Emanuel Shahaf

Everybody happy now?

Brooding over what could have been if peace talks had not collapsed. Again

One can almost hear the collective sigh of relief — it’s over, the negotiations are over, it’s done for, no agreement. Once again we have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. We can go home now, sit around the campfire, tell each other how we weren’t suckers, how we didn’t fall for Abu Mazen’s play for the prisoners. We weren’t going to believe his ruse anyway.

Once again our combined tough negotiating tactics, our relentless efforts to alleviate the country’s housing problems by building in the territories, our inability to realize that we hold all the cards and the other side only has a seat at the table, all have worked in wonderful confluence — yes, we are safe. Nothing is going to happen.

We won’t have to worry about how to move 120,000 settlers to new housing inside Israel. We won’t have to worry about paying for all that because nobody else will. We won’t have to worry where the Palestinians that were allowed back into Israel as part of the agreement are going to settle and how they will get along with the local Arab population.

We also won’t have to worry about where to locate our embassy in Saudi Arabia or how we will be able to accommodate the millions of tourists who want to come to visit Jerusalem from Muslim countries. We won’t have to worry about Arabic studies in high school, which will be necessary for real now because so much more of our trade will be with Arab countries. We won’t have to worry about hiring all the extra workers who would have to make all the extra equipment we could be selling in Algeria, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and you know where else.

We won’t have to worry about dismantling armored brigades of the IDF because we wouldn’t need them anymore. We won’t have to worry about what to do with all the youngsters who will be looking for jobs because military service will be only two years. We won’t have to consider what to do with all the money after the defense budget has finally been cut. We won’t have to worry about finding jobs for all the security personnel who will not be necessary any more. And we won’t have to worry who will represent Israel at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony where John Kerry would have gotten what’s due to him.

I think everybody can understand how lucky we were having avoided facing all these new challenges and then some. What a stroke of luck it was that we didn’t go through with this. How happy we all should be now that we can go back to do what we do best. How good it is to know, once again, that the Palestinians aren’t partners, and that we are so proficient at defending ourselves against rocket attacks from the Gaza strip with our wonderful technology.

Isn’t it a great feeling to say to our friends: “I told you so”? Good to be back to normal again. Peace would have been so much more stressful.

About the Author
The author served in the Prime Minister’s Office as a member of the intelligence community, is Vice Chairman of the Israel-Indonesia Chamber of Commerce, Vice-Chairman of the Israeli-German Society (IDG), Co-Chair of the Federation Movement (, member of the council at and author of "Identity: The Quest for Israel's Future".