Tuesday, November 23, 2010

With A Homeland, Palestinian Hearts Will Follow

Evelyn Gordon at "Commentary" wants to call off Middle East peace talks in view of a poll revealing that 60% of Palestinians (regardless of whether they support a two-state solution, which a clear majority does) think it will be a mere stepping stone to "one Palestinian state," aka the end of Israel.

Based on a different poll, she also says most Palestinians wouldn't support the peace deal that Israel and the U.S. are likely to favor because it would probably entail too many compromises on issues Palestinians hold dear. Another reason to call the diplomats home, Gordon says. And yet the Israel Project survey she features in her post makes abundantly clear that Palestinians are optimistic about a peace breakthrough.

Do a majority of Palestinians really have to accept Israel in their hearts before any agreement is possible? That's Gordon's contention. And yet the pollsters themselves tell a different story:
This quantitative research, and the qualitative focus groups that preceded it, indicate that gaining majority support for recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is possible – when it is combined with two other conditions and developments. First, movement toward building an independent Palestinian state, and second, there must be concrete discussion of borders. While that may seem intuitive, the public discussion from both sides is murky on these issues at best starting at the end and then trying to communicate the pieces from there.
The first condition makes perfect sense. When Palestinians have a state of their own, the more prosperous and free the better, then hostility to Israel should decline. Those who say it won't may be giving in to the temptation of thinking that Palestinians nurse a unique hatred of Israel that can't be staunched, whereas my bias is that they will behave rationally, just like everyone else. As for "concrete discussion of borders," over to you, Bibi.

Hat tip to Mike Cheever

No comments: