Just yesterday, the idea of an independent Palestinian Arab state in most of Judea and Samaria was denounced by the Jewish national camp as suicide for Israel. Yet today, many of the same voices on the Jewish right are loudly cheering for the “Deal of The Century” plan, which seeks to create an independent “State of Palestine” in 75-80% of Judea and Samaria.
According to the map provided in this new plan, the borders of “Palestine” will generally follow the pre-1967 armistice lines, or Green Line, which pro-Israel activists always said were “indefensible.” How many times have Jewish nationalists quoted famed liberal Israeli diplomat Abba Eban’s famous remark describing those lines as “Auschwitz lines” because they would leave Israel so extremely vulnerable?
The borders in the Deal Of The Century deviate from the 1967 lines by placing a narrow strip of territory in the Jordan Valley within Israel. However, that is “balanced” by giving the Palestinian Arabs tracts of territory within pre-1967 Israel, both in the Negev and in the central region known as the Triangle.
The map, which the plan includes, shows exactly where the borders of “Palestine” will be. Along the coast north of Tel Aviv, from Netanya all the way up to Haifa, Israel will once again be reduced to less than ten miles wide, as it was before the 1967 war.
Israel’s major cities and Ben Gurion Airport would be within easy rocket range of terrorists sitting on Palestine’s side of the border. Who honestly believes that the new Palestinian government will stamp out the terrorists? Does anybody remember the Oslo accords, which obligated the Palestinian Authority to outlaw and disarm all terrorists? Who enforced that? Who will enforce future Palestinian compliance?
Not only that, but the plan proposes to create a tunnel and railway linking Hamas-run Gaza to the Palestinian Authority-run territories. Remember how right-of-center Zionist organizations used to say that such territorial contiguity would endanger Israel’s security? They seem to have forgotten what they themselves were saying and writing just last week.
The tunnel and railway would slice across Israel’s middle and would connect and thereby significantly strengthen the potential military capacity of these two perennially hostile anti-Israel regimes. Hamas already takes advantage of every current opportunity to send terrorists from Gaza into Judea-Samaria, so just imagine what Hamas would do if it is given a highway and railway tunnel system through which it could send whatever it wants.
If Israel tried to interfere with Palestinian Arabs using that corridor, it would become the subject of severe international condemnation. The United Nations would almost surely threaten sanctions, as would the European Union. Under such pressure, Israel would hesitate to act—thus effectively tying its hands in the face of a terrorist buildup.
If Hamas starts sending camouflaged truckloads of missiles through the tunnel corridor, will American inspectors be on hand to intervene? Would the war-weary American public accept sending U.S. forces to such a tense region?
The Deal of the Century also compels Israel to refrain from Jewish construction in most of Judea-Samaria for the next four years, in order to give the Palestinian leadership time to think about the plan. So Israel is required to make concrete concessions, while the Palestinians are thinking things over.
Remember when the American Jewish right-wing groups would denounce the Obama administration for demanding a construction freeze? Remember how they said it was a “double standard” to freeze Jewish construction while permitting Arab construction? And how restrictions on Jews were said to be reminiscent of the British White Paper and even apartheid? Suddenly those dire warnings seem to have vanished.
Of course we’re all grateful that President Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, halted U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority, and repudiated the idea that Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria are illegal. But that does not mean we have to accept and praise every proposal the Trump administration makes concerning Israel.
The Deal Of The Century Plan creates a crisis of conscience for the American Jewish right. Which shall it be—principles or expedience? Consistency or hypocrisy? The leaders of some right-of-center groups are already accepting the idea of a Palestinian state in most of Judea-Samaria, and a construction freeze reminiscent of the White Paper. Leaders of other right-of-center groups are maintaining a disturbing silence.
I wonder if most members of these organizations agree with their leaders’ responses to the Deal Of The Century Plan. Are they really content to have their leaders suddenly abandon long-held positions, or to behave like Jews of Silence?