Peace with Israel is impossible as long as the terrorist Benjamin Netanyahu is prime minister. This was my opinion in the 1990s and I still believe this today.
A terrorist wing, led by Netanyahu, exists in Israel and settlers and strangers claim that Palestine is their historical homeland. Some of their supporters are in the American policy circle and they have made President Donald Trump the official spokesman on behalf of Israel and its supporters in and around the American governing circles.
I read Israeli newspapers six times a week and I read the toxicity Israel's supporters spread into the US. Today I read an article worth a thousand articles, titled "If Trump wants the ultimate deal, he must not repeat these mistakes", written by Dennis Ross and David Makovsky. I remember Ross from when he worked for Israel from within successive US administrations.
The mistakes identified by Israel's two agents were made by three American presidents who failed in their mission. The first was Bill Clinton, who sought direct negotiations and a serious American role in managing such negotiations. The second is George W Bush, who wanted the two sides to deal directly with each other, while the third was Barack Obama, who left the management of negotiations to his Secretary of State, John Kerry.
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The details of these mistakes mentioned by the two Israelis are as follows:
First, Clinton was not insistent on a clear policy and he neglected the settlements. The Palestinians felt they had no power to help them in negotiations. This was followed by Bush's hesitation to adopt a clear policy during his second term, his support for Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, and his anger at the original terrorist, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Then came Obama and his "gentle" position towards Mahmoud Abbas.
The accusation made by Israel's two supporters against Obama was that he did not criticise the Palestinians. President Abbas did not respond to the American peace process, while Obama remained silent and Abbas left the negotiations and tried to make the conflict global rather than domestic. He also failed to respond to the American proposals to end the conflict.
The two writers talked about the Palestinian "mistakes", including the fact that the Palestinian government did not view the conflict as an attempt to end with reconciliation between the Palestinians and Israel, but an attempt to end the colonisation. They also accuse the Palestinian government of standing behind the Second Intifada, which resulted in the death of about 4,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis. They also noted that Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the work of his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, and lost the chance to end the conflict with the 17/3/2004 project, that called for a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. They directed other accusations against Abbas and although I do not support him in or out of government, I still find him better than all the successive Israeli governments combined.
What are the mistakes made by Israel in the eyes of the writers who defend it? The first is the position of Netanyahu's government on the settlements and its reliance on the settlers to win the elections. Secondly, the Israeli government's failure to support Fayyad's position on the negotiations, thirdly, Netanyahu's reliance on the far right in his government and the Israeli government's unwillingness to make concessions.
I say to these two that Netanyahu's heading of the Israeli government has ruled out any hope of peace and that the victory of the Israeli opposition in the upcoming elections is the only remaining hope for peace.
This article appeared in Arabic in Al-Hayat on 11 October 2018
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.