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Myths & Facts about the Peace Process

Myths & Facts about the Peace Process

 
 

 

Myths and Facts of the Peace Process

Israel offered the Palestinians everything and they repeatedly refused

Barak and Olmert offered the Palestinians realistic proposals only when they were already on their way out of office. It's true that Ehud Barak's proposal in Camp David did go further than any previous Israeli proposal, but it was far from anything the Palestinians could viably accept. Olmert's proposal was submitted at the end of his term when it was clear his resignation as Prime Minister would occur in a matter of days. The Palestinians did indeed propose ideas that were very close to the Israeli ones. All that is left to do is to bridge the gaps between the two sides, which remain quite small.

Withdrawal from the Territories led to terror

Leaving Gaza was a unilateral action, in spite of President Abbas's warnings that such a move would strengthen Hamas and his plead to do it in the context of an agreement. Many forget that missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip when the IDF was present, in addition to attacks against settlers who were once living there. In the West Bank, there is an authority focused on preventing violence and terrorism, which also includes successful cooperation with the Israeli security establishment. The Palestinian Authority has already demonstrated its ability to maintain security in recent years, despite warnings of increased terrorism that would result from Israel leaving cities such as Jenin and Nablus, and the removal of dozens of checkpoints. The security cooperation that exists will only be strengthened by an agreement. The security situation will be defined by the relations between the parties, and not how much land each controls.

It's impossible to reach an agreement due to lack of stability in the Arab World

Reaching an agreement with the Palestinians will only contribute to improving relations with the Arab world. New leaderships in neighbouring Arab counties will have to be more accountable to public opinion, which itself is very attentive to the Palestinian issue. The argument that instability does not allow us to reach an agreement is just an excuse by those who do not want to give up land. Moreover, the Arab League every year has reaffirmed their commitment to the Arab peace initiative from 2002, which Israel has yet to formally respond to.

It's impossible to evacuate settlements

History actually proves otherwise - dozens settlements were evacuated in Sinai, the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank. A future agreement with the Palestinians would likely envision a 75% majority of Israelis living beyond the Green Line to remain in their homes and under Israeli sovereignty. Moreover, many of the evacuees will leave voluntarily in exchange for compensation or vacate under protest. In the end, there will only remain a small group of ideological settlers, who may violently confront the evacuation, but they should not be given the veto power to dictate Israel's future.

There is no partner

For years, Israel has hoped for a Palestinian leadership that would oppose terrorism, ensure security, concentrate on building future state institutions, and recognize the State of Israel in secure borders. President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad have been doing exactly that for a number of years. According to opinion polls conducted among Palestinians, most support an agreement on the basis of two-states and will legitimize it in a referendum or elections. Only a real chance of a permanent status agreement will put Hamas leadership to a test. If we don't take advantage of the current partner we have today, we will likely miss him for years to come.

Not now, maybe later

The status quo will not last forever. The relative security calm and the current moderate Palestinian leadership have an expiration date. Meanwhile, settlements continue to expand into areas of what should be a future Palestinian state and thus reduce the window of opportunity for the two-state solution. The demographic threat is fast approaching and by 2015 there is expected to be equal numbers of Jews and Arabs between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. Those who oppose ideas based on two-states - like the Geneva Initiative - have no real alternative solutions. By creating excuses for not reaching an agreement, people are essentially posing an existential threat to the Zionist enterprise. The only way to stop the one-state that is already on the way, and ensure the future of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, is to divide the land and reach an agreement with the Palestinians.

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