For half a century the Left has been brainwashing us with a simple but devious message: “Peace with the Palestinians instead of war.” Ignore the reality that the Arab and Muslim world, aided by the Soviet Union sought Israel’s destruction, and still does. Peace now! It was a powerful drug that continues to numb our critical thinking.
Although enticing, however, peace campaigns were not about peace; they were about creating a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. The first stage was accomplished beginning in 1993 with the Oslo Accords, which established the Palestinian Authority run by the PLO, and the withdrawal of Israeli control from large sections of Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) and eventually from the Gaza Strip. None of this brought peace, of course, but the opposite: waves of terrorism. Solemn commitments made by PLO leaders were meaningless, a subterfuge to advance their agenda to destroy Israel. Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups were clear and explicit. The guarantors, the European Union and UN, went along with the hoax.
The basic problem, however, remained: most of the international community considers any Israeli presence beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines to be “illegal” and a “violation of international law” – as they interpret it. Major organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, the designated authority of the Fourth Geneva Convention, an important basis for humanitarian law, declared Israel was “occupying Palestinian territory.” The UN, the EU and of course the entire Arab and Muslim world agreed; the ICJ and ICC gave it their “judicial” support.
In order to “end the occupation,” therefore, the only solution was for Israel to be removed from all of the areas conquered by the IDF in the 1967 Six Day War, withdrawing to the 1949 Armistice Lines. The issue of “peace,” and Israel’s security were irrelevant, and subject to the next phase.
After decades, having failed to promote peace, the Left changed to a more nuanced approach: “the peace process” and the “two-state-solution,” or “two-states-for-two-peoples.” This would, in the eyes of its supporters help Palestinians who lived in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip achieve “self-determination,” one of the principles of the UN charter, and eventually, a Palestinian state – with or without peace. These plans, however, faced two obstacles: (1) the PLO, Hamas, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations, and (2) millions of Arabs and Palestinians who live in UNRWA-sponsored towns and villages in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan – and claim to be “refugees,” “Palestinians” living in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan – where they constitute half of Jordan’s population, and those living in other Arab countries.
In addition, Iran’s proxy army, Hezbollah, controls much Lebanon, ISIS is resurgent in the Sinai and in Iraq, and Syria, engulfed in wars among terrorist groups, is a constant threat. A Palestinian state would not be immune from these conflicts and would offer a territorial base for attacking Israel, as well as each other. A Palestinian state would also pose a threat to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
A Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, therefore, will not bring peace, is likely to spark regional conflicts, and will threaten Israel’s very existence. That is the meaning of what is called, “the two-state solution,” a Palestinian state. It is a euphemism for Israel’s destruction – which is why many support it and oppose any extension of Israeli law and sovereignty – mistakenly called “annexation” – to areas of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria.
Talking about peace will not bring it about; it must be backed up by a sincere desire to end the conflict. Lacking that from the Arab and Muslim world, extending Israeli sovereignty to areas which are currently under its control, which have substantial Jewish populations and infrastructure, and which are strategically important, makes sense. It will ensure the future of the State of Israel and allow it to absorb large numbers of Jews who want to make aliyah. It will end Israel’s anachronistic military rule over the area. It will protect the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and encourage its economic development. And, it can be a realistic basis for real peace.
Ironically, “Peace Now” and “Sovereignty Now” are two sides of the same coin.
The writer is a historian and journalist in Israel.