Could this be a sign of hope? Just when I was giving up on any solution, see this Ha’aretz article by Carlo Strenger (“Mahmoud Abbas’ crucial message to Israel”) on an interview with Abbas that aired both in Israel and on Palestine TV. This is the heart of Strenger’s piece:
…. Almost two years ago, Abbas said that the second intifada was the greatest mistake the Palestinians ever made. This admission, unfortunately, is all too true: the second intifada has made most Israelis profoundly unwilling to take risks for peace. They wonder why they should, once again, trust Palestinians who blew up hundreds of Israelis when the peace process came to a standstill after the failed Camp David summit.
In his interview … a few days ago on Israel’s Channel 2, Abbas took a second step of possibly even greater importance. He explicitly said that the Arab world and the Palestinians made a crucial error by rejecting the UN partition plan in 1947.
In doing so, Abbas is the first Palestinian leader to change a sacrosanct element of the Palestinian narrative: self-representation as pure victims. …
While it would be both inhuman and stupid to deny the Palestinian tragedy, the Palestinians’ refusing to take any responsibility for their fate … has contributed to the conflict’s intractability. The rejection of the 1947 partition plan was one in a series of catastrophic mistakes they made. The … latest was the shelling of Southern Israel after the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005….
Abbas’ admission that the Palestinian people’s fate could have been dramatically different if they had made wiser decisions is crucially important…. Instead of moving toward compromise with Israel, too many Palestinians have waited for too many years for a reversal of history. …
[Moreover] Abbas personally made sure that the full-length forty minute interview was aired on Palestinian prime time TV “for educational purposes.” This is also a very significant step. Israelis have, for years, complained that Palestinians spoke very differently to their own constituency than to the outside world….
As to the refugee question, he [said] that it was clear to him that Israel could not integrate large numbers of Palestinians, and that he had endorsed the position of the Arab League Peace proposal that Israel could veto any Palestinian’s return to Israel.
Abbas has now made his position clear to Israel’s public. … It is time for Israel’s public to ask whether it wants a government that refuses to engage with Israel’s best chance to end the Israel-Palestine conflict.