Its No Secret

I support the Palestinian petition for international recognition in the UN and bi-laterally, especially between Palestine and Israel.

I can’t say that I support all possible wordings of a Palestinian petition, but I do support any that declare the intention for Palestine to be sovereign, based on 67 borders (with adjustments that they consent to), and with the firm intention of a peaceful relationship with Israel and Israelis.

It certainly is preferable for all concerned (Israelis and Palestinians), for the process to go as originally planned, but Israel has refused to participate in that process.

The original planned process was negotiation of a proposal to submit to legislatures, then ratification by both communities (demanded by each population).

A rational prerequisite to beginning earnest negotiation is a moratorium on settlement expansion, even within settlement walls. Israel refused to do that, refused to muster the backbone among leadership to put into practice the communication of intent of good will. There is some intent of good will among likud and israel beitanhu, but it is woefully sparse, hidden under layers and layers and layers of petulance.

Risk aversion is a rational response to the tough world of the middle east. Pettiness though is the opposite of risk aversion.

The pretense of risk-aversion to cover reactive angers or even strategized aggression, is provocation, not care. (“Care” having three meanings – 1. To act lovingly, sensitively 2. To not be indifferent – “To care about something” 3. To be avoid danger – “to be careful”.)

Likud never liked the planned process. Their constituency includes those that are primarily highly risk averse, and those that are primarily revisionist (in the meaning of Jabotinsky and Begin), that regard the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea as legally and morally promised to be only Israeli.

Hamas never liked the planned process. The definition of borders, makes the conflict over. They also assert that the land is exclusive, exclusively Palestinian in their case. That is not to say that minorities can’t live there, but that they declare that the land is Palestinian, Arab, and Islamic, and minorities should gracefully know their place.

The final definition of borders would have sealed out the argument that the right of return is still a pending right. It would affirm with a sense of permanence that Israel is Israel, Jewish majority, Jewish in primary references, Jewish in character.

To Israel’s credit, even though the official public position of Israel was no moratorium on settlement expansion, there were very significant limitations on the extent of building permitted.

But, at critical moments, more than moments, the Israeli government chose to flaunt the granting of permission to build units, and to flaunt the locations, thereby stopping the negotiations.

The process was political, a conspicuous emotional pandering to internal Israeli popular angers, and a conspicuous emotional slap in the face to Palestinian sentiment, hope, disappointment, then anger.

If Olmert’s proposal was still on the table, maybe Abbas would have proceeded to negotiate anyway (even if secretly). The gap between Olmert’s proposal in 2008 and Abbas’ seemed bridgeable.

Netanyahu NEVER made a specific proposal. Public statements were vague, patronizing, shifting, manipulative.

Without question, a definition of borders and sovereignty without a  collaborative transition process (with MANY details to reconcile), is more dangerous for Israel and Palestine, than one with an agreement.

But, the absence of borders and mutually accepted and viable sovereignty, is equally or more dangerous in any timeframe.

If the Palestinian petition invites the clarification of specific borders and transition process through negotiation, after the declaration, then theme of risk aversion is diminished if not voided entirely.

For rational Israel, it’s a second best process, but if Israel can get ahead of the curve, to accept the Palestinian state, to actually respect the Palestinian desire for sovereignty, for self-governance, then it can become a best outcome.

The process would occur in a different sequence, with periods of feeling of loss of control, but that is life.

Once sovereign, Palestine has considerable international responsibility with considerable consequences. It would be very dangerous for Palestinians if Gaza or the West Bank harbored and accepted the presence of any that undertook intimate terror (suicide bombings or RPG’s at a school bus) or remote terror (shelling civilians with rockets). That would then be an act of war, not an irritation, not the action of a renegade at that point.

I find the “play” of struggle to be abusive. Both dissent and established parties do it, engage in game-playing for the vanity of advantage, rather than serious reconciliation. They get a rush from it, superficial psychological validation.

The universe though is forgiving. Peace is a “when” equation, when reconciliation is pursued. The stubborn approach creates the prospect of war, the willingness to put populations at risk of war for an idea, for a vanity. It attempts to create the illusion that peace is an “if” question. “If THEY comply” or “If THEY don’t comply” is stated as the sole relevant question.

They leave no room for the actual ability, the power, the imagination, the willingness, to create peace. “If” logic shifting to “when” logic, in which action makes some future when into, soon and then now.

There are only a few things that are known. One is that Jews and Palestinians/Arabs will remain in the land, living closely, if not intimately.

Please, get ahead of the curve already, get to the “how-to’s”, to reconcile, and reject the precipice gaming.

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One Response to Its No Secret

  1. Why has Kadima survived? The answer should give pause to those who think Ehud Barak is on his last legs as an Israeli politician. For despite being essentially a Likud spin-off, Kadima has survived on the strength of a fairly large base of voters who traditionally saw themselves on the left — not the peace-process left of Yossi Beilin and Yossi Sarid, but rather the enlightened, heavily Ashkenazic, traditionally social-leaning yet nationalist left of David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Rabin. These are the voters who turned to Kadima in droves after the intifada made security more pressing, and more plausible, than peace — people who could never vote Likud for cultural reasons, even if they embraced most of its principles.

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