State of Israel must come to terms with the
fact that conflict with Arabs may be irresolvable.
[Naftali] Bennett’s “shrapnel in the rear end” analogy was a bit below the
belt, the spirit of his words was right, and it’s a shame that the option of a
non-solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has never really been placed
on the table of public discussion.
the risk involved in the establishment of a Palestinian state is significantly
greater than the chance for true peace, and when the price Israel would have to
pay is unbearable – particularly when the Palestinian partner has never proven
it is really willing to accept a Jewish state even within the 1967 borders – it
is safe to say that what Bennett meant was that the conflict, in its current
state, is irresolvable.
heart of the majority of the public’s political viewpoint lies the belief that
the Israeli-Arab conflict can be resolved, and even if untying this Gordian
knot is difficult and complex, it is not impossible. Bennett is the only key
political figure – from the Left or Right – to ever raise the possibility of
not resolving the conflict as a viable option.
is nothing wrong with wishing for something, so long as these hopes do not
become an alternative for understanding the reality. Those who say “there is a
solution to every problem, you just have to really want to find it” and “we
cannot live by the sword forever” are putting their wishes ahead of a proper
examination of the reality and all the options it offers.
world has given us many problems – in physics, math, philosophy and biology –
which cannot be solved. And what is true for science is just as true for
political conflicts. Some conflicts lasted hundreds of years, others ended when
one or both of the sides disappeared; there were empires which collapsed, just
as there were countries and nations that are mere footnotes in the pages of
history. It is safe to assume that most of those who were involved in these
conflicts believed wholeheartedly that there was a solution to their problems
as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is concerned, most of the concessions we
are willing to make are far less than the minimum the other side would be
willing to accept, even as part of an interim agreement (as is stated in the “doctrine
of phases” from 1974). The Arab world still views Israel as a foreign element,
a thorn (or piece of shrapnel) in the rear end of the region, which they
consider to be Arab-Islamic or Palestinian in essence (“All of Palestine, from
the river to the sea, is occupied” – Jibril Rajoub).
Arab world’s relative and temporary acceptance of Israel stems from its doubts
regarding the possibility of getting rid of Israel, as well as from the Jewish
state’s close relations with Washington and the monetary benefits some Arab
countries receive from the US. But most of the historic, cultural, religious
and ethnic material that feeds the Arab ethos with regards to Israel does not
indicate a true acceptance of the Jewish in state in the region. The opposite
can do is manage the conflict rationally and refrain from falling into traps
such as the Oslo Accords and the Arab peace initiative. We must carefully try
to solve that which is solvable and accept that which is unsolvable while
seeking creative interim solutions. Just as people live with chronic diseases
for their entire lives, there is no reason we should not be able to exist for
many years with the chronic Mideast conflict, although statements such as those
made by Olmert (“If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, the
State of Israel is finished”) and Lapid (“The Palestinians must have their own
country”) do not help the cause.