Israel wrong to write off Palestinian reunification

The United States brokered peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians deteriorated Thursday following the Israeli diplomatic-security cabinet’s unanimous vote to terminate negotiations, according to CNN. The decision came amid the announcement of reconciliation between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, both of which have ruled separately for the last seven years.

This accord will set the stage for a united Palestinian government representing both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with the promise of elections to be held within the following six months, according to the BBC.

Israel immediately condemned the agreement, accusing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority of preventing any means of having real peace.  He further reiterated Israel’s refusal to negotiate with any government that doesn’t recognize its right to exist (though let’s keep in mind that President Abbas has been negotiating with the most right-wing coalition in Israel’s history, within which two parties — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s own Likud party and the HaBayit HaYehudi party — unapologetically deny the right of a Palestinian state to exist).

“He has to choose,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said of President Abbas in a statement. “Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace, so far he hasn’t done so.”

Others, however, don’t share Netanyahu’s distress. The European Union praised the Palestinian reconciliation, reaffirming the importance of any new Palestinian leadership’s commitment to achieving a two-state solution, which includes recognizing Israel’s right to exist.

And that is exactly how President Abbas has promised he will lead. In fact, it’s how he has led since the Oslo Accords in 1993. Abbas has presented his conditions for a two-state solution: a state of Palestine based on pre-1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, with a mutually agreed upon solution to the Right of Return and the Palestinian refugees. Though Israel has every right to doubt the intentions of Hamas, which has made no secret of its refusal to recognize Israel, to assume that President Abbas’ stance would suddenly change is ridiculous, as is the assumption that Palestinian unity would somehow change the fact that a majority of Palestinians support a two-state solution. Rather than dismiss reconciliation as a step back, it’s high time Israel recognize the opportunity — both for a unified Palestinian leadership to carry out its international commitments and, perhaps for the first time, for tangible peace.

In a statement, President Abbas reaffirmed his commitment to achieving a two-state solution to the conflict, adding that there is “no incompatibility between reconciliation and the talks.”

And he’s right. If anything, the only disingenuous thing was negotiating in the absence of Palestinian unity in the first place. For too long, the issue of Gaza has remained the elephant in the negotiating room. No one is denying it. In fact, the inability of President Abbas to represent all Palestinians in a final agreement has long been one of Israel’s chief concerns.

This concern can finally be laid to rest — if Israel’s leadership will let it.

It is still unclear what this process will look like. But to completely dismiss the reunification of the Palestinian people will be a failure to recognize the critical opportunity unification could play in achieving a two-state solution in the region, as well as a failure to realize that Israelis and Palestinians simply won’t see peace without it. Palestinians are in great need of legitimate leadership that represents both the West Bank and Gaza and this unification is a start.


Yasmeen Serhan is a sophomore majoring in international relations. She is also the Editorial Director of the Daily Trojan.

5 replies
  1. BigSticksWalkSoftly
    BigSticksWalkSoftly says:

    Palestinians have in their government groups that don’t recognize Israel,
    And Israel has groups that don’t recognize Palestine, even more extreme, the Israeli government has members who deny the existence of Palestinians and ,actually , the Isrseli leadership is currently based on right wing expansionist policies.

    If you can’t negotiate with people you disagree with , who are you suppose to talk to? Yourself?
    Israel has already negotiated directly with both HAMAS and with the Lebanese Hezbollah.
    Why is this time any different?

    When the PLO and Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Peace, which was to lead to a just 2 state agreement finalized in 5 years, back in 1993, the PLO and Arafat were considered terror groups by Israel and the US.

    Every excuse the current Israeli leadership has stated is for the most part, word for word, exactly what the South African Whites argued.
    The Blacks were going to drive the whites into the sea, they can’t negotiate with terror groups like the ANC and N

    • Arafat
      Arafat says:

      is no “Palestine”. There might have been, but they chose war instead-
      time and again:

      would-have-been “Palestinians” would have had a state IN PEACE in 1937 with the
      Peel Plan, but they violently rejected it.

      would have had a state IN PEACE in 1939 with the MacDonald White Paper, but
      they violently rejected it (and Jews would have even been restricted from
      BUYING land from Arabs).

      would have had a state IN PEACE in 1948 with UN 181, but they violently
      rejected it (and actually claimed that the UN had no such mandate!).

      could have had a state IN PEACE in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza from 1948-1967
      without any Jews- because the Arabs had ethnically cleansed every last one; but
      they violently rejected it. In fact, that’s exactly when they established Fatah
      (1959) and the PLO (1964).

      could have had a state IN PEACE after 1967, but instead, the entire Arab world
      issued the Khartoum Resolutions:

      A. No
      peace with Israel

      B. No recognition of Israel

      C. No negotiations with Israel

      would have had a state IN PEACE in 2000 with the Oslo Accords, but they
      violently rejected it- as always.

      And as
      soon as Israel pulled every single Israeli out of Gaza, what did the
      would-have-been “Palestinians” do? They immediately started shooting thousands
      of missiles into Israeli population centers, they elected Hamas (whose official
      platform calls for jihad with no negotiations until Israel is destroyed) to
      rule them, and they have dug tunnels crossing into the Negev to kill and kidnap

      And even
      afterwards, Ehud Olmert made his subsequent generous offer that went far beyond
      even that of Barak. The would-have-been “Palestinians” rejected it.

      They had
      many chances.

      threw them all away because destroying Israel was higher on their priority
      list. It still is.

      Oh well.
      That’s their choice.

  2. Travis D.
    Travis D. says:

    Sorry but Even our Country refuses to Negotiate with Terrorists. The Fact that the Terrorist Hamas have joined with the PLO. You can’t negotiate in good faith with Terrorists.

    • BigSticksWalkSoftly
      BigSticksWalkSoftly says:

      You don’t negotiate with your friends
      You negotiate with your enemies.
      Did you forget that Israel was founded on terrorism?
      Menachem Begin was the most wanted terrorist by Interpol before being voted by Israelis as their leader. Ariel Sharon’s claim to fame was throwing grenades inside the homes of non combatants he knew had primarily women, children, and elderly Palestinians.
      Palestinians deserve to have their stories told, free from outside oppression and subjugation, and to have their civil and human rights restored

      • Arafat
        Arafat says:

        Salah, your prophet’s practice (as is recorded in the Muslim
        hadiths) was to sign peace treaties only when brute force would not work, i.e.,
        when he was forced to retreat. If
        brute force would work to conquer a
        people than Mohammed used it. If not he signed a treaty and abided by it only
        so long as it took to rebuild his strength at which time Mohammed would pretend
        the treaty had never existed.

        Now the Palestinian’s through their proxy armies – Egypt,
        Syria, Jordan, etc…- have invaded Israel time and time again only to be
        embarrassed on the field of battle, so they now fight Israel in the field of
        words. They twist words to trick, fool, delegitimize and to win the war of
        words. In this battle field the Palestinians are winning, and your article is
        more of the same.

        Those who seriously believe the Palestinians – or any
        Muslims for that matter – will ever allow Jews to live peacefully in Israel live
        in an Alice in Wonderland world. Muslims
        are currently ethnically cleansing the Christians out of your homeland (Egypt)
        and out of Sudan, Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria and elsewhere too. Muslims are
        currently ethnically cleansing Animists out of Sudan, Somalia, Mali and
        elsewhere too. Muslims are ethnically cleansing the gays out of Muslim lands,
        the Bahia out of Muslim lands, the Zoroastrians out of Muslim lands. Muslims
        are ethnically cleansing Hindus from their ancient homelands of Pakistan and

        Yet you would have us believe Muslims will make peace with
        the Jews of Israel? Now why would anyone other than a naïve college idealist
        believe this could possibly happen. Muslims cannot even make peace among
        themselves – a day does not go by when we don’t read of Muslims brutalizing
        Muslims – so why would Israeli politicians risk their people’s lives on a
        treaty that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on per ancient Islamic tenets?

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