On Thursday, we read the following:
In a departure from previous policy, the government has agreed to put forward a comprehensive proposal on borders within three months, according to a Quartet communiqué issued on Thursday.
The statement, put out following separate meetings the Quartet envoys and Quartet representative Tony Blair held in Jerusalem with Israeli and Palestinian officials on Wednesday, said the parties agreed with the Quartet to “come forward with comprehensive proposals on territory and security within three months.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been reluctant to present a detailed map of where he envisions a future Palestinian state, wary of revealing a key negotiating card before knowing what he can expect in return from the Palestinians on issues such as refugees, Jerusalem and recognition of a Jewish state.
As I write this, rockets are falling into Israeli cities from Gaza, at least one Israeli civilian, a 56-year old father of 4 named Moshe Ami (Elder of Ziyon notes that Islamic Jihad calls him a ‘settler Zionist’) has been murdered and tens injured. The IDF has killed at least 9 terrorists, in strikes on military targets. A million Israelis spent the night in shelters.
So, back to diplomacy: the ‘proposal’ that Netanyahu will deliver should be something like this:
Dear Quartet (which is composed of three anti-Israel parties plus the least friendly American administration since 1948, and which has no authority other than ‘might makes right’ to determine the borders of the state of Israel),
You may (or may not, if you listen to the BBC) have noticed that Palestinian Arabs are presently committing acts of war against Israel. Please don’t tell me that it is a different faction from the one that I am negotiating with, because the hero’s welcome received by freed murderers of all factions shows that they all approve of murdering Jews.
Be that as it may, I am making the following comprehensive proposal:
The state of Israel will not talk to the Palestinian Arabs about anything, nor will it continue to collect taxes for the PA nor supply water and electricity to Gaza, until
- They agree that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people,
- They agree that there is no ‘right of return’ to Israel in principle or practice for descendents of Arab refugees,
- They agree that a final agreement will end all their claims against Israel,
- Armed factions will give up all weapons and military equipment over and above those needed for legitimate police duties.
Then we’ll talk. Meanwhile, we’ll go after terrorists wherever they are, in Gaza, Judea/Samaria, Jerusalem, etc. Acts of war will be responded to appropriately.
Your friend, Bibi
I’m entirely serious.
First, Israel should not be required to negotiate with those who do not accept her existence. If the Arabs aren’t capable of at least this, then any concession by Israel would be irrational, wouldn’t it? So why talk under those circumstances?
Second, the Kafka-esque situation in which Arabs are allowed to kill Jews and at the same time make demands is unacceptable. Acts of aggression against another state are forbidden by the charter of the UN that the PLO has been asking for statehood, and deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime. One would think that they would be required to stop these activities before the borders of their future state are drawn!
Israel is prepared to give up some territory for peace. But under no circumstances should she be required to negotiate under fire. If the Arabs cannot control their militias, then Israel will have to wage war with the militias first, until they are no longer capable of inflicting damage.
If there are, somewhere, real moderates among the Palestinians who honestly desire to live alongside Israel in peace, then they will do their best to suppress the militant factions. And they will put an end to the vicious incitement that flows continuously from all Palestinian Arab factions. So far there is no evidence at all of this.
To paraphrase kohelet, there is a time to talk and a time to fight. The Palestinian Arabs are telling us by their actions that now is not the time to negotiate.