Several times now over the past couple of years, our Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has been confronted with the ever growing problem of finding a reason. A reason not to negotiate with the Palestinians, which, if it is done seriously, and under some pressure from the U.S. and Europe may bestow real disaster upon us, whereby two peoples each will have part of the Promised Land and the Israeli part will remain Zionist and maybe even democratic.
Netanyahu has gone through great effort to prevent that from happening, but it looks like he may not be able to continue this policy much longer.
The last time he succeeded, was only a little while ago, when, after the unification talks between the Palestinians in the West Bank and those in the Gaza strip appeared to have been successful and a new, Palestinian Unity Government is to be set up. At the first hint that the Palestinians and others around the world, including the Americans, were starting to look at options to (re)start the peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel, Netanyahu was very quick to declare that Israel would never negotiate with a unified Palestinian government that includes Hamas, because Hamas is a brutal terrorist organization and Israel will never recognize it nor negotiate with it.
Of course one may remember that Israel’s first Likud Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, was for years on the most wanted list of Great Britain as a terrorist with British blood on his hands. Still Menachem Begin did visit Britain several times and has been the Israeli politician who did more to bring peace to this country than anyone else, with the exception maybe of Yitzhak Rabin.
But both the Knesset, and the people of Israel sided with Netanyahu very fast and there will never be negotiations with Palestine as long as Hamas is part of it. Netanyahu won.
The previous time the disaster of negotiations was close, Netanyahu had to think really hard but he also then found the solution: Israel will not negotiate as long as the Palestinian Authority keeps paying families of imprisoned terrorists and keeps giving those grants when they are released. The simple fact is that Israel also helps their terrorists, the story of Menachem Livni should suffice to show that, while more sophisticated and more circumspect, Israel also pays terrorists or has shady organizations abroad pay them. But the plot worked, everybody in Israel talked about the shameless, scandalous behavior of the Palestinians and our friends the Americans took over the demand and that was it. Netanyahu won again.
Of course by far the most successful attempt at stopping negotiations with the Palestinians has been the demand made by Netanyahu that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish State. While this is maybe also the most ridiculous demand made by Netanyahu on the Palestinians until now, it was carefully thought out. There must have been a large team of “experts” working on finding a demand that was sure to be impossible for the Palestinians to except, and this one is close to the perfect demolition of any slight possibility that negotiations will start. The Palestinians, with more than 1.5 million Arab Israelis would never be able to call Israel the “Jewish” State. But the demand is repeated again and again by Israeli policymakers and again, the Americans decided to toe the Israeli line and the Palestinians are left with the option to refuse. And this was the exact aim of the exercise: to find a demand that will never be accepted and blame the other side for the failure to start.
You have to assume that in the end some mediator will work hard and find a way for the Palestinians to agree to Netanyahu’s demand while making it look like that they are not and then again the above mentioned disaster looms because, as is characteristic of unrealistic demands, they never hold out for more than a couple of months.
So let’s help Mr. Netanyahu a bit. Let’s find new ways to stop the negotiations with the Palestinians before they even get started by making new demands with crucial importance to Israel and the Jewish people.
How about, the demand that the Palestinians and in particular their newly found partners from Hamas are not allowed to display the color green during the negotiations. This will have a serious impact because green is in general an important color to Islam and Hamas uses it widely. But how to justify this demand? Simple, Netanyahu will state that the color green distracts him seriously from concentrating on the negotiations because it reminds him of the green, green grass of home……… Which grass???? Well, maybe Netanyahu will be thinking first of the green, green grass in Caesarea, but since that will not make a good impression, especially on the Palestinians, maybe he should be focusing on the green, green grass in all the illegal settlements in the West Bank, which is kept so green by depriving Arab villages of the minimum required water and then Netanyahu will surely feel the deep pain it will cause him and others when, as a result of the negotiations, those illegal settlements will be evacuated and the green, green grass will be used by Palestinians to rest on and enjoy. The thought only will cause too much distress and surely the Americans will understand and take over this important demand on the Palestinians before negotiations can begin. And eliminating the color green from Islam and from Hamas will surely take more than a couple of months so it will give Netanyahu valuable time to build new settlements.
Another possibility may be a demand that none of the Palestinians taking part in the negotiations will sport a mustache. While a mustache is a not uncommon phenomena among Arabs, Netanyahu will be able to complain that since, in the history of his people, one mustache in particular was worn by a man who caused more disaster to the Jewish people than anyone else, to have to sit across from a mustache-wearing Palestinian is too painful and may in fact be interpreted as a provocation and thus negotiations will not start as long as Palestinians with mustaches are taking part. (Advise: check if among the Palestinian negotiators there are those who have a mustache). Like in the past, the Americans will swallow this demand (Trump doesn’t have a mustache, does he?) and the Palestinians will be left with the shaving knife in their hands, but not before quite some time has passed of course. Time that is more valuable in the annexation policy of Netanyahu than anything else.
A third option to stall the negotiations is one which will as a bonus also gain Netanyahu praise with feminist elements, is the simple demand that since the results of any negotiations will affect both men and women, it is imperative that the Palestinian negotiating team will include women. Women offer a different view of conflicts, they are more apt to find a practical solutions and maybe Netanyahu will even be able to charm them. This together with the fact that in Palestinian society, women still do not play the role given to them in Western Societies will make this demand a precarious one, first it will not be easy to find Women Palestinian negotiators, especially not women that are acceptable to their male counterparts. (Not because there are no talented women in the Palestinian community, but these are more of a threat to the men than the men are to each other). So valuable time will be won while the Palestinians decide who will be the woman on their negotiating team and, in order to make sure that they will not accuse Israel of not keeping their side of the bargain and have a team without women, Netanyahu can assure them that Miri Regev will be part of the Israeli negotiating team. Just mentioning her name I think will keep the Palestinians away from the negotiating table for another six months!
Or course all these helpful ideas at stalling the negotiations will in the end go the way of their predecessors. They will be accepted, circumvented, ignored, forgotten or forced down the throats of the parties and then negotiations are again on the horizon. But using these tactics will postpone that horrifying event by at least a couple of years and in the meantime maybe a national effort should be started to come up with new ideas. The inventiveness of the Jewish people knows no boundaries.
And the Promised Land will remain the Promised Land of the Jews, and theirs alone.