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September 27, 2016 6:44 am

Israeli Professor: Palestinian Leaders Want One State, Not Two

avatar by Rafael Medoff / JNS.org

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UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon (L), with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: UN.org.

UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon (L), with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: UN.org.

JNS.org – Palestinian Authority officials have been using a deceptive version of the “two states for two peoples” motto when they speak to different audiences, according to a leading Israeli scholar.

Eytan Gilboa, professor of international communications at Bar-Ilan University and former consultant to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made the charge in his remarks at the 2016 National Israeli-American Conference held in Washington, DC this weekend.

More than 2,000 Israeli-Americans from around the country attended the conference. Gilboa’s panel, which attracted a standing-room only audience of about 150, also included Ron Prosor, Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations; Dennis Ross, a former US Mideast envoy; Koby Huberman, co-founder of Israel Peace Initiative; and Dana Weiss of Israel’s Channel 2 news.

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Gilboa said that PA officials leave out the words “for two peoples” when speaking in Arabic about statehood. “That’s because they do not accept the idea that the Jews are a national people with a right to national self-determination,” Gilboa said. “They still do not recognize the right of Israel to exist as a permanent Jewish state.”

This Palestinian rejectionism, Gilboa said, is reinforced by “the PA’s official maps, which still do not show Israel, and the textbooks they use in their schools, which do not recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

Prosor was only slightly more optimistic than Gilboa about the chances for peace. He said that while Saudi Arabian, Jordanian or Moroccan officials sometimes seem to take a more positive attitude towards Israel than in the past, “The problem I discovered during my years at the UN was that the officials who were willing to go on the record with such comments were the ones who had the least influence within their governments.”

What’s unclear is whether unofficial expressions by moderate Arabs could turn into practical steps to advance a comprehensive regional peace with Israel, Prosor said. While doing a spot-on imitation of the voice of former Israeli president Shimon Peres, Prosor said that Peres “probably would say something like, ‘We need solutions, not resolutions.’”

The cautious perspective offered by Gilboa and Prosor at the conference contrasted sharply with that of Ross, who said he believes there is “a new reality, a new landscape” in the Middle East. He urged the next US president to undertake a behind-the-scenes diplomatic initiative there.

Ross said that Israel should announce that “there won’t be any Israeli sovereignty east of the security barrier,” a position that went further than his recent calls for Israel to halt all housing construction east of the barrier. Ross’s new position would mean that Israel would retreat to approximately the pre-1967 armistice lines.

While Ross cited Egypt’s current cooperation with Israel as evidence that a regional peace might be possible, Prosor and Gilboa sounded a cautionary note regarding Israel’s relations with Egypt. “We have had peace with Egypt since 1979, and no territorial conflict with them, yet Egypt’s media and school textbooks are still very anti-Israel and even anti-Jewish,” said Prosor, who is also the former director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry. “This shows what a big challenge we still face — there may be a chance for broader peace, but we have a long way to go.”

Gilboa said between Israel and Egypt there “is a peace only at the leadership level — it is not a warm peace, a peace between ordinary people.” Gilboa pointed out that the Egyptian government “has for so many years been educating the Egyptian people to hate Israel, it will take many, many years to reverse that problem.”

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  • BradD99

    From this article: “Gilboa said that PA officials leave out the words “for two peoples” when speaking in Arabic about statehood.”

    Yes, PA officials do this. There are probably videos of this, right? So can someone tell the Israeli government to TAKE THE VIDEOS, PUT ENGLISH SUBTITLES on the videos, and share the videos with reporters around the world?

    Anti-Israel people use (1) highly edited video clips and (2) cute pictures of kids as propaganda weapons.

    The pro-Israel side needs to do this too. It’s OBVIOUS they need to do this. It’s been obvious for 20 years now. And it’s EASY to do. Yet they still don’t do it.

  • BradD99

    Do any PR firms even represent Israel? If so, FIRE THEM and hire new ones who actually do something.

    Outlets like Camera and HonestReporting are too slow. If some crazy anti-Israel report comes out on a Monday, the entire world hears about it by Tuesday, and MAYBE 3+ days later the slow people at Camera or HonestReporting finally come out with a report disputing it, and they seem to only just tweet it to their followers. They barely seem to tweet it at the reporters or editors responsible.

    The anti-Israel activists take action within MINUTES. Pro-Israel activists sit and have week-long discussions before they take action, and by then it’s too late.

  • BradD99

    I don’t understand why Israelis do so little PR.

    It should be VERY EASY for Israelis to prove this. With just a tiny bit of effort, Israelis could record what Abbas says on television or in public events, and post translated subtitles about the anti-Israel hate he promotes, and then the Netanyahu Twitter account and the IDF Twitter account and a few other famous Twitter accounts could easily just tweet direct video proof of this.

    Israelis could also easily email these videos to reporters around the world. Yet you don’t do this. Why?

    Seriously, why does somebody have to stand at a conference and announce that Palestinians don’t want two states as if this is some sort of breaking news?

    As a pro-Israel American, this stuff drives me crazy. Why don’t Israelis do even the most basic things to defend themselves in the world of PR and media?

    • Kish Mirtuches

      Those who need to know, know the score. Obama, no friend of the Jew….or Israel, supports this Abbas garbage for political points with his brethren, but knows in the end the US and her interests are deeply tied to a reliable, sane, smart Israeli society. Btw, Abbas and company know the US-Israeli score. He just wants to live out his life rather than suffer the fate of assassination but those under his thumb suffer, and will continue to suffer. Oh well, Israel will prosper and get stronger nonetheless.

      • BradD99

        I’m not talking about high-level politicians in this case. Some of them will be more honest about things than others. I’m talking about regular everyday reporters, regular everyday people, etc.

        A ton of people don’t realize that Israel is up against people whose fundamental disagreement with Israel is the VERY EXISTENCE of Israel as a Jewish state. It is INCREDIBLY EASY to prove Israel’s point in this, simply by taking video clips of leading Palestinians and translating the Arabic into English and just… SHOWING EVERYONE THE VIDEOS.

        With the SLIGHTEST BIT OF EFFORT, pro-Israel people could prove this stuff and reasonable people out there would become aware of it. But Israelis don’t do it, and pro-Israel “activists” only seem to share it with their allies instead of with the masses.

        Anti-Israel activists take anything bad about Israel and click a few buttons and broadcast it to the world.

        Pro-Israel activists sit and write useless articles in outlets that only reach other pro-Israel people, or hold conferences like this one where they make bold declarations that SHOULD BE TOTALLY OBVIOUS ALREADY.

        It is the most frustrating thing I’ve ever experienced.

      • don silvester

        Israeli professor, what can he count to 10

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