Rights-Based Diplomacy

Why Israel Must Now Move from Concessions-Based Diplomacy

Dan Diker,JCPA


* Israel faces a painful paradox. Its generous territorial concessions climaxing in the 2005 Gaza withdrawal have not resulted in greater international support or sympathy, but rather a further deterioration in its international standing. Indeed, the very legitimacy of the Jewish state continues to be questioned in international circles including the West.

* Israel unilaterally withdrew its forces from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip expecting both peace and broad international understanding in the event that these areas would be used to attack Israel in the future. However, the condemnations of Israel only seem to be worsening. On May 15, 2007, Amnesty International condemned Israel for “war crimes” in its previous summer’s defensive war against Hizbullah. Britain’s University and College Union (UCU), the largest academic organization in the United Kingdom, accused Israel of crimes against humanity and apartheid.

* Ironically, mounting criticism of Israel has occurred as Israeli civilians have come under repeated attack from Kassam rockets launched from the post-withdrawal Gaza Strip. The concern in Israel over ever-sharpening anti-Israel sentiment even brought the liberal daily Ha’aretz to conclude in its lead editorial of May 27, 2007, that “Britain has become the battlefield in Israel’s fight for existence as a Jewish state, and . . . the anti-Zionist winds blowing in Europe strengthen the position [there] that the birth of the Jewish state was a mistake.”

* For most of the period from 1993 to 2000, Israel’s overall diplomatic strategy focused on helping the Palestinians achieve their demands for what Arafat and Palestinian spokesmen had always termed their “legitimate rights,” hoping this would result in peace and security for Israelis. Once Israel dropped its past reliance on a diplomacy based on its own rights and adopted a new concessions-based diplomacy instead, its spokesmen essentially acquiesced to the Palestinian historical narrative. The Israelis offered no alternative perspective.

July 27, 2007 | Comments Off on Rights-Based Diplomacy

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