Palestinian negotiator Abu Ala declared that an Israeli return to the 1949 (1948, actually) borders would solve 70 percent of the problems. Imagine the rest of their demands.
On a positive note, Abu Ala made a groundbreaking offer to Israeli settlers to accept Palestinian citizenship. That is a sensible solution along the lines of the one which we advocate. A lot of settlers would accept Palestinian passports for the privilege of remaining in their homes rather than being evicted by the Jewish army. In practice, Israel would guarantee their security. As Jews, they can enter Israel any time, even daily for work, education, and treatment.
Earlier, the Palestinians had rejected the citizenship option for settlers.
It remains unclear whether Abu Ala’s opinion is his own or Fatah’s. Recently he lost his position as the chief negotiator. Abu Ala’s position in Fatah steadily eroded after he left the prime minister’s office.
Hamas is ambivalent about allowing Jews in the Palestinian-ruled territories. In a meeting with the Neturei Karta sect, Hamas welcomed Jews to live under Palestinian jurisdiction, as did Ahmadinejad. In political speeches, Hamas leaders remain adamant that no Israeli will be allowed in the Palestinian state.
Providing Jewish settlers with Palestinian citizenship is the best way to solve the settlements issue. The Israeli government is politically incapable of expelling 260,000 Jews from the settlements. Palestinians, encouraged by the example of the Egyptians and Lebanese who got 100% of their land back from Israel, cannot accept any Israeli settlements to remain.
Just as in every Arab country, Palestinian law forbids land ownership by non-Arabs, but modifying it to allow the Jews to stay in their villages seems a minor inconvenience.
At a time when Obama and Arab leaders have failed to work out an acceptable peace initiative, Abu Ala’s offer of Palestinian citizenship to Jewish settlers offers a solution.