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A.B. Yehoshua Photo: Tzvika Tishler
A.B. Yehoshua Photo: Tzvika Tishler
 
 

 

The heart of the conflict

Op-ed: A.B. Yehoshua says dovish camp must demand end to settlement enterprise before joining Bibi's third government

A.B. Yehoshua
Published: 01.01.13, 23:59 / Israel Opinion

With elections just around the corner, now is a good time to define the heart of the conflict between the "hawks" and "doves" in Israel. The heart of the conflict today is not so much about the peace process. Even someone who is willing to accept the Geneva formula has doubts about whether the Palestinians and Arab world would be satisfied with a demilitarized state within the 1967 borders and legal status in Jerusalem, without the return of refugees to Israel itself.

 

The vast majority of those who belong to the dovish camp, which will be represented in the upcoming elections by the leftist and centrist parties, are not naïve or delusional. They are also not convinced that hostilities will end even if a peace agreement is signed and Israel withdraws from Judea and Samaria. The hawkish camp, on the other hand, must fight for one basic issue: Stopping the dangerous process by which the State of Israel is gradually heading toward a bi-national state, which will be a disaster for both nations.

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This is the heart of the conflict between the camps. In the face of constant expansion of settlements by way of the settlement bloc sham, the failure to evacuate illegal outposts and mainly the wild construction in areas that never belonged to Jerusalem – both historically and geographically, and in the face of a historically and demographically blind process that over the past few years has been sewing together two nations that are so different from one another – in the upcoming elections an unequivocal stance must be presented; a stance that says "stop." Because it is entirely possible that the Palestinians, whose insistence on refusing to negotiate with Israel is seemingly inexplicable, are actually interested in dragging Israel into the trap of a bi-national state, which they believe will eventually become a Palestinian state from the river to the sea.

 

The religious Israelis have no real reason to fear a bi-national state. The religious Jewish identity is a "wandering" identity and has persevered for hundreds of years among various civilizations, nations and religions. They are certainly not overly distraught by the prospect of a bi-national state, particularly when the IDF will be defending it.

 

The main conflict is between the doves and the secular leaders of the rightist camp. Those who supposedly follow Ze'ev Jabotinsky's doctrine have forgotten that when he said "Two Banks has the Jordan" in the 1930s there were 18 million Jews in the world - and most of them desperately needed a Jewish state – while there were less than a million Arab Palestinians. This is why Jabotinsky could have envisaged a state with a decisive Jewish majority in which an Arab majority exists with full rights.

 

But today we are on the brink of a bi-national state, and many people who are familiar with what is currently happening on the ground claim the process cannot be stopped. But even if there is some truth to their claim, we can still soften the blow with a solution of cantons and agreements of dual citizenship.

 

Therefore, the heart of the conflict between the hawks and doves in the upcoming elections is not peace, international isolation or separation of religion and state. What must be demanded is the immediate end to the settlement enterprise. The dovish camp, on all its components, must make this an imperative condition for joining the third Netanyahu government.

 

 

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