Let THEM say no
A Smart Strategy
There is a widespread perception in the world that the Palestinians just want to live in peace alongside Israel, and it’s the Jews who are against them having the political independence that they deserve. Given that perception, it’s only natural that people are against Israel.
It’s crucial to expose the falsehood of that perception. Unfortunately, many Israelis (and Jews) play into it.
The fact is that while a small minority of Israelis are ideologically against any political independence for Palestinians, the majority of Israelis recognize that most of the Palestinians have been here for centuries, and the situation of Israel ruling over millions of Palestinians without giving them political rights is far from ideal, to say the least. The majority of Israelis are only against a Palestinian state for practical reasons - that, based on the evidence available, it would very likely turn into another Gaza which invests its efforts into warfare rather than nation-building, with Israel again unable to defend itself without international condemnation.
Conversely, on the Palestinian side, there is a small minority who are in favor of two states, and even for them, it’s generally only for pragmatic reasons of accepting that Israel does exist, not that it has a right to exist. And even most of those envision those two states as one Arab state without Jews, and one mixed state with a huge influx of Arabs, along with all the predictable results. Meanwhile, virtually the entirety of the Palestinian population, and certainly all the leadership, do not accept that the Jewish People are a nation with deep historic ties to the land and a right to statehood and security here. (They regularly deny even basic factual history, such as the existence of the Temple.) The rare exceptions are vilified and persecuted in Palestinian society.
This is just one of several reasons why the Arab leadership did not accept the UN partition plan and why the Palestinian leadership did not accept any peace proposal or even offer any realistic counterproposals. They will not accept that the Jewish People have a right to statehood in their ancient homeland.
Meanwhile, Likud politicians such as Bibi and appointees such as Tzipi Hotovely talk about Israel being against a Palestinian state. It makes us look like the rejectionists. And it’s misleading and completely unnecessary.
Israel should speak with a clear voice and say the truth: the majority of Israelis recognize the historical connection of Palestinians to this land and their right to have political independence alongside Israel, and would love for everyone to live in peace in their homeland; the main reason why that has never happened is that there has never yet been any significant number of Palestinians or Palestinian leadership who feel the same way about the Jewish People. When asked if we are supportive of a Palestinian State, we should reply, “Absolutely, and we look forward to the day that they will be equally supportive of a Jewish one and it will be safe for it come into existence.”
(Meanwhile, within our circles, we should be trying harder to make sure that our part of this remains true.)
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