Wednesday, September 13, 2006

There Is No One To Talk To

It all depends how the dialogue starts. If we begin in the standard way, we will fight forever. The standard way goes like this:

Israel lives in the Middle East. In the Middle East they understand only force. The proof the Arabs understand only force is there is no one to talk to. There is no one to talk to because the Palestinians have no interest in negotiating a settlement, and because the ones you could have talked to have all been killed or muted by their radicals. Hamas and Hezbollah are our enemies. All they want is to kill us and drive us into the sea. The only way to respond to a group who is only interested in killing us is by killing them first or by killing a sufficient number so that they will be afraid to start any hostile activities. If the Palestinians keep on fighting it is because we have not used sufficient force. What can’t be achieved by force will be achieved by more force. If after all these wars the situation with the Palestinians continues to deteriorate it is because we have been much too gentle and much too kind. It indicates we must get tougher and apply harsher measures, because in the Middle East they understand only force…


There is an alternative way to start the thinking process: If Israel had signed a peace treaty with Syria and returned the Golan we would also have peace with Lebanon. It would also have isolated Iran. We didn’t sign a peace treaty with Syria for one reason. We wanted to keep the Golan.

Avi Dichter, a former head of the Shin Bet security service and a cabinet member from Kadima recently said, "In return for a true peace with Syria or with Lebanon, I think that what we did with Egypt and with Jordan is legitimate here as well." Dichter said that meant a return of the Golan in return for a full peace with Syria. A Syrian legislator Suleiman Haddad said “If Israel really wants peace with Syria it has to endorse openly the land-for-peace principle. Then there would be no problem." Olmert said in response to Dichter "When Syria stops support for terror, when it stops giving missiles to terror organizations, then we will be happy to negotiate with them." Olmert called Syria the "single most aggressive member of the axis of evil." "I am the last person who will say I want to negotiate with Syria." There have been no hostilities with Syria for 30 years. I assume Syria will support terrorists until the negotiations with Israel are concluded. If we won’t start talking until they stop supporting Hezbollah we will never negotiate. We can keep the Golan indefinitely, but we are then back to the ‘’there is no one to talk to’’ and a Lebanese War every couple of years.

We occupy the West Bank for one reason. We want to maintain the settlements. Without an occupation the Palestinian resistance would be significantly diminished. The reason the Palestinians in Gaza continue to fight, even though we just evacuated the settlements in Gaza, is that the West Bank and Gaza are considered by them and the whole world to be one unit that will in time be the Palestinian state. Although Gaza has been returned, the occupation of the West Bank continues. The kassam rockets come from Gaza and not the West Bank because Israel occupies the West Bank and the Palestinians lack the ability to produce and fire these weapons while being occupied.

It took 3- 4 men a couple of hours to go to war. It takes forever to restart negotiations. Why? The honest answer in my opinion is this: Israel is not going back to the 1967 border because it wants to retain the settlements and the Golan. Given Israel’s decision and the refusal of the Palestinians and Syrians to accept this outcome, there is no one to talk to. The Palestinians and Syrians also can and do say with some justification ‘’There is no one to talk to. The Israelis will never give up the Golan and the occupation.”

I understand that most everyone has a strong opinion on this topic. I also recognize that those who favor negotiations are in the minority. As I understand the position of the majority it is better to retain the West Bank and fight in perpetuity than to compromise and negotiate an agreement, because even if they were willing for a moment to think of a two state solution there is no one to talk to…. So the whole idea of negotiations can be pushed aside. We keep on wondering why most of the world is so anti-Semitic, why life is so uncertain, why we must continue to fight.

Since 1967 Israel has refused to say in advance what it will accept as its borders in a final settlement, because why should they, there is no one to talk to. I would say there is always someone to talk to….announce you are willing to return to the 1967 borders with appropriate adjustments and appeal directly to the Palestinian people to negotiate. Sit back and see what happens. If nothing happens, go to sleep, get up the next morning and try again. I fail to see how there can be a bad time to talk of peace. We have had 14,000 days since the occupation to make a deal. Was there never anyone to talk to?

Israel might try acknowledging they made some mistakes in the occupation. The mere acknowledgement of errors would go a long way to dampen the rage of the Palestinians. They are angry because of what has happened to them since 1947, but raging because no one acknowledges their grievance. Israel cannot possibly satisfy all their demands. It can acknowledge they are hurting. It costs Israel nothing.

2 Comments:

At 11:48 AM, Blogger LitaLives said...

Following your logic from yesterday’s comment, I don’t understand why you insist on insulting me.
Since I disagreed with you, you feel I insulted you.
I most certainly did not; and if you took it as an insult I ask mechila in the spirit of the Yomin Noraim Habaim Aleinu Latova.
In any event, as you can imagine I totally disagree with today’s posting too & therefore assume you’re doing it just to insult me.
I, however, without any underlying cynicism, do truly wish you and yours a K’siva V’Chasima Tova.
I appreciate that better a Jew who is worried about Klal Yisrael (even if his solutions are not realistic) than a Jew who couldn’t give a damn.

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger evanstonjew said...

Au contraire.It is I who must ask you mechila. In rereading your comment I now recognize I misread what you were saying. You are quite right you most certainly did not insult me.I must be totally assimilated having lived in a non-Jewish environment for so long, but in my medina 'You, however, who does not have a brain the size of a pea, are simply living in another world' does not mean I have a brain larger than a pea. It means I have a brain smaller than a pea. In truth you were presenting a kal vachomer of sorts,i.e. you expect more of me, etc.. My misreading what you meant is a sign of how low I have fallen, I am now mishearing yiddishisms. As penance I will now stay up nights worrying about your blood pressure when I discuss one of your favorite groups, the neturei karta.

To repeat, please feel free to offer any substantive criticisms. I do not consifder any criticism of what I wrote, however strongly expressed to be insulting of me. Torah hee vlilmod ani tzarich,etc.

 

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