The Israel-Palestinian peace and statehood talks have once again sunk to a level of wishful thinking. But the overall conflict has been going on so long many people have little or no idea why settling it is so difficult. Much is dependent who's getting a better deal.
The Palestinians have long touted their desire to create one multi cultural state out of Palestine, but still with Islam in primacy.
Israel has already created such a multi cultural country. But while Judaism is the predominant faith, it isn't a state religion. Israeli officials claim theirs is a non sectarian state, something that's debatable.
After the 1967 Six-Day War, one of three major conflicts with Arab states aimed at destroying the Jewish state, Israel wound up winning the Golan Heights from Syria, the Sinai Desert and Gaza Strip from Egypt and the West Bank of the Jordan River from Jordan.
It returned to Egypt all land except the Gaza, which Egypt it didn't want. Can you wonder why? There was no way the Golan Heights would be returned given Syria's extreme hostility towards Israel.
This left the West Bank, more problematic than Gaza now a de facto state on its own.
Under normal circumstances conquered land, if returned, would go back to the country that lost it... Jordan. Israel wishes it was so simple since it has a peace treaty with Jordan.
After Jordan's 1971 Black September route of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and its covert relations with Israel the Arab League stripped Jordan of its stewardship rights of the West Bank and Jerusalem and awarded them to the PLO. Besides, the League had long considered Jordan's 1948 annexation of the West Bank as being illegal.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_September_in_Jordan
The PLO morphed into the Palestinian Authority (PA), which doesn't have a peace treaty with Israel and still maintains the PLO charter calling for Israel's replacement by its own multi cultural Islamic state.
So, in every horse trade bargaining, each side has to have on offer what the other side wants. The PA wants land for a West Bank state, land that Israel controls. The PA want the refugee question addressed, which is an entire complex issue in itself and it wants Jerusalem.
What does Israel want? Peace and recognition that Israel is a Jewish homeland. This may not seem like much. Think again. The PA only speaks for some of the Palestinians. There are those such as Hamas supporters in Gaza and Jordan who will reject any peace with Israel.
This is why US Secretary of State John Kerry suggested stationing troops near the Jordanian border to prevent terrorist attacks. If that's the case there won't be peace in the normal sense. So what is Israel getting? http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Security-Watch/2014/0103/Israeli-Palestinian-peace-talks-Is-Kerry-offering-up-US-troops
What about a Jewish state? West Bank Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has said he will accept the State of Israel, but not a Jewish Israel. There's a good reason for this.
There are 22 members of the Arab League...22 Arab states. Yet, Abbas objects to one Jewish state. That's because he clings to his late mentor Yasser Arafat's dream of one united Palestinian state for all people, but under Islam. And he feels if he waits long enough that will happen.
However, having Israel named a Jewish state complicates his plans for a Palestinian super state eventually taking in Jordan, the West Bank, Israel and Gaza. He's dreaming, you say? More than likely, but in this timeless region dreams have a way of someday becoming reality. Look at the resurrection of Israel.
It's likely this will remain an obstacle until a nation such as Saudi Arabia puts its weight behind an acceptance of a sovereign Jewish homeland.
Abbas, if pressed, brings up the millions of Palestinian refugees in surrounding Arab countries. But these people are descendents of the hordes created by Arab wars aimed at destroying Israel. Today, the UN estimates only about 50,000 of the 1948 750,000 Palestinians who fled are still living. Millions of their descendents have been kept in permanent camps as non citizens by their Arab brothers under Arab League Resolution 1547 which denies them or their children citizenship, a seemingly illegal situation the UN has never addressed.
Amazingly a Jew might have a better chance of gaining citizenship in some Arab countries than a Palestinian.
By contrast, nearly the same number of Jews were driven out of historic communities in many Arab countries. Yet, Israel spared no effort to offer then refuge in the new nation. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/talking/jew_refugees.html
A problem the Palestinians have, and a source of constant tension, is diversity. The dislike, even hatred, between the West Bank based Palestinian Authority and the more extreme Wahhabist and Salafist leadership of the Gaza strip is another war waiting to happen.
Yet the populations have little to say about this. Since 1948 the Palestinian Arabs have been at the mercy of the same corrupt autocratic leadership that has been the focal point of the Arab Spring revolts. People such as the late Yasser Arafat and now Mahmoud Abbas have been leaders more interested in long-term geo-political and religious goals than the basic welfare of the population.
The main reason the two factions may not be having a go at each other now is because Israel stands between them. The great western pro-Palestinian advocates haven't thought of what's going to happen if they become both physically and politically united, or more likely disunited.
The West's experience in Iraq should have offered a lesson about nation building or destroying. Before there can be a Palestinian state all parts of that proposed state have to be at peace with each other and dedicated to peace with Israel.