Opinion |

The One Thing Even Israeli Leftists Like Meretz Can’t Do

Left-wingers have given us policies leading to rocket fire on communities near Gaza, but even they wouldn’t be able to get the Palestinians to agree to any peace deal cooked up by Trump

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Meretz chief Tamar Zandberg, left, and MK Ilan Gilon, May 28, 2018.
Meretz chief Tamar Zandberg, left, and MK Ilan Gilon, May 28, 2018.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

During his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump repeated his promise to submit a peace plan based on the idea of two states. And this time he even set a time limit: within three months.

I suggest that the Zionist left, which immediately seized on the bargain, not get too excited: Even Trump’s aggressiveness won’t be able to force anything on the Palestinians. If they rejected the generous offers by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama out of hand for reasons of principle, they certainly won’t change their ways this time.

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Trump, precisely because he’s seen as a lover of Israel, and because the transfer of ways and means vital to its security is subject to his decision, can to a great extent impose his will on Israel. On the other hand, due to an absence of Palestinian national authority and leadership capable of making historic decisions such as forgoing the right of return, he can force next to nothing on the Palestinians.

What can Trump do, occupy the areas of the Palestinian Authority and force President Mahmoud Abbas to recognize the Jewish people’s right to fulfill their historical right to sovereignty and independence in the Land of Israel? Give in to the Jews on the refugees’ right of return to their villages and cities? Recognize Jewish ownership of the holy places in Jerusalem and the Jewish people’s right to have their capital there?

What can Abbas be forced to do, sign a clause saying the Palestinian people agree to a demilitarized state that Israel will surround on all sides and conduct hot pursuits on its territory? Declare that the Palestinian state agrees that Jews will be able to live in their settlements within that state and Israel will annex the settlement blocs?

And if the Palestinians ate all this crow, would they also sign a clause declaring the end of the conflict between the Jewish people and the Palestinian Arab people, and an absence of any demands of Israel by the Palestinian people?

We can assume that some of those clauses, in one version or another, appear in Trump’s plan. Otherwise, as he knows, Israel won’t be able to survive in security, or at all. He also knows that in terms of the Israeli consensus, most of these conditions are mandatory. But even if these clauses don’t appear in Trump’s plan, even the left-wing Meretz party (as opposed to anti-Zionist circles) can’t give in to the Palestinians on these basic issues – and not only because next year is an election year.

The Zionist left can be flexible, and even give in, on letting the settlers remain in the territory of the Palestinian state, and even on retaining the settlement blocs, but not on a total rejection of the right of return. After all, the main reason for its demand to give up Judea and Samaria is the desire to maintain a Jewish majority in the State of Israel.

Nor can the Zionist left compromise on a demilitarized Palestinian state in which Israel has the right to prevent organizing for the purpose of terrorism. What has been happening in the past 12 years in the Gaza border communities – for which the Zionist left is criminally responsible – doesn’t let it repeat its historic mistake. No sane Israeli citizen will agree to allow the Trans-Israel Highway, or Kfar Sava and Ra’anana, to be, like Sderot and Kerem Shalom near Gaza, under constant threat of incendiary balloons, gunfire, mortar shells and rockets from Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Again, in the foreseeable future, there’s no room for the disastrous doctrine of “two states,” which the left, due to its decisive influence in the media and legal world, has promoted in recent decades – and which Trump, who is usually practical, has homed in on for impractical reasons.