by P. David Hornik
The tremendous Western pressure on Israel to keep forbidding Jews to build houses in Judea and Samaria is in actuality the internalization, and imposition, by the West of a Muslim-supremacist ideology. If the Palestinian Authority was interested in peace with Israel it would not be insisting that a condition for negotiations to proceed is that no more Jews come to live in Judea and Samaria, nor that all those already living there be expelled as one of the requirements of prospective “peace.” This does not stem from a peace-loving mindset but from a supremacist mindset.
There is something called UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was supposed to set the terms for negotiations between Israel and Arab parties over the disposition of the lands Israel conquered in 1967. 242 is based on the principle that Judea and Samaria or the West Bank is disputed land to which two sides, Israeli and Arab, stake a claim, and whose ultimate disposition is supposed to be decided in the course of negotiations, with Israel emerging from the negotiations with “secure and recognized boundaries.” The definition of what constitutes “secure boundaries” is supposed to be an agreed outcome of negotiations and not something that is determined before negotiations even begin. Until that point is reached, Jews have every right under the sun, moral and legal, to build and live anywhere in the West Bank. Given that the territory was won in a defensive war of survival imposed by the Arab side, and that Israel had the superior historical and legal claim to it, Israel's agreement to the terms of 242 was an act of generosity.
Anyone serious and knowledgeable in military and security matters who has ever considered the issue has concluded that “secure borders” require that Israel retain substantial parts of the land, and that the “1967 borders with minor adjustments” do not constitute such secure borders but, rather, insecure, permeable, tenuous borders that invite aggression and instability. This is a degradation to which dovish Israeli leaders, particularly Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, have contributed much with their spinelessness and folly.
If Netanyahu hoped to prevail in a subtle PR game against Abbas and the PA, at this point he may be losing. In November 2009 he imposed the “moratorium” on West Bank building for ten months. It was pointed out that this was timed to conclude at a point not long before the U.S. elections when Obama would not likely be in a strong position to punish Israel once the building resumed in late September 2010—that is, now. Abbas reacted to the moratorium by continuing to refuse to negotiate, only hopping on the bandwagon a few weeks ago. It was Abbas, however, who used the imminent end of the moratorium to take the upper PR hand against Netanyahu, suddenly proclaiming himself a peace-lover eager for the "process," but with the stipulation that the building freeze be extended.
That it was Netanyahu who, in an unprecedented move for an Israeli prime minister, Likud, Labor, or Kadima, instituted the freeze; that it was Abbas who, nevertheless, kept stonewalling for almost the complete duration of the freeze—all forgotten. Instead, Israel again is the party in the hot seat, not Abbas and the PA for their ongoing incitement and hate education, for ruling last week that the penalty for selling land to a Jew is death, and so on and so on. That old familiar feelin’—Israel gets the blame, despite Netanyahu’s best efforts to deflect it.For all these reasons and many others, the current diplomatic “process” is a travesty and a disgrace and a path—if it’s allowed to continue—that leads to war like the Oslo “process” before it. Netanyahu’s timing may have been perspicacious in one regard: Obama is indeed considerably politically weakened at this point and will likely be even more so in November. Still, he remains the executive and can do much damage.
P. David Hornik
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