My Fellow Palestinians: It’s Time to Get Rid of Our Leaders and Accept Israel’s Offers for Peace | Opinion

Jan 28, 2024 | History, Voices

By Bassem Eid


There’s been a lot of criticism of Israel recently for purportedly rejecting a two-state solution for sharing the territory of what was once the British Palestine Mandate between two peoples. The truth is more complex. As a Palestinian who genuinely yearns for a two-state solution and an improvement in living conditions in the West Bank and Gaza, I believe this truth must be told: It is Israel

—and the Zionist Jewish community preceding independence—that consistently offered compromise, dialogue, and a two-state solution. And it is Palestinian demagogues valuing personal power over the good of their people who have rejected these openhanded offers—in favor of endless strife and the desire that the Jewish community be completely destroyed.

It is the Palestinian Arab nationalist movement that has betrayed the Palestinian people and consistently opposed peace. Unfortunately, the views of the antisemitic Palestinian political heads often overshadow the voices of real Palestinians who yearn for peace. Their voices only rarely are heard, as in a recent protest in Gaza in which women and children protested against Hamas, blaming the terrorist organization for the tragedy of their lives and showcasing the divide between the people and their leaders.

[The Newsweek Op-Ed  continues]

When the British Peel Commission proposed a partition of Palestine in 1937, the Jewish leadership, in a spirit of compromise, accepted it, despite the small size of the proposed Jewish state. But in what would become a recurring theme, this gesture of peace was met with outright rejection from the Arab community. This wasn’t just a refusal of terms; it was a refusal even to entertain the possibility of peaceful coexistence by Palestinian leaders like Haj Amin el-Husseini, who went on to serve as a Nazi collaborator in World War II, recruiting Balkan Muslims for the S.S.

When the United Nations General Assembly voted to divide the Mandate into Jewish and Arab states in 1947, the Jewish community joyously accepted their proposal. Yet tragically, the Palestinian Arab leadership again rejected even a small Jewish state in the territory. They then invited the armies of seven neighboring Arab countries to invade and destroy the newborn Jewish state in what became Israel’s War of Independence.

The trend continued with the Oslo Accords of 1993, in which Israeli leaders generously allowed a genocidal terrorist group called the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), run by the mastermind mass murderer Yasser Arafat, to take control over most of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The year 2000 was a critical juncture. At the Camp David Summit, Israel extended an unprecedented offer of Palestinian statehood. They were once again met with Palestinian leadership’s refusal—and the eruption of the bloody Second Intifada, a wave of suicide bombings that killed almost a thousand Israeli civilians.

The betrayal shattered any illusion of a commitment to a peaceful resolution from the Palestinian side.

[The Newsweek Op-Ed  continues]

The history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict regarding a two-state solution reveals a harsh reality: Israel has consistently made genuine efforts toward peace, only to be met with rejection, treachery, and blood-curdling violence by the Palestinian side. This pattern of refusal, particularly epitomized by groups like Hamas, has been the real obstacle to peace.

It’s time to acknowledge this truth bluntly. Those who claim to desire peace must confront and challenge the rejectionist elements within Palestinian society, including Hamas. We need to get rid of the Palestinian establishment who have ruled for 15 years without actually representing the Palestinian people. Only then can we hope to forge a path toward a peaceful, two-state future.

Eid is a Palestinian human rights activist. He lives in the West Bank.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.

View this Newsweek Op-Ed from January 28th