The PLO, in a New York Times piece by its mouthpiece Michael Tarazi, has made explicit what has long been its position — “two people, one state.” In other words, to hell with creating an independent Palestinian state next to Israel; let’s have one state in which we will overwhelm the Jews with numbers and rout them through violence. As Barry Rubin explains in the Jerusalem Post: “For the PLO destroying Israel is more important than building an independent Palestinian state or relieving the Palestinian people’s suffering. That is why Yasser Arafat turned down Israel’s offer at Camp David as well as the Clinton plan, both of which offered a viable independent state with its capital in Jerusalem.” It follows that “any chance for progress in the peace process is an illusion. While road maps, declarations, delegations, and other efforts may contribute to peace in the long-term, in the immediate context they are useless exercises in wishful thinking.”
Rubin considers the PLO’s renunciation of the two state solution to be “one more in a long series of Palestinian mistakes,” and I think he is right. However, I disagree with Rubin’s contention that the PLO’s new line is likely to be a public-relations disaster in the west, “undoing many of the movement’s apparent gains in the battle for public opinion.” I expect that the PLO’s new line will do just fine in nearly all western states. However, it will take the U.S. out of the game and make it highly unlikely that, regardless of who leads Israel, any deal will be reached.
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