Israel's Hebrew PressArutz Sheva brings the Anglo reader translations of the words of Israel's opinion makers and experts as they appear in the Hebrew media.
Danny Dayan, head of Council of Judea and Samaria:
A Golden Opportunity Missed:
Israel has done some good political preparation for September (the PM made successful trips to several European countries, for example) as well as security planning (the IDF is rehearsing various scenarios), but the most crucial steps have not been taken: steps that would frighten the Arabs into giving up their plan.
And most telling of all: Israel has not been wise enough to turn the crisis into an opportunity, although it has the ability to do so.
Deterrent-wise, Israel has done nothing, except for saying a few hollow words that no one took seriously. Israel has an abundance of political leverage, as well as economic, defense, and settlement options that could stop the Arabs in their tracks.
Not only has none of them been used, the opposite is true: the policy in the defense establishment is that this is the time to strengthen the PA financially so that it will keep on coordinating security with us.
“This is not the way to build a wall”, said a sportscaster once, coining a new phrase, as Israel’s soccer team absorbed a rival team’s goal. This is not the way to prevent a unilateral Arab offensive against Israel, we have to tell our government, hoping it will come to its senses and act differently.
The biggest shame of all is not turning this into a golden opportunity. The unilateral Arab step in the UN voids all former agreements with Israel.
It has to be responded to with a strong, obvious unilateral move of our own: asserting Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, if not on its entirety, then on all the Jewish settlements and the open areas between them—what is known as Area C.
The Arabs forced Israel into a political war. In this war, just as in military wars, Israel must win and not accept a tie, nor a respectable “loss” (i.e. a few dozen countries who abstain or vote nay in the UN, our Foreign Ministry’s current aspiration).
Only asserting Israeli sovereignty on large portions of our homeland would achieve a victory. This is, therefore, a crisis that has been badly handled, a great opportunity that has been missed.
Dr. David Bukai, Department for the Study of the Middle East, Haifa University
Expose the Palestinian Bluff:
There is no difference between the goals of Hamas, Al Qaeda and the PLO, the only differences are in methods and tactics. Abu Mazen is an anti-Semite, Holocaust denier, as extremist as Arafat was.
All the “moderates” surrounding him are the same, clearly announcing that they do not recognize Israel as a Jewish state; that Israel must let the 7 (yes, 7) million “refugees” return to their homes; mainly because they do not believe in two states for two peoples, but rather in one large Palestinian state alongside a small dual-nationality, multi-cultural one that will quickly become part of the Palestinian state, as will Jordan.
Israel erred egregiously in strategic preparation. Since Abu Mazen does not talk about a Palestinian state with 1967 borders as a final goal, but only as a step on the road to erasing the Jewish state, Israel should have exposed that.
Instead of expending so much effort in thwarting the idea of declaring a state, Israel should have exposed the extremist Palestinian goals, suggested that the world have the Palestinians sign that once they have a state with the 1967 borders, they will abandon all other goals for eliminating Israel: no more “right of return” to within Israel, cessation of terror and all forms of violence, cessation of incitement to anti-Semitic hatred.
Abu Mazen and his friends could never accept these conditions ands the international arena would realize that this is not a desire for self-determination with which we are dealing, but a desire to destroy the state of Israel.
All the Palestinian groups are not prepared to, are not able to and do not want to agree to a country with 1967 borders. Arafat could not force this on them, and Abu Mazen, just as extreme but weaker, certainly cannot and also doesn’t wish to.
Many people, in Israel as well, do not know his extremist personality and that the brilliant idea of declaring a state in September is just a means to continue his plan of annihilation. Exposing his bluff and proving what he is like are the biggest challenge for Israel, but Israel is failing to meet it.
The never ending need to thwart terror keeps Israel from being able to deal with the real challenge: the Palestinian aspiration to destroy israel through delegitimizing and dehumanizing. her internationally. The recognition of a Palestinian state is simply a means to advance the goal of eliminating Israel.
Gen. Amram Mitzna (Res.), former MK and contender for leadership of Israel’s Labor Party
The PA Has No Interest in Escalation:
Gen. Amram Mitzna (Res.), former MK and contender for leadership of Israel’s Labor Party.
The IDF and the police force must be prepared for the possibility of riots, perhaps attempts to block roads and even march in the direction of some of the communities in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) and threaten them. The IDF must instruct the residents of Yesha on how to carry on with their lives within their communities and with respect to travel on the roads during this period.
My feeling is that the PA has no interest in having an uncontrollable situation on its hands, just as they had no interest in having one on Naqba and Naqsa days. They understand that the IDF and the Jewish residents will not let such disturbances pass them by. Nevertheless, there is still a danger that the whole thing will get out of control, especially in the light of the ability nowadays to fire people up through social networks.
In the military sphere: I am not familiar with the details, but I take it for granted that the IDF is suitably organized and that it has learned the lessons of previous events, that it is in contact with the PA and fairly well coordinated with them.
In the international arena: the government could have prevented the process in the General Assembly, but today it is a bit late to do anything, although that does not mean there is no need to continue to persuade countries not to support the PA initiative. I regret to say that the handwriting is already on the wall and the General Assembly will support the PA move by a large majority.
This is not an existential threat to Israel, at least not in the short term. However, it is another step towards delegitimization and the weakening of our international relations. I have no doubt that the skewed minds of the world will find us new challenges to meet, such as far out legal claims, sending ambassadors to the Palestinians and the like.