A Solution Devoutly to be Wished

I find fault with the Right in Israel because they offer no attainable solution that would enable Israel to keep all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, but argue for the status quo nonetheless.

Ted Belman,

Ted Belman
Ted Belman
PR
I am a pragmatist and not an ideologue. As such, I want what is good and attainable for Israel.

I find fault with the Right in Israel because they offer no attainable solution that would enable Israel to keep all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, but argue for the status quo nonetheless. They argue that:

Israel shouldn't give terrorism a victory by withdrawing.

Jews shouldn't uproot Jews from their Biblical lands.

Israel shouldn't cooperate in making these lands Judenrein. If we start with these lands, then where will it end?

Gaza will become a terrorist haven from which attacks against Israel are launched.

Each retreat will bring demands for more retreats.

Each retreat will weaken Israel militarily.

Israel is in the right.

Israel has a valid claim to these lands.

While all these arguments are valid, they don't constitute a solution. As we know, not all "solutions" achieve positive results. Just look at the Oslo Accords. So, not any solution will do.

Nevertheless, for the Right to be credible it must commit to a plan of action that it considers to be workable or make the case that time is in Israel's favour. They have failed to do either.

While a few plans have been put forward, such as the Benny Elon Plan or transfer, no one would bet money on any of them getting Israel's acceptance, let alone the world's. The only way for time to be in Israel's favour is if something unforeseen happens that makes it so. But that would require Israel to cross its fingers and hope for luck or a miracle.

I start with the premise that Israel needs a solution. Why so? Very simple. The occupation is a drain on Israel economically and emotionally. It saps Israel's energy that would be better spent in productive work. It has led to increased anti-Semitism worldwide. It has led to calls for boycotts and disinvestment. It prevents Israel from having normal relations with the European Union. Israel has become a pariah state.

Israel desperately needs peace, but not peace at any price. That would not be a solution.

Ariel Sharon and George Bush have cooked up such a solution.

Due to 9/11, Bush undertook to defeat the terrorists and those that support them. This required a reappraisal of how the US should deal with the Arabs generally and the Palestinians specifically. Then, in January of 2002, Palestinians were caught red-handed with the discovery of the Karine A ship loaded with armaments and Yasser Arafat lied to Bush about his involvement. Bush decided not to deal with him again and stuck to his word. A few months later, the Palestinians perpetrated a number of horrendous suicide bombings in Israel. Israel had to develop a plan, not just to protect itself, but also to find a solution.

During the rest of the year, the Israelis traveled often to the US to work out a mutual plan. The details of that plan have been emerging ever since.

The plan was designed to not only win the war on terror, with all that implied for the regimes that support terror, but to also find a permanent solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Pursuant to this plan, the US invaded Iraq in the spring of 2003 and then released the Roadmap. Without hesitation, Sharon agreed to the Roadmap, suggesting he was one of the architects of it. Sharon had agreed therefore with a settlement freeze, the removal of "illegal" outposts and the creation of a Palestinian state. In return, Bush had to deliver on two promises - namely, getting all Arab countries to make real peace with Israel, and forcing the Palestinians to give up on terror and incitement. All this was reflected in the Roadmap.

When Bush was planning his bold moves in the Middle East, he need to protect his flank. He needed to get Israel's agreement on the broad outlines of a settlement so that his end game would be clearer. As for Sharon, he needed to know his concessions would bring peace.

The Roadmap proved to be a rocky road and went nowhere after the initial ceremonies in Aqaba in June of 2003. Although the Roadmap has not proceeded, it has been reaffirmed constantly as the way to go. The Arabs have done nothing to meet their obligations and Israel has yet to abandon any settlements. Yet, much is happening to further it along.

Sharon is building the fence along demographic lines. The US is micro-managing the location of the fence because they both accept that it will be, by and large, the final border. A few issues have yet to be ironed out, such as the fate of Ariel and Jerusalem. I believe that ultimately Jerusalem will be divided, so that Israel will not have to give citizenship to the 300,000 Arabs that live there. This is why Sharon is allowing them to vote in the upcoming Palestinian elections.

He also is fighting tenaciously to bring about his Disengagement Plan. In this regard, Bush did his part by making demographics the centrepiece of the new partition plan and ruling out the "right of return".

Bush is also proceeding to get the Arab world to come to terms with Israel. Syria has been told to get out of Lebanon. Lebanon will be assisted to take back its country and disarm Hizbullah. Easier said than done. We see how much havoc the terrorists can wreak in Iraq and Israel; Lebanon will be no easier. Especially because Hizbullah is Iran's proxy, and Iran will do everything it can to keep the US busy in Iraq and Lebanon.

Syria and Israel are now negotiating a settlement where Israel keeps part of the Golan. Egypt is presently showing signs of becoming part of the solution and not the problem. Even Iraq has made moves in the direction of normal relations with Israel. So has Libya and Pakistan.

To make this plan work, it is necessary for the terrorists to be destroyed in Iraq, Lebanon, and Judea, Samaria and Gaza. This will take great resolve on the part of Sharon and Bush. I predict that the terrorists won't go silently into the night, but will put up stiff resistance. But Sharon and Bush will do whatever it takes to destroy them.

There will be no Palestinian state unless and until this war on terror succeeds.


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