June 20, 2012 a
The peace process is dead because a majority in the Arab and Muslim world still has not come to terms with Israel's right to exist.Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced this week that the Middle East peace process was "clinically dead" because Israel was refusing to accept his conditions for returning to the negotiating table.
Abbas has been demanding that Israel freeze all settlement construction and recognize the pre-1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state.
Recently, Abbas added two more conditions for resuming the stalled peace talks: first, that Israel allow him to import more weapons for his police forces in the West Bank, and second, the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.
Abbas is in fact searching for any excuse not to return to the negotiating table with Israel.
His demand that Israel stop building in the settlements sounds more like a joke: has he just discovered that there are settlements in the West Bank?
Why did his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, negotiate for many years with Israel while the construction in the settlements was continuing? And why did Abbas also negotiate with Israeli leaders before Benjamin Netanyahu was elected prime minister more than three years ago -- while the construction work was continuing?
By demanding that Israel recognize the pre-1967 lines as the borders of a future Palestinian state, Abbas is actually asking that Israel commit itself in advance to giving him everything -- even before the negotiations have resumed.
Abbas's two new conditions - the release of prisoners and import of weapons - came as a surprise even to some Palestinians in the West Bank. It is not even clear how the release of Palestinians who were involved in terror attacks would advance the cause of peace.
It is also not clear how bringing additional rifles and pistols into the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories is supposed to help achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Abbas is right in saying that the peace process is "clinically dead." The peace process has been dead for some time now.
It died the day a majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas in a free and fair election in 2006.
The peace process died when Hamas expelled the Palestinian Authority from the Gaza Strip and established an Islamic emirate in the area.
The peace process died even long before that. It passed away the day Yasser Arafat said no to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at the botched Camp David summit in 2000.
The peace process died when Abbas again said no to another generous offer that was made by Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert.
The peace process died when the Palestinian Authority got involved in suicide bombings and terror attacks during the second intifada.
The peace process died the day Palestinian policemen used their American and Israeli-supplied weapons to kill Israeli civilians and soldiers.
The peace process has been dead ever since the Palestinians ended up with two separate states - one in the West Bank and one in the Gaza Strip.
The so-called Arab Spring, which has brought Islamists and jihadists to power in a number of Arab countries, is another reason why the peace process is dead. Egypt and Jordan, the only two Arab countries which peace treaties with Israel, will soon fall into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, driving the final nail into the coffin of the peace process.
The peace process is dead because a majority in the Arab and Islamic world still has not come to terms with Israel's right to exist.
Hisham Jarallah is a journalist based in the West Bank.