Palestinians ‘not completely honest’ when they say they want a state, historian observes

The Palestinians “have a leadership that is keeping them at a state of perpetual victimhood,” says Hebrew University’s Gaudi Taub.

By World Israel News Staff

With the Palestinian Authority boycotting the U.S.-led conference currently taking place in Bahrain, are the Palestinians again showing that they “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” in the now-famous phrase of legendary Israeli diplomat Abba Eban?

“In our world of moral kitsch, where victimhood is moral justification for everything, I think the one asset the Palestinians are not willing to give up is their misery,” said Gaudi Taub, historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in an interview with FRANCE 24 TV.

“They have a leadership that is keeping them at a state of perpetual victimhood,” he argued.

Stating that the Palestinians are “not completely honest” when they say that they want a state, Taub adds: “If it was Zionism we would have taken the money, built stuff with it, and then tried to move on to other goals, not give it up in advance,” Taub told the French television channel.

Pre-state Zionist leader and Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion “would have taken the money and then demanded a state,” said the historian.

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The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced that it was cutting off diplomatic contacts with the Trump administration when the U.S. president recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.

“We need the economic [support], the money and the assistance, but before everything there is a political solution,” said PA leader Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday, criticizing the American approach of presenting its economic plan for the region before announcing its political vision for Israelis and Palestinians.

Therefore, Abbas predicted, the Bahrain conference, which is promoting only socio-economic aid, “will not be successful.”

However, there have been top-level meetings in the past at which political solutions have been discussed.

In the summer of 2000, U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and PA leader Yasser Arafat held a summit at the Camp David retreat, during which, according to U.S. and Israeli accounts, Barak was prepared to hand over nearly all of Judea and Samaria to a Palestinian state.

In addition, Israel was prepared to “compensate” the Palestinians by giving them land within the internationally-accepted boundaries of the State of Israel to make up for the territory in Judea and Samaria which would be recognized as part of the Jewish State.

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Under the plan, which Arafat rejected, control over the Old City of Jerusalem would have been divided. A couple of months after the summit, Palestinians launched a second “intifada” violent uprising, in which some 1,000 Israelis were killed between 2000 and 2005.

In 2008, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert went even further in discussions with Abbas, saying that in addition to offering the same kind of deal regarding Judea and Samaria, he was willing to give up Israeli sovereignty over the Old City altogether and place even Judaism’s holiest shrine under international control.

Abbas rejected that offer, although Olmert warned him, “Remember my words, it will be 50 years before there will be another Israeli prime minister that will offer you what I am offering you now. Don’t miss this opportunity.”