Thinking that ending Israeli “occupation” of Judea and Samaria will end the conflict is ignoring the long list of other Arabs demands that have been the real obstacle to peace
Last week, at a policy conference marking 100 years to the Balfour Declaration, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who was the British foreign secretary in the 1990’s, said he feared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had no desire to “end the occupation”.
“End the occupation” – the mantra repeated ad nauseam at anti Israel demonstrations; recited at international forums; mentioned by governments, leaders and politicians; and waved by Israeli and Jewish members of the left and self proclaimed “peace camp”.
The simplistic logic behind the chant is that this is the key to ending the Middle East conflict. That the single most burning issue of the conflict is Israeli control over Arabs and the geographical area known as Judea and Samaria. End this “occupation”, the purveyors of the mantra argue, and ipso facto, problem solved and we have instant peace with “dogs and cats living together”!
As Moshe Dann explains in a brilliant column in The Jerusalem Post, this is a powerful and effective weapon against Israel. It shifts the focus to a humanitarian argument which portrays Israelis as aggressors. It puts blame on Israel alone and seeks to force Israel to accept conditions that would be detrimental to its very existence.
The people regurgitating the mantra never stop to contemplate what would really happen if Israel did indeed “end the occupation”. They disregard all that has happened over the past 70 years, when insisting Israel withdraw from the territories obtained in a war of self-defense in 1967.
Once Israel withdraws to the “Green line”- that demarcation line set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements and was the de facto border in June 1967 – what keeps the Arabs from assaulting Israel? Every time Israel ceded territories in the past, whether in Judea and Samaria, Lebanon, the Sinai and most obviously the Gaza Strip, the vacated areas were used to launch attacks, terrorism, missiles and war on Israel.
Anyone not engaged in self deception, let alone complete suicidal self denial, is aware of these realities. They know this is the obvious immediate result of an Israeli withdrawal. It has all happened before and no evidence exists for a different outcome beyond wishful thinking.
Our Jewish and Israeli self righteous peace camp members who echo the mantra, also conveniently ignore the consistent statements issued at every opportunity by Hamas, that they will never recognize Israel, that their goal is to wipe out Israel. That also goes for declarations by the PA chairman Abbas that they will never recognize Israel as a Jewish State.
Besides encouraging war without end, another myth the enthusiastic peace camp followers swear by is how the “international community” will provide guarantees that the Arabs will not violate the agreement.
In the past, oh how they swore, that should the unthinkable happen and, despite these international guarantees, the Arabs do resort to violence, well then, the international community will understand Israel’s actions of self defense and magnanimously back our actions to defend ourselves!
This proved to be false. The international community’s guarantees are worthless.
Even if we didn’t have previous examples here, all one has to do is see how the international community responded to the plight of the Yazidi and Christians, preyed upon by Isis and how they have abandoned the Kurds. There is no “international community”. There are nations led by self interest and armed with cold calculations.
The European Union for example, is one of the witnesses and guarantors of the Oslo accords, yet they are actively involved in promoting the violation of these exact accords. Honest brokers they claim to be and yet they assist the violation of the treaty.
Think we can trust the “international community’s” common sense and adherence to the truth? These are countries who supported the UNESCO declaration of Hebron being a Palestinian Heritage site, a concept that did not exist a century ago. They all also supported without hesitation another resolution that denied Jewish connection to the Temple Mount! This, a fact that has existed for 300 centuries.
Even if we did not have the Holocaust as a warning sign, we would be stupid to trust anyone. We did trust international guarantees when withdrawing from the Sinai in 1957. UN forces were there to guarantee no Egyptian hostilities toward Israel. Yet there was persistent terror against Israel for ten years.
Then, when in May of 1967, Egypt ordered the UN out and publicly announced its intention of annihilating Israel – everyone remained silent. We were left to fend for ourselves. The honorable international community has since only found fault in Israel’s actions and policies. The same thing has happened since 2006, when the UN was ordered to oversee the ceasefire between Israel and Hizballah in Lebanon.
Violence and the myth of an international community guarantees will not be the real problem though. Israel will handle these, at a steep price unfortunately. Should Israel leave all of Judea and Samaria it will face, as we have over the past 50 years, an unrelenting assault on our legitimacy and right to exist.
The assault on Israel will be on the issues of “Right of Return” and “Arab Autonomy”. This is not an educated guess. The foundations are already being laid and are already in motion.
The same sources who promoted recognition of the PLO and the ceding of territories as conductors for “peace” are now explaining that we have to accept the concept of a “Palestinian Right of Return”. Twisting the truth of the concept as it appears in UN decisions and feeding on ignorance to lead people to believe it has some kind of legal bearing, just like they are doing today with the issue of settlements. Worse even, they are trying to convince us that it isn’t that big a deal.
As Arab nationalism within Israel is increasing, we are already witnessing attempts of instituting autonomy for Arab citizens of Israel. In 2013 Arab Knesset members sought to introduce a new basic law which would grant the Arab minority social and cultural autonomy, using “International law” to claim indigenous minority status, challenging Israeli democracy to bring equality to all citizens, including Arabs. They attempted to pass legislation again in 2014.
In 2015 we saw a new approach, an “innocent” attempt to promote legislation for Arab educational autonomy this time. They wish to enjoy the same level of autonomy given to the National Religious stream in Israel.
As the focus of the Arab-Israeli conflict shifts from the “Occupation” to inside the borders of pre-1967 Israel, these attempts will grow. And how long before we start seeing pressure by the international community on Israel to give in?
Here too, we have ample previous experience. As early as the 1950’s, a handful of years after the creation of Israel, after a bloody war of of self defense and independence, already world powers sought to pressure Israel into making concessions to the Arabs.
Before there was “Occupation” and while we were absorbing a million Jewish refugees who were expelled from Arab countries as punishment after the war, the United States and Great Britain conjured up the “Alpha Project” in 1955. This was a highly secret set of discussions between the representatives of the British and American governments to solve the Palestinian refugee problem and adjust the frontiers of Israel, thus redressing Arab grievances and establishing a new order of Israeli-Egyptian relations.
It was the intent of the British to have Israel capitulate at all costs – even that of an armed assault against Israel, as British foreign office documents released a few years ago revealed.
As a sign of what we can expect, just this week the U.N. signed an agreement with the PLO where it will work to advise the Palestinian Authority on how to exploit “international accountability mechanisms” in order to hold Israel accountable for alleged violations of international law. The document is set to come into effect Jan. 1, 2018. The document of course, makes no reference to Palestinian violations of international law and human rights.
The world treats the conflict here as if the problem was Israel. Ending the “occupation” and relinquishing the area of Judea and Samaria will only be the appetizer. The main course will be the attempt to dismantle the State of Israel afterwards.
The core problem has always been the fact that the Arabs do not accept the existence of a State of Israel in any borders and no one calls them to task on this or holds them to honor international law or decisions. The world, which lets them get away with it, are perhaps most at fault for not setting demands and insisting on Arab compliance.
The other chant used by anti Israel demonstrators is “from the river to the sea…”. This epitomizes the real problem. Nothing is going to change if the core problem is not addressed.
In order to do so, it is time we changed the paradigm.
Daniel Seaman is the editor of the English edition of Mida.org Online magazine
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