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Israel does not want peace. There is nothing I have ever written that I would be happier to be proved wrong about. But the evidence is piling up. In fact, it can be said that Israel has never wanted peace – a just peace, that is, one based on a just compromise for both sides. It’s true that the routine greeting in Hebrew is Shalom (peace) – shalom when one leaves and shalom when one arrives. And, at the drop of a hat, almost every Israeli will say he wants peace, of course he does. But he’s not referring to the kind of peace that will bring about the justice without which there is no peace and there will be no peace. Israelis want peace, not justice, certainly not anything based on universal values. Thus, “Peace, peace, when there is no peace.” Not only is there no peace: In recent years, Israel has moved away from even the aspiration to make peace. It has despaired utterly of it. Peace has disappeared from the Israeli agenda, its place taken by the collective anxieties that are systematically implanted, and by personal, private matters that now take precedence over all else.
The resolution that gives the 29th of November significance - General Assembly resolution 181 - speaks of the creation of a "Jewish State" no less than 25 times. We still do not hear Palestinian leaders utter the term. The Palestinian leadership refuses to acknowledge Israel's character as a Jewish state. You will never hear them say "two states for two peoples". If you ever hear a Palestinian leader say "two states for two peoples", please phone me immediately. My office has set up the equivalent of a 911 number in the event of such an unprecedented occurrence.
Palestinian leaders call for an independent Palestinian state, but insist that the Palestinian people return to the Jewish state. This is a proposition that no one who believes in the right of Israel to exist could ever accept. The idea that Israel will be flooded with millions of Palestinians is a non-starter. The international community knows it. The Palestinian leadership knows it. But the Palestinian people aren't hearing it. At this very moment, the gap between their perception and reality remains the major obstacle to peace.
Let me repeat that: the so-called right of return is and will remain the major obstacle to peace. It is not settlements. It is not the laundry list of baseless accusations launched against Israel in today's resolutions. I'll repeat it again: the so-called right of return is the major obstacle to peace. Everyone knows it.
Yet, all of those who were so vocal today in telling Israel what is has to do for peace - mumbled, stuttered and conveniently lost their voices when it came to telling the Palestinians that the so-called right of return is a non-starter. For decades, this body has rubber-stamped nearly every Palestinian whim, no matter how counter-factual or counter-productive. What has this accomplished? The lip service of this body has only done a disservice for peace.