The latest round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) will fail as have past rounds, predicted Professor Avraham Diskin on Monday.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Professor Diskin, a professor at the Political Science Department of the Hebrew University, said that the reason that talks are doomed to fail is because the PA does not wish to reach an agreement. Already now, several days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the resumption of talks, one can see that the PA is doubtful about starting negotiations, he said, citing as proof the PA’s demand that preliminary talks be held in Washington before any negotiations.
Noting the peace agreement signed between Israel and Egypt in 1979, Professor Diskin said that in this case, both sides held serious negotiations and it was clear that both sides had the intention of reaching an agreement. The PA Arabs, however, display the opposite behavior, he added.
"Israel saved the PLO from collapsing with the Oslo Accords," said Diskin, noting the Camp David talks in 2000 in which then Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered then PA Chairman Yasser Arafat a groundbreaking offer which Arafat refused. The same goes for talks between then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in 2009, when Olmert offered Abbas 94% of Judea and Samaria and Abbas refused.
Diskin mentioned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s unprecedented step of freezing construction in Judea and Samaria in his last term, as well as being the first prime minister who supported the two state solution. Even these steps failed to bring the PA back to the negotiating table, bringing Diskin to conclude that the PA leadership has not missed any tricks in order to lose the opportunity for serious negotiations.
Diskin further stated that the world does not understand what is happening and prefers to be fed by Israeli commentators and thus determine that Israel is to blame for the stalled negotiations.
"The world listens and is convinced that we are guilty, that the settlements are guilty, but they do not know that all the settlements make up only 4 percent of the land. They hear about ‘occupation’ and about ‘abuse of Palestinians’ from many Israelis who feed the world with this information," he said.
According to Diskin, political pressure needs to be applied solely on the PA, noting that the Arab side has been delaying the solution to the conflict for a century. Pressure on Israel causes the PA leadership to harden its position. Kerry, predicted Diskin, understood this and therefore skipped Israel during his last visit to the region, focusing his efforts on Abbas and the PA.
Professor Diskin admitted that he belongs to the left side of the political map and is a supporter of land concessions, including in Jerusalem, on Israel’s part. At the same time, he emphasized, one cannot ignore reality and automatically blame Israel.
"Most of my colleagues in the academy see me as a fascist who denies reality," he said. "They are confident that we are guilty. They try to align the dissonance by denial of reality, and the reality is that long before Israel's establishment, the Arabs did not recognize its right to exist. Even the moderates in the Arab world do not recognize this, and denying reality will not help us."
In light of all this, concluded Diskin, “The chances of real peace and mutual recognition of the other side’s right to exist are zero. There’s no chance that peace will come in our generation."