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EDITORIAL: Middle East peace

The path to lasting Middle East peace is simple.

First, Hamas and its proxy, Iran, must acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state — in a formal treaty, not an email or a statement read before television cameras. Same for Hezbollah. Same for every single tyrant, despot and terrorist group in the region.

Then those same groups must hand over every last rocket and bomb they’ve hidden. Israel must be allowed to inspect every building, every tunnel, every bunker.

Only when unprovoked attacks on Israel stop will its people support the two-state solution they once embraced. Before they handed over Gaza and watched Hamas waste its economic potential in favor of creating an arms depot. Before Iran ramped up its nuclear program.

Indeed, if Hamas and the Arab world offered unified recognition of Israel and laid down their weapons, Israel would have no choice but to agree to the creation of a Palestinian state.

It’s so simple, yet so difficult. The war in Gaza goes on. It will stop, at some point. Then it will start again. You’ll see the same headlines a decade from now because Hamas, Iran and the Islamic extreme are too invested in the destruction of Israel. They’ve so indoctrinated their people with disgusting anti-Semitic propaganda they can’t possibly back down and acknowledge Israel’s … humanity.

Palestinians have every opportunity, right now, to build a nation. To build an economy. To establish an identity that has nothing to do with violence. But they can’t bring themselves to burn their old playbook.

Attack Israel. Draw counterattacks that kill Palestinians. Demonize Israelis as murderers, never mind Israel’s warnings to civilians in targeted areas. Even before Yasser Arafat was looting billions of dollars from his own people, the game was the same. Put Palestinians on the moral high ground by letting them die in front of international media. Bring such global scorn upon Israel that it stops defending itself.

That will never happen. And neither will a lasting, stable peace, as long as Israel’s neighbors refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

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