When it comes to news reports and commentators reporting on or opining about the many challenges between Israel and the Palestinians, one major theme and one critical omission are particularly disturbing and disappointing:
- Major Theme: Israel is the blocker of peace and, and if only it would take unilateral actions (meaning make concessions), the conflict can be solved.
Sadly, we’re probably stuck with this, but it represents such a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation (refer to our recent post Tough Talk about Why Media Gets “Israel Story” Wrong.
- Critical Omission: There is no unified Palestinian entity that represents both the West Bank and Gaza communities. Just how is Israel supposed to negotiate a comprehensive agreement under these circumstances?
On this second point, it was refreshing to read the comments from Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, criticizing Hamas decision-making during this summer’s Gaza crisis. Somehow, the Palestinian community must resolve its internal divisions, create consensus, and ideally establish a unified, representative entity to engage with Israel.
You can read the Abbas comments in the two news reports provided below, and please note the photographs accompanying the Daily Mail article. As long as Palestinian children dress like soldiers and parade down the street carrying automatic rifles, the path toward reconciliation gets longer. And, as long as at least some parts of Palestinian society publicly celebrate death and take joy from war, reconciliation gets harder.