The Hypocrisy of the “International Community” Concerning the Palestinian Refusal to Negotiate with Israel

June 12, 2020 | Alan Baker
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Whenever there is conflict in the world, the institutions that comprise the “international community”—the EU, the UN, concerned neutral countries—can be counted on to urge the parties to negotiate and to seek peaceful solutions to their differences. Yet this outlook does not apply to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which has steadfastly refused to engage with the recent U.S. peace proposal, or to enter into negotiations with Israel. This refusal cannot in good faith be blamed on the proposal itself, or the current American president, since the PA also declined the Obama administration’s efforts to broker negotiations. Alan Baker comments:

[I]nternational organs such as the United Nations and the European Union, as well as foreign leaders, [have] refrained from criticizing or condemning the Palestinian refusal to cooperate in a plan intended to restore peace negotiations. To the contrary, rather than urging the Palestinian leadership to engage with the peace plan, through their silence they encouraged the Palestinian leadership in its determination to undermine the plan.

[C]oncern by European states, the UN, and international leaders for Middle East peace and for a two-state solution . . . should have driven them to urge the Palestinians to give the plan a chance at the least, and to enter into a bona-fide negotiation. Such obdurate Palestinian refusal and obstruction should logically have been seen to be the central issue undermining the plan’s implementation.

Sadly, but not unexpectedly, one issue has dominated, and continues to dominate, all discussion of the peace plan. This is neither the plan’s substantive content nor the Palestinian refusal to consider it on its merits. Rather it is the possibility that, in light of the Palestinian boycott of the plan, Israel might unilaterally apply its sovereignty to those parts of the West Bank the plan [suggests should] become part of Israel.

The Palestinians cannot have their cake and eat it too. If they reject out-of-hand the Trump peace plan without even considering it and without even expressing a modicum of willingness to negotiate, then they ought not to condemn Israel for considering implementation of parts of the plan. The Palestinian leadership cannot exercise an indefinite right of veto over peace negotiations.

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