The Dangers of the Geneva Accord

The landscape viewed from the windows of the Geneva initiative is a landscape of Israeli-Palestinian rupture. It is not a landscape of peace and tranquillity, but of deterioration into violence. Not a landscape of saving existence, but a landscape of endangering existence.

GENEVA - And still they went to Geneva. After everything they'd said in the past few years about the need to persuade Sderot and Ofakim, they still couldn't withstand the temptation. After everything they said, and said again, when they drafted the document of understandings at the Dead Sea, they nevertheless opted for the international community over the Israeli community. In going to Geneva, the peace yuppies did it once more: They forced through an irreversible diplomatic fact that they were not authorized to make. Essentially, they asked the world to force their will on their own people.

Until December 1, 2003, you could regard the Geneva Accord with a measure of sympathy. They offered an alternative to the failed government policy, they provoked an important national debate and they created a dynamic that even awakened Ariel Sharon from his deep slumber. The attempt by the drafters of the document to show Israelis and Palestinians the contours of a possible peace settlement was an interesting and commendable attempt so long as it remained only that. So long as it did not try to shape these contours with a bulldozer. But now, after the peace elite has once again chosen to go to the world powers over the head of the elected Israeli government, there is no longer any cause for sympathy. There is no choice but to clearly state the inherent dangers of the seemingly innocent document formulated at the end of the summer on the intoxicating shores of the Dead Sea.

The first inherent danger of the Dead Sea document is a matter of principle: Since it now offers the Palestinians much more than was offered to them before they initiated the terror offensive against Israel, it rewards them for their aggression. It teaches them that there is practically no limit to the concessions that can be extracted from Israel through the prolonged use of force. Therefore, it basically determines that the Palestinians won the war. A Palestinian victory will not bring peace. A Palestinian victory means that at the first opportunity, the simulated peace will crumble, and the war will be renewed.

The second inherent danger of the Dead Sea document relates to the regime. Since the document completely disregards the demand for Palestinian reform, it ensures that the future Palestinian state will be an Arafat state. Such a state - despotic and corrupt and committed to a destructive ideology - would be a certain source of regional instability. It would not observe any settlement that would be reached with it, and would unremittingly act to undermine the foundations of Israel's existence.

The third danger is textual. The entire document is essentially based on the comprehensive crushing statement in UN Resolution 194: [T]he refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date..." The meaning of this statement is the end of Israel. The document attempts to dam it up with a few counter-statements, but in the end, it upgrades it, sanctifies it, makes it operative. In so doing, it lays under the Jewish state a conceptual explosive charge that endangers its very existence.

The fourth danger relates to security. The document does not include a security appendix, and proposes a hollow offer of demilitarization that Israel may not begrudge. Therefore, it is entirely obvious that the Palestinian state that the document establishes will not be demilitarized for long, and as such it will deny Israel's ability to defend itself by conventional means.

The fifth danger is diplomatic. The document places at the center of the new reality that it outlines a powerful international mechanism, composed of the countries of the Quartet and at least one Arab state. This mechanism would have a clear bias in favor of the Palestinians. Furthermore, the international mechanism would have sweeping authorities: It would be this body that in the end would determine how many refugees would return to Israel, and it would be this body that would decide on every existential security issue. Therefore, the international mechanism would basically cancel out the Israelis' control of their own fate. It would empty of content the principle of Israeli sovereignty.

The composite significance of these five dangers is clear: The landscape viewed from the windows of the Geneva initiative is a landscape of Israeli-Palestinian rupture. It is not a landscape of peace and tranquillity, but of deterioration into violence. Not a landscape of saving existence, but a landscape of endangering existence.

The Israelis who devised the Geneva Accord are good people - patriotic, talented, conscientious people. What these good Israelis tried to do during these choleric days is impressive: offering a future to a place that is increasingly being seen as lacking a future. Distilling hope in place of deep despair. But in their attempt to do good, these people have lost their way. They have made a lethal mistake.

Does this mean that the right is correct? Not at all. The two-state solution was and remains the only solution. We have to end the occupation, and it is compulsory to partition the land. However, the operation to separate the Israeli Siamese twin and the Palestinian Siamese twin must be performed with caution and prudence. If this critical operation is performed in an irresponsible manner, if it is performed in the spirit of the Geneva initiative, both twins will bleed to death on the operating table.