I’ve noted the Palestinian pursuit of diplomatic recognition here. Michael Totten links to and echoes Barry Rubin’s dismissive piece on the peace process in 2011, which also contends that the Palestinian Authority’s search for diplomatic recognition violates the 1993 Oslo Accords.
And then this one comes out of left field. Aluf Benn writes in Haaretz:
There remains only the Palestinian question, which is bothering Netanyahu and threatening to erupt in the summer. The prime minister is looking for a way to outflank PA President Mahmoud Abbas, as the latter travels the world collecting supporters for a declaration of independence. The government is increasingly inclined to realize that an Israeli policy initiative is needed that will halt the erosion in foreign relations.
The emerging solution is to “upgrade the PA” – an idea that was put forward some years ago by the Reut Institute for Policy Planning: recognizing a Palestinian state within the existing borders of the Oslo Accords. Israel would thus rid itself of the demographic menace and of the threats of a “collapse of the PA” and a binational state. The Palestinians would gain independence, but would not get one more millimeter of land without recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and agreeing to the end of the conflict. This idea has the support of Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon and also has broad backing within the ministerial forum of seven.
If the Palestinians respond negatively, as is their wont, Netanyahu will have irrefutable proof that Israel does not have a partner for peace. And if they take everyone by surprise and agree, Abbas will obtain a seat in the United Nations, Obama will justify his Nobel Peace Prize and Netanyahu will be perceived as the magician who succeeded in breaching Israel’s isolation without forgoing anything. Maybe that’s the surprise he is planning for the next hundred days – one that will give him a place of honor in the new, unstable world.
On a side note, Michael Totten’s post, mentioned above, starts out by quoting another peace process skeptic, Rick Richman:
We are now in the 92nd year of a peace process in which the Palestinians are the first people in history to be offered a state seven times, reject it seven times, and set preconditions for discussing an eighth offer.
Richman’s article is a good review of some of the history, with some of the perspective coming from a piece by revisionist Israeli historian Benny Morris, who has been a prominent critic of the treatment of Palestinian Arabs by the Israelis in 1948-49.
But Richman’s framing of the issue, while containing some important truths, is way too easy. Couldn’t it just as easily have been said that we are now in the 92nd year of a peace process where the Palestinians are one of the few peoples in history to have immigrants come to their land, demand and achieve a sovereign state for themselves, and expect the original inhabitants to agree to it? That would oversimplify things too much as well, eliding the Jewish connection to the land over the millennia and the good arguments for having a Jewish state. But I don’t think that my summary is much less accurate than Richman’s. The Palestinians have made many mistakes, and as Morris implies, they should have shared Palestine somehow. That’s easy to say in hindsight, but a lot of peoples would have resisted if they were in the Palestinians’ shoes.
Hat tip for Aluf Benn article: Jeff Goldberg