You need Palestinian peace before peace with Israel

Jonathan Schanzer writes at Politico:

The Palestinian internecine conflict is a bipartisan blind spot. The last two presidential administrations labored to achieve a two-state solution without giving serious thought to solving the current three-state scenario. Indeed, Israel is currently sandwiched between two separate Palestinian statelets: a Palestinian Authority-run West Bank and a Hamas-run Gaza Strip. The West Bank government is open to making a deal with Israel in theory, but refuses in practice thus far. The government ruling Gaza seeks nothing less than Israel’s destruction based on both religious and nationalist grounds.

Fairly hard to negotiate peace with a state that wants your total destruction.

Rather than address the geopolitical split that renders any Palestinian leader incapable of signing a peace agreement with Israel, the Obama administration insisted that settlements are the primary obstacle to peace. While there may come a time and place to address that issue, the focus on settlements was putting the cart before the horse. Any diplomatic effort to end the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis to include the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel must first solve the Palestinian internecine conflict. From there, a bilateral negotiation can ensue between two leaders—one Palestinian and one Israeli—that legitimately represent their people.

The settlements are an obstacle to peace and make it harder. But they are definitely not the primary or even secondary obstacle. The major obstacle is there is no one capable and/or willing to negotiate on behalf of Palestine.

Admittedly, it will be no small task to negotiate peace between the Palestinians. The two sides harbor an ideological hatred for one another that is equal to if not greater than what we often see between Palestinians and Israelis.

If you disbelieve that, then consider the conflicts between Sunni and Shia Islam.

If Trump is looking for a bold step to take in his first one hundred days, he should appoint a Special Envoy to Solve the Palestinian Conflict. In doing so, his message would be clear: The United States is committed to diplomacy between Palestinians and Israelis, which hinges on a solution to the longstanding Palestinian internal dispute.

You need peace in Palestine before they can negotiate peace with Israel.

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