While Kerry remains publicly hopeful despite the rejection of his recent proposals regarding the Jordan Valley – going so far as to say he expects a deal in the near future – activists in Israel are increasingly certain that talks are doomed to fail.
The Women in Green movement is taking the initiative with its “Sovereignty” program, which would see Israel officially become the sovereign power in Judea and Samaria (Shomron). Activists with the group say a political journal published for the first time in October was so popular that they plan to issue another 150,000 copies – 100,000 in Hebrew, and 50,000 in English.
Their goal is to raise awareness of vital issues relating to security and diplomacy, in order to be ready for the moment the latest round of diplomacy ends badly.
The first edition of the journal, titled Sovereignty, included an interview with Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin. The second edition will include interviews with several more leading figures in Israeli politics, including Deputy Minister Tzipi Livni, Coalition head MK Yariv Levin, journalist Caroline Glick, former ambassador Yoram Ettinger, and Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika.
The arrival of U.S. diplomats has only made the issue more important, activists said. “We need to be ready for the moment that the ‘talks’ will explode – or, G-d forbid, that buses explode,” they said. Israeli security experts have repeatedly noted an established pattern of a rise in the level of violence during talks, and expect things to heat up further in the event the talks fail to reach a final status agreement.
“We need to be ready for the day of the expected unilateral UN declaration,” they continued. “We need to declare already now that there is a realistic alternative to the mind games of the ‘two state solution.’”
‘Facts on the ground’ not enough
For too long, they said, the Israeli political right left diplomacy to the left. “Since 1967 there have been two parallel struggles: while the settlers create facts on the ground, the left worked on establishing a public awareness according to which the nation of Israel was an occupier in its own land,” they said.
“It’s clear that construction alone is not enough. We have to work on creating basic awareness: that the land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel,” they said, adding, “When that was the faith that led us, we succeeded.”
Currently, there are an estimated 650,000 Israeli Jews living in Judea, Samaria, the Golan, and eastern Jerusalem, they noted. However, those hundreds of thousands of Israelis all remain under military rule due to the government’s decision not to declare sovereignty.
“The result is that the government has created a vacuum that invites the Arabs, and the entire world, to fill it,” they warned.
The new journal aims to kick off a practical discussion of alternatives to the “failed two-state solution,” Women in Green says.