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Cooperation is the solution for Middle East peace


By Eshley Spitzer





Friday marks the day that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will ask for full United Nation status for Palestinian statehood and independence through a unilateral
declaration.

Unilateralism is what Abbas is presenting as the path to peace in the Middle East.
However, just as it would be in any other city, state, country or continent in the world, the path to peace requires a partner — in this case, one that is ready to recognize Israel through negotiation.

From before the day it was established, Israel proved that it was ready to work toward peace. Even before Israel was declared as a state, the U.N. proposed a partition plan to split the territory that would be known as Israel into two separate states: Israel and Palestine.

Israel accepted the partition, but Palestine rejected it, refusing to
recognize the state of Israel.

Since the day it was established, Israel has fought seven wars for self-defense, faced countless terrorist attacks, made several sacrifices including evacuations with no counter offer, and has tried to find a peaceful solution while defending its right to exist among its neighbors.

The country managed to accomplish this — twice — with Egypt and Jordan, states that were willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist and defend itself.

However, despite repeated efforts, Israel has failed to find a partner on the Palestinian side and has instead found violence and a stern unwillingness for negotiations or compromise.

In 1993, the Oslo Accords created hope for a potential Palestinian peace partner for Israel. The newly established Palestinian Authority agreed to recognize Israel and move forward in peace. Israel began to turn over administration of the territories where 98 percent of Palestinians lived and pulled out of those areas.

The agreement to recognize Israel was short lived, however, and immediately after Israel left the territories, violence erupted from the West Bank, marking the beginning of the second Intifada in 2000.

Facing countless terrorist attacks between 2000 and 2005, Israelis living in Jewish settlements along the borders of Gaza and the West Bank were forced to leave their homes.

Israel withdrew from Gaza and was still met by daily rocket attacks fired from the area. Children in Sderot still, to this day, have been conditioned to run to the nearest bomb shelter after hearing the alarm that means a rocket will strike in
15 seconds.

What Israel hoped would be recognized as a gesture of goodwill to Palestine instead became a launching pad for violence.

The Oslo Accords are only one example of the many times that Israel has tried making negotiations but has failed to find a peace partner willing to simply recognize Israel.

Nothing concrete can be gained by the U.N.’s unilateral move in acknowledging the statehood of Palestine. Since when are borders decided by a signed slip of paper instead of cooperation between two parties?

How does the Palestinian Authority expect the Unilateral Declaration of Statehood to be supported when it pursues an association with Hamas, a terrorist organization that has called for the complete destruction of Israel and even the destruction of the
United States?

The peace process may finally move forward once Israel is recognized as a state and has a negotiating partner that is not run by a terrorist organization whose ultimate goal is to destroy the state and its people.

Lasting negotiations require partnership.

Thus, the Palestinian Authority must start acting as a responsible partner and not a unilateral entity that takes all of Israel’s concessions and offers nothing in return.
Incitement, violence and failure to recognize Israel must cease before a two-state solution is plausible.

As Friday approaches and the U.N. unilateral vote arrives, expect the United States to do everything it can to get the peace talks back on a constructive path, even if that means vetoing the Palestinian’s unilateral declaration of statehood in the
Security Council.

We must continue to support achieving peace through lasting cooperation between responsible parties.

­— Espitzer@indiana.edu

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