Much of the discussion on the Palestinian side in recent months centers on two plans should the peace process fail. One is aimed at forcing Israel to accept the entire population of the West Bank, if not also Gaza, into Israel while the other threatens to have the world unilaterally grant the Palestinian people the 1967 border.
The first threat is to dissolve the PA, essentially ending the process begun in the 1990s and returning Israel to the status of a fully occupying power. There are no few problems with this, not the least of which is the fact that Fatah members would be slaughtered by Hamas supporters if they attempted to make this threat a reality. Fatah being in control is the only thing that keeps Hamas from seizing power. In other words, there wouldn’t be a power vacuum for long and it would be highly detrimental to Fatah. I could explain the numerous ways in which this action is problematic from the Israeli side, but because of the amount of damage to the Palestinian side, it will never come about.
So threat #2, unilaterally declaring a state. This plan, every now an then trumpeted by Salam Fayyad, is actually a declaration of war, not a plan of peace. Not only that, but it would need US approval and functionally involve the US siding with the Palestinians in a war against Israel. I think we can see where this plan is going. Nowhere.
That these two threats continue to be issued by the PA is good indication that the Palestinians have no idea what the parameters of the negotiations are. That needs to change.Â If the world wants the peace process to go anywhere, the US and EU must say that under no circumstances will Israel be forced to annex the population of the West Bank should talks fail. That the US and EU will reject any overture recognizing Palestinian claims to citizenship in a nation that they seek to destroy, provided Israel maintains the possibility of creating a separate Palestinian state. Obviously THIS allows for some criticism of Israel, namely is it continuing to allow for such a creation because of settlement expansion? But here the answer is that as long as settlements can be abandoned, there is such a possibility.
The utter rejection of the possibility of forcing Israel to accept the population of the West Bank and/or Gaza as Israeli citizens and the rejection of recognition of Palestinian rights to the 1967 border as such would give the Palestinians the options of either dealing with a terrible status quo or pursuing the best deal they can for their own state instead of continually threatening to destroy Israel should it fail to agree to national suicide. Until then, the peace process will continue to be a peace stoppage.