The Palestinians have lived, and for decades now, on a sense of historical entitlement. The world owed them a state come what may; it would be delivered to them even when their leaders faltered, even as they fell afoul of international norms and expectations. . . . In the intervening years, the "Palestinian street" would be whipped into a frenzy, and the anarchy and the cruelty of the homicide bombers would become a diet for the Palestinians -- and for a wider Arab audience that lived, vicariously, on the mayhem of Palestine. . . . Given a chance, by an election in early 2006, to signal their desire for normalcy, the Palestinians voted for mayhem. . . . National movements are often carried away by delirium, their politics can become deeds of self-immolation, and the Palestinians have come to embody the suicidal streak of mass-based nationalism. This is not a failure of the Bush diplomacy, the disorder now on full display in Gaza and the West Bank. This is the harvest of Palestinian history.The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that Netanyahu refused the demands of two coalition partners to insert a clause against a Palestinian state in the coalition agreement, and his current position is remarkably close to the one he outlined in the 1978 debate:
In recent weeks Netanyahu has been telling international leaders that the Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves, but not the handful of powers that could endanger Israel's security, such as an army, the right to make defensive treaties, or full control over its air space, water supply or electromagnetic spectrum. . . . Sources close to Netanyahu said . . . the burden of proof in the peace process remained with the Palestinians, and that the Palestinian leadership must show that they were not only able to mouth words in English, but also educate their public toward making the ideological compromises that would be needed for any agreement.If self-government were really the issue, and not an attempt to move Israel to indefensible borders and overwhelm (or de-legitimate) it with a “right of return,” this would be an effective peace plan. But Palestinian history demonstrates that the devil has always been in the “if," and the burden to prove the contrary long ago shifted to the Palestinians.