there is only one practical strategy to break the deadlock: Salaam Fayyad’s plan of declaring Palestinian statehood in 2011 and seeking international recognition for it, while implementing de facto sovereignty over the territories already under Palestinian control. Recent developments, like the recognition of Palestine by Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, as well as the EU’s declaration that it will recognize a Palestinian state at a suitable moment, show that Fayyad’s strategy stands a good chance of succeeding.
even liberals like Akiva Eldar and me, who have been for a Palestinian state since long before the PLO and Israel ever talked to each other, have red lines that we will not cross. While we can understand the Palestinians’ need for recognition of their suffering and Israel’s partial responsibility for it, and the desire for some form of restitution, actual return of Palestinians in large numbers into Israel inside the 1967 borders is not an option we, like all Israelis, can live with.
The deepest reason most Israelis are weary of signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians is that they don’t believe that such an agreement will guarantee Israel’s long-term security and survival. They are afraid that the two-state solution is really a two-stage solution; that once a Palestinian state is established within the 1967 borders, the Palestinians will continue to demand the right of return to the State of Israel. As a result, Israel would not receive final legitimacy from the Arab world while losing the negotiating chip of the settlements; and the Jewish homeland would continue to be under threat.
Through the demand to actually implement the Palestinian right of return, as Erekat seems to be implying, Palestinians condemn themselves, Israel and the whole region to further decades of violence, trauma and enormous suffering. Their theory that Jews in Israel will ultimately renounce the idea of a Jewish homeland is wrong.