The Middle East peace process is once again stalled, while Palestinian leaders sadly continue to propagate the myth that Israeli construction impedes progress. Only last Friday, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said in Washington that "the Israeli government had a choice between settlements and peace, and they chose settlements."Read the whole thing.
Unfortunately, what stands between the Palestinians and eventual statehood is their insincerity when it comes to real peace. Israel has repeatedly proposed the independence that the Palestinians ostensibly desire. But instead of concluding a deal with Israel, they have demonstrated a total unwillingness to compromise, often favoring terrorism, as witnessed in the barrage of terrorist attacks that followed the Camp David negotiations of 2000. Is it any wonder Israelis find it ever more difficult to trust the Palestinians?
If there is to be a stable and lasting peace, Israel's recognition of the Palestinians' right to self-determination -- which successive Israeli governments have affirmed -- cannot go unreciprocated. The Jewish people are no less entitled to a state in their homeland, the land of Israel, or to their right to defend it.
The fundamental problem is that the Palestinians continue to reject these inherent rights of the Jewish people. That's indeed why we do not yet have two states for two peoples: The Palestinians remain steadfast in their refusal to accept that there even exists a Jewish nation that lays legitimate claim to its land. They reject the entire premise of a state for the Jewish people -- not only beyond the pre-1967 lines of the state of Israel, but even within its original 1948 boundaries. This, of course, explains why the Palestinians did not pursue independence prior to 1967, when Israel was within the 1949 Armistice lines.