As Benjamin Netanyahu preached to his fan club the American congress about what it would take for peace to prosper in Palestine he made it clear that its Israel's way or no way at all. This is not new to anyone who has studied the conflict. Israel's ruling party whether it be Likud or Labor is not interested in peace unless it is dictated by Israel. Mr. Netanyahu or as his adoring congressional groupies call him Bibi dictated to the American congress that for peace to occur Palestine must recognize the Jewish State and its right to exist.
To many of us who have studied the history of this conflict we all know the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist in 1988 and has done so repeatedly since then, even Hamas who in their charters call for the removal of Israel has floated the idea of accepting their existence within the 1967 border! So to claim that Palestinians refuse to accept Israel is false, but Bibi here does a nice little trick using the term "Jewish State." He is right no Palestinian has accepted this, in fact no nation has accepted this because it was never a prerequisite for peace with Israel. Israel and Egypt made peace in 1979 and there was no stipulation in the agreement forcing Egypt to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The Jordanians when making their peace treaty with the Israelis recognized Israel, but were not forced to prostrate themselves and declare their acceptance of a Jewish State.
This is just word play by the Israelis in order to change the terms of peace. Seeing as how the Palestinians collectively recognize the state of Israel, they now change that condition to recognize it as a Jewish State in order to further entangle this conflict. Whether Israel claims to be a Jewish state or not is its business and it should not require the Palestinians or anyone for that matter to recognize it as such.
Another predictable statement by Mr. Netanyahu is regarding Hamas and the PLO. He asks the PLO leadership to rip their peace treaty with Hamas and distance themselves from the "terrorist" group. Now Netanyahu and other Israeli politicians claim that they will not negotiate with Hamas due to the fact that it openly calls for the destruction of Israel (yes this is true according the Hamas charter, but the PLO called for the same thing and it was changed to satisfy Israel so I am certain this matter can be dealt with) and it is a terrorist organization. Now I do not see the PLO refusing to negotiate with Israel due to the coalition governments that are always ever so present that include several right wing Israeli groups who openly call for the Transfer of the Palestinian people or condone settler violence.
What this represents is that Israel will always find an excuse to not deal with the Palestinians. At first when Hamas and the PLO were battling it out several Israeli Politicians including Netanyahu believed it was impossible to negotiate with the Palestinians because they are separated. Now that the Palestinians are trying to unite so they can better handle the situation the Israelis claim they cannot negotiate with the Palestinians because Hamas is an obstacle toward peace. Another tactic employed by the Israeli government in order to maintain the status quo.
Finally Netanyahu laid out his ideal path toward peace: Israel will not withdraw to the pre-1967 war borders, Jerusalem will remain with Israel, and the Palestinian refugee problem has to be solved outside of Israel's borders and all these are non-negotiable. Well there we have it, the three pressing issues for Palestinians are non-negotiable meaning peace will more than likely not be attained. So the outcome will be what you ask? It will be a "Bantustan Solution" with Israel occupying a mass majority of the West Bank, more than likely all the land deemed worthy by the Israelis and the Palestinians will be left with several small enclaves deemed a Palestinian state, no refugee problem solved, no settlements dismantled and no Jerusalem deal of any sort, just the sort of peace the Israeli government desires.
Ashraf Barakat is an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee studying History and Education with a concentration in Middle Eastern and North African studies. His blog: http://arabspring2011.blogspot.com