I’ve said on numerous occasions that the current “peace process” with the Palestinian Fatah faction can not lead to peace. You can read my arguments here in “The two-state fantasy“.
But continuing the charade can do a lot of damage. The process can be used to pressure Israel to make security concessions that will damage its ability to protect itself, it can be used as an excuse to create a Palestinian army that will ultimately be used against Israel, it can cause great disruption in Israeli society when settlements are evacuated, and it can lead to a situation in which Israel has made agreements with a Palestinian authority that shortly thereafter comes to be controlled by Hamas. All but the last have already happened.
As I’ve mentioned, all American presidential candidates have said that they are committed to the process. McCain does not seem to be significantly different from Obama on this issue, and after all, the Annapolis meeting and the military aid and training given to the PA were initiatives of the supposedly Israel-friendly Bush administration.
Without closing the door on the possibility of a negotiated settlement with some Palestinian leadership someday, I think that there are some preconditions that Israel is entitled to demand for any process that would be more than simply a stopping place on the road to the elimination of the Jewish state. And we should demand acceptance of these principles by everyone — including American candidates — who calls for a ‘peace process’, because otherwise it will be some other kind of process.
1) Israel is not responsible for the creation of the Palestinian refugees, and especially not for the condition of their descendants. The international community and the Arab nations, who are responsible, will resettle and compensate them as necessary to permanently solve the problem. There is no “right of return” to Israel.
2) Official antisemitic incitement is absolutely unacceptable, and Israel is not required to negotiate with a Palestinian entity whose official organs promulgate hatred and racism. Period.
3) The 1967 boundaries are not sacrosanct. Why should they be? They represent areas that were illegally occupied by Jordan and Egypt in 1948, and occupied — legally, as a result of a defensive war — by Israel in 1967. Boundaries should be determined on the basis of population and on the basis of defensible borders, as called for by UN resolution 242.
4) There is no ‘legitimate right of resistance’ such as the Palestinians claim as a justification for terrorism. If there is going to be a diplomatic process that will lead to a Palestinian state, it must entirely replace terrorism as the means to this end. Israel is not required to make concessions of any kind while terrorism against Israelis continues.
5) Israel maintains her right of self-definition. Israel has the right to define herself as a Jewish state as well as the homeland of the Jewish people.
These conditions are necessary for fruitful negotiations — and also for Israel’s national self-respect.