The Big Picture on Why the Palestinians Always Say 'No'

Addressing the Brookings Institution on December 2, 2011, U. S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta rebuked Israel for not doing enough to promote peace with the Palestinians, demanding that Israel's leaders "just get to the damned [peace] table."  But the notion that Israel bears any (much less primary) responsibility for the absence of peace or Palestinian statehood is a difficult case to make. During the British Mandate, the Jews of Palestine twice agreed to peace based on the country's partition into Arab and Jewish states -- first at the time of the 1937 Peel Commission Report and second with the U.N.'s historic 1947 partition vote.  Both times the Palestinian leadership bluntly declined the offer.  The same answer was given when Levi Eshkol discussed Palestinian autonomy with West Bank Arab "notables" (1968), when Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David Framework for the West Bank and Gaza (1979), and when Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert made their...(Read Full Article)

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