Tuesday, September 24, 2013

De-Occupy, the sooner the better

Just as in the mid 1990s and early 2000s, whenever terrorists strike, wounding and killing Israelis, there is a vicious competition between Palestinian Islamists and right-wing Israelis when it comes to being satisfied and showing that satisfaction. Both of those two (out of many) parties to the conflict see their interests served by terror attacks, in diifferent ways. Islamists and Palestinian ultra-nationalists are proud and happy, telling us that this is the only way to deal with Jews, and (as at least one Hamas spokesman said this week) that another intifadah is on its way or underway. At the same time, right-wing Israelis, official and less official, are definitely sad but sometimes appear to be almost smiling when they show up on television with a told-you-so expression on their faces. They say "You see, this is what you get when you give them self-rule/a state, when you release prisoners, etc. etc." and call people like Gal Gabriel Kobi z"l and Tomer Hazan z"l victims of Oslo. People like me, on the other hand, first and most of all feel sorry for the victims and their families. In addition, we maintain that this is what you get when you don't have a border between us and them, and when you send soldiers to protect a small enclave of religious fanatics living amidst a sea of hatred. If those poor soldiers were victimized by anything or anyone besides their vicious murderers, it is that they were victims of an overdue occupation. There are hardly any illegal infiltrations from Gaza into Israel, because there is a de facto border between the two, a border that can be and is being guarded from iniltrators. That rockets still are fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel is partly the result of the fact that right after the disengagement Israel did not make it ABSOLUTELY clear to Hamas and the other organizations that it was not worth their while to even spit in our direction. For heaven's sake, let the Palestinians have a state in the Westbank. And who cares after the establishment if they teach their children to hate us? Poor kids, they deserve better, I would love to see a different reality, and Israel should do everything possible to build constructive relations with such a neighboring state if that is humanly possible, but the Palestinians' well-being and sanity won't be our responsibility anymore, and we will have a defensible border between them and us. If such a border is violated we will have every right in the world to defend ourselves, unlike the current situation, which is much more complicated, which finds us constantly (and often not wrongfully) being accused of being occupiers, an occupation that poisons our army and our society, which alienates from us any allies that we still do have, and which makes it virtually impossible for those allies to help us face threats that are much more existential than any Palestinian entity. I am under no illusion that peace will break out when Israel will have a real and defensible border and the Palestinians will have a state of their own, but I am also not fooling myself by thinking that time is working in our favor, that we can simply sit out the current turmoil in the Arab and Muslim world, that 'the Palestinian problem' will disappear or solve itself, and that we will eventually convince all the other countries that we are absolutely right and the rest of the world is wrong in every possible way.

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