While the right is busy battling the temporary building freeze, it seems that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is using all his force to move towards a major strategic decision that is similar to Sharon’s disengagement.
There are many signs pointing to this move: Attempts to add Kadima to the coalition, sharing secrets with America, and now a trip to Cairo, which led the Egyptian foreign minister to remark that Netanyahu has “made significant progress” in his opinions on the peace process.
Until now, everyone thought that Netanyahu effectively left the ball in the Palestinians’ court, so that they would default on the process. Now, it seems that he is doing everything to enable the Palestinians successful negotiating for statehood. Netanyahu’s vision of a demilitarized Palestinian state, which he described in his Bar-Ilan Speech, may become a reality faster than those who oppose a Palestinian state imagine.
The Oslo Accords have only brought disappointment and bloodshed and Netanyahu was elected because of his opposition to his predecessors, who developed the Oslo Accords. After he was elected, he refused to include the “two states solution” formula in his coalition baselines.
Now, it seems that something has changed.
No, the imprudence and danger in establishing a Palestinian state haven’t lessened. What changed is that the Prime Minister wants to garner world favor through a step that may well become a tactical disaster.
The strategic consequence of establishing a Palestinian state – regardless of what limits are put on it – is a significant weakening of Israel and a threat to its survival. From the moment Judea and Samaria are given to the Palestinians, they will move to their next target – the Negev and the Galilee. Hizballah’s “spider web” theory will be proven, and the efforts to destroy the State of Israel will only gain momentum.
Today, Israel enjoys relative quiet due to Israel’s success in repressing the terror in Judea and Samaria. If Palestinian statehood is declared, the IDF will not be able to enter Nablus and Jenin, just as it does not enter Gaza today. If Israel allows a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, the only way to prevent terror will be an operation in the style of “Cast Lead,” with a high body count and further international delegitimization of Israel’s existence.
Of course, establishing a Palestinian state will not solve the major problems of the conflict: refugees, economic differences, and Israel’s ongoing survival in a Muslim region. These problems will remain, but Israel will have to deal with them from an inferior position in the international and legal spheres.
The slippery slope the Prime Minister is leading us down is a direct result of the lack of an alternative vision. The “Bar-Ilan Speech,” despite its brilliant Zionist talk, still exhibited the fear of changing the “two-state” paradigm, which has failed for the past 15 years.
Instead of presenting a different, daring political vision, Netanyahu preferred to adopt the old, tired two-state plan and then do damage control. The result of this move: The old paradigm is accepted, and any opposition has become marginal.
Anyone who understands the consequences of a Palestinian state must immediately adopt an alternative political vision. “The Israeli Initiative” has offered such a vision for years, but unfortunately, those who oppose Oslo still haven’t understood its importance.
Today, more than ever, it is clear that without this vision, the establishment of a Palestinian state, and with it the shattering of the Zionist dream, are just a matter of time.
For more insight to Netanyahu’s latest moves, read Steve Rosen’s article:
Yoav Sorek is manager of The Israeli Initiative. Find out more: www.israelinitiative.com