Just prior to last week’s elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was no longer willing to facilitate the creation of a Palestinian state, which in its current form would pose a severe threat to Israel.
US President Barack Obama and other Western leaders were frustrated by Netanyahu’s surprise announcement. But the fact he was so firmly reelected signified that his position reflects that of most Israelis, that the two-state solution no longer holds any hope of peace and security.
It was widely claimed that the election results signaled a shift to the Right in Israel, but that is simply not true. A strong majority among Jewish Israelis has always tended toward the right. Over the past 20 years of failed negotiations, Israelis have largely lost confidence in finding a peaceful solution with the Palestinians.
The Palestinians are likewise skeptical that what remains of the peace process will result in their demands being met. A 71 percent majority said there is little or no chance of a Palestinian state being established in the next five years, according to a survey by a Ramallah-based polling company.
“Even though I wish I had peace with the Jews in this country, I know it won’t be possible,” said Jamal (43) from the Arab village of Zurif near Hebron. “Politics and religion will never allow us to live in peace. There are far too many people determined to do more harm than good.”
For many Palestinians, that means returning to war. The same survey found that 48 percent of Palestinian Arabs would like to see a new terrorist uprising against Israel, while 68 percent support fresh rocket attacks on Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Both sides realize that the peace process today exists only on paper. On both sides there is deep distrust of the other.