What are we waiting for?

If we don’t want to have a peace plan imposed upon us, Israel had better come up with its own initiative. Fast.

May 4, 2010 20:30
2 minute read.
The meeting of Mubarak and Netanyahu on Monday.

Mubarakandbibi311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Recently, we have heard of a Fayyad plan for the creation of a Palestinian state in provisional borders, at first at least. We also know that there is an Arab Peace Initiative, or Saudi plan, which calls for a comprehensive peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Both of these have been mostly ignored by Israeli governments, past and present.

However, over the past few weeks more and more signs are pointing to an Obama plan which, void of any substantial progress in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, would be thrust upon us most definitely in the fall, as a force to be reckoned with.

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SO THE question is: What are we waiting for? Where is the Israeli initiative? The comprehensive Netanyahu plan or policy?

In the diplomatic arena, there is no such thing as a vacuum. In any conflict, there will always be a proposed solution. So why leave the initiative to the other side or to a third-party mediator? When Israel had no strategy for the exit from Lebanon toward the end of the Second Lebanon War, we were forced to deal with initiatives that came out of Beirut and Washington, and in the end were relegated to making the best deal we could from a starting point of a compromise that is now called UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

This rule of no vacuum is especially true in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has think tanks and even an entire “peace industry” dedicated to working on resolutions. Initiatives, policy papers and plans can be found by many entities, all except for the Israeli government.

This is not necessarily a negative thing. However, it poses a great challenge for any government dedicated to maintaining the status quo, for whatever reason. This is not a sustainable position. A policy based on a principle which can be best be described as “no substantial decisions,” as we have now with our current government, cannot survive for long.

For it is now clear that nobody is waiting for the government to develop a plan or a coherent policy. It is a general consensus in the Israeli public that we need a two-state solution. This is both vital and urgent to our future as a Jewish and democratic state. We should aspire, however, to reach such a solution on our terms, in accordance with our essential priorities and needs.

So again, what are we waiting for? For the Obama administration to force upon us an American peace plan, as all signs out of Washington are pointing to? Do we really want to take a chance, roll the dice and possibly leave the parameters for a final status solution to a plan to be dictated by the US? Wouldn’t it be better for the government to develop its own policy for such a solution, its own initiative.

We need such a policy with clear parameters for an achievable resolution, on our terms, in accordance with compromises and red lines that we decide upon, and are not forced upon us. This needs to be done sooner rather than later.

The window of opportunity for the development of such a plan is rapidly closing, probably by the fall with the probable unveiling of the Obama plan.

Unlike the famous song, “time is not on our side.”

The writer was bureau chief for the former minister of public security Avi Dichter.

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