It’s Time for the Palestinians to Surrender

The Palestinians see abandoning their bloody nationalist agenda as “surrender,” but there can be no peace without it

By David Lazarus | | Topics: palestinians, Peace Process
Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

That’s the conclusion of Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon in his latest NY Times piece titled “What’s Wrong with Palestinian Surrender?” Danon says that Palestinian surrender is needed for peace. 

“Many on the Palestinian side, including President Mahmoud Abbas and the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, say that the plan is dead on arrival and that engaging with it is tantamount to a Palestinian declaration of surrender. I ask: What’s wrong with Palestinian surrender?” Danon writes in reference to the “Deal of the Century” peace proposal offered by US President Donald Trump’s envoys in Bahrain this week.

The Palestinian Authority boycotted the gathering and persuaded Palestinian businessmen not to attend even the important economic strategy workshops designed to significantly improve the everyday lives of Palestinians. Danon reminds the Palestinians that yet again they are missing a wonderful opportunity for a better life by finally entering into a peace agreement with Israel.

We all recall Ambassador Danon lifting his Bible in the UN to boldly proclaim that the Land of Israel belongs eternally to the Jewish people (see “Israel’s Ambassador Turns to the Bible”). Now Danon is calling for the Palestinians to lay down their “national identity” that is based on a misguided fantasy of destroying Israel. “Yet Mr. Erekat and the Palestinian leadership choose to stay the course and reject the term surrender. In doing so, they expose the uncomfortable truth about the Palestinian national identity: It is motivated not by building a better life for its people, but by destroying Israel,” he writes.

Danon then cites from the PLO charter: “The Palestinian Authority states its ‘mottos’ as ‘national unity, national mobilization, and liberation’ and talks about the ‘basic conflict that exists between the forces of Zionism and of imperialism on the one hand, and the Palestinian Arab people on the other.’ Palestinian leaders have rejected multiple peace overtures, launched intifadas and wars, and sponsored countless acts of terrorism in adherence to this belief.”

Danon points out that the whole aim and purpose of building a Palestinian nation is to destroy the Jewish state, and therefore the Palestinians must abandon their national, not ethnic, identity. “Negotiating without the explicit endorsement of a Palestinian state is seen as a rejection of the Palestinian national identity, and an acknowledgment that Israel and the Jewish people are here to stay. In short, for Mr. Abbas and Mr. Erekat, this approach is akin to national suicide. Yet a national suicide of the Palestinians’ current political and cultural ethos is precisely what is needed for peace. The belief that the Jews have no right to the land and Israel is to be destroyed, which engenders a culture of hate and incitement, needs to end.”

Danon compares the surrender of Egypt to Israel to the situation of the Palestinians. “In the Middle East, following defeat in four conventional wars between 1948 and 1973, Egypt surrendered the idea that it could wipe Israel from the region, and President Anwar Sadat chose peace, which Israel was ready to accept. After the 1979 peace agreement, Egypt became a favored recipient of American foreign and military aid, and the beneficiary of an influx of Western investment. There is no reason to believe a Palestinian declaration of surrender could not lead to a similar transformation.”

Danon concludes his article with, “The Palestinians have little to lose and everything to gain by putting down the sword and accepting the olive branch. Israel awaits the emergence of a Palestinian Anwar Sadat, a leader who is willing to do what is best for his people – a leader who recognizes that building a bright future requires surrendering a dark past.”

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