Our foreign policy wizards are all convinced that a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians would be wondrous to behold. They also believe that the Israelis need to do more, to go the extra mile, to make it happen.
Unfortunately, reality tells a different story.
Look at what happened when UNICEF set out to find a company that could build a desalination plant in Gaza.
90% of the water in Gaza is polluted. Thus, building a water treatment plant is a matter of some urgency.
No Palestinian company knows how to do this, but UNICEF discovered a world-leader in the business, an Israeli company that could have been brought in to build the plant.
Here is what happened, reported by Evelyn Gordon:
At that point, all hell broke loose. Gaza’s elected Hamas government announced that no Israeli would be allowed to set foot in Gaza. The Palestinian Contractors Union condemned UNICEF, announced a boycott of the agency and warned fellow Palestinians against cooperating with Israeli bidders. Other Palestinian groups threatened to stage protests against UNICEF and shut down its offices.
In other words, the Hamas government, the contractors union and other Palestinian civil-society groups all decided that letting their fellow Palestinians continue to drink polluted water was better than allowing an Israeli firm to win the contract. They would rather do without the plant than give any business to Israelis.
Having it built by a company based farther away would probably take longer and cost more, but the Palestinians don’t care: They’ve already made it clear that depriving Israeli firms of business takes precedence over clean drinking water for their people, and as for cost, the international community is picking up the tab anyway.
But regardless of what happens to this particular project, the lesson is clear: Faced with a choice between promoting their people’s welfare and harming Israel, both the elected Palestinian government and civil-society leaders unhesitatingly chose the latter. And until Palestinians reverse this order of priorities, peace will continue to be impossible.
One can only wonder why the “international community” continues to finance this raw hatred. Those who do so are directly responsible for Palestinian intransigence.
As for the chances for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, Gordon is right: it is currently and for the foreseeable future impossible.