The concept of land for peace has proven a failure in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and any future IDF withdrawal from the West Bank will create a second "Hamastan," former chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Ya'alon said Wednesday.
Hitting the nail smack on the head. But he went further. And his points are, I think, essential to any hope of achieving peace and stability of any sort in the Middle East.
Ya'alon said the faulty conceptions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict included the beliefs that the Palestinians want - or were able - to establish an independent state within the pre-1967 armistice lines, that the creation of two states within those boundaries would solve the conflict, that land for peace was the basis for any peace agreement, that peace would bring security, and that the key to stability in the Middle East was the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Let's look at those points a little more closely:
1. The palestinians arabs do NOT want or are not able to establish an independent state within the pre-1967 armistice lines. Yaalon elaborates:
He said the violent Palestinian rejection of the peace proposal offered to them at Camp David seven years ago, which would have given them a state on the Gaza Strip and some 95 percent of the West Bank, and the refusal of both Hamas and Fatah to recognize the existence of a Jewish state negated the essence of Israeli and international policies - that the Palestinians want an independent State alongside Israel on the pre-1967 borders.
Remember that the UN Parition Plan of 1947 offered the Jews a tiny fraction of the land they had had every reason to hope for as a national homeland, and much of that was considered uninhabitable. But an oppressed people, having just survived attempted genocide and truly wanting a place to call home, accepted it nonetheless and turned their attention to draining the swamps and making the desert bloom. Well, they turned their attention to that after successfully defending themselves against the onslaught of five Arab nations determined not to allow them even that. This is how a people desirous of a homeland behaves. Compare and contrast.
2. The creation of two states within the post-1967 boundaries would NOT solve the conflict.
This proposition is so self-evident, it barely requires an explanation. The entire Arab world has always believed and continues to believe that there is no room for a Jewish State of any size in the Middle East. The creation of two states has been accepted by some (but not all) as a temporary situation that will ultimately lead to the obliteration of Israel. So the conflict would continue, but with one more, extremely close Arab state cherishing that dream.
3. Land for peace is NOT a basis for a successful peace agreement.
See, the last 30 years. Sinai. Egypt. The coldest peace ever. See also, Olso. Wye. Camp David. See, especially, Gaza, disengagement from (although admittedly that fiasco wasn't an attempt to trade land for peace but rather an attempt to trade land for nothing so, note: land for nothing is also not a basis for a successful peace agreement).
4. Peace will not necessarily bring security.
Ok, I have to confess. I'm not sure exactly what this means. Perhaps Ya'alon was referring to the "peace" with Egypt and Jordan, which has certainly not brought security. Instead, the "peace" with Egypt has brought smuggling of munitions, explosives and drugs (to name only a few items) into Gaza and lots of US aid to finance Egypt's continuing military build-up and training for a hypothetical war with a hypothetical country just to its northeast. The "peace" with Jordan has just resulted in a big pay-off -- for Jordan. PM Olmert plans to release four terrorists serving life sentences to Jordan tomorrow, where it appears all but certain that they'll be released after 18 months (and more likely sooner).
5. The key to stablility in the Middle East is NOT the resolution of the conflict between Israel and the palestinian arabs. Ya'alon again:
Ya'alon said regional stability was not dependent on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as many Western leaders argue, but on the defeat of jihadism, led by the Iranian regime.
"Any Israeli concession will not only not reduce the threat, but will increase it," he said.
"The result of Israeli concessions today will hurt not only Israel's interests and those of the West, but those of moderate Arab regimes in the region," he added.