April 30, 2019

Saeb Erekat, long-time Palestinian negotiator and aide to Mahmoud Abbas, recently continued the Palestinians’ decades-long litany of peace rejections by refusing to consider an upcoming proposal to be submitted by the Trump administration, though the Palestinians have not seen the plan.

For Palestinians, History and Their Own Bad Choices Are Rapidly Diminishing the Possibility of a State

Dear Friend of FLAME:

For decades, the Palestinians have believed that time was on their side—that they would eventually defeat Israel and drive the Jews out of the Holy Land. Yet with each passing day, Palestinian leverage diminishes, to the point today that a sovereign Palestinian state now seems barely a remote possibility.

As Israel gains economic strength and global influence—U.S. News & World Report just named it the world’s 8th most influential nation—the Palestinians sink further into hopelessness and economic depression. This is only hastened by its incompetent feuding dictatorships—Fatah in Judea-Samaria (West Bank) and Hamas in Gaza.

When the Oslo Accords were signed 25 years ago, the majority of Israelis supported plans to make peace with the Palestinians, and specifically a two-state solution. In 2000 and 2008, Israeli prime ministers, with U.S. backing, offered the Palestinians a state in about 98% of the West Bank and a capital in Jerusalem—both of which offers Palestinian leaders rejected.

Today—following two Palestinian Intifadas, in which some 1,300 Israelis were killed, and decades of other murderous terrorist acts, with virtually no compromise offers by Palestinians for peace—only 34% of Israelis support a two-state solution.

Clearly, frustration with Fatah intransigence on peace, plus continued missile attacks by Hamas, have driven Israelis to the right. Whereas the center-left Labor party dominated Israeli politics for generations, Labor captured only 5% of the seats in parliament in the most recent elections, while right-leaning parties, led by Netanyahu’s Likkud, took 65% of the seats.

Thus, the two-state solution—leading to a sovereign Palestinian nation—is virtually a non-starter in Israel. Indeed, today, some 42% of Israelis support some type of annexation of land in Judea-Samaria that is currently controlled by Israel.

In June, the long-awaited Trump peace plan is due for unveiling. No matter what its tenets, the Palestinians have already rejected it—so it’s dead on arrival.

But the Trump plan, along with other initiatives already undertaken by the Trump administration, plus major changes recently in the Middle East political terrain, will change the global conversation about peace with the Arabs indelibly—no matter which party wins the next U.S. election. The big losers in that conversation are the Palestinians.

Beyond the borders of the Holy Land, the greater Middle East has been rocked by two Iraq wars, the Arab Spring fiasco, the Syrian civil war, the rise and fall of al-Qaeda and the ISIS caliphate, and the ascendency of jihadist forces Hizbollah, Hamas and nuclear-ambitious Iran.

While the U.S. and Israel were willing to risk a corrupt and wobbly Palestinian state in the early years of this century, that willingness has virtually disappeared in Israel and seems increasingly scary to both the right and center of the U.S. political spectrum.

Even more important, Trump has effectively taken Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem off the table, has finally stopped U.S. funding of Palestinian salaries for terrorists, has stopped financial support of the Palestinian-jihad-supporting UNWRA, has pulled the U.S. out of the ultra-anti-Israel U.N. Human Rights Council, and blessed Israeli rule over the Golan Heights.

These initiatives alone would suffice to move markers unalterably down the field—even if some of them are upended or modified by a future administration.

But now a Trump peace plan will inevitably contain eminently reasonable offers of an improved political and economic living situation for the Palestinians. Their rejection of them will again expose their recalcitrance—and make it more difficult for subsequent administrations to turn the clock back in future negotiations.

The lesson for the hapless Palestinians is clear, at least to everyone but their leaders: Every refusal of peace with Israel, every delay in reaching a compromise, every day longer they cling to the dream of expelling the Jews from “Palestine” diminishes the possibility of independence, peace and prosperity for the Palestinian people.

You can’t blame Israel for this sorry state of affairs (though the New York Times will try), and you can’t blame President Trump for it. History is working against the hope of a Palestinian peace—and the Palestinians themselves are working against it.

Next time you see an op-ed or hear a friend blaming Israel or Benjamin Netanyahu for the lack of a Palestinian state, I hope you’ll speak up—clarify that it is Palestinian choices alone that are responsible for their plight. They have, as Israeli diplomat Abba Eban once suggested, never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Sadly, they’ve squandered many, many that will never come again.

I hope you’ll also take a minute, while you have this material front and center, to visit FLAME’s lively new Facebook page and review the P.S. immediately below. It describes FLAME’s most recent hasbarah campaign—on whitewashing misrepresentations made by the media and, alarmingly, by some politicians, about the insidious Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)

P.S. While the Combating BDS Act overwhelmingly passed the Senate (by a vote of 77-23) in February, some media and politicians, as well as the ACLU, opposed the bill based on its alleged infringement on free speech. Yet this representation is a lie, since BDS does not merely criticize Israel’s policies toward Palestinians, but rather opposes Israel’s very existence. This is not a free speech issue, but a thinly veiled hate speech issue. That’s why FLAME has created a new hasbarah message called “What Does BDS Really Want?” I hope you’ll review this hard-hitting paid editorial, which began running this month. It exposes the true motives of BDS supporters and explains why they are anti-Semitic at heart. It will also be sent to all members of Congress, Vice President Pence and President Trump. If you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel’s behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME’s powerful ability to influence public opinion—and U.S. support of Israel—comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you’ll consider giving a donation now, as you’re able—with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to donate now. Now, more than ever, we need your support to ensure that the American people, the U.S. Congress and President Trump stay focused on Israel’s critical role in protecting U.S. interests in the region-as well as protecting itself.

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