We Palestinians Hold the Key to a Better Future - Bassem Eid

After 66 years of mistakes and missed opportunities, it is time for us Palestinians to create the conditions for peace and to work for a better future. It is time we stopped pretending that we can destroy Israel or drive the Jews into the sea. It is time we stopped listening to Muslim radicals or Arab regimes that use us to continue a pointless, destructive, and immoral war with Israel.

In Gaza, our schools are controlled by Muslim fanatics who indoctrinate our children, and Hamas uses our civilians as human shields in a losing battle against Israel. Hamas maintains power through violence, and it ensures that money is spent on its arsenal rather than on making Palestinians' lives better.

In the West Bank, the only good jobs are with Israeli companies, and the BDS (Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment) movement is doing its best to take those jobs away from us. Abbas runs a corrupt dictatorship that uses international funds to consolidate its own administration rather than to develop the Palestinian economy. In eastern Jerusalem, the PA is so mistrusted that most Palestinians would prefer to live under Israeli rule rather than under PA rule.

Despite what we tell ourselves, Israel is here to stay. What's more, it has a right to exist. It is the nation of the Jews, but also a nation for Israeli Arabs who have better lives than Arabs anywhere in Arab countries. The answer is to live in peace and democracy, side by side with Israel. We know that Israelis want to live in peace, and that the vast majority of Israelis are friendly and neighborly. We have it within our power to transform a long-time enemy into a friend.

The writer is founder and former director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. (Times of Israel)