Public Diplomacy & Negotiations To End the Conflict

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1/   A core assumption behind decades of negotiations, talks-about-talks, interim agreements, prisoner releases, land-swap deals, schemes for two-state solutions, has been that a win-win approach is the only possible route to end the conflict.  This assumption has hidden the PA rejection of the Jewish state from view.   Consequently, the international public falsely believes that the Palestinians accept the two-state solution to end the conflict.  

2/    Further, without an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and an agreement for a Palestinian state, the widespread belief is reinforced that Israel is to blame for denying Palestinian self-determination.  This perpetuates international hostility to Israel.  Israel is trapped.  It is blamed for the failure of negotiations and is blamed if it refuses negotiations.  Inevitably, this fuels support for the Palestinians, anti-Semitism and BDS.

3/   In this way, participation by Israel in negotiations aimed at ending the conflict as if the PA was able or willing to reconcile itself to the Jewish state has a disastrous political effect.  It conceals from the international public that the driving force of the conflict is the Palestinian-Arab refusal to accept a Jewish state.  It masks the Palestinian winner-takes-all approach behind the appearance of a win-win process.  For Israel’s state and public diplomacy, this has been a long-running disaster. 

ONE Question to Solve this Dilemma

4/   Therefore, prior to negotiations that have the ostensible aim of solving the conflict, Israel must publicize a single question and the Palestinian answer:

  • Are the negotiations to proceed on the basis that the Palestinians have abandoned the aim of destroying the Jewish state and jettisoned the Palestinian National Charter, 1968 – or not?

5/   The absence of a positive, believable and reliable answer to this question, reveals that the PA cannot or will not meet the conditions necessary for the resolution of the conflict on a win-win basis.  It means that the type of two-state solution envisaged is not based on acceptance of Jewish national rights and two-states for two peoples as an end to the conflict.   Instead, it remains based on the establishment of a state hostile to the existence of the Zionist Entity and the continued rejection of Jewish national rights. 

6/  Therefore, by incessantly and publicly asking this question, Israel achieves several aims: 

  1. It demonstrates that without a positive response a crucial building-block for an agreement is absent.  
  2. It demonstrates that the source of the problem is the Palestinian refusal to accept a Jewish state.
  3. It plugs a gaping hole in Israel’s international and public diplomacy.

7/   It also infers Israel’s willingness to enter ‘final-status’ talks if and when the conditions are present for a successful agreement to end the conflict.  Otherwise, the negotiations will again fail.  It emphasizes that the ONLY way to a peaceful and successful agreement is when Palestinians abandon the aim of destroying Israel,  and have governments that reject this aim in favor of working alongside Israel for mutual benefit.

8/   Unfortunately, this perspective is entirely alien to the present rulers of the West Bank and Gaza.  Yet without it the peace-process via a win-win approach is killed stone dead.  Therefore, to correct this situation, it must become international public knowledge.  This is a major task for Israel’s public diplomacy.  Further, the UN, EU and others need to be engaged to persuade and pressurize the Palestinians to take this route.  This is a further task for Israeli diplomacy.  Otherwise, the war of attrition will continue indefinitely. 

See also
Conflicting Concepts of the Two-State Solution
The Core Case for a Two-State Solution


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