Israeli officials are quick to claim their support for peace talks, while insisting that the Palestinian Authority is entirely to blame for those talks not happening. Yet when actual, real proposals are on the table with US support, Israeli officials have clammed up, waiting for those offers to fall out of the headlines so they can get back to claiming the lack of progress isn’t their fault.
A late April peace proposal from the Arab League drew quick acceptance from many Palestinian Authority officials, offering to discuss land-swap proposals that Israeli officials had previously insisted were necessary to a permanent settlement. US Secretary of State John Kerry dubbed it a “big step forward,” while former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert termed it a great “opportunity” to resume the stalled talks.
The current Israeli government, however, has offered no response to the proposal, apart from a few speeches condemning the Palestinians, while privately officials have conceded their biggest fear is that the offer is sincere, and that the US might be on board with it as well.
This isn’t the first time a proposal has simply been left to die on the vine by Israel. Indeed, the 2002 proposal on which the current Arab League initiative is based met the same fate.
The reality is that Israel’s current coalition is split down the middle between people who would tepidly welcome a peace deal and a number of members who reject the notion on general principle. Jewish Home, a party which could derail the coalition whenever it chose, has condemned the idea of Palestinian statehood, with leader Naftali Bennett saying that God wanted Israel to have the occupied territories, and that they aren’t big enough for Palestine.