by Prof. Ron Breiman
One of the strangest phrases connected to the diplomatic process is "without preconditions," which means that both sides must come to the negotiations without conditions that determine the results in advance. This is how free and fair negotiations must be conducted. But in reality, the diplomatic and media discourse, both around the world and in Israel, doesn't match up with that. This discourse doesn't talk about a "peace process," but rather a two-state "vision," which necessarily results in the establishment of another Arab state. This is much more than a precondition. It is a dictate.
For the past 20 years, since the Oslo Accords, the Israeli public's mind has been flooded with the absurd idea that peace and a Palestinian state are two sides of the same coin. An irresponsible media has eagerly marketed this lie and hasn't permitted discussion of other options that are less complicated and more promising. Instead of an investigative and open media, we've received a tendentious media.
That is why declarations by Shimon Peres and Tzipi Livni about the "vision" are presented as realistic and trustworthy, while statements by Danny Danon, Zeev Elkin, Naftali Bennett and many other good people are portrayed as unusual or incomprehensible, to put it mildly. The time has come for a true and free discussion about different possibilities, instead of continuing to bang our heads against the wall to reach a "solution" that is not a solution and not peace. Having shrapnel lodged in your behind is less painful than banging your head against the wall. Anyone who had the truth presented to them would choose the shrapnel.
Israel's defensive position, based on the false link between peace and a Palestinian state in the land of Israel, has led to a discussion about borders that focuses on finding a formula based on the 1967 lines. If we weren't slamming our heads into the wall but were rather opening them to new ideas, it would be possible to set the Jordan River as the border between Israel to the west and Jordan/Palestine to the east.
There are some who are scared of a demographic threat, claiming that if we don't withdraw from our land there will soon be an Arab majority west of the Jordan River. However, it is precisely for this reason that supporters of a Palestinian state should ensure that such a state won't absorb Arab refugees, who would cause there to be an Arab majority west of the Jordan River.
And there are those who utter the catchy slogan "them there, us here," referring to the Arabs who live in the land of Israel. This phrase is of course false and misleading. It means a "peace" based on the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Judea and Samaria and while keeping Israeli Arabs in Israel. Enlightened individuals and peace seekers should rule out ethnic cleansing, both of Jews and of Arabs. Anyone who advocates a ban on Jews living in Judea and Samaria isn't enlightened and isn't a peace seeker. Ultimately, such a "peace" would turn Israel into a non-Jewish and non-democratic country, and therefore devoid of peace.
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