Sunday, May 10, 2020

Making it clear that their fantasies about destroying Israel altogether, is never going to happen - by Jonathan S. Tobin

Anything that signals to the Palestinians that it’s time for them to give up their fantasies of destroying the Jewish state and acknowledging its “victory” is a good idea. Rather than a “self-indulgence that will bolster the Palestinian cause,” the move on the settlements will make it clear to the Palestinians that time is not on their side. Extending Israeli law into the settlements with the support of the United States tells Palestinians that their dreams of a return to the 1967 lines, like their fantasies about destroying Israel altogether, is never going to happen.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
08 May '20..

Just how far can Israel go to assert its rights over disputed territory without doing genuine harm to its vital interests? That’s a debate that has divided Israelis since June 1967 when in the course of a defensive war it came into possession of the lands of what the Kingdom of Jordan called the West Bank, and Jewish tradition calls Judea and Samaria.

The arguments about whether Israel should have created Jewish communities in both the West Bank and the parts of Jerusalem that were illegally occupied by Jordan between 1948 and 1967 are now moot. The Jewish state’s enemies don’t recognize the historical, religious and legal arguments that Israel rightly points to as allowing Jews to settle in the heart of its ancient homeland. But the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected such offers, including those that would have given them an independent state provided that they were willing to end their century-long war on Zionism. Had they accepted any one of them over the course of the last 20 years, discussion about the settlements would not even be on the table.

So in the absence of a Palestinian desire to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders are drawn, Israel has three choices.

It can repeat Ariel Sharon’s 2005 disastrous experiment in Gaza, where he withdrew every soldier, settler and settlement, and pull back as an unsympathetic international community demands to the 1967 lines and let the Palestinians create whatever kind of lethal terrorist state they wanted in the West Bank and reap the bloody consequences of such folly.

The second option is to accept the status quo and wait, as Israel has been for the last 50 years, for the Palestinians to come to their senses and negotiate an end to the conflict. That’s the policy that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has followed until now as he tried to manage a conflict that cannot be solved, though doing so hasn’t won him applause from his country’s critics.

The third option is for Israel to annex some, most or even all of the settlements by applying Israeli law in the territories as laid out in the Trump administration’s peace plan unveiled earlier this year.

For supporters of the settlements, the need to act now—while the most pro-Israel administration in history is still in office—is imperative. If Israel waits, a possible change in power in Washington next January will end a historical opportunity to put facts on the ground that, like every other achievement in Zionist history, will endure whether the Jewish state’s foes like it or not.

(Read Full Column)

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