A Dangerous Silence

Those who think that the world will forget about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are living with illusions.

Yehuda Ben Meir
Yehuda Ben-Meir
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Yehuda Ben Meir
Yehuda Ben-Meir

The peace process has reached a dead end. The United States has thrown up its hands over anything related to the construction freeze in the settlements and has even acknowledged that it is powerless to revive direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. This will certainly please some of us; some on the extreme right will even rejoice. They would imagine that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has overpowered the U.S. president and Israel has been saved from the wicked designs of Barack Hussein Obama. A real modern version of the Hanukkah miracle.

But it's all an illusion. The negative developments in the peace process should evoke deep concern in the heart of every Israeli familiar with international realities. The leadership provided in the peace process by the United States, which is still Israel's best friend (with the possible exception of Fiji ), has been a diplomatic asset of the first order for Israel. An erosion of that leadership and a rise in influence of other parties such as the European Union, Russia and even South America do not bode well for Israel.

Those who think that the world will forget about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are living with illusions. Israel is on a slippery slope leading who knows where. In the absence of a peace process and a real Israeli diplomatic initiative, the diplomatic siege on the country will continue to tighten. Companies are already moving their plants from Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria because they find it difficult to export their products. It's not a case of a single dramatic event, but a long-term disastrous process.

It should not be assumed that the United States will give up its leadership of the process. Sooner or later it will have to present bridging proposals on all the core issues. Under the current relations between Israel and the United States, it's highly doubtful those proposals will be coordinated with Israel. Israel, of course, could reject them, but what would begin in the first act as American bridging proposals would lead in the third act to UN Security Council resolutions and in the last act to sanctions. The United States will find it hard to veto a proposal that the Americans themselves suggested to the parties.

In addition to the difficult diplomatic situation, there is the erosion of Israel's image as a democratic state. The fact that it's the only democracy in the Middle East is the source of its support in the world. If the extreme right with the tacit consent of the moderate right continues to damage Israel's democratic image, which is also its Jewish image, we will face a hopeless situation.

The prime minister must come to his senses before it's too late. When the government is not ready to present its position on permanent borders (even on a conditional basis for negotiations ), its support for a two-state solution is perceived as misleading. The prime minister must show leadership, make his own proposals and head off stagnation. If he does, the people will be with him.



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