Streetwise

Some Israelis and American Jews believe that Israel does not have a Palestinian partner for peace. These skeptics recall the past 20 years and conclude that two-state negotiations achieved only a second Intifada and rocket attacks from Gaza. If Palestinians were serious about peace, they say, they would have embraced generous past concessions from the Israeli government and agreed to a two-state peace plan.

What We Say:

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said “you don’t make peace with friends. You make it with very unsavory enemies.” And the Palestinian leadership is not perfect. Many faults can be found, and failed opportunities debated. But given that Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic homeland depends on the realization of a two-state solution, becoming mired in the assessment of blame for past failures keeps us from moving forward.

In the Palestinian Authority, Israel has a partner for peace right now. Both the PA and the Palestinian people support a two-state solution, recognize Israel’s right to exist and reject the use of violence against Israel. Israel and the PA are already working together to build a Palestinian state, through unprecedented security and economic cooperation.

If we don’t work with current Palestinian leaders, it will be much harder to deal with those who replace them.

For the Record:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas:
"I choose you, [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu as my partner for peace. With whom else can I make peace?" Haaretz, 5/1/2012
“Palestine now for me is '67 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital... I believe that [the] West Bank and Gaza is Palestine and the other parts [are] Israel." Reuters, 11/1/2012
“There will no armed, third armed Intifada. Never... We don't want to use terror. We don't want to use force. We don't want to use weapons. We want to use diplomacy. We want to use politics. We want to use negotiations. We want to use peaceful resistance. That's it.” Reuters, 11/1/2012
Abbas wants to “invite the Israeli parties, particularly the new ones, for dialogue on future accords.” Times of Israel, 1/24/2013

Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat:
“We have to live side by side... We don't see any other solution than a two-state solution.” Foreign Policy, 2/5/2013

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:
“Don’t tell me there is no partner. There is a partner. [Abbas] wants peace with Israel.” Ynet, 3/27/12

Israeli President Shimon Peres:
Abbas’ “courageous words prove that Israel has a real partner for peace.” Reuters, 11/3/12
“I do not accept the assertion that [Abbas] is not a good negotiating partner. To my mind, he is an excellent partner. Our military people describe to me the extent to which the Palestinian forces are cooperating with us to combat terror.” The New York Times, 1/9/2013

HaTnuah leader Tzipi Livni:
Israelis who seek to preserve a Jewish, democratic Israel should appreciate his remarks and recognize that he does constitute a peace partner. Times of Israel, 11/4/2012

Facts and Figures:

Gallup surveys of Israelis and Palestinians found that majorities support peace and a two state-solution and reject violence. Gallup, 3/30/2012.

Palestinian support for a two-state solution has held steady over the past decade, and in some instances, has increased. Jerusalem Post, 12/21/2011

Secret documents revealed that during 2008 negotiations, the PA offered generous concessions to Israel, including on Israeli settlements and on the final status of Jerusalem. Christian Science Monitor, 1/24/2011

In recent years, the West Bank has seen unprecedented Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation. Christian Science Monitor, 8/5/2010

US marines charged with training Palestinian security forces saw tremendous progress. Forward, 6/19/2012

Israel’s decision to withhold PA tax revenue may jeopardize Palestinian cooperation in combating terrorism in the West Bank. Forward, 1/26/2013

Consider This:

Former Ambassador Martin Indyk said President Barack Obama believes that Abbas is a partner, who opposes and works to prevent violence and seeks peace. “He’s just up the road in Ramallah… He’s committed to the two-state solution.” Times of Israel, 1/28/2013

Haaretz analyst Reuven Pedatzur detailed the PA’s success at combating terrorism in the West Bank. Haaretz, 7/19/2011

Ziad Asali and Ghaith al-Omari of the American Task Force on Palestine argued that for the sake of the two-state solution, President Obama and Israel must work to prevent the PA’s collapse. Foreign Policy, 1/3/2013

New Yorker editor David Remnick profiled Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who “opposes violent resistance, talks of allowing settlers to stay behind, in peace, in a Palestinian state if they choose, and does not push the refugee issue.” New Yorker, 11/30/2012