Why is Israel Chained to the Diplomatic Process?
We are used to thinking that the goal of the State of Israel is to achieve peace and that the problems our state faces are security, demographics, Palestinian nationalism, international pressure and economics.
But “peace” cannot be the defined goal of a state. Peace is the result of the proper definition and achievement of the goal. If peace were the goal, it would be easier to achieve it in another place, by surrendering our sovereignty, or by assimilation.
‘Security’ is not really the problem. The more that we progress in the ‘peace process’, the more that the security situation deteriorates. Buses and restaurants blown up by Islamic suicide bombers and missiles slamming into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were unheard of before the ‘peace process’. Years of experience have shown us that any quest for security should distance us from all diplomatic processes. So if we continue to sacrifice our families and friends ‘for the sake of ‘peace’, our problem is not ‘security’.
‘Demography’ is no longer the problem, either. The average Tel Aviv woman has as many children as her neighbor in Ramallah. According to the American/Israeli Demographic Institute the Jewish majority between the Jordan and the Sea – including the Arabs of Judea and Samaria - is expected to reach 80% in the next twenty years. National upheavals like those in the Middle East and Ukraine can certainly speed up the process – all without ‘peace talks’.
The “Palestinian” nationalism problem was an artificially created reaction to Zionism. There is no “Palestinian” problem in any of the lands in which there is Arab sovereignty: Jordan, Egypt, Syira or Lebanon. At the moment that Israel would G-d forbid disappear from the map, “Palestinian” Nationalism would disappear, as well.
“The goal of the Jews in the Land of Israel is to establish a Jewish state there. The goal of the Arabs in the Land of Israel is to prevent the Jews from doing so.” (British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin, pinpointing the foundation of the conflict in a speech before the UN, 1947). Not much has changed since Bevin’s succinct explanation. There really is no “Palestinian” nationalism. There is the Arab nation, which does not accept Jewish sovereignty over Israel. This is also the reason why a “Palestinian” state has not yet been established and never will be established - despite the fact that no other group has ever received more international aid to create their potential state. The ‘Palestinians’ simply do not want a state. All they want is to prevent Israel from having a sovereign state.
‘International pressure’ is not the problem, as it always increases when Israel enters a diplomatic process. The economic boycott of Israel was largely an Arab boycott before Israel recognized the existence of the “Palestinian” nation and its rights to Israel’s heartland. But since the Oslo process, it has become a largely European boycott of Israeli products. Before the Oslo Accords, a large question mark hovered over the legitimacy of the PLO and its leaders. No such question mark hovered over the right of the Jews to their own state. Today, after twenty years of ‘diplomatic process’, the situation has reversed. We recognize them, but they do not recognize us and the world does not require them to do so. In other words, international pressure is exacerbated by the diplomatic process and cannot be used as an excuse to engage in it.
The diplomatic process does not solve the ‘economic’ problem, either. On the contrary: The Oslo Accords siphon off 10.5% of the national budget every year. They have cost Israel over one trillion (1,000,000,000) shekels since they were signed, not including items that cannot be calculated, such as the influence of the process on the cost of housing. Israel’s economic success is not in the merit of the diplomatic process, but despite it.
So if it is not ‘peace’, not ‘security’, not ‘demographics’, not ‘Palestinian nationalism’ not ‘diplomatic pressure’ and not the economy – why is Israel constantly pursuing a diplomatic process? The true and deep answer is that we seek legitimacy for our Israeli identity. This is explained by none other than the architect of the Oslo process, Dr. Ron Pundak:
“Peace is not a goal in and of itself. It is the means to bring Israel from one era to the next; to the era that I consider the era of the normal state. ‘Israelization’ of society instead of its ‘Judaization’ will foster the synthesis of Jewish nationalism, flourishing of Israeli culture, separation of religion and state and complete equality for the Arab minority in Israel.” (Ron Pundak, Jan. ’14)
Simply put, we strive for Israeli-ness instead of Jewishness. As long as our neighbors fight us and do not accept this new Israeli-ness as legitimate, we are thrown again and again to the Jewish-ness from which we started (and fled). That is why we desperately need a peace accord with the Arabs. Not because of security or demographics. We need an agreement with the Arabs at all costs in order to fulfill the dream of Israeli normalcy. The Israeli needs the Arab in order to forget that he is a Jew.
Thousands of victims of terror, surrender of vast tracts of our Homeland, the uprooting of settlements and their residents, missiles in Tel Aviv, loss of our existential legitimacy, loss of more than 10% of our national budget annually and much more damage –Dr. Pundak admits, are not the price of ‘peace’ nor the solution for the ‘demographic problem’. They are the price that we must pay for the internal conflict over the identity of the State of Israel.