Since the Palestinian political leadership, Fatah, and extremist political party, Hamas, signed a unity deal earlier this month, many news articles have suggested that the deal hinders the prospect of peace in the Middle East. Even Israeli leaders have tried to bolster the impact of the covenant, and have insisted that “the PA [Fatah] has chosen Hamas over peace with Israel.”
I find it truly remarkable that after everything we have seen in the distant and recent past, considering everything that Fatah has stood for since its inception in 1959, there are still people who believe that this is the instance that makes peace looks remote. I find this remarkable because no Palestinian governing body has even hinted — or faked — that it desires to live in peace alongside the Jewish state — given that Israel wants to survive and prosper, this could be problematic. The view has remained constant: A peace with Israel is not a peace worth striving for. This is not a unanimous position among Palestinians, but is unfortunately the position of a healthy majority.
In fact, Israel should be very thankful for the brutal honesty of bodies like Hamas and Fatah. It sounds weird, but their refusal to discuss issues such as recognition, borders and refugees is quite helpful. Weak western leaders, who paint Fatah as moderate and liberal, drool over the prospect of a Palestinian governing body that can at least fake its way to the negotiating table.
The Palestinians remain firm, standing with leaders who call for their brethren to kill Jews in order to bring about salvation. And when weak western leaders convince Israeli politicians that dangerous concessions of either territory — or of historical truth — are worth the risk, the Palestinians are honest enough to express their desire that any state in Judea and Samaria is simply a stepping-stone to the destruction of Israel.
Israel’s enemies have always been the best at dispelling fake visions of peace. When the Arab world was preparing Israel’s destruction in 1967, the U.S. insisted that Israel not take military action. Despite the West’s ability to fool itself, Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser continued to define the region’s problems in terms of a cancerous Jewish state: “The problem presented before the Arab countries is not whether the port of Eilat should be blockaded or how to blockade it — but how to totally exterminate the State of Israel for all time,” he said.
In his second term, former President George W. Bush somehow thought that hatred of Israel could be defeated through democracy. He pushed for elections in Gaza, and in return he received a much more powerful Hamas, which has not even tried to hide its genocidal goals since gaining power. It turns out that turning to the people doesn’t mean the people will agree with you.
Many people argue the following: “The status quo is unacceptable. Israel is considered a bad guy at the U.N. Even though there is no guarantee that concessions will work, Israel should give peace a chance.”
Israel has repeatedly given peace a chance. The nation wants a permanent and meaningful peace, and sometimes convinces itself that its neighbors do too. But the absence of such a peace is no excuse for a false optimistic worldview that leads to nothing but more stabbings, rockets and confidence in the hearts of people who hate you.
Israel is open to a peaceful solution, but should not be so stupid as to think that it will get one. This is not the reality we want, but it is the reality we have. Many of those who are further from danger don’t want to keep reading about foreign conflicts in the newspapers they grab outside of Starbucks. Despite this mild hardship, there is no reason Israel should “bite the bullet” and accept resulting vulnerability and pain; it has done that enough. This unity deal teaches Israel nothing new. It is only another reminder that in order to survive, the Jewish state will have to remain strong.
Warhit is a member of
the class of 2012.