I read with sadness the latest article by the editor of The Times of Israel, David Horovitz (“Netanyahu’s annexation bid is bad for Israel. Our ally the US should just say no”, June 22, 2020). David Horovitz knows that the Palestinian leadership, neither in the past nor in the present, has never been genuinely interested in making peace with the Jewish State. In David Horovitz’s own words: “… [For the foreseeable future] the Palestinians will continue with their intransigence and will not want a deal on any terms Israel could accept” (Times of Israel, January 29, 2020)
But instead of suggesting a way out from the many-years impasse he proposes a de-facto continuation of a fictional status-quo in Judea and Samaria (also known as the West Bank), with a long list of noes and potential negative effects if the Israeli government dares implement the peace initiative put forward by the Trump administration.
Instead of insisting on a 1967 Khartoum resolution style approach (“no, no, no”) I would recommend to all those who are not satisfied with the present Israeli government (that I should remind them it is a legitimate clear majority coalition government that emerged from the last elections) to come instead with a set of positive suggestions and responses to the US peace initiative. And here I put forward one: Any change from the 1949 armistice borders in the West Bank to permanent international borders recognized by the US should preserve the democratic principles of the Jewish State. This includes Israeli citizenship and the right to vote of every Arab resident within the new borders.
Respect and strict adherence to this equality principle will go a long way towards assuring the future bipartisan support in the US from both Democrats and Republicans, and across different administrations.
Needless to say, any ill-thought-out Israeli step to apply sovereignty to sections of the West Bank without really expecting and seeking the recognition of the new borders by the present US administration will be a hollow step, perhaps good for internal Israeli politics but really bad for Israel in the international arena.
Trump’s peace initiative provides a unique opportunity for Israel to achieve defensible and permanent international borders recognized by the US. A demilitarized Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, as a separate state or, preferably, in a confederation or single state with Jordan, will be possible when the Palestinians will be ready to live in peace with the Jewish State of Israel. Till then, Israel will be able to move on and thrive as a Jewish and Democratic State, within internationally recognized borders, maintaining a resilient, strong and moral society.