For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column
Unilateral concessions: The latent agenda for the April elections
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Despite claims to the contrary, the Palestinian-Arabs, territory and the fate of the Jewish settlements will permeate the agenda of the April elections, lurking below and hovering above all other issues.
Tags: IntoFray, #IntoFray #Israel #Arab #Peace #Security #Palestinian #TwoStates #Elections
It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):
ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/23429
ISRAEL NEWS TALK :
JEWISH PRESS: https://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/into-the-fray-martin-sherman/into-the-fray-unilateral-concessions-the-latent-agenda-for-aprils-elections/2019/02/10/
JEWS DOWN UNDER: https://jewsdownunder.com/2019/02/09/into-the-fray-unilateral-concessions-the-latent-agenda-for-the-april-elections/
Several short excerpts
“The major issue is not [attaining] an agreement, but ensuring the actual implementation of the agreement in practice. The number of agreements which the Arabs have violated is no less than number which they have kept’”. –Shimon Peres, Tomorrow is Now, Jerusalem: Keter, 1978, p. 255
Almost inevitably, elections in Israel revolve—one way or another—around one issue…even when everyone insists they don’t. This is the “Palestinian problem” and its unavoidable derivative, the fate of the Jewish communities across the Green Line.
Palestinian Problem: Hovering above, lurking below
Take for example the previous elections, in 2015, in which there was widespread consensus among pundits that the conflict with the Palestinian-Arabs was largely a non-issue…However, despite this apparent marginalization of the Palestinian issue, in broad brush strokes, the parties left in opposition—arguably, with the perverse exception of Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu—all embraced, as matter of political preference, the idea of territorial withdrawal and Palestinian statehood…By contrast, all the parties, who comprised the coalition, were parties with a political aversion to territorial withdrawal and the prospect of a Palestinian state…
The underlying bone of contention
Moreover, even the dissolution of the previous coalition, that precipitated the 2015 election, took place over a dispute between Netanyahu and two proponents of “two-states” in his government, Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid….Although several other reasons were cited for the breakup, they were all in the final analysis, an upshot of inherent differences over the underlying bone of contention, the Palestinian issue—and the eagerness of Livni and Lapid to push for “separation” from the Palestinians—i.e. to concede territory for a self-governing Palestinian entity.
“The Palestinians, peace talks, & settlements seem irrelevant…”
A similar situation might well be emerging in the run up to the 2019 April election, in which the Palestinian issue is widely considered, at best, marginal to the competing factions.
Reflecting this view, the Jerusalem Post wrote in a recent piece headlined, “Does Peace With The Palestinians Matter This Israeli Election?”: The Palestinians, peace talks, and settlements seem to be almost entirely irrelevant to this election season”.
However, this may prove to be as deceptive as it was in the past. For indeed, as in past, the real divide between the rivalrous political alignments in the parliament is still likely to be shaped by the differing attitudes of the various factions to the Palestinian-Arabs, the territories in Judea-Samaria… rather than by differences on any other issues such as education, transport or health services.
Ominously reminiscent ring
In this regard there appear, to be much room for concern regarding Gantz’s political predilections.
For after soon breaking his long—and exasperating—silence, he has come out with public statements in which he used language disturbingly reminiscent of a “plan” (for want of a better word) being aggressively promoted by two copiously funded civil society organizations: the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and Commanders for Israel’s Security (CIS)…
In a recent interview on the widely viewed Hebrew site, Ynet, Gantz made remarks that eerily echoed the “rationale” of the INSS-CIS “plan” and which were widely interpreted as being favorable to the 2005 Gaza disengagement—and as endorsing the implementation of additional unilateral measures, involving withdrawal and evacuation of Jewish communities…
Indeed, a later clarification, after the interview, from his party that “under a Gantz government there not will be any unilateral measures regarding evacuation of settlements” is hardly reassuring. After all, while the INSS-CIS plan does not call for the unilateral evacuation of settlements, it does recommend stifling and strangling them, until they wither away and are abandoned.
Foreseeable foregone fiasco
…the “plan” advanced by INSS-CIS is an almost certain formula for disaster.
For, it will unavoidably:
– Replicate the conditions that prevailed in South Lebanon prior to 2000—on the fringes of Greater Tel Aviv
– Entrap the IDF in open-ended occupation, whose duration is dependent exclusively on Palestinian-Arabs
– Culminate in unilateral withdrawal without any agreement
None of this is difficult for foresee.
Unilateral withdrawal in slow motion
Soon, a combination of mounting domestic and international pressure will build up for the IDF to withdraw—similar to that which precipitated the IDF pullout from South Lebanon…Eventually, continued IDF deployment will no longer be tenable and evacuation will become inevitable—without any adequate political settlement or sustainable security arrangements.
Just like in South Lebanon.
This then, is the inevitable chain of events that will result from adopting the INSS-CIS plan…Accordingly, whether raised explicitly during the campaign or not, support or opposition for it will be the latent agenda in the April election—and voters ought to be aware of what they are really voting for—or against.