In an op-ed for the New York Times, Ambassador Dennis Ross, one of America’s foremost foreign policy experts on the Middle East, has argued that the Palestinian Authority’s application to the International Criminal Court is only the latest example of its preference for political symbols over true negotiation with Israel that would require concessions.
He calls on European leaders who support Palestinian statehood to stop giving the president of the Authority – Mahmoud Abbas – a free pass, and to put greater pressure on it to seriously consider difficult compromise.
Dennis notes that “Palestinian political culture is rooted in a narrative of injustice; its anticolonialist bent and its deep sense of grievance treats concessions to Israel as illegitimate. Compromise is portrayed as betrayal, and negotiations…will inevitably force any Palestinian leader to challenge his people by making a politically costly decision.”
But going to the United Nations does no such thing, he argues, because “it puts pressure on Israel and requires nothing of the Palestinians.” Resolutions are typically about what Israel must do and what Palestinians should get. If saying yes is costly and doing nothing isn’t, Dennis asks, why should we expect the Palestinians to change course?
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