The Palestinian Authority’s quest for a unilateral declaration of statehood is a historic mistake. Obviously a peace treaty between Israelis and Palestinians is vital for statehood, but both must be achieved via honest negotiation, not by one party unilaterally imposing their government’s decision upon the other.
For the last two years, the Palestinian Authority has used the excuse of Israeli construction in the West Bank as an excuse to avoid negotiations with Israel. They have, however, been negotiating with Hamas – a terrorist group dedicated to Israel’s destruction – over the terms for creating a national unity government including both parties. If there is a unified Palestinian government in which Hamas is the majority, peace will be even more difficult to achieve: When one party is dedicated to the other’s destruction, there is no room for negotiation or agreement.
US President Barack Obama has advocated a return to the 1967 lines and using them as the basis for negotiations. Those lines, however, are subject to two different UN Resolutions – 242 and 338, both of which require an agreement of both parties via negotiations. As of today, there is no basis for the recognition of a Palestinian state on any level, other than in its current state as a virtual government with some political parties and autonomy. The Palestinians do not have an infrastructure to support a government, the economy is virtually non-existent and there is no motivation towards peace. In addition, there is no respect for human rights, democracy or any of the other modern markers of statehood.
The Israeli government in Jerusalem has repeatedly stated it is ready to negotiate. However, the Palestinians have refused repeatedly. It is now time that the international community make it clear to the Palestinians that they must negotiate if they wish to have their own state and that no country will help so long as they attempt to use manipulation to achieve their goal. This is their moment of truth and the world must urge them to seize the moment.
The alternative for the Palestinians is to remain their current state, not making any progress towards having their own state while demonizing their only negotiating partner, demanding the world side with their cause and pressuring that party to agree to the unacceptable.
It is negotiations with no preconditions that will create an agreement that is acceptable to both parties and lead to the creation of a true, viable Palestinian state.