Everyone is talking about Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The basic assumption is that peace talks are supposed to bring peace. It is common knowledge that peace is expected to solve the following problems: security; demographics; Palestinian nationalism (that competes with Israel over the same piece of land); international pressure (particularly from the U.S.); and, to some, economics. But even a superficial analysis of the aforementioned “problems” reveals that none of them are motivating Israel’s “peace” talks.
Peace cannot be defined as the goal of a state. Peace is the result of the proper definition of a state’s goal and the achievement of that goal. If peace is our goal, it can be achieved more easily in other locations (Australia or Uganda, for example) by surrendering our sovereignty or by assimilation.
Security for Israelis cannot possibly be the problem we are trying to solve. The more we progress in the peace process, the more our national and personal security deteriorates. Suicide bombers were not blowing up buses and restaurants, and missiles were not crashing into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, prior to the diplomatic process. Our cumulative experience proves that our desire for security should distance us from any diplomatic process. If we continue to sacrifice our citizens for the so-called sake of peace, security is not what is motivating our participation in the peace process.
Demography is also not the problem. The average Tel Avivian no longer has fewer children than her neighbor in Ramallah. According to the American-Israel Demographic Research Group, if the current birthrates continue in conjunction with a proactive aliyah policy, Israel’s Jewish majority will upgrade from today’s 66 percent to 80 percent by 2035. In other words, even without a diplomatic process, the Jewish majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea – including the Arabs of Judea and Samaria – will be 80 percent in the next 20 years or so.
Palestinian nationalism was artificially constructed in response to Zionism. When this land was under Arab sovereignty – Jordanian or Egyptian – the problem did not exist. If Israel would disappear off the map, God forbid, Palestinian nationalism would disappear with it.
On Feb. 18, 1947, British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, certainly not an ardent Zionist, addressed the British parliament to explain why the UK was taking the question of Palestine, which was in its care, to the United Nations. He opened by saying that “His majesty’s government has been faced with an irreconcilable conflict of principles.” His described essence of that conflict: “For the Jews, the essential point of principle is the creation of a sovereign Jewish state. For the Arabs, the essential point of principle is to resist to the last the establishment of Jewish sovereignty in any part of Palestine.”
There isn’t really Palestinian nationality; there is the Arab nation that does not accept Jewish sovereignty over any part of Israel. Thus, solving what is really the non-existent Palestinian problem will not solve the fundamental conflict: Arab opposition to any Israeli sovereignty. This is also the reason that a Palestinian state has not yet been established and will never be established, despite the fact that never in history has a state been offered to any group on a platter more silver than what is being offered to the Palestinians. They simply do not want a state.
International pressure is also not a problem, for it always increases in direct proportion to Israel’s participation in diplomatic processes. Before the Oslo Accords, there was a major question mark hovering over the legitimacy of the PLO and its leaders. No such question mark existed over the right of the Jews to have their own state. Today, after twenty years of diplomatic processes, the situation is reversed. We recognize them, but they do not recognize us. The Americans, however, are not willing to demand recognition of Israel as a condition for negotiations.
And then there’s the supposed economic problem. The diplomatic process will not solve it. On the contrary, as we learned the hard way, the Oslo Accords consume 10 percent of our annual state budget: approximately one trillion shekels since the accords were signed. Over the past years, Israel is approaching the status of an economic superpower – not because of the diplomatic process, but despite it.
So if it is not peace, not security, not demography, not Palestinian nationalism, not international pressure and not economics, what exactly are we negotiating about? What are we trying to achieve?
The person who provided the most precise answer was none other than Ron Pundak, an architect of the Oslo Accords, who recently told Tel Aviv University lecturer Tomer Persico:
“I want peace so that there will be Israeliness. Peace is not an end in and of itself. It is the means with which to bring Israel from one era into another, to the era that I consider to be normal statehood: “Israelization” of society instead of its “Judaization.”
Do you understand? We bury thousands of victims of terror, chop off entire sections of our homeland, uproot our settlements (displacing our inhabitants), bring missiles into Tel Aviv, negate our legitimacy, rob 10 percent of our State budget every year – all this and more damage – not for peace and not for any of the regular excuses. We do all this to tip the scales in the internal struggle over the identity of the state of Israel: Will it be a Jewish state or the state of all its citizens?
Seems exaggerated? Please reread the quote from Pundak, an architect of Oslo.
If so, you may ask this: Why does the Likud continue to lead this process? The answer is that the Likud has not yet built a faith-based leadership alternative to the Left’s vision of a state of all its citizens. Because the Likud has not yet created a different horizon for Israeli mentality, it is necessarily dragged down the Oslo path, implementing, as always, the most extreme hallucinations of the radical Left.
About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and a member of Israel's Security and Defense Committee. He heads the Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership") faction of Israel's governing Likud party. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.
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