Zakaria: What the Palestinians should do
November 30th, 2012
02:48 AM ET

Zakaria: What the Palestinians should do

By Fareed Zakaria

The Palestinian Authority has won its campaign to be recognized as a non-member state of the United Nations. The question now is whether this will change anything.

Probably no. It will give the Palestinians a little more recognition and greater legal status in certain international fora. But the vote doesn’t change the reality that the only way the Palestinians are going to get a state is if Israel decides that it is in its interests to make it happen. Israel has the power on the ground, The country’s leaders have made it clear that they are not going to be pressured by the UN, defeated in battle, they are not going to be intimidated, they are not going to be terrorized – I think the history of the last three decades has made all of this very clear.

So the question the Palestinians should be asking themselves is, how do we get the Israelis to see this as in their interests?

There was an intriguing column earlier this week by Jeffrey Goldberg, who makes a suggestion that has also been made by some Palestinians in the past, that the Palestinians should stop pushing for a two-state solution, and instead push for a one-state answer.

Here’s how I would imagine the scenario unfolding: Mahmoud Abbas would announce that he is dissolving the Palestinian Authority in three months because he has recognized that there is no prospect that it will lead to a state under the current framework. He would also explain that he is returning all obligations and authority to the state of Israel.

More from CNN: Palestinian move won't change anything

Palestinians would then start a process of non-violent protests and agitation, asking that they be given what every other person under the authority of the Israeli government has, namely the right to vote in Israeli elections.

The effect of this kind of strategy, would be to force the Israeli public to ask itself whether it was really willing to deny the Palestinians the right to vote. And if they were not willing to deny the Palestinians this right, wouldn’t it be much better to allow them to vote in their own state, rather than the state of Israel, because allowing them to vote in Israel would, of course, fundamentally compromise the Jewish character of Israel.

This is all somewhat far fetched. But the lesson from it is that the Palestinians really have to have a strategy that is geared more directly at persuading, convincing, cajoling – or perhaps even pushing – Israel to make some moves on this front. Getting the United Nations and the council of world opinion to do this is essentially meaningless, because nobody has the ability to make this happen other than the Israelis.

The question Abbas needs to be asking is not whether the Palestinians can get Ban Ki-moon to give them a state, but can they get Benjamin Netanyahu to give them one?

soundoff (327 Responses)
  1. lana

    Jerusalem was built first by Jews. facts. most, but not all Jews where dispelled to live in Europe and other countries 300 thousand years ago.. Some continued living in Palestine. Jews never claimed a part of land from any countries they lived in for milleniums. Why should they? They respect the history and dont ask for what is not trully theirs. May be they should of...after all Arabs that lived in Palestine under the British rule never asked for a country called Palesetine...that is until Jews that got tired of prosecution for milleniums had enough of atrocites and decided to take their destiny into their own hands and used the historical facts relating their origins to Jerusalem and Palestine to fight British colonisation of the region. Facts. Arabs, who tolerated Brits without much resistance in the region all of a sudden woke up and started the claim toward Palesetine...only because now Jews who had a country there to begin with wanted to establish it again. Ho, no...So, now a new nation is invented by Arabs called Palestinians (as there ever was such a countty) and instigate them to fight off Jews. Fighting Brits was not imprtant. But fighting Jews is now important. Palestinians are origing from Jourdan and Lebanon and Egipt. Sp, let me as you...should Jews claim a land in countries they lived in the last 300 years? The world aproves of Palestinians doing it...why not Jews to do the same to Europians countries? Ouch...i dont thin that any of the country (like France who voted for Palestinian reconition as a state)) would want it. Jews all over the world. Listen. The world will push us because we tried being 'ligical' and did nto fight back pogroms, exoduses, gas chambers. And being 'nice' did nto work for us. Being strong and claim what is historicaly justified is our only resort. Arabs live in a regioin that could be compared as an elephant (arabs) to a fly (Israel). Nothing is ever enough for them. Arabs (includign Palestinians) should start giving rights to the women and stop electing religious fanatics to govern them .

    December 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Reply
  2. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Our "DIE-HARD" ALL THING ISLAMIC supporter, "RABID" Israel-US-India (rather all things UN-ISLAMIC) hater, Plagiarist Mr. Zakaria is at again.

    He first suggested to the Egyptians to throw out the Egypt-Israel peace treaty SHAMELESSLY calling it a treaty between two regimes and NOT two peoples.

    He then said an attack on Iran will be seen as an extension of America's war on the Islamic world (even though the Saudis and other Arab regions in the region themselves have called for "CUTTING THE HEAD OF THE SNAKE”.


    He found a READY REASON for the MUMBAI ATTACKS in what he calls SYSTEMATIC ALIENATION of Indian Muslims (of whom he is one, as also his POLYGAMIST late ISLAMIC SCHOLAR father, and another India BAITER Mr. Rafiq Zakaria).

    Likewise he blamed the barbaric Chechyan attack at the Moscow airport killing scores on the Russian people.

    And now.....he is trying to sow the seeds for a ONE STATE SOLUTION (or a Palestinian state on their terms which will SURELY ELIMINATE the Jewish State).

    No wonder more & more Americans & Indians (his native country, and so's mine) are seeing this man as a GREATER THREAT TO AMERICA, ISRAEL & INDIA than those die-hard radicals themselves.

    GOD SAVE AMERICA IF Mr.ZAKARIA who's now an external advisor to President Obama indeed becomes the next Us. Sec. of State or nudges closer to the reiigns of power!

    December 9, 2012 at 9:58 am | Reply
  3. J. Steinberg

    Zakaria's description of how the Palestinians could gain their own state, by pushing Netanyahu or any Israeli government to grant voting rights, won't work, for this reason. In most scenarios, might wins. As long as Hamas and others determined to destroy Israel wield power, they will not allow a solution that allows Israel to exist. If Israel's neighbors would change their swords into plowshares, there would likey be a Palestinian state.

    December 16, 2012 at 5:04 am | Reply
  4. PINAR

    what the palestinians say is allow all settlements ans settlers become part of palestine as long as the settlers become palestinians citizens and abide by laws of palestine and allow palestinians to buy homes in the settlements. settlers will run away leaving free homes for palestinians

    December 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  5. shaby

    I really admire your bravery to come out in the face of absolute blindness towards the attrocities done on the palestinian people. Thank you so much for being one of the most just journalist of recent times.

    July 21, 2014 at 3:31 am | Reply
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