August 22, 2010:
After much cajoling by Western nations, and promises of generous bribes, one of the two Palestinian factions (Fatah, in the West Bank) agreed to resume face-to-face peace talks with Israel. Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas got his key allies (mainly those on the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization) to go along with this only because he promised to get Israel to halt the construction of new settlements in the West Bank for as long as the talks last. A ten month Israeli moratorium on such settlements ends next month, when the new talks begin. Abbas told the Israelis that the talks would stop if they began building new settlements.
The goal of the peace talks is to work how to establish an independent Palestinian state. Israel agrees with that goal, but the Palestinians don't, at least among themselves. That's why these peace talks tend to go nowhere. The latest talks are doomed by the fact that many Palestinians in the West Bank openly oppose them, and the Islamic radical group Hamas, that runs the Gaza Strip (which contains 40 percent of Palestinians) refuse to cooperate in the talks. Hamas and Fatah controlled media both talk of destroying Israel, not making permanent peace. Any peace deals are strictly tactical moves, to further ultimate goal of wiping Israel off the map. All Palestinian maps of the area already do that.
For the last two generations, it has been Palestinian policy to preach the destruction of Israel, not coexistence. Increasingly, over the last few decades, Palestinians have been indoctrinated with anti-Semitic propaganda, which encourages the young to become suicide bombers and terrorists. This is a very public campaign, and the terrorist killers are showered with praise in the media. In the Palestinian territories, there are hundreds of places (streets, squares, buildings) and events named after terrorists. Anyone who has killed an Israeli is a hero, and anyone who died trying is worthy of admiration. This goes beyond honoring "war heroes." The propaganda campaign portrays Palestinians as in a life-or-death struggle with "the Zionist entity" (what Palestinians like to call Israel). Since God is on their side, the Palestinian propaganda pushes the idea that it's only a matter of time before Israel is destroyed. It's tough to negotiate a peace deal when one side has this attitude.
Thus most Palestinians (unless they were educated outside of the Middle East) take it for granted that any peace deal with Israel is just a tactical move in the effort to eventually destroy Israel and drive all Jews from the Middle East. People outside the Middle East have a hard time comprehending this attitude. But it is very real, and can be seen on Palestinian web sites (not so much on the non-Arabic language ones, although even there the anti-Semitic line is leaking through more and more). Israel goes through the motions of negotiating, to keep its Western allies and trading partners happy, but few Jews in Israel see any chance of real peace with the Palestinians, given the current attitudes within the Palestinian community.
Western diplomats and government officials have been increasingly exposed to the Palestinian propaganda regarding Israel, and have made some protests. But the Palestinians just ignore the admonitions, and the Western officials don't press the matter. This is a big mistake. Palestinian attitudes towards the non-existence of Israel goes beyond teaching their kids that Israel doesnt even exist. The children are taught that what the rest of the world calls Israel is really just a bunch of Zionists illegally occupying Arab land. While Arabs love to call Israelis "Nazis", it is the Arab world that is the true heir to the Adolph Hitler's vision of how the world should be. A major weapon in the Palestinian arsenal is anti-Semitism. For a long time, even before World War II, the racial hatred tactic was particularly popular in the Arab world. This was partly the result of Islamic radicalism, which pushed hatred of all non-Moslems, not just Jews. But as more Jews began moving into Jerusalem and surrounding areas in the late 19th century, more of the Moslem racial animosity was directed at Jews.
This was not the usual ethnic animosity found in Europe, but something more in line with the extreme violence of the Nazis. In fact, during World War II, the Nazis were very popular in the Arab world. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (the highest Islamic official in the area) spent the war in Berlin (to avoid arrest by the British). Iraq, which had become independent during the 1930s, declared itself a German ally in 1941 (and was promptly invaded and re-conquered by three British divisions, before the Germans could get many troops into the territory of their new ally). After World War II, the Arab language media continued Nazi-grade anti-Semitism. The Arabs had enough sense to tone down this race hatred, and pro-Nazi line, in their English language media.
Over the last few decades, and especially since the end of the Cold War, many Westerners have adopted the anti-Semitic angle in denouncing Israeli attempts to defend itself against Palestinian terrorism. Such self-defense measures are now seriously discussed as "war crimes" in the West. To the Arabs, the very existence of Israel is a "war crime," but the Arabs have been unable to do much beyond fanaticizing about destroying Israel. Now they have many political activists and progressive thinkers in the West fanaticizing along with them. Tangible gains from this ethnic hatred strategy have been scant. Many in the West are appalled by it, and the leadership in most Western nations does not buy into it. But much of the popular media does, and incidents of anti-Semitism, including assault and murder, are on the increase in Europe. Arabs see their anti-Semitism strategy as a success, as Arabs tend to take solace in symbolism, given their lack of substantial progress in destroying Israel. So every anti-Semitic attack in Europe is a victory, as is every European politician who denounces Israel for non-existent war crimes, or ignores the very real atrocities that the Arabs commit against each other. To many Arabs, living the fantasy is easier than dealing with reality.
As a result of all this, Palestinians use negotiations to gain whatever small advantages they can. The ultimate goal, as is plainly displayed on official Palestinian web sites and official documents, is the expulsion of all Jews from what the United Nations erroneously calls Israel.