In 2006 and again in 2012, Palestinians provoked wars with Israel by firing rockets from Gaza indiscriminately against Israeli civilians. Palestinian schools, whether run by the PA or Hamas, persist in teaching hatred of Israel and Jews and exhorting children to armed resistance. Rather than move toward compromise to end the conflict with Israel, Palestinian leaders have been competing violently with each other in vowing eternal resistance and rejection. Even PA officials, relative moderates compared with Hamas leaders, demand that Israel accept the "return" of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian "refugees," which would amount to Israel's destruction.
It is hardly surprising that Israelis no longer mass at political rallies to shout "Peace Now" and "There's no alternative to peace." Those slogans reflected the belief that the key impediment to peace was Israeli policy. Israel's Labor Party promoted that idea during Likud's ascendancy from 1977 to 1992. Labor politicians argued that the Palestinians were ready for a land-for-peace deal, but that Likud was more interested in controlling the West Bank and Gaza than in making peace. "Peace Now" was a way of saying that Israel could readily achieve lasting peace simply by electing Labor and changing its own policies. By insisting "there's no alternative to peace," Israelis weren't actually suggesting that they would die or commit suicide if the Arab side refused them peace; rather, they were assuming that peace was within Israel's control and rejecting it was inconceivable.
Those slogans helped elect Yitzhak Rabin as prime minister in 1992. He and other Labor strategists wanted to rid Israel of most of the West Bank and Gaza for Israel's own reasons -- to relinquish "the burden of the occupation" -- but they had long thought they could trade the territories for a peace agreement that would end the conflict. After a year of exasperating diplomacy, Rabin discovered that was not possible. He then decided that "divorcing" Israel from the territories was more important than peace.
Accordingly, Rabin accepted the Oslo Accords, which were dressed up as a land-for-peace agreement but really amounted to a unilateral Israeli withdrawal. Arafat understood from day one that his various peace promises were not really obligatory, and that Israeli withdrawal would proceed whether or not he complied. By and large, he did not comply. When critics of the Oslo process complained that Arafat was cheating and remained an enemy, Israeli officials answered that one must make peace with one's enemies, not with one's friends. This question-begging reply, despite its obvious absurdity, was praised as ironic sagacity by the "peace camp."
But a nation cannot sustain a profound denial of reality forever. Peace is not a unilateral choice for Israel. The notion that Israelis can make peace with people committed to killing them is, not to put too fine a point on it, impractical. Hence the widespread despair in Israel about peace on this election day.