If Palestinians want a state, they must negotiate it. Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu understand this - but do Hamas or the people of Gaza?

A former spokesman for the Rabin and Peres governments on the path to peace

November has always been considered a bad month for the Arabs. On 2 November 1917, Arthur James Lord Balfour, British Foreign Secretary, wrote a letter to Lord Rothschild, in which he said that: “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” For three decades, the Arabs in Palestine fought against the Balfour Declaration, and even carried out the Great Arab Revolt (1936-39). They have accomplished very little.

Then, on 29 November 1947, the UN General Assembly approved the Partition Plan. While the Jews – such as my parents – danced in the streets, the Arabs in Palestine started shooting.

65 years to the day, the Palestinians are embracing the UN and are being embraced by it. Still, if I were a Palestinian, I would today wonder if these decades of rejection have brought me anything but losses. Even today, when the celebrations subside, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will return to Ramallah with sympathy but with little tangible assets.

The road to a real Palestinian state goes through the negotiation table, and any attempt to bypass it is doomed to fail. Benjamin Netanyahu was the first Israeli Prime Minister to agree to a 10-month freeze on settlements  so to allow the Palestinians to return to the negotiation table.

Loyal to their old tradition, they refused.

In an ideal world, Israel should have been the first to support the acceptance of a Palestinian state to the UN. It takes two to tango, though, and it seems the Palestinians picked other partners.

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