Israel and Palestine: Understanding Negotiations ‘Without Preconditions’

Referring to a speech he gave in June 2009 at Bar-Ilan University, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week,

The framework I discussed was a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state. We need to hold frank negotiations, without prior conditions. In the past four years the Palestinians set pre-conditions, time after time. I hope they abandon these pre-conditions and we don’t waste another four years.

See, “preconditions” as defined by Israel and the U.S. means any demand by the Palestinians that Israel cease its violations of international law and respect Palestinian rights.

Thus, the Israeli demand that the Palestinians accept as a foundational premise for talks that they must surrender their national sovereignty and right to self-defense (i.e., “a demilitarized Palestinian state”) is not a “precondition”; the demand that Palestinians accept the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine and theft of their land as having been legitimate and recognize Arab Israelis as second class citizens (i.e., recognize Israel as a “Jewish state”) is not a “precondition”.

But for the Palestinians to insist that Israel demonstrate the tiniest modicum of good faith and cease its illegal colonization of the West Bank before they are willing to negotiate a final settlement is a “precondition”.

Anyone wishing to understand the so-called “peace process” must understand that negotiations “without preconditions” means that Palestinians must reject any framework for talks based on the rights of both parties under international law and accept a framework based on what Israel wants, that they must acquiesce to Israeli demands to surrender their rights under the threat and use of force.

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