The Peace Process is a Bigger Danger Than Hamas

The biggest threat Israel faces today is the "peace process", with its insistence on the Saudi Peace Plan. It is aided and abetted by Israel's "We Are Tired" camp and its "Let's Make a Deal" camp.

Ted Belman

OpEds לבן ריק
לבן ריק
The biggest threat Israel faces today is the "peace process", with its insistence on the Saudi Peace Plan. It is aided and abetted by Israel's "We Are Tired" camp and its "Let's Make a Deal" camp.

With this in mind, I took the position during the Palestinian elections that a Hamas victory would be good for Israel because it would stop the "peace process". And so it has. The threat of rockets raining down on Israel from Gaza isn't nearly the threat that the peace process was and is. This is so even if the rockets start to rain down on Tel Aviv from the West Bank. Israel always has it in its power to stop the attacks at a time of its choosing. The more they rain down, the less support the Palestinians have in Europe.

Since the peace process has been stymied, the biggest threat facing Israel today is Ehud Olmert's "realignment" intentions (they don't yet amount to a "plan"). True, the US and the EU - to say nothing of the Arabs - have not supported the plan publicly; yet, it remains a threat.

Keep in mind that the US has micro-managed the location of the Judea and Samaria security fence from day one, and even enabled the financing for it.

In Sept 2005, the Associated Press reported "U.S. to Back Israeli Settlements":
The policy is exactly what the president said," Kurtzer said in the prerecorded interview. "In the context of a final status agreement, the United States will support the retention by Israel of areas with a high concentration of Israeli population."

Kurtzer's language went slightly further than the original Bush letter, which did not speak of Israel retaining territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East war but said only that a return to the prewar borders of 1949 was unlikely.

"In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949," Bush wrote in the letter handed to Sharon during a visit to Washington on April 14 last year.

In a letter he handed Bush in exchange, Sharon pledged to dismantle settlement outposts put up since March 2001 and limit expansion of existing settlements.
With this exchange of letters in mind, how can we have confidence in Olmert's plan to build in E-1 or even to retain Ariel?

US diplomacy is now focused on two things; namely, defeating Hamas with the aid of Mahmoud Abbas and encouraging negotiations between Olmert and Abbas. The purpose of these negotiations is to attempt to reach a deal in which the fence, or something close to it, becomes the border. Obviously, Abbas is not going to agree to more than George Bush has. It is not likely that Olmert can negotiate for more, either, despite his promises to the Israeli public. In addition, Israel has committed to Bush not to expand settlements. So, where does that leave "realignment"? And now, Olmert has capitulated to the European Union, which demanded that Jerusalem be divided.

The Roadmap was intended to end the terrorism, and obviously has failed miserably in that regard. Yet, Olmert has announced his intention to jump to Phase II of the Roadmap and negotiate anyway. Why is he in such a rush to capitulate?

At the moment, it appears that Israel is going in the direction of accommodation to the demands of the Quartet and the Arabs. To avoid this fate,the violence in the territories would have to continue at tolerable levels. But that doesn't solve the problem. It only avoids the peace process. My suggestion for study is that Israel should expand the boundaries around Jerusalem, build the fence and agree to uproot the settlements east of the fence in exchange for recognition of the new boundaries. Like it or lump it.

The world will refuse - and Israel will consolidate Jerusalem.