vents in Gaza this week illustrated with clarity the primary reason for the failure of the peace process. As long as the Palestinian national leadership is wedded to the notion of the “Right of Return” to Israel, there is no realistic way to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace and a two-state solution. Hamas’ attempt to mobilize “a march of a million” into Israel, fizzled away. Most ordinary Gazans were unwilling to become martyrs on behalf of Hamas, but it is not only the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza that is seeking to force the “Right of Return,” through violence. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah is likewise unwilling to compromise on an issue that Israel could never accept, since it would spell national suicide for Israel.
Efraim Karsh, writing in Commentary Magazine (May 1, 2001), pointed out that “During a span of six months, from the Camp David summit of July, 2000 to the Taba talks a few days before his crushing electoral defeat in February, 2001, (PM Ehud), Barak crossed every single territorial ‘red line’ upheld by previous Israeli governments in his frenzied quest for an agreement with the Palestinians based on the formula of land for peace. Unquestioningly accepting the Arab side’s interpretation of the UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed in the aftermath of the Six Day War of 1967, Barak’s government offered to cede virtually the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip to the nascent Palestinian state, and made breathtaking concessions over Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem. But, to its amazement, rather than reciprocating this sweeping comprehensive offer of land with a similarly generous offer of peace, the Palestinians responded with wholesale violence.