Palestinians do want peace, but we are running out-of-time


Palestinians do want peace, but we are running out-of-time

By Dawoud Zahran, SNS Fellow

A sense of urgency must dominate the aims for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The “new-normal” is waiting for the conflict to solve itself, or for Donald Trump to bring along a “The Ultimate Deal”. This will not happen. We have reached a status-quo of a careless Israeli government on one hand, and a corrupt Palestinian government that is frankly out-of-options, on the other. The victim of this situation is the everyday Palestinian who is starting to get used to the notion that human rights are mere privileges.

With this, after decades of suffering, the majority of Palestinians still seek a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Recent surveys show that given certain incentives provided with the two-state-solution, such as the release of prisoners, the overwhelming majority of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza would accept a complete end to the conflict based on the main-stream framework of the two-state solution. However, such a notion is not going to last long, and urgent action must be taken before it is too late.

Pessimism is spreading

Palestinians, old and young, have faced multiple streams of disappointment channelled by both local and international politics. After the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords, Palestinians were hopeful for a better future in a looming independent Palestine, instead, failure followed, with no lasting practical changes on the ground. By the same token, multiple public negotiation rounds took-place, after 1993, with the last one collapsing in 2014.

On the global arena in 2011, the Palestinian Authority (PA) sought full membership in the United Nations, but the much-anticipated move was ultimately met with rejection. In 2012, the international community granted Palestine an observer status in the UN, but the excitement for this “progress” was met with few practical developments.

How many times does the Palestinian public need to be disappointed until the hope for a better future is completely lost? Not a lot it seems. We are already seeing the results of such lack of progress. As of 2017, over 70% of Palestinians believe that the chances a Palestinian state being established anytime soon are either low, or very low, with a small fraction, barely exceeding 5%, believing it is high or very high.

Trust of the other side is fading

Once asked if Israelis can be trusted or not, the majority of Palestinians are increasingly accepting the latter. Similar, sentiments are also expressed when it comes to Palestinian perception of Israeli desire for peace, in which the majority, does not view Israelis as desiring peace with the Palestinians.

Naturally, these are the results, and it would be quite odd if the surveys show any different outcomes anytime soon. The environment that the conflict has created makes it much easier to build preconceived notions about the other side, and to further assume the worst in them.

Hurt must not turn to hate

With the rise of the notions of pessimism about the future and a potential end to the conflict, after many disappointments which the everyday Palestinian have had to grapple with year after another, and with an environment that is leading to a lack of trust of the other side: hurt is slowly, but steadily, turning into hate for such an injustice.

A change to this status-quo will only come through immense pressure from the international community on both the Israeli and Palestinian governments, and through the creation of a clear sense of urgency and duty to solve a long-conflict that has influenced global politics for decades, and made/is making millions of Palestinians suffer. The evidence is clear, and the breaking point could be very close.

Originally published here.

Picture credit: Activestills

The views expressed in this blog post are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Solutions Not Sides team or programme.