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Negotiating with the Palestinians Negotiating with the Palestinians
by Joseph Gatt
2019-12-04 09:19:51
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I've been spending the last 3 weeks, negotiating, inter alia, peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Here are some of the difficulties I have encountered, in no particular order.

-We Israelis want a done deal, a treaty of sorts that would be respected. The treaty would include security guarantees, land guarantees, and involve questions of immigration and citizenship and trade. The Palestinians however want more tacit deals, and want us Israelis to define our relationship with them 24/7, 365 days a year. That is rather than a fixed treaty, they want constant renegotiation of the status of our relationship. Unfortunately, in these tacit deals, the Palestinians want to take as much as they can from the Israelis, without giving much of anything in return.

isra0001_400-One thing that causes a lot of stress is how careful I have to be with my wording. The Palestinians tend to believe that anything I tell them is a subtle hint at the superiority of Judaism over Islam. I'm not allowed to tell them that I read books nor am I allowed to quote books. I'm not allowed to discuss the economy or economic management or mismanagement on the Palestinian side. The first couple of weeks the Palestinians were making all kinds of claims about economic robustness in Palestine, before, as they made phone calls and made sure I listened, it turns out their coffers are almost empty.

-My understanding is the Palestinians want a state with Jerusalem as its capital, but also want Israel to pay them hefty taxes or allowances that will enable them to rest all day while feeding on Israeli allowances. That is they want Israel to pay for the right to exist, and to pay hefty sums, as they of course believe we Israelis own all the money in the world.

-Two things bother me about the Palestinians. First, they are not masters of ethics. They tend to drink very heavily, gulp down beer or wine in one sitting, have dozens of mistresses, and occasionally invite prostitutes to chip into the debates. When I refuse to be hooked up with girls, they often exclaim “we can't get any concessions from you!” to which I reply “I'm thinking about my country's future.” Other thing that bothers me is their attitude. They are always right, have very vague recollections of facts, and are very comfortable in their certainties, even when those certainties are false. They also curse like sailors and hate pretty much everyone. And they tend to have short attention spans; they often can't listen to a song from start to finish.

-My conclusions would be that I have the feeling that Palestinians take offense in the success when it came to building an Israeli state, as to them it symbolizes weaknesses in Islam when to them Islam embodies perfection and Judaism embodies corruption and evil.

-One thing the Palestinians tell me a lot is “we want a co-habitation, so don't be selfish.” This means they want to live together with the Israelis, in a “mi casa es tu casa” kind of agreement. Now here's what I explain to them. They like Turkish soap operas and Lebanese pop music and could survive on that all day. I'm more of a bookworm and news junkie kind of person. They like nightclubs and raves; I'm more of a classical music concert and theater kind of guy. For co-habitation to exist, one of us will have to change their lifestyle. And I have no interest in changing my lifestyle.

-But to the Palestinians, co-habitation means a lot of things. It means building wherever they want, doing business wherever they want. What bothers me is it also means Jews being attentive to their needs, when the Palestinians are often not attentive to Jewish needs.

-Final word. Where do I see the future of all this? The Palestinians are very unpredictable. They usually do nothing according to schedule. And they often lead double lives, telling their families that they are doing business when they are in fact living off loans and don't set foot in their business. So for there to be peace, they have to fear us. Otherwise, Israel will dip into a state of anarchy. That is my belief.

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