No to statehood, yes to annexation

The peace process is stuck, it is time for Israel to protect its citizens and interests by annexing its population centers in Judea and Samaria.

By DANI DAYAN
October 15, 2011 15:34
Birds (illustration).

birds 311. (photo credit: Avi Katz)

 
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For months, the diplomatic events known by the buzzword “September” were described as an impending crisis.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. First and foremost, the Palestinian appeal to the UN presents Israel with an opportunity: an opportunity to put an end, once and for all, to the charade that has been continuing for 18 years, ever since the signing of the Oslo Accords. It is that charade which has kept us from achieving any progress in our relationships with the Palestinians.

Ever since Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed that pathetic agreement that was composed in secret in the Norwegian capital, the entire world has been playing a game of pretend. At the beginning, the game was innocent, like children who really do believe that they are creating a new world. But over the past few years, the game has turned cynical, as everyone knows that the game serves no purpose, but no one has been able to stop playing the game.

The Oslo Accords, the Road Map, the diplomatic process, two states for two peoples – all of these are synonyms for a situation that can never lead to an agreement or to peace. Then-prime minister Ehud Barak’s offers at Camp David, the Clinton parameters in Washington, former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s promises in Jerusalem – none of these have produced any agreements.

There’s always some retrospective explanation as to why nothing works. Yet the simple, obvious and correct explanation is pushed aside: The Israeli minimum and the Palestinian minimum simply do not overlap. When a mathematician encounters this type of equation, he may feel very frustrated, but he knows that even years of attempts will not bring him any solutions. It’s a waste of his time.

There is no solution to the system of equations in the Middle East, partly because the Palestinians will never give up the return of the refugees and because the Jews will never give up the Temple Mount, but primarily because the Palestinians want to establish a state without putting an end to the conflict. They want their state (like the Palestinian state in Gaza that has been in existence for some six years) to serve as a spring board for the ongoing destruction of the State of Israel.

The crude and highly publicized participation of Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi in the Palestinian delegation to the UN highlights just this point: the Palestinian state will act as the guardian of the Israeli Arabs and in their name, it will demand national – and not merely civil or personal – rights for Israeli Arabs.



To his credit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu understands the situation and he made this clear at the UN General Assembly. He stated decisively and in fluent English that the Palestinians want to establish a state without peace. But, unfortunately, he did not reach the correct conclusion. Inviting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to meet with him immediately while they were both at the UN , or in Jerusalem or in Ramallah, was unnecessary.

Why bother? Why waste more years in fruitless discussions or in useless negotiations that merely provide income for the owners of five-star hotels and conference centers throughout the world? Why continue a process that has brought nothing but frustration and humiliation to US president after president? In the current constellation, the diplomatic process is not only useless – it’s counterproductive. If Israel, the Palestinians and the world were to free themselves from their obsession with the impossible and were to devote their energies and funds to the possible, both the Jews and the Palestinians would benefit. The refugee camps, for example, could be rebuilt.

If we could finally put an end to this unnecessary charade, if we could only admit the simple fact, which we all know in our hearts to be true – that there will not be a Palestinian state – then we would be left with three possibilities. The first – a unilateral Israeli withdrawal and tossing the keys to whoever catches them – died with disengagement. Any reasonable Israeli understands that this would mean suicide for Israel. The second – maintaining and enforcing the current status quo – is a possibility. In contrast to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s contentions that the status quo is not sustainable, the status quo could become, to use terminology taken from games theory, a stable equilibrium. But this would not be optimal for Israel.

In the final analysis, the Israeli interest and the interests of the entire region will best be served if Netanyahu takes the same action that his predecessor, Menachem Begin, took 30 years ago with regard to the Golan Heights. When Begin realized that there was no chance for an agreement with Syria, he decided that the Golan Heights would cease to be captive to Arab intransigence and extended Israeli law over them.

In short, option three is annexation. The area referred to as “Area C” in the Oslo Accords, the home of more than 350,000 Israelis and to only some 50,000 Palestinians, must become an integral part of the State of Israel.

There are times when Israel must take its fate into its own hands, even if this flies in the face of world public opinion. That is what David Ben-Gurion did when he declared the establishment of the State of Israel. That is what Levi Eshkol did when he decided on a preemptive strike in 1967. That is what Begin did when he destroyed the Iraqi atomic reactor.

That is what Benjamin Netanyahu must do now: He must extend Israeli sovereignty over most of Judea and Samaria.

Dani Dayan is chairman of the Judea and Samaria Council of Settlements.

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