As is now clear, the United Nations will vote in September (for the second time–the first being in 1948) to create ‘Palestine’. Once again, for what seems the millionth time, Israel is under the gun to come up with a new peace plan. To put it a different way, Israel is being asked to concede even more to the Palestinians while getting nothing in return. When you stop and think about it, can you name even one concession that the Palestinians have EVER made for peace?
And President Obama is at it again. With the Arab world seething in revolt in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria (15 more demonstrators shot and killed this morning), Jordan, Bahrain, Libya, Saudi Arabia, etc., etc., Obama is devoting his time to devising a new peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Amazing. The news for the last few days is that Obama’s plan will call for (among other things) division of Jerusalem into two capitals and Palestinian recognition of no right of return. All I can say is . . “Sure” . . on both counts. The Palestinians have already announced this morning in regard to the Obama plan-to-be that they will “never” give up on the right to return, and the Israeli government (at least any government under Netanyahu) will thankfully never agree to a redivided Jerusalem.
Not surprisingly though, Shimon Peres is weighing in again today–this time in response to Obama’s plan-to-be: “If we don’t want others to plan for us, we should do it ourselves.”
So what can Israel do? Actually nothing. What do the Palestinians have to gain by negotiating–when they are getting everything they want by not negotiating? What everybody knows, but no one wants to admit, is the simplest of all truths: the Palestinians will never be satisfied until there is no Israel. So anything I suggest below is merely suggested to steal a little thunder from the Palestinians–it will most assuredly not bring peace.
Consider what has already been happening. The Israeli government has been steadily repositioning IDF troops for the last few years toward the Jordan River to the east and to the modified 1967 border to the west. Successive Israeli governments have consistently been talking about a land exchange with the Palestinians for the percentage of land housing those Jewish communities which are over the Green Line.
So I suggest the following offensive–starting with Netanyahu’s speech before the U.S. Congress:
1. Declare Palestinian independence for the Palestinians. (What’s to lose? A bargaining position? When the Palestinians declare independence in September, Israel will get nothing in return anyway. And either way, the world would be treated to all of the Israeli leftists dancing in the streets of Tel Aviv).
2. Unilaterally draw the lines of the Palestinian state to include the Jewish communities in Israel and the area along the Jordan. Delineate the area in Israel to be exchanged. (Remember, Israel has already agreed to this on numerous occasions–and the Palestinians will not agree to it anyway).
3. Declare once and for all that no ‘refugees’ will ever be returned to Israel. (But at the same time, make a dramatic gesture. Open the Allenby Bridge for a limited time period so that (under Israel control) whatever refugees want to leave Lebanon and Jordan can move to the West Bank. In other words, swamp the West Bank with ‘refugees’. Let’s see how much the so-called refugees want to return to ‘Palestine’–probably very much, and how much ‘Palestine’ actually wants them to return–probably not at all. Remember that the Palestinians have kept some of their fellow Palestinians confined to refugee camps on the West Bank for over 40 years).
4. Declare once and for all that Palestine will be “demilitarized”.
5. Declare once and for all that Jerusalem will never be divided.
Finally, the obvious point is to concede things to the Palestinians without making concessions. As Orwellian as that sounds, it is the secret to negotiations. Sometimes, giving people more than they want is worse than giving them what they want.