By Ted Belman
Dennis Ross, in a panel discussion on the peace process yesterday at the President’s conference said that both parties had lost confidence in the other side;s intention to make peace. As a result, Israel must start paying settlers to leave Judea and Samaria.
My first reaction was to think that we should use such money to pay Arabs to leave.
But more fundamentally, he presupposes that both sides know what the deal will be and should work toward that deal. The problem is that neither side wants that deal let alone is willing to accede to the demands of the other side.
Thus no one wants to make a deal as they will get far less than they want. The status-quo involving no concessions is preferable.
So long as the Palestinians feel no necessity to make what for them is an unfavourable deal, they won’t. As long as the West supports them diplomatically and financially they can wait forever. Thus the first thing that should happen, but won’t, is for the West to withdraw such support. The second thing that should happen is for Israel to lift the freeze on construction in Jerusalem and J&S – whether or not the West will condone it.
Putting facts on the ground is the name of the game and the real battleground. The Arabs know this and thus focus their attention on building illegally in both places. The Arabs have abandonned the peace process. They also steal land by illegally cultivating it. Such activities puts Israel on the defensive particularly because she has imposed a freeze on our building activities and refuses to enforce the law on theirs.
If not this, what? Israel acts like peace is possible so waits for it to happen. She begs for negotiations which suggest that she is willing to compromise enough for a deal and refuses to do anything that would interfere with this possibility. That is also what the world demands.
Like the Arabs, Israel should also abandon the peace process and begin to act unilaterally to get what she wants unencumbered by the peace process.
What she wants is to keep all of Jerusalem and most of Area C. She should have a plan to achieve such goals instead of begging for peace.