The Myth of Palestinian Centrality

By July 7, 2014

Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 108

Hebrew Version

The “Palestinian cause” has been at the forefront of discourse on the Middle East for nearly a century. It has long formed the primary common concern of pan-Arab solidarity and its most effective rallying cry, yet neither the Arab states nor Palestinian leaders have truly acted in the interest of the “liberation of Palestine.”

While the “Nakba” may seemingly be of chief concern to the Arab states, Palestinian refugees have endured marginalization and abuse from their fellow Arab nations since 1948 in countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait. In the meantime, several opportunities to establish a Palestinian state and develop Palestinian civil society have been rejected by Palestinian leaders. Rather than seek to rectify the “Palestinian problem”, their leaders have immersed their hapless constituents in disastrous and wholly unnecessary conflicts, while lining their pockets from the proceeds of this ongoing tragedy.

As such, any notion claiming a link between finding a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and attaining regional peace and stability is both false and misleading. The Palestinian leadership has continually shown no sign of actually wanting neither peace with Israel nor an independent state. Accepting reconciliation would transform the Palestinians in one fell swoop from the world’s ultimate victim into an ordinary (and most likely failing) nation-state, thus terminating decades of unprecedented international indulgence. It would force Palestinian leaders into responsibility, accountability and the daunting task of state building. It is therefore of little surprise that when confronted with the International or Israeli offer of peace or statehood,  Palestinian leaders will never approve.

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(Photo Credit: The State of Israel National Photo Collection/ Avi Ohayon)

Prof. Efraim Karsh
Prof. Efraim Karsh

Prof. Efraim Karsh is director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. Email: [email protected]