The breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and Mahmoud Abbas’s formal application to numerous United Nations organizations to gain de facto Palestinian statehood is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s golden opportunity. He can continue his “whose fault is the breakdown of talks” strategy – in other words, Zionism’s rearguard war – and pay outrageous prices for the fact that a dialogue is taking place. Or he can emerge from his defensive strategy and go on the offensive. He can go from reacting to taking the initiative, from stammering to making clear statements, from making excuses to executing justice.
The Rabin-Arafat handshake – and later, the Netanyahu-Arafat handshake – caged Israeli mentality in the Oslo concept. Twenty years have passed since we adopted the “justice” of the Palestinian cause, surrendering our own in the process. The result is international pressure that erodes all of the moral, sovereign and security achievements of Zionism.
Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian nation and its rights to our heartland turned Zionism into colonialism and the State of Israel into a state founded in sin. Oslo laid Zionism bare of its moral expression. Twenty years later we are no longer the good guys, the ingathering of exiles mandated to make the desert bloom. In the eyes of the international community, we have become the new Nazis.
Israel’s willingness to retreat from parts of its land, to freeze construction in Jerusalem, and to transfer the Temple Mount to Jordanian rule, and much more, have dealt a severe blow to Israel’s sovereign achievements. Since Oslo, Israel is less and less a sovereign nation. Before Oslo, Israel’s position ensured that the U.S. would not recognize the PLO. Today, Israel recognizes the PLO, but the PLO does not recognize Israel – but still merits American backing. Instead of demanding an apology from Turkey for the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, Israel apologizes and reimburses Turkey. Israel’s loss of sovereignty is also closely linked to the rise of the underworld in Israel. Where government is weak, the Bedouin law rules the Negev and gangster law rules Israel’s cities.
Most severe of all is the security damage brought about by the Oslo Accords. It is not only the narrow dimension of our technical ability to defend ourselves, namely due to the thousands of Israeli terror victims and the rocket attacks on Sderot and Tel Aviv. It is also the deeper dimension of the loss of legitimacy for Jewish existence. Israel’s willingness to free convicted murderers has returned the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified. First, the murderers were freed for the sake of “peace.” Today, they are being freed for the privilege of talking with their leaders. For when you have agreed that you are nothing more than a colonialist in their land, you need a peace process to justify your continued occupancy of both Beit El and Tel Aviv.
There is no real moral difference between the conquest of 1948 and the conquest of 1967. If Beit El belongs to the Palestinians, then so does Jaffa. After all, everybody knows that both places are part of one country. The loss of our sense of justice brings about the terrorist release, and the terrorist release brings about the loss of our existential legitimacy. When we see how the Jews release the murderers of women and children (including infants), we no longer ask how the world remained silent as the transports traveled east.
Netanyahu now has a golden opportunity to turn all of this around. By turning to the UN, Abbas has announced the end of the Oslo Accords. Israel has already said that this would bring about the nullification of those accords. Netanyahu must announce that the Oslo Accords are null and void. He must declare full Israeli sovereignty over all the territory under IDF control and afford the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria permanent resident status. Those Arabs who prove their loyalty to Israel may be offered a future option for citizenship. This is the same option that Israel gives the Arabs of East Jerusalem.