Here is an example of a popular phenomenon that is hard to understand. Isi Liebler wrote:
Diaspora Jewish support for Israel cannot be based exclusively on the intransigence and evil of Abbas and the PA. Instead, it must articulate a broad, unifying, positive, strategic policy around which pro-Israel activists can build their cases. It should reaffirm its support of a two-state solution that reflects the desire of the vast majority of Israelis to end Israeli rule over the Arab population. It should support the retention of the major settlement blocs, as enunciated in President George W. Bush’s letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. It should state explicitly that in the regional scorpions’ den in which it exists, Israel will not compromise on defensible borders or security and should demand that its neighbors recognize its sovereignty as a Jewish nation. [my emphasis]
Liebler is a Zionist and well-informed. And yet, he appears not to know (or ignores) the fact that Israel does not “rule over the Arab population.” More than 90% (I’ve seen figures as high as 97%) of the Arab population of Judea and Samaria are “ruled over” by the Palestinian Authority (PA). And I won’t even discuss the lunatic idea that is popular on the Left that Gaza is ‘occupied’!
True, the PA doesn’t control its airspace or its borders. And Israeli security forces sometimes do penetrate PA areas in order to arrest terrorists who have perpetrated attacks against Israelis or are preparing such attacks. The PA is not allowed to have the tanks, antiaircraft weapons, or for that matter, chemical and nuclear weapons that they would so much like to have. But this is the minimum that is required for Israel’s self-preservation.
What seems to be going on here is that Liebler still can’t shake the illusion that a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria will improve Israel’s strategic position in any way.
He would probably say that European threats and American encouragement of said threats are dangerous. He’s right about that, but they are not as dangerous as the consequences of accepting the indefensible borders, with or without high-tech pretend solutions, that any two-state plan that creates a sovereign Arab state in the territories entails.
It should also be obvious that the demands from the Arabs and from Europe (which is working itself into an anti-Jewish lather lately) will not abate until Israel has been rendered entirely defenseless.
I have proposed, as an ideal solution, that Israel annex all of Judea and Samaria and induce members of violent organizations like those comprising the PLO to leave (by compensation or, if necessary, coercion). But if that is politically impossible, then the status quo — which essentially means the maintenance of an autonomous Palestinian entity with less than full sovereignty — is acceptable.
When Rabin first agreed to Oslo, his conception seems to have been that the Palestinian entity would be demilitarized and with certain limitations on its sovereignty (border control, airspace, etc.). The PA, which Oslo conceived as a temporary device on the way to a permanent solution, seems to have morphed into precisely this.
The Israeli government has responded to the pressure — Kerry’s mission is just the latest manifestation of this pressure — in an ambiguous way. Various members of the cabinet, as Liebler notes, say different things. The official position seems to favor a “two-state solution” with reservations. The reservations change from day to day.
Here is what the government could say in order to normalize the status quo (speaking in one voice if possible):
Insofar as negotiations with the PA have failed — the PA has refused to recognize our sovereignty and right to self-determination — we consider the ‘peace process’ that began with the Oslo accord to be officially ended.
We consider the PA the ruler of the Arab population of Areas A and B, and Hamas (a hostile entity with whom we are in a state of war) as the ruler of the Gaza strip. We view these areas as autonomous.
We will continue to discuss issues such as environmental concerns and water with the PA to the extent that it wishes to do so. But acts of war will be responded to as such.
We also announce that we will continue to unilaterally impose control of borders and airspace, etc. We will interdict weapons shipments to the PA and will take whatever unilateral action necessary to stop terrorism emanating from these areas. All of these actions are based on our right of self-defense, as enunciated in the UN Charter. The US, the EU and others do not have the right to interfere with Israel’s exercise of this right.
This would be combined with the application of Israeli law to Area C, and a continued emphasis on Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. Other areas of ambiguity that should be clarified are the question of sovereignty on the Temple Mount (it belongs to Israel), and the tolerance for ‘misdemeanor terrorism‘ in Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria (it should be dealt with harshly).
Is this the ideal solution? No. Is it a better solution than continuing to participate in an inherently contradictory ‘peace process’? Absolutely.