The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and
expecting different results,” Albert Einstein once said.
successive governments, supported by the international community, have tried to
end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict using the flawed paradigm of land for
peace. Each time, the same formula was attempted, but failed every time because
of Arab recalcitrance.
Increasingly, the international community has
started to demand that Israel return to the pre-1967 armistice lines as the
basis of any resolution to the conflict. This has largely happened because there
is a misunderstanding that the dispute is territorial in nature and confusion on
international law and precedent.
Most importantly, the Israeli leadership
has historically provided no alternatives to this paradigm.
claim that Israel must return to the socalled Green Line need to examine UN
Security Council Resolution 242, the legal framework created following the 1967
war when the territories were conquered.
The resolution purposely never
called for a full withdrawal from the West Bank. Lord Caradon, the main drafter
of the resolution, called the pre-1967 lines “artificial and undesirable”,
another drafter, Eugene V. Rostow, US undersecretary of state for political
affairs in 1967, said Israel needs to retreat only to “secure and recognized
borders, which need not be the same as the armistice demarcation
In fact, the Green Line was created as a line where the Israeli
and Jordanian armies concluded their fighting when Israel’s War of Independence
ended. The Jordanian- Israeli Armistice Agreement specifically stated: “No
provision of this agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and
positions of either party hereto in the peaceful settlement of the Palestine
questions, the provisions of this agreement being dictated exclusively by
So there is no evidence that the Green Line,
the demarcation that former dovish foreign minister Abba Eban described as the
“Auschwitz lines,” was ever considered a border of any kind.
claim that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is territorial, the facts suggest
otherwise. Israel had no citizens, settlers or military in the West Bank until
1967, but did not enjoy one moment’s peace from our neighbors and the terrorists
that they supported.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization preceded
that war and was created in 1964, specifically stating in its original
constitution that it made no claims to the West Bank.
IF THE conflict
returns to the pre-1967 lines, it will inevitably pass beyond those borders and
into Israel. Most of the country’s Arab population defines itself as Palestinian
politically and culturally.
Many openly identify with the Palestinian
national movement to the point where they openly act against the state which
provides them with full civil rights. In 2006, the Arab leadership wrote a paper
titled “The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel,” which was deeply
troubling as it questioned Israel’s legitimacy and raison d’être as the
realization of Jewish self-determination.
Even worse, some Arab leaders
actively assist those who want to destroy the Jewish State. Former MK Azmi
Bishara directed Hizbullah rocket attacks on Israel and Ahmed Tibi advised
Yasser Arafat and current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, even
though he is a member of the Knesset whose wages are paid by the
Large-scale demonstrations against Israel regularly appear in
Arab cities all over the country, where it is not infrequent to hear the cries
of “Death to the Jews” and where pictures of terrorist leaders from Hamas and
Hizbullah are prominently displayed. These phenomena are a clear indication that
a conflict between two peoples is the cause of friction.
lies not in appeasing the maximalist territorial demands of the Palestinians,
but in truly creating “two states for two peoples.”
The current demands
from some in the international community are to create a homogeneous pure
Palestinian state and a binational state in Israel. This becomes the
one-and-a-half to half state solution. For lasting peace and security we need to
create true political division between Arabs and Jews, with each enjoying
Therefore, for a lasting and fair solution, there
needs to be an exchange of populated territories to create two largely
homogeneous states, one Jewish Israeli and the other Arab Palestinian. Of
course, this is not to preclude that minorities will remain in either state
where they will receive full civil rights.
There will be no so-called
Palestinian right of return.
Just as the Jewish refugees from Arab lands
found a solution in Israel, so too Palestinian refugees will only be
incorporated into a Palestinian state. This state needs to be demilitarized and
Israel will need to retain a presence on its borders to ensure no smuggling of
arms. In my opinion, these need to be our red lines.
We have seen that
history is moving away from attempts to accommodate competing national
aspirations in a single state. The former Yugoslavia was broken up into many
separate states. Czechoslovakia was split into two, and even in Belgium there
are strong voices who wish to see that nation broken into separate Walloon and
Flemish territories. The precedent of creating new states based on ethnic,
national and even religious boundaries has been established in the international
community and is becoming the trend.
With all the difficulties involved,
this is the only solution that ensures long-term stability in the
In most cases there is no physical population transfer or the
demolition of houses, but creating a border where none existed, according to
Those Arabs who were in Israel will now receive Palestinian
THERE ARE those who will claim that it is illegal to remove
citizenship from individuals. However, United Nations General Assembly
Resolution 55/153, written in 2001, explicitly states: “When part of the
territory of a state is transferred by that state to another state, the
successor state shall attribute its nationality to the persons concerned who
have their habitual residence in the transferred territory and the predecessor
state shall withdraw its nationality from such persons.”
There are also
those who claim that those Arabs who would become part of a future Palestinian
state would reject this. Firstly, we need to beg the question: Why would Arabs
who claim to support Palestinian national aspirations reject this plan? However,
I believe that we can put this to a referendum to all of the citizens of Israel
and let them decide.
I have no doubt that they, regardless of race or
religion, will show political maturity to ensure a lasting peace which is in the
best interests of all.
While many are growing impatient for a resolution,
setting artificial time limits or pressure will not help.
how long it takes, the resolution to this conflict can only be achieved
nonviolent means. There are currently more than 100 territorial and
disputes around the world where those involved do not resort to
However, to build trust and a positive atmosphere between the
parties the Palestinians cannot continue to incite against Israel,
murder, stigmatize Israel in international forums, boycott Israeli goods
mount legal offensives against Israeli officials.
While there will be
many ups and downs during this arduous process the resolution can only
through direct negotiations.
This is the blueprint for a permanent
resolution to our conflict. In the words of Theodor Herzl: “If you will
is no dream.”
The writer is foreign minister and deputy prime minister.