Moshe Ya’alon, former chief of Staff, gets it. Would that the leaders of the West (including Olmert) did.
Ya’alon: Land for peace concept failed
Etgar Lefkovits, THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 4, 2007
The concept of land for peace is a proven failure in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and any future withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank will create a ‘Hamastan’ there too, former Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Ya’alon said Wednesday.
The former military chief said that Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip and the creation of “the first Jihadist Arab entity” on Israel’s doorstep last month was “the last nail on the coffin” in a string of faulty conceptions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which have been the earmark of Israeli and Western policy for decades.
“The strengthening of Hamas after the Israeli pullout from Gaza and the Hamas takeover of Gaza necessitate a renewed examination of Israeli and international conceptions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which, to my mind, are no longer relevant,” Ya’alon said in an address organized by the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem research institute, on the ramifications of the Hamas takeover of Gaza.
In a succinct address which tore at the most basic premises of Middle East peacemaking, Ya’alon said that the faulty conceptions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict included the notions that the Palestinians wanted – or were able – to establish an independent state on the 1967 borders, that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the creation of two states on the 1967 borders, that land for peace should be the basis for any peace agreement, that peace would bring security, and that the key to stability in the Middle East was the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Also known as the Politically-Correct Paradigm (PCP).
He argued that the violent Palestinian rejection of the peace offer put forward to them at Camp David seven years ago, which would have awarded them with a Palestinian state on upwards of 95 percent of the West Bank, and the refusal of both Hamas and the more moderate Fatah to recognize the existence of a Jewish state, negated the very essence of Israeli and international policymaking on the conflict – that the Palestinians want an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel on the 1967 borders.
We should have all realized what the Palestinian leadership – Hamas and Fatah — were saying with the “no” of Camp David in the summer of 2000 and the violence of the “al Aksa Intifada” in the fall. But we didn’t want to recognize that the positive-sum logic of land for peace wouldn’t work. I remember at the height of the suicide bombing, I noted to a colleague that it was amazing how little outrage there was among progressives at such morally depraved behavior. “What choice do they have?” he answered without missing a beat. “What about Oslo?” I responded. “Oh, yeah, there was Oslo…”
“We are talking about [a Palestinian Authority which is] a gang authority and not a political authority,” he said.
Ya’alon said that stabilization in the region did not hinge on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as many Western leaders argue, but on the defeat of Islamic Jihadism, led by the Iranian regime.
“Not only will an Israeli concession not reduce the threat- it will increase it,” he said.
“Israeli concessions today will impede not only Israel’s interests and those of the West, but of moderate Arab regimes in the region,” he added.
To which we need to add Europe. A Israeli withdrawal from the territories, or an American withdrawal from Iraq will endanger Europeans above all. They are vulnerable, and their radicalized Muslim youth increasingly aggressive. Throwing Israel into the maw of Jihadi hatreds — which is the natural extension of current European policy (minus Sarkozy) — will only fan the consuming flames.
The former military chief, who is expected to be a future top contender in the political arena, said that Israel must treat the Hamas-run Gaza Strip as an “enemy entity,” and should “disengage” from being the provider of water, electricity, and goods to the volatile coastal strip where 1.4 million Palestinians live.
At the same time, he opined that Israel should give the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority in the West Bank a chance to establish autonomy, while Israel would be in charge of security in the area.
Ya’alon said that any IDF pullout from the West Bank would lead to the creation of a Hamastan there, which, he said, would threaten both Israel and Jordan.
He added that he opposed the stationing of Jordanian – or any foreign – troops in the West Bank, calling it a fruitless idea that has been ineffective in the past.
Ya’alon’s tenure as Israel’s top military officer from 2002-2005 was marked by both a successful military crackdown on Palestinian terrorism, and his very overt falling out with then prime minister Ariel Sharon over his opposition to the premier’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
I personally don’t think Fatah is a good bet. What else can Israel do? Ironically, it’s the outsiders who can play a key role here: insist on dismantling the teaching of hatred, insist on shutting down the terror attacks in the West Bank, and then the Israelis can slowly loosen their headlock.
But that would take will. Maybe Sarkozy has that kind of vision and determination.
There’s still a huge amount we can do, if only we start challenging the Arabs and Muslims on the terrain of values. They have no right to demand what they do; and we have the right to demand a great deal more than we do. And we should do it.