Much of the information being publicized by all parties about the resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process is confusing, contradictory, highly politicized plus causing great amount of agonized and vehement confrontations between the Israeli public and Prime Minister Netanyahu and his inner cabinet supporters. The many fronts of contention are almost too many to comprehend but the main points of controversy are over the Palestinian claim that the invitation to the talks lists agreement on using the 1949 Armistice Lines as basic definition for borders, the Palestinian claim that the start of negotiation will force an Israeli building freeze and worst of all, the hundred plus Palestinians who are to be released as a concessionary gift to Mahmoud Abbas just for the privilege of having him agree to attend talks at all. If one were to look for any bright side of this situation for the Israeli public it would have to be that at least there has not been any mention of the so-called Palestinian right of return. We can probably bet that that will remain as the final demand that will be used in order to force the Israelis to terminate any possibility for an agreement as they cannot accept such a demand and remain the Jewish State therefore Abbas can exit the negotiations and still claim he was willing to make peace if only the Israelis would have granted his one last insignificant point. Of course we all know that the right of return is anything but an insignificant point as it would mean the death knell of Israel as the Jewish State, but that will not prevent much of the world’s mainstream media from quoting Abbas and giving their whole-hearted support to the claim that Israel was being intransigent. Then everybody can return to holding their Naqba Day celebrations; their BDS boycotts, disengagements and sanctions; their Israel Apartheid Day celebrations, the United Nations annual November 29th celebrations for International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People; their Friday demonstrations taunting IDF checkpoints, Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria, Separation Fence protests; and very likely start the Third Intifada with an all-out assault on Jews north to south from Eilat to the Golan Heights and east to west from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. And we can then expect to read all about the abuses Israel will commit when they have to defend their citizens from the Third Intifada onslaught after duly showing restraint well beyond any other nation’s breaking-point on civil unrest. Those of us who follow the facts and not the popular opinions from the United Nations, the mainstream media, and the perpetual demonstrators who protest anything which stands for Western values or based on the Judeo-Christian principles labeling them as Capitalist Oppressors, Colonialist Powers, Xenophobic Zealots, Proponents of Islamophobia or simply Enslavers and Exploiters of Minorities and People of Color. But what are the actual provisions that are drawing such ire from many Israelis?
The best way to address the situation is to take each contentious issue one at a time. First off, let’s look into the issue of using the 1949 Armistice Lines, also called the 1967 Lines, as the base border from which small alterations will be allowed providing that both sides agree to the exchanges proposed. The first recognition has to be that this is claimed as a given starting point thus far only by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas while neither, as Abbas claims, United States Secretary of State John Kerry or Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu have supported this position. Factually, Prime Minister Netanyahu has directly denied that this was part of the agreement while there has yet to be any comment from Secretary Kerry. A recent poll of Israelis revealed that over eighty-five percent would vote against ratifying any peace agreement which utilized the 1949 Armistice Lines as the basis for the border between Israel and the Palestinian State. The problem with these borders is that weather permitting one can see all of the middle section of Israel all the way to the Mediterranean Sea which places seventy percent of Israel’s population, industry and vital infrastructure within range of the most rudimentary of rockets and permits those launching said rockets to have spotter, or even observe themselves, able to see the actual impact as it happens and thus makes adjusting fire both much easier and far more accurate. These borders place Tel Aviv, Haifa, Netanya, Ashod, Ashkelon, Beersheba, and among the others, especially Jerusalem all within direct line of sight from the top of the Judean Hills. This is merely the logistical argument against permitting such borders to be considered but as long as Benyamin Netanyahu remains true to his word and allows for the people of Israel to approve or negate any agreement before it is signed and validated, then such borders have little to absolutely no possibility of being accepted by the people of Israel. So, the referendum will preserve Israel from such a fool’s fate even should Prime Minister Netanyahu agree to show such an agreement to the people.
But what about the building freeze? The easy out of such rumors would be to simply quote Bibi’s pronouncement that he plans to approve over one-thousand tenders for new housing in east Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. Of course we all know by this he means only in Jerusalem and the approved main block of communities and not those wild outposts such as Yitzhar, Itamar, Tapuach or the other ones out in the extremities, as they wish them to be considered. What ever happened to the original idea under United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and allowing Israel to annex sufficient lands to provide her with defendable borders? As I recall those dizzying days in June, July, and on through till the end of November when finally on November 22 came the edict that Israel should return the majority or at least a significant amount of the lands gained in defending against the war brought on by the massing of troops from Egypt and Syria on her border, the closing of the Straights of Tiran, a casus belli in its own rights, and the entering the war by Jordan a couple of hours after the start on the advice from Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser reporting to Jordan’s King Hussein that they were making advances on the Israelis and that the planes picked up on Jordanian radar were flights of Egyptian planes heading to destroy Israeli targets. The truth was the Egyptian and Syrians were retreating on all fronts and the radar images were returning Israel aircraft on their way home after decimating Egypt’s air power. End result was Israel gained the Sinai, Golan Heights and West Bank and has already returned over ninety percent of these to Arab hands making whatever is left, namely the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria legally retainable by Israel and that is the real international law. But any building freeze could be employed even while approving new tenders for additional housing as a building freeze is not about approving plans; it is about actual breaking ground and erecting buildings. As for whether Prime Minister Netanyahu will put in a fix that denies actually building while simply going through the motions in order to appear to be building and not enforcing a freeze, well, we will have to wait and see. That would be a question best put to the different ministers and bureaucrats who control the actual building and licensing thus doing actual research to find such an answer. We should know for sure one way or the other within a couple of weeks simply by observing if any further building is still being erected or if all projects come to a halt.
Now for the unfortunate matter of releasing prisoners which was approved by the Prime Minister’s hand-picked Inner Cabinet who were chosen for their inability to refuse the Prime Minister anything he desires. Say what you like about Bibi, he does know how to enforce his own decisions and do so with the appearance of a greater agreement from the government even if one does not exist. We will never know whether or not the entire Knesset would have allowed the prisoner release to go forward or would have stood on principle and prevented such lunacy. If there was a valid reason for permitting these terrorist masters, some of the worst of the worst, to be freed, it would have to be proven that by committing this act there were believable guarantees that the coming negotiations would produce a final end and enforceable and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians and all the rest of the Arab League nations. That does not appear to be what was promised in this case. What it appears was promised for releasing over one hundred terror planners, coordinators, trainers, bomb-makers and other nefarious and destructive individuals is that Mahmoud Abbas will allow negotiations to be carried out with the Israelis and allow such negotiations to continue for as long as Israel is being successfully squeezed into making more sacrifices and concessions and once Mahmoud Abbas believes he has gotten everything he will be able to pry loose without having to promise anything beyond worlds and false promises not intended to be kept, then he will walk away from the negotiations complaining of Israeli intransigence and hold a press conference where he will berate Israel for being immovable and unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices for peace and refusing to even consider the most basic and necessary compromises for peace. He will complain how he had made serious, deep reaching and heart wrenching sacrifices and offered the Israelis an opportunity to reach a fair and decent peace and he was rebuffed and turned away. The mainstream press in Europe, the United States, the Arab and Muslim worlds and nearly everywhere else even to include Haaretz and other Israeli news sources will repeat verbatim Abbas’s complaints and fabrications and then after a week of constant berating of Israel over the failure of the talks to reach a peace agreement, then they will interview Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu asking him why it was that he refused to give the Palestinians even the slightest requests and why was it that Israel had again squandered another golden opportunity to meet Abbas, who has done so much and sacrificed so completely and desires nothing more than making a good and solid peace, and take the necessary steps to assure that peace was accomplished. This may not be what was advertised, but it is the coming result.
Please Prime Minister Netanyahu, before even going to the first meeting hold a press conference and present your plan of what an equal and fair peace would look like. Spell out exactly what you are prepared to sacrifice in order to attain peace. Spell out in the most minute details exactly what you desire from the Palestinians and what you are willing to give them in exchange for their cooperation to make a final and just peace. For once get out in front of the propaganda that Abbas will try to spread once he has carved out his most desirous concessions from the coming negotiations. Tell the world up front what are the explicit aims, desires, wants and requirements Israel places on the coming negotiations. Stop with the Israel is ready to make peace song and dance you produce in almost every interview over the peace process. State boldly, explicitly and unapologetically Israeli expectations, requirements and desires in concrete and measurable absolutes such that there are no doubts as to where Israel stands and what Israel expects. The world knows exactly what Abbas keeps telling them that Israel refuses to meet him in making peace but nobody has ever explained to the world exactly what defines acceptable for Israel when compromises are required to make peace. No more general terminology and political maneuvers. Just spell out exactly where you and thus Israel stands and is willing to accept, willing to sacrifice, and insistent on receiving and then simply stand your ground. Yes, the United States is going to try and assist Mahmoud Abbas in his attempts to rake every last ounce of flesh off the body that is Israel. Stand up to them and tell Secretary Kerry and President Obama that you will not bend before their demands and pressures as you are their equal if not their better. Tell the United States spokesperson that you are not going to bend before their pressures and that if they believe they have the better of Israel because they can withhold American aid, then tell them that Israel survived very well without their aid for the first twenty years and three wars and that the main reason that the United States started to give Israel military aid was in order to prevent Israel from manufacturing their own weapons systems which would have competed very successfully against American made weapons on the international markets. And if they decide to call your presumed bluff, then I guess Israel will simply have to start to sell their own military products on the world stage and it is highly probable that Israeli weapons systems will outsell all competitors the same as Israeli UAVs (Unmanned Arial Vehicles) are preferred over everybody else’s products. Remember, the United States original offer to Israel was they would provide Israel with F-15 and F-16 fighter jets at a highly reduced and favorable price even including Israeli modifications when requested as long as Israel stopped their work on the Lavi 4th generation fighter jet. Perhaps a little nudge and a reminder will make your position more tenable and much more clear to Secretary Kerry and all bets are that it would be made very clear by United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel along with the designers and board members of Boeing, McDonald Douglas, Raytheon, General Electric and Grumman as they probably would prefer to forgo the competition. Try taking the bull by the horns and proudly present the Israeli side and stand by them in strength and you might just reap some surprising results Mr. Prime Minister.
One final footnote, these are the names and results of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet voting on approving the release of the one-hundred-four of the most notorious and dastardly terrorist prisoners ever released at one time, even compared to those released in order to attains freedom for Gilad Shalit. Perhaps this could have been made less painful but expecting the United States to release Jonathan Pollard as compensation for what Israel has agreed to authorize mostly under pressure from the United States may have been expecting too much humanity from the administration of President Obama. Voting in favor with Prime Minister Netanyahu were Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Minister of Interior Gideon Saar, Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovich, Minister for Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz, and Aliyah Minister Sofa Landver (Likud / Yisrael Beytenu); Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Education Minister Shai Piron, Health Minister Yael German, Science Minister Yaakov Perry and Welfare Minister Meir Cohen, (Yesh Atid); as well as Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Environment Minister Amir Peretz (Hatnua). Voting against the prisoner release were Transport Minister Yisrael Katz, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, Tourism Minister Uzi Landau, and Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir, all (Likud / Yisrael Beytenu); as well as Economics Minister Naftaliu Bennett, Housing Minister Uri Ariel and Minister for Pensioners Uri Orbach, (Bayit Yehudi). And taking the route of simply staying on the sidelines by not casting their vote yea or nay were Energy Minister Silvan Shalom and Culture Minister Limor Livnat, both of Likud / Yisrael Beytenu.
Beyond the Cusp