Palestinian statehood, Quartet principles, and counterproductive rhetoric


The Two-state solution based on “Quartet principles” calls for establishment of a Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel. “Quartet principles” means that the future Palestinian state:

    • Is firmly and sustainably committed to peaceful coexistence with its neighbor Israel
    • Respects Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, just as Israel respects the proposed Palestinian state
    • Maintains the rule of law and does not permit independent armed militias to operate within its borders
    • Provides its citizens with basic rights of free speech and participation in an open and democratic political process
    • Respects the rights of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities

Viewed in terms of these essential criteria, Palestinian statehood is a work in progress. In the West Bank, under the leadership of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, substantial progress has been made. Palestinian security forces have improved, and Israeli security forces have been able to turn security responsibilities progressively over to Palestinians. Violence has been reduced. Prime Minister Fayyad has established credibility with both Israel and the international community. Most importantly, the lives of ordinary Palestinians are improving.

At the same time, the entire Gaza Strip, encompassing 40% of the Palestinian population, is under the control of Hamas, the militant movement which unequivocally rejects the two-state solution and remains committed to the destruction of Israel. The Charter of Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel, adheres to the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood which declares that “seeking martyrdom is their greatest desire,” and claims a religious mandate from God for Muslims to kill Jews.

In addition, members of Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank, including Palestinian President Abbas, frequently send a contradictory message to Israel and the international community that foments distrust and hinders the peace process. An example of this occurred last fall in the use of a logo for the Palestinian Mission to the United Nations. The logo shows Palestine encompassing Gaza, the West Bank and all of Israel. That logo is still on its website as we prepare this report.

On October 26, 2010 President Abbas was photographed by the official PA daily news service holding up a stone model of a map of Palestine including all of Israel. Also in October, the PA Ambassador to Brazil, Alzeben Ibrahim, stated to a group of university students that “Israel should disappear.”

The PA website in the United Kingdom has the same logo. The following report was issued by the Press Association-UK: “The UK‘s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned the Palestinian Diplomatic Mission to the UK from using a “misleading” interactive map on its website that featured the whole of Israel in the red, green and black colors of the Palestinian flag. The ASA said: “We concluded that the website was misleading and breached our code of advertising practice.”
On November 26,2011, the PA Ambassador to India, Adli Sadeq, told the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that: “The Israelis …fool themselves (in) assuming that Fatah accepts them and recognizes the right of their state to exist, and it is Hamas alone that loathes them and does not recognize the right of this state to exist. They ignore the fact that this state, based on a fabricated (Zionist) enterprise, never had any shred of a right to exist.”

The actions and statements cited here speak for themselves as to why Israel approaches peace talks with caution. Palestinian elections have been called for in 2012. A Palestinian government with Hamas as a major participant will not have the support of the international donor community, and will have no ability to negotiate credibly with Israel on permanent borders, economic development, and other critical issues. On the other hand, Palestinians can support leaders like Prime Minister Fayyad, who can advance the peace process and Palestinian statehood. We pray they choose wisely.