JERUSALEM, Israel -- Arab reaction to President Barack Obama's three-day visit to Israel seems, for the most part, less than positive.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said Obama's visit didn't change anything, the P.A.'s official Ma'an News Agency reported.
"We believe American policies perpetuate the Israeli occupation and settlements in Palestine under the slogan of peace," his statement read.
Jerusalem Post Palestinian Affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh said Palestinians were disappointed with the president's visit, especially his call to resume negotiations unconditionally.
"This is something no Palestinian leader can agree to," a senior P.A. official reportedly said.
"We have no choice but to step up popular resistance against Israeli occupation and settlements," another said.
Just what does "stepping up popular resistance" mean? Is he referring to drive-by shootings, knifings, bombings of Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria? How does that promote peace among Arabs and Jews?
There is no lack of desire on Israel's part to live in peace and security with its Arab neighbors. In the 20-odd years since the Oslo Accords, the Palestinians have managed to convince many that Israel is illegally occupying their land.
But the boundaries created after the 1948 War of Independence, as defined in U.N. Resolution 242, were, in point of fact, armistice lines.
Fast forward to the 1967 Six Day War when a "half-million Arab soldiers and more than 5,000 tanks converged on Israel from every direction, including the West Bank, then part of Jordan," Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren wrote in a piece entitled "Remembering Six Days in 1967."
"Their plans called for obliterating Israel's army, conquering the country and killing large numbers of civilians," Oren explains. "Iraqi President Abdul Rahman Arif said the Arab goal was to wipe Israel off the map: 'We shall, God [Allah] willing, meet in Tel Aviv and Haifa.'"
Amazingly enough, in one of the shortest wars in history, Israel defeated five Arab armies united for one purpose: to wipe the Jewish state off the map. It didn't happen. Instead, the Israel Defense Forces replaced the indefensible armistice lines with defensible borders.
The IDF drove Egypt from the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula, Syria from the Golan Heights, and recaptured Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) and Jerusalem from Jordan.
"The Six-Day War furnished Israel with the territory and permanence necessary for achieving peace with Egypt and Jordan. It transformed Jerusalem from a divided backwater into a thriving capital, free for the first time to adherents of all faiths. It reconnected the Jewish people to our ancestral homeland in Judea and Samaria, inspiring many thousands to move there. But it also made us aware that another people -- the Palestinians -- inhabited that land and that we would have to share it," Oren explains.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has clarified more than once, the 1948 armistice lines, now referred to as the "pre-1967 borders" are simply indefensible and Israel cannot and will not return to them.
At the same time, Netanyahu has made it clear that Israel has no desire to govern the Palestinian Arab population. That's why he's willing to work with the P.A. government to achieve a realistic solution to peaceful co-existence.
That will take an enormous amount of work and compromises on both sides. The lies and incitement must end. The Palestinians must stop indoctrinating their children to hate the "Zionist occupiers." They must stop teaching them that Tel Aviv and Haifa will be part of a Palestinian state.
There will be no peace between the two peoples until the Arab world accepts Israel as the nation-state and homeland of the Jewish people.