Three Times The Palestinians Turned Down A Deal For Statehood

“The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
405490 02: Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat attends Friday prayers May 17, 2002 at his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Arafat said Friday there could not free Palestinian elections until the Israel military occupation ended in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

On the subject of relations between Israel and Arab nations, Israeli diplomat Abba Eban said in 1973, “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

This famous quip is a light and yet brutally honest summation of the decades-long “quest for peace” between Israel and the Palestinians.

After Palestinians rioted in Jerusalem and Hamas terrorists fired rockets into Jewish civilian areas from the Gaza Strip earlier this week, the same tired arguments reappeared, suggesting that Israel is an “apartheid” state actively suppressing Arab and Palestinian populations and that Israel is the one roadblock which stands between the Palestinians and their own nation state.

The truth is, however, that the Palestinian leadership has repeatedly — and arguably intentionally — scuppered their own hopes for a Palestinian state. Here’s a brief overview of the multiple times the Palestinian leadership “missed an opportunity.”


UN Resolution 181 — the “Partition Resolution” — was passed in November 1947, and called for the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state. The country of Israel would be split, with Jerusalem as a separate independent district.

The Jewish Agency, which represented existing Jewish residents of the region, supported the plan, while the Arab Higher Committee rejected it, threatening war alongside other Arab countries.

Violating Resolution 181 and the UN Charter, Arab nations invaded and were defeated. Had the Arab Higher Committee accepted the resolution instead of choosing to invade, a Palestinian state could have existed since 1947.


President Bill Clinton hosted peace talks at Camp David between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, with a proposed peace plan known as the “Clinton Parameters.” 

Despite the impactful requirements of Israel put forward by the plan — including “custodianship” over the Temple mount, sovereignty on all Islamic and Christian holy sites, and three of Jerusalem’s four Old City quarters — Barak accepted the plan. Arafat rejected the offer, and refused to make an immediate counter-offer. He then returned home, after which the second intifada occurred, including suicide bombing attacks against Jewish civilians.


After talks between then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a comprehensive peace plan was proposed, which would annex Israeli settlements to Israel in return for the same territory in Israel being given to the Palestinians. In addition, Jerusalem would also be divided.

“In all, Olmert’s peace offer was more generous to the Palestinians than either that of Bush or Bill Clinton; it’s almost impossible to imagine Obama, or any Israeli government, going further, wrote Jackson Diehl of The Washington Post in 2009.

Abbas turned the deal down, saying “The gaps were wide.”

In 2015, it was reported by The Times Of Israel that Abbas admitted he rejected the peace offer because he wasn’t allowed to study the proposed map, which included “near-total withdrawal from West Bank and relinquishing Israeli control of Jerusalem’s Old City.”

Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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