Just as there is propaganda against Jewish people and the Israeli state, there is a lot of far right literature depicting Arabs as inherently evil. There is enough dirt and mudslinging on both sides to embarrass both.
I have worked first hand with Palestinians and Israelis (none in Hamas or the Zionist state system) who want a just, peaceful end to this without genocide to either side. That has been a great education. I know about evils and atrocities on both sides and I focus on the injustices experienced by both. I find for example, that some Palestinians and some Israelis are poorly educated and often have no clue about the carnage being done, supposedly in their name. Many Palestinians outside of the direct region of Hamas control romanticize the history of the organization or the pre-PA history of the PLO. Many Israelis don’t remember the anti-Arab extermination campaigns that some attempted to carry out post 1948 in the name of seizing the whole land for a specifically Jewish state. So there are plenty of bloody handprints to go around in the actual historical record.
Israelis rightly decline to negotiate with ideologues who push the genocidal idea of the destruction of Israel but Palestinians feel similarly about the persistence of illegal settlements and land seizure, tacitly encouraged by the Zionist state as well as Israeli refusal to comply for almost a half century with certain UN resolutions on the subject. You can’t negotiate and take the land subject to the negotiation at the same time and expect the increasingly landless people to take you seriously or trust you, just as you cannot threaten to destroy people and negotiate with them. I personally believe there should be a peace conference specifically excluding both the Zionist state, the PA, AND certainly Hamas none of which have much credibility in or out, and I believe you could get broad agreement. But all three of those structures, unlike the people themselves, have built their power on the persistence of the struggle and need it to legitimate themselves. The same forces which detested Arafat’s overtures and poisoned him to death with radiation, assassinated Rabin to prevent peaceful settlement.
I believe most Jewish people want peace. Most Palestinians are weary of it too. Just as the Zionist state is not the Israelis themselves, not all Palestinians support Hamas or PA. I think the problem is that when your chief negotiators are warmongers like some of the previous heads of Hamas, some of the commanders of al-Fatah, or folks like Netanyahu, a “peace” agreement will be slow in coming.
I think too many Israelis don’t know about Palestinians who detest any violence advocated Hamas or other would be liberators u groups and too few Palestinians know about Israelis who don’t support further marginalization and illegal settlements. Each side has been conditioned to see the worse in each other. Intentionally.
I favor one unified state because I see colonialism as criminal, illegal, and immoral. As such I don’t believe the British or the UN had any legitimate authority over Palestine to impose any settlement on the peoples there, Arab or Jewish. Thus I support an Israeli state but not a Zionist state which is where the problem comes in. I believe personally God will restore Israel. I don’t believe God was or is a bunch of British colonialist occupiers. Thus I want to go back to a state where Arabs, Muslims, and Jews and Christians btw, lived in the whole of Palestine and let them create a non-colonial state for their collective benefit. While there were always some loonies who were inherently anti-Jewish or anti-Arab pre 1948, they were not the majority and did not wield the level of power they do today on both sides. I say we start back at the beginning. No state based on ethnic superiority or colonialism or religion but one based on universal citizenship for all born or immigrating there.
Contrary to popular myth, Palestinians did not reject ALL peace agreements. Nor has the Israeli state always negotiated in good faith. Both sides have scuttled agreements. At various times, each side has been negotiating with generals not diplomats and so some of the proposals were ridiculous. One Palestinian proposal would have forced many Israelis to forfeit land and move. An Israeli proposal had a new Palestinian state that would be landlocked and joined only by a road that was to be controlled by Israel and closed at will like the occupied territories. A lot of these agreements involving staking out positions of permanent advantage against an adversary, not bargaining for peace, which is why I think you got to bring other folks to the table.
The UN has been either useless or an agent provocateur with respect to this matter just as it has in many other situations. The problem for me is that it was the UN which sanctioned the illegal colonial arrangements creating the problem. It’s like asking the thief to negotiate concerning the theft. Add in the US blind veto for anything the Zionist state does and the Arab blocs blind support for their side and we get more of the same, rhetoric without substance.
Many have focused on the Palestinian use of youth in the intifidas as particularly morally delegitimating to their cause. But the Israeli state has also launched offensive attacks, many of them illegal, in the occupied territories and in violation of international law that have led to the death of Israeli youth and many young Israelis have protested mandatory conscription in the IDF because of their knowledge and witness to these episodes (at great risk to their own lives, families, and futures). As an Afrikan person, I know children were placed in harm’s way during the fights against slavery, colonialism, segregation, and apartheid and many are currently being risked to fight police brutality today. No one wants to see them die, but had youth and children not been involved in our struggles, we as a people would still be in bondage. Deny any people land, sustenance, and equality and they will fight and risk all they have. Which makes my point about believing that anything less than justice for BOTH sides with land, economic viability, and citizenship will fail for both. There are elements on BOTH sides which have no interest in that, but not all of them are on the Palestinian side. There are more than a few Israeli groups which have engaged in illegal land theft, terrorism, and other acts in the name of driving Arabs into the sea. Hamas and the PLO were not born alone, but in opposition to Zionist forces on the other side. And underneath it all is the idea that the British, invading colonizing occupiers of the whole region had no real legal right to designate any arrangement over the land apart from the people. I hold the British more responsible for the current situation than either of the two dominant peoples there or religious systems in the region. They screwed up there as they did a fair portion of Africa.