Undermining government policies, inhibiting successful acts designed to improve quality of life for its citizens is what the political opposition does in a democracy. But when these destructive actions are reinforced and amplified by the media, when they work against the national agenda, when the majority of the citizens swear by the false concepts the media is shoving down our throats, the outcomes may turn calamitous.
This is the situation we are in at the moment. Someone needs to set off the alarm bells and call the bluff, switch direction, and bring about a turnaround.
Case 1: The huge rallies, the ads, the protests, the outpouring sympathy designed to apply pressure on someone for releasing of Gilad Shalit from Hamas’s captivity do not help the poor kid. They accomplish the exact opposite. They raise the price we must pay for his freedom; they elevate his captors’ status, provide them with powers they would have never assumed, had the media and the public lowered the volume.
The result—Gilad is still in captivity with little hope for being set free—an exact opposite of the protesters’ objective.
Case 2: The world media including many world leaders have fashioned a trendy, misguided perception that the existing state of affairs between Israel and the Palestinians is unsustainable, that time is running out on the current status quo, that a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority is absolutely essential.
Here in Israel people have deemed a peace agreement necessary in being able to move toward a more permanent and a more stable international standing, a more prosperous economy, and a more favorable view of Israel as a fair and just democracy.
These people point to the latest ostensible political tsunami—the Turkish condemnation and threats, the Egyptians’ attack on the Israeli embassy, the Jordanians’ hostile position, a world’s support for the unilateral Palestinians’ move in the UN—as proof of their world outlook. They accuse PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s, claiming that his policies are the root cause for Israel’s isolation.
Truth is, the situation Israel has found itself in lately is not new or unique, and certainly not worse than any past state of affairs. The Jewish state has been living under a cloud of isolation including an existential threat since before its birth. In fact, Israel’s international standing is relatively stable; its economy is growing faster than most of the world’s highly developed nations, and quality of life in the Jewish state is relatively high and reasonably safe—safer and better than at any time in its past one hundred years.
Once again, this flawed assessment is the primary motive behind the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) refusal to negotiate, to compromise. This false urgency weakens Israel’s negotiating position, brings about universal frustration with Israel’s inability to move the “peace process” forward as if this process is a matter of life or death for Israel—not for the Palestinians.
Unfortunately, the status quo is the best “bad” option Israel has at this point in its history. All other options—a single dual-national state with no Jewish majority or a return to the 1967 cease fire line with no security guaranties—are far worse. Israel must adopt the status quo option and sell it to the rest of the world even if most nations refuse to buy it.
Accepting the false notion that time is running out on the present status quo, that the existing state of affairs between Israel and the Palestinians is unsustainable, is a self-fulfilling prophesy. It invites international pressure; it weakens Israel’s resolve, and it might even bear much worse consequences.
Case 3: Erroneously, the world keeps considering Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, as the representative of the Palestinian people. This view is obviously out of touch with reality. There are in fact two separate Palestinian entities, the PA, which is unstable at best, and Hamastan in Gaza , which is not under the PA's influence or jurisdiction. Furthermore, the government in Ramallah may be replaced by a terrorist regime before long, subsequent to signing of a peace agreement with Israel.
Although the Israeli government keeps reminding the world that Gaza is a terrorist nest, the world continues to regard Judea, Samaria and Gaza as the territory of the future Palestinian state following a peace agreement between Abbas and Israel. The contradiction and the insanity of this concept does not seem to register with anyone concerned with the peace process.
How will Israel defend itself against a terrorist state, with which it has signed a peace agreement? Won’t it be much more logical to hang on to the status quo, keep the checkpoints and maintain Israel’s legitimate right for preemptive means in self-defense?
By accepting Mahmud Abbas as the representative of all Palestinians, Israel continues to promote a fantasy. It reinforces a false notion and helps promote the Palestinian demand for a single Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Ignoring the facts that there are two separate (geographically and ideologically) Palestinian entities and the fact that Abbas is potentially replaceable by a Hamas leader is like claiming that Yasser Arafat was worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize, or that the Palestinians want to live in peace next to a Jewish state.
Accepting the imaginary notion that a peace agreement with Abbas would end the conflict with the Palestinians (including the regime in Gaza) and that Israel should strive for a two-state solution is the main reason for the world’s frustration with Israel’s inability to close on a peace agreement with the PA. Israel must make clear to the world that Abbas represents a small sect of the Palestinian people, that peace with Abbas is not peace with the Palestinians, and that peace with Abbas will only inhibit Israel’s ability to guard against Islamic terror practiced or supported by the majority of the Palestinian population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Without exception, all of the latest diplomatic tsunamis have been blamed on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s policies. On the face of it, Israel has been facing an uninterrupted deterioration in its international standing in recent years. Referred to as an aggressor, an occupier of someone else’s land, a war criminal, it seems that the more accusatory the term, the more popularity it garners. Evidence to the contrary fell on deaf ears as the world became obsessed with playing pin-the-blame on Israel
It’s always been Israel’s fault regardless of the evidence, regardless of the truth—Guilty, guilty, guilty.
Without exception, all of the latest diplomatic tsunamis—including the threats from Turkey, the attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, the Jordanians’ hostility, international community’s support for the Palestinian statehood bid in the UN—have been blamed on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s policies.
Opposition leaders and media personalities in Israel vociferously express their disapproval, with claims that had they been in charge, things would have been very different. No doubt they would have found a way to return to the negotiating table with the Palestinian Authority, offer the Palestinians sufficient reasons for abandoning their UN move, and ultimately secure peace with Israel; no doubt they would have further hatched a plan to pacify Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan; they would have curbed all possible motives behind the Egyptian mob’s attack on the Israeli embassy.
After all, they claim, all these events have one dominating trait: they all took place under the present Israeli government. Consequently, the root cause for the world’s dissatisfaction with the Jewish state must be a direct result of said government's policies and misdeeds.
Seems a bit far-fetched? It is.
That's because today, the media vogue is to exploit the misguided perception that time is running out on the current status=quo. Truth is, Israel's current position is neither new or unique, and certainly not worse than under previous leaderships.
The Jewish State has been operating under the ominous cloud of "existential threat" since before it was even born.
Media pundits are too obsessed with sensationalism to admit that Israel’s international standing today is in actual fact relatively stable. In addition, its economy is one of the strongest in the world and the quality of its citizens life remains high — certainly a vast improvement on any other period of time over the last century.
Furthermore, these fear-mongers—which include many leaders themselves—would have us believe that in spite of the country's security and prosperity, the existing state of affairs is unsustainable and that a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority is absolutely essential. Here in Israel people have deemed a peace agreement necessary in being able to move towards a more permanent and a more stable international standing, a more prosperous economy, and a more favorable view of Israel as a fair and just democracy.
Meantime, the world continues to erroneously turn to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as being the representative of the Palestinian people. There are in fact two separate Palestinian entities, the PA, which is unstable at best, and Hamastan, which is not under the PA's influence or jurisdiction.
Subsequent to the signing of a peace agreement with Israel, the Palestinian representation as it stands right now may well be hijacked by a terrorist regime, in which case It will be far more difficult for Israel to defend itself.
In that case, is it not preferable to hang on to the "unsustainable" status-quo?
Abbas made it clear in his latest speech at the UN that under no circumstances will he abandon his people’s demand for the right of return. No peace agreement with Israel will magically eliminate this preposterous condition. An establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza will not end the Palestinian dream for a greater Palestine, extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Time and time again, Abbas has reaffirmed the argument of many "radical" rightwing that the idea of “two states for two peoples” living side by side in peace is as infeasible now as it was in 1947, when the UN first proposed it and it got rejected.
It takes two to tango and make peace but only one side to break that peace and go to war. But blaming the Israeli government for its rigidity is not only ridiculous and unfair, it is morally wrong. It is the Palestinians’ uncompromising position on pre-conditions such as the right of return (in addition to Hamas' uncompromising position on destroying the Jewish State), that is to blame for "unsustainable" status quos and impasses.
Some wise people have listed three options Israel has been facing: 1. Two states for two nations, 2. continuing the status quo (which some even go as far as to compare with the South African apartheid), or 3. A single dual-nation state (remember Yugoslavia?). All of these options are far from ideal. The only question at hand is which option is the least negative, the least infeasible.
A single state where Jews lose their majority and consequently their unique identity is unsustainable and most certainly infeasible. Jews will never be given the opportunity to live safely and honorably in an Israel that will have a Muslim-dominated government.
Two states for two nations is an ideal solution only if both states view this solution as final rather than a temporary bridge to the complete annihilation of the other. The present status quo is thus left as the lesser of evils, and is a temporary solution, but at least it is one that remains open to the possibility that conditions on the ground might someday change and be better suited for a “two-state for two nations”— final and a permanent solution.
Until that time, we need to put a stop to the collective anxiety attacks: Looking for a quick fix to our growing apprehension will not provide the imaginary relief we are dreaming about. The State of Israel has been at war for the past sixty four years; the Jewish people in Israel fought for their survival in the Holy Land since the days of Joshua. The present Israeli government is just the latest one in to find itself under siege in the course of the Holy Land's history.
The refusal of Jews to assimilate within their surroundings is the only fault one can place on the present and past Jewish leaderships. If you do not wish to convert to Islam (or to Christianity, as was the case in anti-Semitic Europe), then be prepared to keep on struggling. A Jewish State in the midst of an Islamic ocean is a thorn in the eyes of this hostile neighborhood.
Let’s face it. No action by the Israeli government other than relinquishing its unique Jewish identity will pacify its present enemies. Rather, the definite rationale standing in the way of a permanent peace is the desire of the Jewish people to live in a free, independent Jewish state. .