Over and over again, I hear that “Israel isn’t doing enough to advance the cause of peace between Israel and the Palestinians”. Some blame PM Netanyahu and claim that he is “intransigent”, others scream that “Bibi is against the two state solution”, or that he is unwilling to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority and that is why there is no peace agreement.
When I hear these things, I typically question those saying them, asking fairly straightforward questions, and I almost never get any kind of rational answer.
Recently, someone plaintively told me that “we cannot maintain the status quo” between us and the Palestinians.
Actually I agree with that, although certainly, not in the way my friend meant it. My friend intended to castigate Bibi for “not doing enough” and for not negotiating with the Palestinians. When pressed, her answer was that Bibi should negotiate with “whoever is in power on the Palestinian side”.
The following was my response:
With whom, SPECIFICALLY, should Israel negotiate? The “stock” answer of “well, they should negotiate with the Palestinian leadership, whoever it is” is ridiculous.
They CAN’T. How many times, and in how many ways, should EVERY Israeli PM since Ben Gurion say that they are willing to sit down anytime, anyplace, with no preconditions, and try to work out a deal for peace? EVERY single PM has said this, including Bibi. In recent years, we have even seen Israeli Prime Ministers say they are quite open to the creation of a Palestinian state. Even Bibi has said this.
What response have they gotten? What do you think they can or should do to get the PA to actually agree to sit down and negotiate?
The PA’s demands for “Pre-Conditions” grow all the time. Now, they want a stop to ALL building in the West Bank and Jerusalem (even in places where it is absolutely clear that those places would remain part of Israel in any agreement), they want all murderers released from Israeli jails, and they want Israel to agree to the “1967 borders” – all before agreeing to even sit down and talk? Are you kidding me? Who would, should, or could agree to that? You think the leaders of any Israeli political party would agree to that if they ran the government? Their government would fall the same day.
As I’ve said MANY times, my belief is that maintaining the “status quo” is NOT the right thing to do anymore. It is a zero sum game Israel simply cannot win. I think Israel should take control of the situation away from the Palestinians and issue them an ultimatum, backed up by the original UN resolutions, League of Nation resolutions, and declarations citing international law (which, despite the world’s ignorant blathering, IS on Israel’s side in this dispute), telling them that if they don’t sit down and negotiate within a set period of time, Israel will unilaterally declare permanent borders. Once that is done, they will move the separation barrier to accommodate it. They will grant Israeli citizenship to all Arabs living within those borders, and any Israeli Arabs whose villages or towns end up outside those borders, if they are currently Israeli citizens, will have the option of moving back inside the borders, or giving up their Israeli citizenship, JUST LIKE JEWISH SETTLERS in towns that end up outside the border – or, they can live under the PA (I suspect that VERY few will want to do that!).
If the PA and the world don’t like it, too bad.
But, begging them to come to the table, whining about it, letting the EU dictate where Israelis (JEWS!!!!!) can and can’t live? No. Not acceptable. Jews should be able to live ANYWHERE they want, whether it’s controlled by Israel or the PA (or anyone else, for that matter).
I’m sick to death of hearing so-called “wise” people, “pundits”, the UN, the EU, etc. telling me that it’s acceptable for the PA to say “no Jews allowed” and somehow, that’s ok.
Israel does not want to control a hostile Arab population, nor should they. The ultimate answer is to either absorb (some of) them as Israeli citizens, or put them outside the borders of Israel.
Once the borders are set, CLOSE THEM. No Palestinian workers, no “shopping trips”, no entry to Israel without a visa. Nothing. Treat them like any other country. If they want to declare a country, great. If not, let them be absorbed into Jordan. It’s not Israel’s problem or responsibility. The Palestinians claim they want self-determination – let them prove it.
Give them some period of time to develop their own electrical grid and generation, sell them water (and insist on getting paid for it), and treat them like any other, independent country. Scrap the idea of Israeli security control over the Jordan Valley – if it’s part of the Palestinian State, Israel has no right to control it. BUT, make it clear that the PA will be responsible for any security violations. AND, take away control of the holy sites within the new borders from the WAQF – allow free access to all at all holy sites. If the WAQF or the new Israeli Arabs don’t like it, they are free to go worship in the new state of Palestine.
The bottom line is that no matter what Israel does or says, it’s going to be vilified, denigrated, and attacked, both verbally, politically, economically, and physically.
Since that is the case, and the reality is that nothing Israel does will change that, it’s time for Israel to act in its own best interests, outright, and let the world accept or not accept it. But, Israel would be out of the business of policing a non-Israeli Arab population and would be back in the business of protecting its borders and citizens from threats from without.