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The Palestinian Authority’s position is that no Jews will be allowed to live in an independent Palestine. This means that the Palestinians are requiring that Israel forcibly remove potentially hundreds of thousands of its citizens from their homes as a condition for peace. Abbas says he’ll never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Israel, on the other hand, welcomes its Arab minority to stay and enjoy the benefits of life in its democracy. The Palestinian Authority celebrates terrorists who have murdered innocent Israelis, even naming streets after them. But somehow, Israel is blamed for being uncompromising.
Then there is Hamas, the Islamist terrorist group that Fatah has decided to bury the hatchet with, at least for now. Hamas doesn’t hide the fact that it views the peace process as a staged strategy to destroy Israel. The Hamas chief in Gaza said in June 2010, “This is our plan for this stage–to liberate the West Bank and Gaza, without recognizing Israel’s right to a single inch of land.” Just over the weekend, a top Hamas leader was in Iran saying, “Palestinians must resort to resistance no matter how costly it is, until Palestine is free and Israel is destroyed.” Netanyahu has accurately equated Hamas with Al-Qaeda, noting that it mourned the death of Osama Bin Laden.
The list of Israeli concessions in the name of peace goes on and on, as Netanyahu recounted in his speech at the U.N. In 2000, Israel offered Yasser Arafat practically everything he asked for and was rejected, and the Palestinians launched a terror offensive. Likewise, in 2008, Abbas did not consider a similar proposal. Israel left Lebanon in 2000, only to be forced to reenter temporarily in 2006 because of attacks by Hezbollah. In 2005, it abandoned the Gaza Strip, demolishing homes and synagogues and throwing the lives of the Jews there into disarray. Hamas took over and used the territory for its campaign to destroy Israel.
Since Netanyahu became Prime Minister again, he’s requested negotiations without prior conditions or concessions from the Palestinian side, just as Panetta is urging. Israel has dismantled hundreds of security checkpoints and the Palestinian economy is growing because of Israeli business. “I took the unprecedented step of freezing new buildings in the settlements for 10 months. No prime minister did that before, ever…No response,” Netanyahu recalled.
“The core of the conflict is not the settlements. The settlements are a result of the conflict,” he said.
And he’s right. There’s only one side whose policy is to destroy the other, and that side is not Israel. The Jewish state is more than ready to facilitate the creation of a non-threatening Palestinian state. Peace is craved by Israelis, but they understand the ultimate concession that the other side seeks: The elimination of Israel.
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