MYTH: Israel Does Not Want Peace with the Palestinian-Arabs

Palestinian Authority official TV displays children as soldiers fighting Israel.

FACT: Israel has tried to make peace several times with the Palestinian-Arab leadership. However, the Palestinian-Arabs have refused all offers and have never offered anything in return. Instead, each time Israel has offered peace, the Palestinian-Arabs have answered with an increase in terrorism. The following are examples of Israeli peace offers since 1993:

  1. In 1993 (during the Oslo Accords), Israel became the first country in history to give the Palestinian-Arabs autonomy (by giving the PA complete control over all major Palestinian-Arab population centers in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza). However, instead of leading to peace, the PA used its increased power to fund even more incitement and terrorism against Jews and Israel. As a result of this, more Israelis – both Jewish and Arab – died in PA-sponsored terrorist attacks.
  1. In 2000 (during the Camp David II Accords), Israel offered the PA nearly all of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza for peace. Saudi Prince Bandar, a diplomat present at the negotiations between the two sides advised then-PA President Yasser Arafat to take the deal: “If we lose this opportunity, it is not going to be a tragedy, it is going to be a crime.” Instead, however, the PA rejected the offer and started a five-year wave of terrorist attacks (known as the “Second Intifada”) that killed hundreds of Israeli Jewish and Arab civilians. Imad Faluji, the Palestinian Authority Minister of Communications at the time, said that the outcome of the peace negotiations – rejection followed by terrorism – had been predetermined. “This intifada was already planned since [Arafat] the President returned from the recent talks at Camp David [July 2000].”
  1. In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza to allow the PA to build a Palestinian-Arab state. Two years later, Hamas took over Gaza and has since launched thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians and has started three wars against the Jewish state.
  1. In 2008, Israel again offered the PA nearly all of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza for peace. PA President Abbas waked away from the negotiating table and refused to make a counter offer. Instead of accepting the offer for peace, Abbas continued to regularly incite against Israel. Since this offer, violent Palestinian-Arab attacks have continued at a high rate, as terrorists regularly attack Jewish families in their cars, at train stations, and even at cemeteries.

In addition to Israel’s recent peace offers, the Jews in pre-1948 Israel (then called “Palestine”) agreed to numerous peace offers to share the land with their Palestinian-Arab neighbors. However, the Palestinian-Arabs rejected each offer. In 1937, the international community offered to give roughly 95 percent of what was then British Mandate Palestine to the Arabs and only 5 percent to the Jews. The Jews accepted the offer, but the Arabs rejected it. In 1947, the United Nations offered to partition the land and give half to the Arabs and half to the Jews. Again the Jews accepted. The Arabs, however, rejected the offer and instead attacked the Jewish communities and the newly founded Jewish state attempting to destroy it.

Israel has proven it is willing to make serious concessions and give large amounts of land for peace with its Arab neighbors. In 1979, Israel’s right-wing government gave Egypt the entire Sinai Peninsula (land Israel captured after Egypt invaded Israel in 1967) for peace. Israel gave up 80 percent of its landmass, an estimated $100 billion in oil fields, and dismantled its largest air force base for peace. Israel also evacuated thousands of Israelis who had moved to the Sinai. Furthermore, in 1994, Israel gave Jordan valuable farming land along the Jordan River in exchange for peace.

More recently, in 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, saying, “I turn to you, our Palestinian neighbors, led by the Palestinian Authority, and I say: Let’s begin negotiations immediately without preconditions.”

In 2010, Netanyahu reiterated his position: “My government has consistently shown its commitment to peace in both word and deed. From day one, we called on the Palestinian Authority to begin peace negotiations without delay. I make that same call today. President Abbas, come and negotiate peace.”

In 2011, in his speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, Netanyahu confirmed his position yet again: “Now again I want to make this clear. Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority. … So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas! Sit down and negotiate!”

While Israel has proven numerous times that it strives for peace, the Palestinian Authority has proven time and again that it does not seek peace. PA President Abbas’s response to Netanyahu’s calls for peace was to refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, to deny all Jewish claims to the land, to continue to incite hatred and violence among his people, and to sign a unity agreement with Hamas, which is an internationally recognized terrorist organization that has launched thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians.

Please see “MYTH: The Palestinian Authority is Moderate and Seeks Peace” to learn more about the obstacles to peace the Palestinian Authority poses. Please also see ZOA Campus’s fact sheet on Palestinian-Arab Incitement to learn more about this topic.