Thursday, May 07, 2020

  • Thursday, May 07, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon


There is no shortage of articles about how Israel extending sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria would be disastrous - for Israel and for peace.

These articles are one-sided and short-sighted.

They make predictions like how such a move would enrage the Arab world - when similar moves in the Golan and Jerusalem have generated little heat and no fire and the larger Arab world is more interested in allying with Israel than with the Palestinians.

They say that Israel would not give citizenship to any Arabs who end up on the Israeli side, enshrining an apartheid system, even though Israel has offered citizenship to Arabs in the parts of Jerusalem and the Golan that Israel has extended sovereignty over and there is zero evidence that this wouldn't happen again.

They warn about the PA dissolving, or that PA security cooperation with Israel will end. Abbas has threatened that exact scenario dozens of times when Israel did other things he didn't like and it never happened. the fact is that everyone acts in their best interests and it is not in the PLO's best interest to give up the parts of Palestine that it already controls.

They warn that US support of the plan the Arab world will turn against the US - when this simply didn't happen when the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and Israel's rule over the Golan. But these "experts" keep on confidently making their predictions that are based not on evidence but on what they want to see.

There are lots of similar false assumptions - you can read a large list from J-Street here.

However, very few are talking about why extending sovereignty is a good move for Israel - and for peace.

All of the criticisms are anchored in an assumption that is thoroughly discredited: that Palestinians want an independent state side by side with Israel. We've now gone through twenty years of the Palestinian leaders turning down every peace offer, every peace framework, every trial balloon that did not give them their maximal requirements of 1949 armistice lines, "right of return," taking Jewish holy spots away from Jews and and freeing thousands of terrorists. If anything, they are even more rejectionist than they were in the first decade of the century when they still talked to Israel. Now they are even against their own people talking to Israeli Jews or going to Israeli stores.

It is way past time to stop giving lip service to a lie.

Palestinians are not a peace partner. They want quiet, but they don't want peace. They have no desire to end the conflict. They don't teach their children that Israel is a permanent neighbor that has the right to exist - but they do teach them that martyrdom in killing Jews is the most desirable way to doe.

Anyone who still claims, after all these years and all the accumulated evidence, that Palestinians are a peace partner is engaging in the worst kind of wishful thinking. It is invariably disastrous to make life or death decisions based on a lie.

This lie has given the Palestinians veto power over any possible peace plan. And this is the reason there is no peace.

Once you realize that Palestinians are not a peace partner, and will never become one without a major change in their mindset, then you see that Israel can only act unilaterally.

And that gives Israel four options.

One is the status quo. That is okay for the short term but this degrades the morale of the IDF and it cannot become permanent. No one wants to rule another people forever, least of all Israel.

Another option is complete sovereignty over all the territories. That would make the problem of Israel ruling over the Palestinians even worse, because it would involve far more IDF forces and it would mean that either Israel gives them all citizenship - which would end Israel as the Jewish state - or keep them as non-citizens, which would end Israel's democracy. Some have tried to argue that these aren't really as major an issue as they seem, by arguing that the demographics are not accurate or that many Arabs will choose not to become citizens if offered, but those are very dangerous assumptions to bet the future of Israel on.

A third option, one that much of the world seems to hope for, is Israel unilaterally withdrawing to the 1949 armistice lines. This would be a disaster for Israeli security without any of the benefits of peace. No one in Israel would accept that.

Finally, there is extending sovereignty over the areas that are critical and proper for Israel to control.

- For the most part, these are all areas that Israel would have kept in any possible peace plan anyway. Israeli military leaders from the right to the left have emphasized the security importance of the Jordan Valley since 1967.
- Evicting Jews from the homes they've lived in for decades is immoral, no matter what the world thinks about them.
- It is likewise unfathomable that Israel should give up the Jewish holy sites that Palestinians would bar Jews from visiting. History shows that only Israel has allowed free access to the holy sites, and Muslims never did.
- The areas that are heavily populated by Palestinians would be excluded so the demographic issue is not only not a problem, but it is permanently solved.

One might quibble over the details of a partial sovereignty plan - like whether it is worth it for Israel to keep the isolated settlements - but it is not only the best plan, it is essentially the only possible plan to move forward, once you truly internalize that the Palestinians are not and  are not likely to become a peace partner.

Gaza today is instructive. The disengagement from Gaza was hardly smooth, and there have been three wars and many skirmishes, but look at it today: it is ruled by Islamists who will never accept Israel's existence, but they are keeping things largely calm because they have something to lose. Even for these hardcore antisemites and haters of Israel, they do not want to risk the land they control and the power that they have.

The areas that Israel doesn't claim sovereignty over are areas that the Palestinian Authority leaders do not want to lose. Like Hamas, they will be the ones who try to keep things calm. Most importantly, the option for making peace with Israel is and always will still be open to them. It is even possible that seeing the land they claim becoming permanently unavailable to them will spur them to save the land they can. But no one can make that assumption.

Palestinians do not want peace - but they do want calm. And a partial sovereignty plan is a path to that calm. It is also a path the the "Deal of the Century" which can give the Palestinians lots of economic incentives to move towards a real peace - but Israel can no longer tolerate a situation where Palestinians can freeze everything by just saying "no."

This is why Israel must act unilaterally to protect its interests - its security interests, its cultural interests, its people's interests.




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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



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