RAMALLAH, July 24 (JMCC) - Israel
's policies towards Palestinians are making Israel more insecure, argues Alon Ben Meir in the Huffington Post
. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
's proposal for a Palestinian state lacks vision and falls short of what is required, he writes.
What he and his government have proposed amounts to an autonomous Palestinian entity, lacking territorial contiguity, with ultimate security responsibility remaining in Israel's hands.Read
Today, few Israelis view the establishment of a Palestinian state as a national security imperative, and a growing number have resigned themselves to supporting the idea of conflict management rather than conflict resolution. They simply do not believe that the Palestinians will ever accept Israel as an independent state. This particular view gained tremendous currency following the eruption of the second Intifada in September 2000 in which more than 1000 Israelis were killed, many by indiscriminate suicide bombers. The Intifada prompted then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to re-occupy much of the territories from which Israel had withdrawn as part of the Oslo Accords, and fueled Israelis' disillusionment with the peace process. This skepticism was reinforced after Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Instead of using the Gaza withdrawal as an opportunity to build the foundation for a future state, the territory was used as a staging-ground for rocket attacks into Southern Israel, ultimately leading to Israel's Operation Cast Lead. These events, coupled with growing fears of Palestinian militancy following Hamas' takeover of Gaza, have moved the political pendulum in Israel to the right of center, even as the concept of a two-state solution has moved more and more into the mainstream.
As Israelis have become disillusioned with the peace process, Israel has strengthened its formidable military power and economic development, creating the false impression that it can sustain the status-quo indefinitely. Meanwhile, the settlement movement has gained significant political power, enabling it to exert immense influence on successive Israeli governments. The settlers' commitment to territorial expansion that is driven by a belief in their divine right to settle the West Bank, coupled with widely held deep skepticism about the Palestinians' intentions that is fueled by legitimate security concerns, have led the Israeli public to seemingly become immune to the plight of the Palestinian people.
Against this backdrop, the right-of-center government led by Netanyahu appears to be committed to disfranchise Palestinians, suppress opposition, undermine democratic values and forsake the moral tenants on which the state of Israel was created. In this regard, the passing of two abominable measures in the Israeli Knesset speak volumes about how far this government will go to advance the right-wing Greater Israel agenda, however perilous this prospect may be. The first bill requires every individual seeking Israeli citizenship to declare his loyalty to a Jewish democratic state, specifically designed to discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel. The second bill would punish any Israeli calling for a boycott of any Israeli individual or institution, whether in Israel or in the territories, with a fine of NIS 30,000 plus any proven damages. In addition to such legislative efforts, the government has continued to demolish Palestinian houses, force eviction, seize land and deliberately disrupt communal life. Indeed, there is no internationally orchestrated campaign to delegitimize Israel as many Israelis claim. By its own actions and policies Israel itself is doing a very good job at that. Rather than address Palestinian national aspirations for statehood in the context of a secure and independent Israel, the current government erroneously views maintenance of the occupation and expansion of settlements as synonymous with Israel's long-term national security.
the blog at the Huffington Post...