Matthew RJ Brodsky joins Mike Walter on CCTV America to discuss the key issues as Palestinians and Israelis gather to restart peace talks.
He explains that the focus of negotiations should be on borders because they are tangible and the talks are bound to falter when they explore the thornier issues of Jerusalem and refugees. While polling indicates that both sides would like to have peace talks, they don’t believe the other side is serious about it. Confidence building measures will therefore play a crucial role.
Brodsky explains that there is no way around the fact that Hamas rules Gaza and the Palestinian Authority (PA) runs the West Bank. Hamas does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and wants to destroy the Jewish State through militancy and terrorism. The PA may say that it recognizes Israel’s right to exist but it still calls for the return of 5 million Palestinian refugees (including descendants from the 1947-49 war) to Israel, which would mean Israel’s destruction through demographics. All the while, Palestinian leaders are calling for a Jew-free Palestinian state. If these represent the two positions of the divided Palestinian constituents, then it is hard to see how peace will be achieved now. As Brodsky notes, “Israel is not going to negotiate over whether it has a right to exist.”
This is a situation where the American mediators want a peace deal and think it is possible now more than the Palestinians and Israelis do. For all of these reasons, Brodsky believes, “in the end it is really hard to see how a final status agreement will come about” from these current efforts.