Time for 'Israexit' From the Occupied Territories

Cameron showed Netanyahu how a prime minister is supposed to act when he puts his prestige on the line over his platform’s key issue and is defeated.


David Cameron showed Benjamin Netanyahu how a prime minister is supposed to act when he puts his prestige on the line over his platform’s key issue – Europe for Cameron, Iran for Netanyahu – and is defeated.

That’s on the personal level, but what about the national level? Where is Israel’s “Brexit”? Israel boasts of being a startup nation, but is taking its time getting out of the occupied territories – the boiling core of the conflict with the Arabs. How much more blood, poison and money will be spilled until the Israexit takes place?

The trend of global and regional fusion was halted. The community’s responsibility for its members and people’s responsibility toward each other is weakening. The idea of supranational sovereignty is on the wane. The chances of a persistent external intervention, as opposed to a single decisive blow, are slim. The locals are always more obstinate, waiting patiently until the invaders despair and give up.

The United States does not support wars that threaten to throw it into bottomless pits. The big stick that U.S. administrations are supposed to wield is hollow. It fills out only in light of a direct attack on America.

Israel exports repulsion from making a crucial national decision to determine its borders and define its identity. Israelis, who are still willing to beget one generation after another of settlement fodder, aren’t fed up yet. But the part of the world that gave credit to the reconciliation process with Egypt, Jordan and the Palestine Liberation Organization is beginning to detach itself and leave the Middle Easterners to wallow in the sludge they have created for themselves.

What strategic significance would a weakened European Union – led by Germany and France, but minus Britain – have in our region? Certainly not growing admiration for the settlers’ follies. Financially, would the donor states have any desire to keep on financing an embryonic Palestine that never gets born?

It would still somehow be tolerable if the Americans were foolish enough to believe that the horizon isn’t eternal but drawing closer. But the time for illusions is over. Israel is risking a head-on clash with the next administration because, in the balance between partnership and rivalry, it is breaking the rules with typical Netanyahu-like crudeness.

Beside the pretense of moral and ideological superiority, Israel’s leaders have always played the strategic card – ever since the 1950s and the Soviet penetration of the Arab states. Israel was portrayed as assisting the U.S. security effort no less than being assisted by it. It was useful, as long as Israel’s declared willingness to exchange territories for peace wasn’t exposed as elusive dissension when put to the test.

Even worse, Israel was caught in a collision with other military needs – ones that the United States dared to claim for itself.

In 1973, the American war-reserve stores in Europe were thinned out due to the air shuttle to Israel. While correct, this move infuriated the generals responsible for the divisions on standby alert against the Soviets – in the event that World War III erupted following the Israel Defense Forces’ advance on Cairo.

A similar collision is now taking place in the controversy over the extent of U.S. assistance to defend Israel from missiles. President Barack Obama argues that giving this issue excessive priority harms other issues in The Pentagon’s missile defense budget, especially from North Korea. Israel, which prioritizes the settlements over military needs that it defines as vital, selfishly wants to bend the American priority order in its favor. Washington is balking.

At the F-35 rollout in Fort Worth, Texas, last week, Masada was underscored as Israel’s most prominent symbol. A dubious choice. Suicidal provocation is not an appropriate goal for a small, fragile nation that doesn’t pay its own expenses.

Only the settlers are prepared to continue an eternal war, whether with their own blood or courtesy of the Israelis who prefer peace to territories. Israel cannot swallow the territories, but they might swallow it. Israel must get out, with an achievable deal, and quickly.