What Israel Really Means When It Talks of Peace

Deciphering three Israeli peace proposals.

Raviv Drucker
Raviv Drucker
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.Credit: Ronen Zvulun , AP , Mohamed Torokman, Reuters
Raviv Drucker
Raviv Drucker

1. “Direct negotiations without preconditions”

Who could possibly object to that? Just come in, you lying instigator – sorry, I mean Mr. Abbas – and we’ll talk about everything. We’ll never show you a map of the future agreement, obviously. We succeeded in doing without it for nine months in the previous negotiations, we’ll manage this time, too. My kashrut supervisor, Isaac Molho, even promised not to go to the toilet, because last time you took advantage and took a peek at our map.

And of course we object to – sorry, support – a Palestinian state, and have already declared we won’t evacuate a single settlement – not even as part of the final status agreement – and we’ll continue building in the settlements and East Jerusalem (it’s inconceivable that Jews won’t be able to settle everywhere). No refugee will return, and Israel will dwell in the Jordan Valley for ever and ever. Just stop with your rejectionism already and respond to our call: “Any time, any place, and without preconditions.”

2. “Regional arrangement”

And Yesh Atid strongman Hillel Kobrinsky said to his party leader, Yair Lapid: “We’ve decided you’re a statesman now, right? So you have to come up with a peace plan.” And Lapid went to the marketing gurus and returned with the incomprehensible nonsense known as the “regional arrangement.” Meaning: “Let’s call a conference with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states and Jordan and Egypt, and arrange the Middle East together.”

Wow, why didn’t anyone think of this earlier? The Saudis are dying to sit in a public conference with Israel – it’s just that nobody ever invited them! The moment there’s a “regional arrangement,” they’ll grab that Abbas and force him to renounce every demand regarding Jerusalem, because the sun already announced in Ariel that it’s the rock of our existence. So what if during the Camp David talks, when Clinton called the Saudi leader to persuade him to support a Temple Mount solution, Abdullah didn’t even know where it was and certainly had no intention of intervening in the matter.

Now it’s different. We’ll adopt the Saudi initiative – the Arab Peace Initiative – while adding conditions that sterilize it of all content (the Israel Defense Forces will be able to continue doing whatever it feels like in the “Palestinian state” that’s established). And we’ll bravely travel to lecture in all kinds of polite places in the United States, where nobody snores with contempt at our announcements, where we’ll say the “peace plan” was enthusiastically received. Oh, and, naturally, we won’t say a word about the sovereignty on Temple Mount, solving the refugee problem and the drafting of future borders. Hillel said we must look like statesmen, not actually be like them.

3. “Isaac Herzog’s peace plan”

Here’s something that doesn’t exist, even in theory. The Zionist Union leader and opposition chairman doesn’t believe in drafting lines to solve the conflict. Anyone would think that he’s supposed to challenge the government.

But wait, let’s not rush to criticize him. After all, he did attend that event “launching the peace framework” by an MK from his party and congratulated him. Really congratulated him.

He didn’t adopt the framework, heaven forbid, because that would require him to stand behind something. Still, he praised him for his investment of time and the new ideas.

I’d be willing to bet he didn’t read the recycled jumble of contradicting ideas that MK Hilik Bar calls his peace framework, but let’s not be cruel.

Herzog’s too busy talking with the prime minister about entering the cabinet. How could he know that to Bar, who just excitedly reported that his plan was warmly received in both Harvard and Seoul, Jerusalem is united forever and ever, and constitutes, by means of its “outer neighborhoods” (whose names are not mentioned), the “capital of Palestine”?

Only complete cynics will find a contradiction here. Why should there be one? Who expects an Israeli politician to study this boring mumbo jumbo in any depth? In any case, there’s no partner.

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