vrijdag 17 december 2010

Can Israel Turn Enemies into Peacemakers?


The State of Israel was built not by whiners but by Jews for whom no miracle was impossible – whether that meant defending against an Arab invasion or turning a desert into lush fields of agriculture. This can-do attitude has been the life force behind Israel’s military success as well as its economic and cultural renaissance. There is one area, however, where Israel’s can-do attitude has been a big failure, and that is in making peace with the Palestinians.

With making peace, it’s far from clear whether Israel has a product the Palestinians want to buy. Israel has been under enormous pressure over the years, internally and externally, to “do something” to bring peace. Israel has been too embarrassed to admit that “we can’t solve this one,” that the parties are too far apart, that peace, no matter how desirable, is simply not in the cards at the moment. What if there is nothing Israel can offer the Palestinians to get them to accept and deliver a durable peace with a Jewish state? What if the truth is that Israel can evacuate 300,000 Jews from the West Bank tomorrow and give up half of Jerusalem and that this would still not bring peace – and might even bring more war?

The Palestinian demand for a “right of return” is a deal-killer. So is a return to nondefensible borders, and so is the presence of a terrorist state in Gaza. The fact that peace is immensely desirable has nothing to do with the reality that it is immensely unobtainable. If anything, the more Israel has shown its desire, the more the price has gone up. The Palestinians have said “no” to every peace offer Israel has ever put on the table. The status quo may be untenable, but a fake peace process makes it even worse. Israel should fess up that it doesn’t have the power to turn enemies into peacemakers.

(David Suissa - Los Angeles Jewish Journal)