To even the most casual of observers the Israel Palestinian peace negotiation under the Oslo Accords, Roadmap, Saudi Plan, or whatever metric one uses to measure the progress the entire peace process is a dismal failure which has become moribund in a coma for at least two years if not much more, even possibly more than a decade. Since the Oslo Accords were first introduced the formula for peace has not changed despite that with each incoming new Presidential Administration the name of each rendition of the plan has changed. In every case the general theme was for Israel to make concessions in order to entice the Palestinians to rejoin the talks followed by a televised and highly photographed meeting, often with a White House backdrop, where the sitting Israeli Prime Minister would shake hands with either Yasser Arafat or Mahmoud Abbas after Arafat’s death, the United States President would take credit for the great accomplishment of restarting the peace process and praise the sacrifices taken for peace by both sides and a subsequent meeting schedule was announced. The schedule collapsed after one or two meetings or even without any further meetings taking place. Then the arm twisting would begin in efforts to get Israel to make concessions and the cycle would repeat. The Palestinians make ever changing demands for preconditions pocketing Israeli concessions as they slowly advanced their positions one concession at a time while the only concessions offered by the Palestinians were the exact same as their initial promises, to work to disarm terrorists, remove anti-Zionist and anti-Israel lessons from their education system, act to prevent further terror attacks, and act to end incitement of terror. These intended promises by the Palestinians have never been met, and truth be told, have never even been attempted to implement and thus allowing for these same concessions to become the permanent promise offered by the Palestinians. Since everybody acknowledges that the Palestinian promises are not being made in good faith, their constantly ignoring and reneging on their promises has become accepted as unalterable and thus no further demands are ever made upon the Palestinians. Instead of forcing the Palestinians to actually make any sacrifice or adjustment towards coexistence, the world simply accepts the Palestinian deceit as unavoidable and beyond any chance for change and thus all pressures are placed upon Israel to make concessions until Israel has reached well beyond the point where concessions have become a dangerous threat against the continued existence of the State of Israel. Despite this known fact the world still demands that the Israelis offer just one more round of concessions, for now, and then they will ask for one more the next time, and the next time. The modus operandi has been established but perhaps it is time for a change.
To date the assessment of the peace process has taken for granted that the Israelis desire for peace will drive them to make compromises and concessions while the Palestinians are seen to have a dysfunctional society incapable of change thus unable to make compromise or concessions so no such demands are made of the Palestinians. This has led to a stalemate where Israel has given to the point where there is nothing left for them to compromise on if the Israelis expect to receive anything remotely resembling a compromise. The Palestinians through intransigence have moved the debate over borders to the point where Israel returning to the 1949 Armistice Lines and dividing Jerusalem has become the initial starting-point for further negotiations, some form of ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees has begun to be accepted by even some Israelis, and there are supporters in the world for including Hamas in the negotiations. The time has certainly come for a change in the going trends and presumptions. The concept that Israel wanting peace must surrender on every front constantly until they surrender themselves out of existence must be declared dead and buried before it reaches the obvious conclusion. It is time for Israel to take the initiative and reinstate the original concepts of UNSC Resolution 242 which guaranteed that Israel had only to return some of the lands gained in the Six Day War in June of 1967 and retain all lands Israel found necessary to provide them with secure and defendable borders. Israel need take the position that her return of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip was sufficient land returned to meet the requirements of UNSC Res. 242 and that Israel requires all of Judea and Samaria up to the Jordan River as their eastern border in order to provide Israel with defensible borders. Make this the eventual target for all negotiations with the Palestinians and before each offer presented to the Palestinians take one step towards that finality. The slow and inexorable reclaiming of lands of Judea and Samaria as time passes will act as a much better stimulus to bring the Palestinian to the negotiating table to honestly reach a real peace with mutual stability, recognition, security and peace. It has become obvious that making concessions will never lead to honest negotiations from the Palestinians because as the metric currently sits they get rewarded for not negotiating. It is well past time to make a new metric where not honestly negotiating will cost the Palestinians instead of rewarding them.
Many make the false premise that Israel cannot take such steps because they would lose their Jewish majority if they annexed all of what the world dishonestly calls the West Bank because of the large numbers of Arabs residing within. There are a number of falsehoods hidden in such claims. The first is that even should Israel grant all of those residing west of the Jordan River Israeli citizenship they would remain with a two to one Jewish majority. Furthermore, there is no requirement in International Law which requires Israel to grant any of the Palestinian Arabs who were Jordanian citizens prior to the Six Day War Israeli citizenship. Israel would be within their rights to declare them as resident aliens continuing to view these refugees as remaining to be Jordanian Citizens and could even generously offer to compensate them for any properties they may wish to sell and aid them in returning to their country of origin, Jordan. Such is the default from many previous examples of similar situations such as India and Pakistan where Muslims emigrated into Pakistan and Buddhists and Hindus emigrated in the opposite direction into India. Not all of these peoples chose to relocate, but the vast majority did so. It is well past the time that Israel must demand that they be treated no differently than other nations of the world and that they be permitted the same options, rights, and privileges as are granted without even a second thought to every other nation on Earth. The world demanding a different metric with which to measure Israel and a unique set of rules be applied to Israel while denying Israel the comforts, rights, definitions and pleasures allocated to every other nation must be brought to an end as to allow such to continue is to formalize anti-Semitism on an international scale. Time to end the charade, the injustices, the separate and unequal treatment and demand that Israel be accepted as an equal among nations and an end of all traces of bigotry and hatred concerning Israel resultant from anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and anti-Israelism once and forever.
Beyond the Cusp