There are two main reasons why Palestinians will not sign a real and meaningful peace agreement with Israel -- at least not in the foreseeable future.
The first is a total lack of education for peace. The second is related to the absence of a leader who is authorized -- or has the guts -- to embark on such a risky mission.
Americans and Europeans who keep talking about the need to revive the stalled peace process in the Middle East continue to ignore these two factors. They continue to insist that peace is still possible and that the ball is in Israel's court.
The Americans and Europeans fail to acknowledge that in order to achieve peace, the leaders must prepare their people for compromise and tolerance.
In fact, it is inaccurate to say merely that Palestinian leaders have failed to prepare their people for peace with Israel. Instead, one should say that the Palestinian leadership has long been inciting its people against Israel to a point where it has become almost impossible to talk about any form of compromise between Israelis and Palestinians.
Since its inception in 1994, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has devoted most of its energies and propaganda to delegitimizing and isolating Israel. Ironically, this incitement continued even as the PA was negotiating with Israel in an attempt to reach a peace agreement.
If you want to make peace with Israel, you do not tell your people every now and then that the Western Wall has no religious significance to Jews and is, in fact, holy Muslim property.
You cannot make peace with Israel if you continue to deny Jewish history or links to the land. Take, for example, what the PLO's Hanan Ashrawi said in response to statements made by President Barack Obama, in which he acknowledged Jewish history. "Once again, he [Obama] has adopted the discourse of Zionist ideology," she said. "He adopted it when he came to this region, speaking about the Jews' return to their land, and that this is a Jewish state."
You will never be able to make peace with Israel if you keep telling your people and the rest of the world that Zionism was created in order to implement the Jewish project of world domination. This is what the Palestinian Authority ambassador to Chile, Imad Nabil Jadaa, said at a conference on Israeli-Palestinian peace in Santiago.
Imad Nabil Jadaa, the Palestinian Authority ambassador to Chile, declared on May 15 that the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (an antisemitic forgery) contains proof of a Jewish plan for world domination. In the same speech, Jadaa declared "there is no Jewish People" and that Palestinians do not recognize the existence of a Jewish people. (Image source: ISGAP video screenshot)
It will be impossible to make peace with Israel at a time when the Palestinian Authority is telling its people that Jews use wild pigs to drive Palestinian farmers out of their fields and homes in the West Bank. This is what PA President Mahmoud Abbas told a pro-Palestinian conference in Ramallah.
According to the PA, Jews have also used rats to drive Arab residents of the Old City of Jerusalem out of their homes. The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, which reports directly to Abbas's office, claimed in a dispatch that, "Rats have become an Israeli weapon to displace and expel Arab residents" of the Old City of Jerusalem. The agency reported: "Settlers flood the Old City with rats... they release the rats to increase the suffering of the [Arab] residents and force them to evict their homes and leave the city."
These messages are being sent to Palestinians not only by Hamas, but also by the Western-funded Palestinian Authority, which happens to be Israel's "peace partner." The messages are being sent to Palestinians through the mosques, media and public statements of Palestinian leaders.
This is in addition to the PA's worldwide campaign to isolate, delegitimize and demonize Israel and Israelis. PA leaders and representatives who continue to accuse Israel of "war crimes" and "genocide" are certainly not preparing their people for peace with Israel. On the contrary, such allegations serve to further agitate Palestinians against Israel.
This is the type of incitement, in fact, that drives more Palestinians into the open arms of the Palestinian Authority's rivals, first and foremost Hamas. If you keep telling your people that Israel does not want peace and only seeks to destroy the lives of the Palestinians and steal their lands, there is no way that Palestinians would ever accept any form of reconciliation, let alone peace, with Israel.
Yet this is not only about the lack of education for peace or anti-Israel incitement.
It is time for the international community to acknowledge the fact that no Palestinian leader has a mandate to reach an everlasting peace agreement with Israel. That is because no leader in Ramallah or the Gaza Strip is authorized to end the conflict with Israel.
If Yasser Arafat was not able to accept the generous offer made by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak at the 2000 Camp David summit, who is Mahmoud Abbas to make any form of concession to Israel? Arafat was quoted back them as saying that he rejected the offer because he did not want to end up drinking tea with assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, the first Arab leader to sign a peace agreement with Israel.
In many ways, Abbas can only blame himself for the situation he faces today. If you are telling your people that you will never make concessions, how can you ever sign a peace agreement with Israel?
Those who believe that whoever succeeds Abbas will be able to make real concessions to Israel are living in an illusion. It is time to admit that no present or future Palestinian leader is authorized to offer even the slightest concessions to Israel. Any Palestinian who dares to talk about concessions to Israel is quickly denounced as a traitor.
These are the two reasons why the "peace process" in the Middle East will continue to revolve in a vicious cycle. In order to make peace with Israel, you need to prepare your people for peace with Israel. This is something that the Palestinian Authority has failed to do. And that is why we will not see the emergence of a more moderate Palestinian leader in the near future.