The Opposition's Obligation

Only people walking with their eyes shut toward an abyss can ignore the need for an innovative diplomatic-security initiative that will extricate Israel from the labyrinth in which it is now trapped; never mind right now whose fault it is.

Only people who ignore history and who do not understand the depth of the conflict can believe that an agreement with the Palestinians is possible in and of itself, or that it will lead to stable peace that does not take very serious security risks.

On the other hand, only people who think that it is enough to have faith in the righteousness of our path from a historical or religious point of view can believe that a small state dependent on others will be able by military might to force its will on its surroundings by adhering to the values of some form of "Greater Israel." Both the left and the right are prone to mistaken premises - each group with its own illusions and false hopes.

There have been "no choice" situations in history where significant risks had to be taken to survive while protecting basic values. Israel is not in that situation. There are diplomatic alternatives that could generate a sharp turn for the better, without Israel having to give up its existence as a flourishing and secure Jewish state. We can understand the ruling parties, which find it difficult to disconnect from the worldviews that have brought them to power and that promise them success in the upcoming elections, even if these worldviews are doomed to utter failure. But there is no explanation for the lack of diplomatic creativity among the opposition parties. One recalls the saying "What you don't learn in the opposition, it is too late to learn when you are in power." All opposition parties today believe in some form or other of agreement with the Palestinians, but this is a worthless magic charm. I think that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows this, even if his historical conclusions are mistaken. In contrast, the opposition, in all its various factions, has not learned from history that there is no chance of an agreement with the Palestinians in light of their own internal situation, and the morbid influence of the surrounding nations, which have no intention of abandoning the conflict with Israel.

The conclusion is therefore clear: Let the heads of the main opposition parties, including Labor, Hatnuah, Yesh Atid and Meretz, and perhaps also Am Shalem, meet together in a closed workshop and hammer out a common diplomatic plan, at the heart of which is the initiative for a comprehensive Middle East peace. The two-state solution will be an important component of this plan, as will halting the Iranian nuclear program, reining in the "rejectionist front;" a return to the 1967 borders with an exchange of territories, a special arrangement for Jerusalem, a comprehensive regional solution to the refugee problem, reliable security arrangements, including Israel joining NATO, and full diplomatic relations with most of the Arab and Muslim countries.

The principle of the idea is not in some detail or other (and requires deep thinking ) but is in the unification of opposition parties around a shared diplomatic platform. As an organized opposition, they would maintain a clear commitment to promote a new Israeli diplomatic initiative. If the opposition parties do not do this, they will fail once again, and it will be because of narrow, horse-trading, conservative thinking, and an overabundance of ego among their leaders.