekat, you failed to explain how a peace deal was not reached during the tenure of the previous Israeli government headed by Mr. Ehud Olmert and Mrs. Tzipi Livni, both of whom you claim can and would reach a final status deal with the Palestinians. Why did you not reach a compromise peace deal before Netanyahu ever had a chance to get into office? You were made several offers.
You might still be able to fool a good portion of the international community. But after 15 years of the land-for-peace debacle, most Israelis, including Olmert and Livni, now know the score, and are tired of playing games with their security, even if you, cynically, don't feel the same way about your people.
The words of legendary Israeli diplomat Abba Eben are becoming increasingly relevant as time goes on. "The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity," Eben once said. If you don't like Israel's current leadership, you have only yourself to blame for not accepting or working out an agreement with the previous government.
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