Despite the seemingly constant cries for talks without any preconditions made by both Israel and the Palestinians, both sides do honestly have preconditions they want assured before negotiations. This makes sense as it would be foolhardy to expect both sides to enter into negotiations without some minimal guarantees by anybody. The real problem comes when either side decides to demand everything on their wish list be granted up front removing any need for them to actually negotiate any give and take to reach their goals. Granted, having everything you want out of negotiations granted as sacred before negotiating would be an ideal situation, does anybody honestly believe the other side would agree to such preconditions to negotiations. So, let us take a look at what are the demands by each side in the Palestinian Israeli situation and how such are affecting the possibility for attaining a peaceful solution.
The Palestinians have employed an innovative scheme towards making preconditions when it comes to negotiating with Israel. Initially they will agree to President Obama or whoever’s call for negotiations without any preconditions. Then, as the set time approaches for the negotiations to commence, they claim that they are willing to have no preconditions but demand a guarantee that they will be granted certain items by the end of the negotiations. When the Israelis call for them to meet as they agreed without preconditions, the Palestinians say fine, no preconditions as long as these points we want are guaranteed, they are not a precondition, they just have to be included in the final agreement. The Palestinians do not demand them before negotiations, they want it guaranteed by the end of the negotiations and are not particular at what point they become conditions, but they are not preconditions, just by the end conditions.
So, what are the guarantees, which are not preconditions, simply guarantees for inclusion by the end, conditions of the Palestinians? One of the results they insist upon is having full control over East Jerusalem inclusive of the entirety of the Old City and Temple Mount. They claim that they will grant equal access to all religions to their Holy Sites in Jerusalem. Jordan also made this guarantee and then claimed that there were only Muslim Holy Sites in Jerusalem, thus they did not allow any access with exceptions for Christmas and Easter as they did want the pilgrimage monies they could make selling goods and accommodations. There were no such arrangements for any of the Jewish holidays. One of the other main demands is the Right of Return for anywhere from four to seven million Arabs into Israel within the Green Line, the 1949 Armistice Lines, and be granted instant Israeli citizenship with all the rights entitled, especially the right to vote in elections. With this demand they expect to vote Israel out of existence as a Jewish State. Another item they never bother to place as a demand but state it as a guarantee is that every Jew who resides inside of the final borders of a Palestinian State must be removed or they will remove them by other methods if necessitated. One of the demands that on the surface appears obvious and innocent is not so much as it appears. They demand that they retain all water and mineral rights to these resources that are within their borders. What makes this other than it appears is the vast majority of water, including the aquifer, are within their land with some of it accessible as it crosses into Israel partly. Their claim would deny Israel access to much of the aquifer as they aim to limit the measure of water Israel would be allowed to acquire from wells tapping this water to be representative of the percentage of the aquifer within the Israeli border. Even Jordan had a more equitable sharing agreement with Israel in exchange for shared infrastructure which was built and maintained by Israel. The Palestinians would probably still desire to have Israel continue to be responsible for the infrastructure in similar nature as is currently applicable in Gaza. Then there are what I refer to as the Obama conditions which are those that were demanded first by President Obama and have now become staples in the Palestinian list. The major of these is the demand for Israel to stop building anywhere in areas which the Palestinians claim as their future homeland, including anywhere around Jerusalem. Another one is the removal of checkpoints and roadblocks which are implemented in order to prevent terrorist attacks which inevitably increase every time Israel capitulates and relaxes security by removing checkpoints or roadblocks. This is a sample of the Palestinian demands which they roll out in stages after they manage to have their allies in the Arab World, Europe, America, and elsewhere have pressured and forced sufficient agreement to concessions from Israel and more demands are found to be necessary to prevent having actual negotiations to convene. When such rolling demands results in an adverse reaction and world opinion appears to be potentially turning from the Palestinian cause, they then back off and call for a restart from the beginning free from any preconditions, and then we start with the non-preconditions that are actually guarantees, not preconditions.
The Israeli wish list is fairly less complicated. Should both sides agree to meet and negotiate free of preconditions, Israel claims they will agree to do so. It is unknown if this would actually occur as the Palestinians have insisted on non-precondition guarantees every time without fail. Israel usually makes one main precondition when such occurs, and that is for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as being the Jewish State. This has proven completely, totally, and outright unacceptable to the Palestinians. The anger and rejection is immediate and tumultuous. Other items on the Israeli wish list include a nonmilitary Palestinian State, partial or no Right of Return, Israeli patrolled security zone along the Jordan Valley, retention of Jerusalem and selected suburbs, and land exchanges in some equitable mutually agreed areas, and an end to all demands upon making peace. The last request of putting an end to all demands and conflict once a peace is signed is another item seemingly unacceptable to the Palestinians.
There are a few preconditions that have already been agreed upon by both sides that were included in the Oslo Accords. Upon the signing of the Oslo Accords, the following demands were placed upon the two sides; Israel was to immediately stop all development outside Jerusalem and the suburbs in the rest of the Palestinian claimed lands, the Palestinians were to disarm all terror groups, end terror attacks, and end incitement of terrorism. Initially, Israel stopped all building in the contested areas for approximately eighteen months after signing Oslo while the world still awaits the Palestinians meeting their obligations under Oslo. The Palestinians have, so very obviously, never disarmed the terror groups, worked to effectively end terrorism, or made even the slightest effort to end incitement of terrorism and have , by many means of measurement, increased incitement to a point where it has reached a state where incitement of terrorism has become a major instituted part of school curriculum, a large portion of the news cycle, and permeated virtually every sector of Palestinian society to such an extent as to become a principle of Palestinian life.
Now, the Palestinians are going to the United Nations claiming that Israel refuses to meet the standards required to hold meaningful and equitable negotiations in good faith. They demand the world grant them every single demand while imposing their every nightmare upon Israel hopefully forcing a transition where there will be an Arab Palestine and an Arab Israel and the Jews completely gone. Despite the Palestinian demand that they be granted every single point while Israel is to be denied even having a voice or any right to self-determination, the Palestinians insist that it is Israel that is unwilling to make the necessary compromises and meet the simple conditions the Palestinians demand as necessary for what they will accept as peace. What is more telling is that the vast numbers of countries of the General Assembly are willing to pass whatever the Palestinians claim while discounting all the rights and requests for Israeli interests. And, of course none of this situation is due to anti-Semitism and is simply international justice giving the Palestinians what is their rightful due while stripping Israel of the ability or means or right to defend themselves. What a world.
Beyond the Cusp