The Bush Administration is considered by many of us as one of the most pro-Israeli US governments. Recently, this Administration engaged in vigorous activity for the sake of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, based on the Road Map vision and the two-state solution.
For more than three years now, this Administration has been asking Israel to remove illegal West Bank outposts (which are perceived to be illegal by Israel itself,) in order to advance the peace process that seeks to separate the two peoples, and in order to boost Palestinian trust in American mediation.
Israel has willingly accepted this demand, not only in order to satisfy the request of its friend, but rather because it objects to those outposts, which violate Israeli law and create anarchy in the territories. Moreover, it is clear that when the time comes these outposts will hinder the separation process, which according to the prime minister will require “painful concessions.”
And there, for three years, Israel has not implemented in practice what it views as something that should and can be done, and while doing so it also failed to comply with its best friend’s request. The prime minister himself said, and rightfully so, that the failure to remove the illegal outposts humiliates all of us, and certainly humiliates our good friend, the US.
What should we do in order to regain our national honor and that of the laws we legislated, as well as the honor and credibility of the US? It appears to me that it is vital for the US to help the Israeli government, out of friendship, to overcome its fear of the anarchical and law-breaking violence of outpost residents by undertaking the minimal act of expressing the kind of dissatisfaction that one country expresses to another. That is, recall its ambassador for consultation, which would stimulate Israeli public opinion to help its government to deliver on its promise, which has to do with the very essence of respecting Israeli sovereignty and upholding Israel’s laws.
Israel’s ties with the US are very important in the eyes of most Israelis, and therefore, such public expression of dissatisfaction would prompt many of us to encourage the government in the determined struggle against the dangerous acts of anarchy in the territories.
By the way, some of the moderate settlers also dislike these anarchical deeds, due to a sense that when the time for an agreement comes it would be difficult to implement the idea of annexing settlement blocs to the State of Israel.
The prime minister said some time ago a sentence that elicited scathing criticism, even on the part of moderate members of the peace camp, yet I must admit I cannot but admire the courage he displayed in his far-reaching vision. The central idea expressed by Olmert was that if Israel would be unable to separate from the Palestinians, it may bring about its own demise in the long run.
We should know that there is no certainty that the Palestinians indeed aspire in the long run to establish an independent state of their own within borders that would be no less than the 1967 borders. Therefore, the ongoing permeation of Israeli citizens into Palestinian territories could help the Palestinians.
While patiently maintaining relative quiet in Judea and Samaria during the transition from an apartheid state into a bi-national state, ultimately a Palestinian state may be created where only a Jewish autonomy remains.
We are able to and entitled to maintain military forces in the territories for many years, until we have complete faith in the Palestinians’ ability to overcome terror and guarantee our security. However, intermixing the two peoples to the point where there is no possibility of separation and the construction of a clear border between them and us will ultimately bring about the collapse of Israeli identity, and would gravely undermine the Zionist vision of borders and sovereignty.
The illegal outposts, in and of themselves, may not appear to be a grave development in terms of their scope and number of residents. Yet they are highly significant in terms of their symbolism and they make a mockery of the State of Israel’s ability to overcome them.
If the US is a true friend of Israel, it must help her through a symbolic act of protest that would express its dissatisfaction. By doing so, it would boost and stimulate it, like a loving yet strong father, to start overcoming its addiction to this destructive drug.