The names Gil-Ad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Elad Yifrach will forever be associated with yet another failed peace process between Israel and the Palestinians and the disastrous unity government between Fatah and Hamas. May the world and especially the United States learn through this episode – that to negotiate for peace should be based on the premises of a genuine endeavour of both parties to accommodate each other’s fears and aspirations.
Israel was prepared to make some painful concessions and indeed released Palestinian prisoners as a gesture to enhance peace. Instead of taking Israel’s outstretch hand, the Palestinians made more unrealistic demands.
The unity pact between Fatah and Hamas is problematic for the following reasons:
- The reluctance of both Fatah and Hamas to recognise Israel as a Jewish state.
- The reluctance of Hamas to change its hateful Charter and bring an end to their terror activities.
- The inability of Hamas to reign in its terror proxies in Gaza
- The inability or unwillingness of Fatah to end incitement against Israel
Since the collapse of the peace process due to Palestinian intransigence, both Fatah and Hamas proved that they are unworthy partners in any peace process with Israel. How can anyone expect Israel to negotiate with people who:
- Instruct militants to abduct members of the IDF and citizens of Israel. This is what Hamas actively pursue the past few months and yet Fatah formed a unity government with them.
- Publish cartoons ridiculing Israelis. After the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers, the Facebook page of Abbas’ Fatah party posts a cartoon mocking the kidnapped Israeli teenagers as rats.
- Who celebrates massacres against Israel. Fatah, which many had considered a legitimate peace partner, created a film boasting about massacres against Israel and “heroes” who murdered civilians.
In response to the latest kidnappings, Israel should accelerate building activities in Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank), until the Palestinians have a change of heart and show real intent to negotiate for a lasting peace. The San Remo Declaration of 1922, the forerunner of the United Nations, created the framework for Israel to build in all land today known as Israel.
The framework and spirit of all agreements since the San Remo Declaration is effectively based on negotiations until a final settlement agreement is reached. Unfortunately, the Palestinian leadership through the years clearly showed a lack of transparency, which brought us to the current situation.
In light of the above, the government of Israel has hard and unpopular decisions to make. Those decisions should first and foremost be based on the security of Israel and its citizens. That should be non-negotiable and would practically mean no releasing of Palestinian prisoners with blood on their hands and the deportation of all members of Hamas to Gaza.
The minimum requirements for any future peace negotiations to start, should be the denouncement of violence by both Fatah and Hamas and the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Israel should take a principled stand on these two issues and under no circumstances ever compromise on it.
World leaders need to strongly condemn the kidnapping of the three teenagers and should strengthen the hands of Israel in fighting terrorism. It is high time that the western world unite against these despicable acts. If not, this kind of terrorism will also reach their doorstep.
May all of us who cherish life and value the dignity of the human being pray for the save return of Gil-Ad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Elad Yifrach and for the anguise their families have to go through.