Waiting for Netanyahu

Excerpt: The prime minister has begun working on a peace plan he hopes will move the ball to the Palestinians’ court.

By LESLIE SUSSER
March 29, 2011 17:19
1 minute read.
Barak pressure Netanyahu

Barak pressure Netanyahu (do not publish again). (photo credit: Flash 90)

IN MID-MARCH, EHUD BARAK DECIDED ENOUGH was enough. Israel, the defense minister warned, was facing a “diplomatic tsunami” with potentially horrendous consequences for the country’s future and time for bold government action to meet the gathering storm was running out.

Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Barak argued that unless Israel puts a credible plan for peace with the Palestinians on the table within the next several weeks, its status as an upstanding member of the international community would be in jeopardy.

“It would be a mistake to ignore this tsunami. Israel’s delegitimization is just over the horizon, even if the public doesn’t see it. It’s very dangerous and we need to act,” he declared.

What worries Barak is a scenario in which, with Israel failing to offer any alternative, the Palestinians take their case to the UN in September and get wall-to-wall international backing for a state along the 1967 lines, without their having to make concessions on borders, refugees or Jerusalem or even to declare an end to the conflict. Once that happens, Israel will find itself under increasing international pressure to withdraw to the 1967 lines, without its most basic security demands being taken into account. Worse: The longer it refuses to comply, the more it will find itself facing delegitimization as an occupying power in defiance of the international will.

In Barak’s view, to preempt that outcome, and for Israel to have a say in shaping its future alongside the Palestinians, it urgently needs to put a peace plan of its own on the international agenda.

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