One of the many lessons that can be learned from the 2005 Gaza Disengagement is that the unthinkable can certainly happen. Thus, if thousands of Jews can forcibly be removed from their homes in Gaza, a move that multiplied the amount of Israeli citizens living under the threat of rocket attack from tens of thousands to nearly one million, then no one should have a false sense of security by believing that something similar can’t happen in Judea and Samaria. The sad truth is that it can, and given the current talks with the Arabs that Tzipi Livni is heading, this frightening scenario is rapidly materializing before our eyes.
Therefore, anyone who is concerned about the terrifying ramifications of yet another Arab state being established in the region, this time within spitball range of nearly every major Israeli industrial and population center, needs to get off of his lounge chair and act now. The writing is on the wall for anyone who cares to read it and the direction and intention of the current Prime Minister is clear.
For this reason, no one should sit back and wait for a referendum with the naïve belief that such a measure will somehow save us. Should we ever arrive at such a fateful day, it’s safe to assume that the “powers that be” will utilize all the resources at their disposal to assure that the referendum will merely be a tool for implementing what has already been decided upon. Of course it’s always possible that things might not go as planned and the results of the vote, assuming there will actually be one, could turn out to be a pleasant surprise. Whatever the case, one should not place too much hope in a referendum nor should one adopt a passive approach of simply waiting for the day to arrive. Rather, anyone who is troubled by the ongoing events needs to actively start doing what he can in order to help prevent the approaching nightmare from becoming a reality.
With this in mind, I would suggest that a concerted effort quickly be made in the following three areas:
1) Influencing the Key Players – When Ariel Sharon sought to shore up support for his Disengagement Plan, he correctly understood that the key person he needed on board was not a second-tier leader like Limor Livnat or a Likud “rebel” like Uzi Landau but rather the only person at the time who was truly capable of leading a successful revolt to stop him, the former Finance Minister and current Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu. This fact is important since the same lesson applies here. Although MKs such as Tzipi Hotovely and Yariv Levin are clearly opposed to the creation of an Arab state in Judea and Samaria and will undoubtedly do all that they can to prevent one from becoming a reality, unfortunately they are not the key players here. Rather, the people that Netanyahu needs to be sure are with him, and hence the ones that have the political weight to throw a wrench into his plans, are Silvan Shalom, Moshe Ya’alon, Gideon Sa’ar and Avigdor Liberman. These are the key people from Netanyahu’s perspective and hence the ones that need to be targeted – in person by political insiders or via email, phone and Facebook by the rest of us – and convinced of the political benefit that can be accrued by openly leading the opposition to Netanyahu’s plan to create a Palestinian state. Since time is limited the focus should be narrowed to influencing these MKs.
2) Clarifying the Threat and Broadening the Message – If the pullout of troops from Lebanon eventually brought missiles to Haifa and the removal of Jews from Gaza enabled missiles to reach Beersheva and Tel Aviv, then one does not have to be a military expert to realize what will happen if an Arab state is established in Judea and Samaria. Thus, although the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are currently on the chopping block, the consequences of an Arab state located between the Jordan River and Tel Aviv will affect the whole nation. Therefore we’re not talking about a localized “Judea and Samaria issue” but rather a much broader “Israeli issue”. Moreover, what’s at stake here is no less than the continued existence of the Jewish state. Hence, any campaign against ceding more land to the Arabs needs to resist the knee-jerk reaction of making this solely a Judea and Samaria issue, an approach doomed for failure since it will not resonate with most of the general public. Instead the focus needs to be on highlighting the real threat that an Arab state located minutes from Ben Gurion Airport will pose to the Jewish state and how agreeing to such a move is akin to national suicide. Only by broadening the message can the rest of the nation be brought on board.
3) Debunking the Propaganda – During the heyday of Oslo, anyone who opposed the reckless agreement with the PLO – one that included the arming of Arafat’s men and the relinquishing of Jewish land – was instantly labeled “an enemy of peace”. Although twenty years have proven that the assumptions of Oslo were terribly wrong and that the fears and predictions of those who opposed the accords were totally correct, the propaganda machine is still alive and kicking.
Case in point is a call to action that Yair Lapid recently wrote on his Facebook page, urging his supporters to prepare for a possible referendum by “getting out of their homes and working hard and being no less effective than those opposed to peace” (mitnagdei ha-shalom), a clear reference to the many sane people living in Israel who genuinely care about the future of their country and because of this concern are opposed to relinquishing land.
Therefore what is needed is an immediate campaign to once and for all put an end to this ridiculous allegation. In addition, with a potential referendum on the horizon, it’s important that the general public understands that the question is not about “peace” or whether or not one supports a supposed “peace agreement”, since terms such as Oslo, Wye, Road Map, Disengagement and Two-State Solution were never synonymous with “peace” or “peace process” but rather always were, and still are, different manifestations of the same flawed and risky political process.
This point needs to be driven home in a massive media, Facebook and poster campaign, something like the following:
Oslo/Two-State Solution ≠ Peace or Peace Process
Oslo/Two-State Solution = A Flawed & Risky Political Process
Of course I leave the graphics of such a campaign to those who are more skilled than me in this realm.