The Down Payment on Diplomatic Deadlock is...

The Down Payment on Diplomatic Deadlock is Due Now

by Israela Oron, Walla News

11.11.14
 
What was Netanyhau thinking? That the Palestinians would watch the settlements being built around them and would sit on their hands in the dark? Those who relate to the occupation as 'shrapnel in the buttocks'1 are now being shown how much pain it can create.
 
It feels strange to warn, over and over again, about the catastrophe which will occur due to the lack of logic displayed by our leaders -- and to then be miserable when you are proved correct. That said, when time after time our leadership ignores the connection between deadlocked negotiations combined with relentless provocation of Palestinians and violent developments, there is no choice but to sound the warning again.
 
While Israel's Prime Minister is supposedly committed to the idea of two states, during the current government's term Jewish construction continues outside the settlement blocks and within the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Government Ministers declare their intention to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. In parallel, our leaders feign ignorance and claim to not understand where all the froth is coming from.  The shock that has gripped our leaders at the renewed violence in the West Bank is surprising given their arrogance and contempt for the Palestinian restraint to date and the Palestinian capability to respond now.
 
Perhaps, our leaders naively presumed that the Palestinians would not notice that Israel was building all around them, choking off their communities. Or, that if the Palestinians noticed, they would make do with sitting in the darkness and crying, without doing anything to change the situation. Much ink has been spilled on the price that Israel will pay for these actions, and now the time has come for the down payment.
 
The Operation in Gaza and the recent events in Jerusalem show that we cannot 'treat' the Palestinians as if they were shrapnel in the buttocks, a phrase coined by Naftali Bennett. It is apparent that this shrapnel, if it wants to, can disrupt our way of life, cause injuries, severely damage our economy, and drive a deterioration in our relations with the international community. While the Palestinians are taking the initiative, our default option is to keep quiet or, at best, use an "appropriate Zionist response"2 which has no connection to Zionism.
 
Meanwhile, our leaders test the patience of our most important friend, the United States, to its outer limit. They place our Jordanian and Egyptian allies in an impossible situation in relation to public opinion in their countries. Yet, our leaders hope that these allies will assist us in promoting a regional initiative and in cooperating against ISIS.
 
At the same time, the Palestinian Authority engages in close security cooperation with Israel and continues its strategic line of opposition to violence. But how long can this policy continue without any change or progress in the peace process? When they can no longer maintain the relative quiet, our leaders will no doubt roll their eyes towards heaven and mutter in despair: We knew that there was no one to talk to, the Palestinians only understand force.
 
The Israeli government is prepared to talk with Hamas, even directly, and not via the Palestinian reconciliation government.  However, when even more extreme organizations take control of the area (and this is a realistic scenario if there is no diplomatic progress), Israel may well have to talk to Hamas as the more moderate organization: Just like when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas 'changed' from being an extreme figure for Israel's leadership to an agreeable one during Operation Protective Edge, when Israel needed him to mediate with Hamas. 
 
Like a broken record, current and former senior figures in the security establishment have warned that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be solved by a peace agreement. Unless of course, you prefer war.
 
1 A term coined by Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett to indicate something slightly painful that can be lived with
2 Israel's housing and construction minister recently called for more settlement building as an "appropriate Zionist response" to Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis.