Time to declare

From the outside, it seems strange that Israel does not declare its position and then act on it. If an agreed negotiated position could be achieved, it would have happened 15 years ago. Camp David and Taba to Arafat in 1999 and 2000, Olmert’s proposal to Abbas in 2008, Kerry’s recent entreaties to Abbas all tell the same story, namely, that the Palestinian leadership has no intention of agreeing to an end of claims regardless of the proposals made to it. That leadership makes no public response to those proposals except silence meaning “give me more”. It is reported that in April of this year, President Obama was unable to secure a proposal from Abbas.

Israel has responded to this silence by accepting the horrible status quo of no agreement and waiting for the phone call from the Palestinian Authority. That is, Israel, the vastly more powerful, is the supplicant to the PA that itself derives what power it has from the international press, a press that Israel itself hosts. This is upside down, as upside down as Dayan’s gift of de facto control of the Temple Mount to the Wakf, and of Rabin’s permitting the return of Arafat to the territories accompanied by thousands of soldiers.

Some 48 years, 1 1/2 generations, have elapsed since the victory in June 1967 without an agreement. During this time Israel has become weak diplomatically while the PA has gained in power. UN Resolution 242, the only signed document resulting from the victory, itself has been corrupted as its call for secure boundaries has been altered in the public mind to mean the 1948 borders.

Looking at the increasing volume of anti-Israel propaganda, now not confined to the Arab world but pouring out from Europe, the Universities, the liberal press, and the Jew-haters, it seems unreal to think that a voluntary agreement between Israel and the PA will be reached in the current and next generation. As is true of the stock market and horse races, hope is not a basis for action.

Israel no doubt has weighed and knows its positions on the several outstanding issues for an agreement, i.e., borders, resource allocations, armaments, and immigration. Israel should declare them unilaterally and act. It should enforce this with whatever might is needed which is what it is doing now anyhow. The PA, Europe, the UN, and sectors in the US will scream but they cannot scream much harder than they are screaming now. Because the Israeli solution is likely to be close to what everyone understands will happen in any event, after a while, everyone will get used to it and stop the screaming.  It is likely that even the PA will be secretly grateful to be spared the ignominy of having to sign an agreement with Israel.

A generation is waiting.

About the Author
Arnold L. Flick was born 1930 of secular, Zionist, Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. He has followed events in Israel since age seven when he first solicited for the “Jews of Palestine” on the streets of Los Angeles as a young member of Habonim. He was in Israel for four months 1990-91 and for two months 2002. He is active in the House of Israel Balboa park, a non-profit museum in Balboa Park, San Diego, that provides information about Israel to its 15,000 annual visitors.
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