The Palestinian Cause Is At a Crossroads
Everybody who professes to care about an issue of great injustice must inevitably ask themselves what victory looks like for their cause. If they have no answer then they are not fighting the good fight, but rather professional activists who enjoy the money, power, and fame that come with “the cause.”
This is the question those who consider themselves defenders of the Palestinian cause as well as the Palestinian Authority are facing right now. President Trump has announced his so-called Deal of the Century and gotten Prime Minister Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, who is currently vying Netanyahu’s job, to sign on. The Palestinians and their defenders have rejected it, because of course they have.
They say it’s undignified and unfair. Maybe, but such is life.
Here’s the uncomfortable truth that nobody in power, until yesterday, dared say: the Palestinians lost and it’s way past time they admit that.
They tried over the course of seven decades to drive the Israelis into the sea. They failed. They’ve tried to shame Israel in the international court of public opinion and get previous American administrations to pressure Israel. The Israelis don’t care. They also failed here as well.
Israel is less isolated is less isolated today in Africa and the Middle East than at any point in its history and has an budding de facto alliance with the Arab World, the countries that used to carry the banner of Palestinian Nationalism. In fact, Arab countries are more supportive of Trump’s plan than Democrats.
The Palestinians have no leverage and yet make absolutist demands. The Trump plan says reality has to play a role here.
This is the best deal the Palestinians are going to get. Netanyahu, who is often decried as a rabid right-winger, will be pressured by his right flank to oppose any concessions. Gantz is arguably further right than he is on certain security issues and even the Israeli left, which is dead for all intents and purposes, is further right than most right-wing parties in the world.
There is no world that currently exists in which the Palestinians get the right of return, East Jerusalem, or 100% of the West Bank. None. Anybody who says there is, is lying or should not be commenting on things they know nothing about.
The PA and their moral supporters in the rest of the world therefore have a choice. You can continue the futile struggle or cut your losses and salvage what little you have.
Do the Palestinians and their supporters want a state or do they want the issue? If they get a state, then the PA will actually have to govern like a normal government. People are going to be way less tolerant of them blaming other people for their problems. The Palestinians themselves will probably no longer tolerate corrupt presidents in the fifteenth year of their four year term.
What about the activists? A lot of people have made a great deal of money, fame, or political power advocating for Palestinian statehood, but a Palestinian state eliminates the need for their careers. Do they want a Palestinian state or their cushy careers? A Palestinian state or do they simply hate Israel?
The cause of Palestinian statehood is at a crossroads. One road leads to statehood, the other to a dead end. The Palestinians and their supporters are going to, once again, choose the dead end and then wonder why they continue to fail.