With the elections so close and with it all the rhetoric on how the chance of peace for Israel is slipping away with the expected upcoming right wing government, I thought it about time to revisit what peace is.
Peace is reliant on the feeling of security between nations. The most concerning security for the civilian is almost always due to neighboring or homegrown threats. These are the most important to a state because of their affect on day to day living within the state. Anytime that day to day living is unaffected by conflict we call it (relatively) “a time of peace.”
There are three general forms of peace we can learn from Israel. These are ‘Peace of Mind’, ‘Peace Through Unspoken Agreement’, and ‘Peace Through Oral Agreement’. They each confer a certain level of security.
The first level is ‘Peace of Mind.’ This level is one that Israel has had to perfect to a level of an art form over its 65 years of existence. During ‘Peace of Mind’ the country in question is in constant conflict, but military operations reduce the clashes to the point where it’s effect is minimal. When this happens, day to day living by the civilians is good with an occasional attack– the equivalent of ‘background noise’– that barely makes a dent in the civilian lives. This is the current situation in Gaza and the south.
The second level is that of ‘Peace Through Unspoken Agreement.’ This situation is much better than the first level since attacks are really at a minimum. This includes some level of cooperation between the two sides granting a level of security where day to day living is not only good, but flourishing. We can look to Judea and Samaria to see its effect.
The third level is really split in two:
The former is an agreement of ‘clash-free time.’ This is the type of agreement that still stands with Egypt and Jordan. Belligerence still exists from (at least) one side, but the hostilities remain domestic. There merely remains a question of how long such an agreement can last. In terms of the peace itself, it is only slightly better than the unspoken agreement because any slight change is reason for concern. It is, however, far more stable than that of the unspoken agreement.
The second of the “Peace Through Oral Agreement’ is a true non-belligerence agreement. Free trade is open between the countries, and the culture and businesses move freely between countries. In such a situation, the conflicts that arise take the form of civil suits between businesses in the various countries and backdoor political dealings. This is the type of agreement Israel has with the Western world and Asian/African countries that are largely non-Muslim. It was expected that the Peace Process, begun in Oslo, would take this form.
Unfortunately, though, the ‘Peace Process’ not only didn’t take the form of any of the “Peace Through Oral” agreement types, the whole process backfired, producing a time where there was less security, and thereby no peace, for Israel.
Israel was thus forced to implement the first form of peace, that of ‘Peace of Mind.’ That form of peace slowly grew into that of ‘Peace Through Unspoken Agreement’ with the PA and only increased during Abbas’ reign.
Until recently that is. With Abbas’ unilateral moves in the UNGA, either unwittingly or with full hopes, he created a situation ripe for the creation of a third intifada. His recent decisions to try and ally for a time with Hamas only shows how he intends to stoke this uprising (forget the ongoing incitement from within the PA since that has never stopped). If he succeeds in this, he will return the situation to “Peace of Mind” for Israel. This will hurt the Palestinians far more than it will hurt Israel since it is within Israel that the economic growth is best.