Friday

24th Nov 2017

Opinion

Israel: Negotiations cannot be bypassed

  • The old town in Jerusalem - at the heart of competing views on how to end the decades-old conflict (Photo: Hadar)

The situation in our part of the Middle East does not appear to make much sense at first glance. Israel has declared that it supports the establishment of two states for two peoples - which includes a Palestinian state. The Palestinians say they want a state. So why do two seemingly identical positions not lead to the expected outcome? The answer is simple - both sides hold opposing views on the means to reach this goal.

Israel believes that a Palestinian state should be achieved as the result of a comprehensive and genuine peace process. Negotiations remain the only means to reach agreement on the complicated issues that surround the establishment of a new state.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

However, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is attempting to bypass talks and create a state without making peace with Israel. This is the motivation behind their refusal to participate in serious negotiations for nearly three years, as well as their decision to turn to the UN for recognition.

There is an unbridgeable gap between a state with peace and a state without peace. The future of the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians lies in that difference. Will the Palestinians have a country from which they launch further attacks on Israel or will they build a country which will live in peaceful coexistence with their neighbour?

Instead of negotiating, the Palestinians are assailing Israel with diplomatic warfare. They have orchestrated a recognition bid at the UN, in direct violation of the Oslo Accords the PA signed with Israel, which specifically forbid unilateral action to change the status of the West Bank and Gaza.

It has become increasingly clear that the Palestinian Authority is not very interested in peace negotiations. This unfortunate turn of events is demonstrated by the ever growing list of preconditions the Palestinians have set for the resumption of negotiations.

The first precondition laid out by the PA was an end to settlement activity. They then proceeded to ignore the 10-month moratorium on West Bank building initiated by Israel, deciding to negotiate only after nine and a half months had passed. After six hours of talks, they abandoned negotiations once again. Then they demanded that before talks begin, Israel must surrender to their demands and recognize the 1949 cease-fire lines (erroneously referred to as the 1967 borders) as the borders of a future Palestinian state. Now there are press reports that a third precondition is on its way - a release of convicted Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails.

Furthermore, as part of their strategy of avoiding direct negotiations they have chosen to disregard the urgent appeal issued by the Quartet, in which the European Union plays a crucial role, on September 23rd: "to overcome the current obstacles and resume direct bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without delay or preconditions."

In the meantime, the Palestinians are attempting to portray settlements as the true obstacle to peace. Yet the Palestinians were waging war for decades before there was a single settlement in the West Bank. As one wag recently noted, the PLO (the father of the PA) is an "organization created in 1964 to end the 1967 occupation."

While the Palestinian Authority is prosecuting diplomatic warfare, the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip is engaged in real warfare - firing missile after missile at the civilians of southern Israel. Last May, the Palestinian Authority entered into a reconciliation agreement with Hamas, disregarding that terrorist organization's covenant (which calls for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews), its rejection of any peace process and its murderous terrorist attacks.

Israel is facing two Palestinian entities - one that strikes with violence, the other with diplomatic papers; one that uses Grad missiles, the other political plots.

The only way the Palestinians will ever achieve a state is through direct negotiations aimed at putting an end to their conflict with Israel and establishing a relationship of peace and co-operation. For this reason Israel has called time and again for a return to the negotiating table.

Europe and the rest of the international community should clarify to the Palestinian Authority that it cannot bypass peace talks and persuade it finally to return to the negotiating table.

The writer is ambassador of Israel to the EU.

Eastern partners, eastern problems

The EU must hold out the olive branch of possible membership in the distant future - but the current domestic problems in the ex-Soviet states, let alone their links to Russia make more than that difficult.

EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit

The EU is throwing a lot of money at Sudan to manage migration from the Horn of Africa to Europe - but the upcoming Africa Union-EU summit is a chance to probe Sudan about its own human rights record.

The anti-glyphosate lobby strikes again

Opponents of glyphosate too often rely on one - contested - piece of research, or smear their opponents as stooges for the chemicals industry.

EU must confront Poland and Hungary

Curtailing NGOs and threatening judicial independence are the hallmarks of developing-world dictators and authoritarian strongmen, not a free and pluralistic European Union.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Germany remains 'active' in EU
  2. Work with Israel, Egypt on gas exploration, says Commission
  3. Only seven EU states have 'advanced' stage climate plans
  4. EU dashes integration hopes of eastern countries
  5. EU approves joint Irish electricity scheme
  6. German president to launch 'Grand Coalition' talks
  7. Irish opposition 'threatens national interest', says minister
  8. SPD drops opposition to grand coalition in Germany

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSU-Eurelectric-IndustriAllElectricity European Social Partners Stand up for Just Energy Transition
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSignature of CEPA Marks a Fresh Start for EU-Armenia Relations
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  4. European Friends of ArmeniaPresident Sargsyan Joined EuFoA Honorary Council Inaugural Meeting
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  6. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  7. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  8. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  9. EPSUStudy Finds TUNED and Employers in Central Governments Most Representative
  10. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  11. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  12. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition