The binary approach to solving the Palestinian problem, based on either two states or a binational state, was from the outset a flawed presentation of the situation, and therefore is destined to be a failure. We must now rethink this national issue, which is critical to our existence – something groundbreaking to release us from this tangled situation.
The entire Arab world does not accept our existence in their enormous space. This issue cannot be reduced only to the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
In addition, the Palestinians are used as a lever by the Arabs in order to push Israel out and get rid of it. They do not wish to solve the problem. They want this wound open and bleeding.
We in Israel desire peace so much that we are willing to ignore reality, lie to ourselves and even invent an imaginary world. “Israel’s insane race toward peace not only has not brought about peace, but has brought war,” said Professor Yisrael Aumann, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics.
Recently, a new story has emerged: if we accept the Saudi initiative to create a Palestinian state, then at least three moderate Islamic states will also sign peace agreements with us. This was said by Isaac Herzog, Zionist Union leader, in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the UN.
Similar words were spoken by Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party.
Where did these two get this idea from? What do they base it on? Herzog and Lapid should know that the Arabs will accept anything we give them. At this time, they cannot destroy us, but they can take more and more bites out of us. This is the basis of the two-state idea which they hold on to. They have their time, and what they cannot achieve now they will do over the course of generations.
This is the well-known Islamic time and the famous strategy of hudna. They will not be quiet until we all pack our things, take our Jewish walking stick and, like the Crusaders, get out of this area.
When all around us we see stormy chaos, the principle of national sovereignty has been eroded until it is extremely thin, human rights are being dumped unceremoniously into the dry wells of Arab deserts by Islamic State fighters and their like, and nobody knows what the map of the region will look like even one year from now, this is not the time to establish a dwarf sovereign Palestinian country – and there has never been such a thing – which will seize Israel’s throat. It’s also not the time for fantasies about moderate Arab countries.
We left Lebanon and got Hezbollah. We left Gaza and got Hamas. Who says it will be different when we leave Judea and Samaria? I wouldn’t gamble this way with history. Israel is not an experiment that you can take back. It is an established fact. And we are here by right, not by the good graces of Arab countries.
As long as the Palestinians’ backs are to Jordan and Egypt and their faces are turned to Israel, there cannot be peace here.
It is not our responsibility and not the responsibility of our friends in the West to create a Palestinian state. If the Arabs wish to establish a state for them, they can do this in their territory, and we can contribute our part at the right time and when things stabilize and become clear, and then the “occupation” will come to an end. A realistic and feasible solution is to integrate the Palestinians into Jordan, like before the Six Day War.
And then, in the framework of a historic compromise agreement, we will transfer to this framework significant parts of Judea and Samaria, but under no circumstances all of it. And this is only after these areas are demilitarized and our security is assured. In this framework, the settlements in the open territories that will remain ours are part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Establishment of a dwarf country based on the 1967 borders between us and Jordan with east Jerusalem as the capital is a formula for suicide, and is not a sustainable or feasible solution. As said above, in terms of the Arabs and the Palestinians, this is another step on the long path to kicking Israel out of the region. The thought of a port in Gaza and Iranian and Turkish warships permanently anchored there is horrifying. Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state means widespread regional turmoil which may never end.
There is nothing like Jerusalem to symbolize Islam’s great victory over the Jews in their efforts to replace them as the chosen people (see Avi Beker’s book The Chosen: The History of An Idea, and the Anatomy of an Obsession
We must take care not to subject our internal public dialogue about the Palestinian question to the existing political, ideological and moral frameworks, and must strive to conduct it in the most practical and professional manner possible.
This is the only way to reach a broad national consensus about a more appropriate path. The extreme messianic right wing in Israel is just as much of an existential threat as the redemptive Left, which believes it holds a magic wand named “universal values” that can cure all the world’s illnesses.
Neither of these approaches is right. Two states for two peoples is a redemptive stance from the workshop of the Left, and annexing all of Judea and Samaria and building the Temple and leaving the consequences in God’s hands is a stance from the study house of the messianic Right.
We must understand that not everything depends only on us and our actions. The Arabs are also responsible for this situation.
Any solution that releases them from their responsibility regarding the Palestinian question is illegitimate and cannot be considered. We must also be careful not to get carried away with destructive human impulses to control and rule over reality. (See Professor Rivka Schechter’s book A World Inside a World
). These impulses are behind the constant talk of a political horizon, the demand to take political initiative, and the development of feelings of guilt that we haven’t done enough. This worldview is a Western illness that has no place in our region. If Islam can bide its time, then we too can bide our time. Modern Zionism began more than 120 years ago. Despite all the challenges along the way, we are growing and thriving, and nobody can frighten us.
The “occupation” is part of a wide strategy of the Arabs to weaken Israel and break it apart, a reality which in many ways was forced upon us. We want to be freed from it, but we cannot do it before creating the conditions which will allow the achievement of realistic solutions to ensure the survival and prosperity of Israel, for many generations to come. Until then, we can achieve interim arrangements and even take unilateral steps.
The Palestinians read the Israeli political map well, and identify the Left’s adherence to universal values as something that drives it crazy, canceling out all other considerations.
They see how it initiates contact, behind the back of the elected Israeli government, with world nations, and encourages them to support the idea of two states and boycotting and slandering Israel.
The Palestinians are exploiting this very effectively. And in this way the Left is cooperating with the Palestinians, which is in itself an immoral act.
On the other hand, our times are also an opening for new and historic opportunities which we have never seen before. The events taking place throughout our region nobody could have predicted, and we must learn to take full advantage.
We need to resist any tendencies to impatience and impulsiveness which are not fitting to our region, act with diplomatic wisdom, and not be swept away by redemptive trends. The new reality being created in our region will allow us to achieve legitimacy and international recognition to solve the Palestinian problem, not based on the model of two states, and obtain recognition of the Israeli Mount Hermon and the Golan Heights as integral parts of Israel. In this regard, it can be said that the War of Independence has not yet ended.
The Palestinian problem indeed crouches at our door, but its solution can be realized only if Jordan and Egypt, and all the other Arab countries, take upon themselves the responsibility for it. As long as the burden is only on us, to which we have agreed in our stupidity, no progress can be achieved and the current situation will not change. In many ways we have brought this upon ourselves.
Some screw came loose in our heads and the tables have turned. The peace process is first and foremost a matter for the Palestinians and their Arab brothers, and not for us.
As I said above, when the time comes, we will contribute our share accordingly.
There is no doubt that this is the heart of the big conflict between the Left and Right in Israel, which is unnecessary, unjustified and must and can be prevented. Therefore, this perception that we have good people who want peace, such as the “peace-camp,” and facing them evil people who oppose them, must cease immediately.
We must switch from a discourse of wishful thinking to a discourse of the relevant, possible and feasible.The writer is author of the new book about the Israeli political system,
Towards a New Paradigm.