Every Israeli would like to wake up tomorrow morning and hear that the century-old conflict with the Palestinians is over; that the leaders have reached a viable agreement on the outstanding issues and now we can all live happily ever after.
That is not going to happen.
The core issues are currently irreconcilable. This basic truth can be ostracized by overly optimistic or pathetic politicians, but at the end of the day – it is what it is. Israel
has made concessions and is willing to make more, but no Israeli leader, (unless he’s under criminal investigation), will be willing to withdraw to pre-1967 borders.
Such borders were long ago depicted by legendary Labor Foreign Minister Abba Eban as the "borders of Auschwitz,"
and the topography has yet to change. Neither has the demography. Israel’s prime minister will not divide his nation’s capital and will insist that Israel be recognized as the Jewish state by its partners to peace.
Concurrently, the current Palestinian president will not detract from his demand for the return of refugees and isn’t even willing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state alongside a Palestinian one.
In fact, even if the Palestinian leader would be willing to compromise, he lacks the legitimacy to do so. He is a persona non grata in Hamas-held
Gaza and almost a decade has passed since he was elected in Ramallah. Abbas
may represent his political party, but not his people. That weakness, binds him to a “no-budge position” on all the core issues.
Despite political stalemate, Israelis and many Palestinians want peace and quiet. The politicians need to facilitate that.
The conflict cannot be resolved at this time, but it can be managed. Many international disagreements and border disputes are being managed peacefully, and have been for decades. There are border disputes between Spain and Morocco, the United Kingdom and Ireland, France and Italy, China and India, Russia and Japan, Singapore and Malaysia, the Netherlands and Germany, Ukraine and Russia and many more. There are even seven different territorial disputes between Canada and the United States, which share the longest non-militarized border in the world.
Israel and its Palestinian neighbors can also manage their conflict by agreeing on agreeable issues and agreeing to disagree on issues that are currently unsolvable. A stable economic environment and a sustainable security situation are in the common interest of both sides. It is especially important for the Palestinians, and they would be wise to act accordingly. The imbalance of power between Israel and the Palestinians and economic comparisons with neighboring Syria,
make that observation crystal clear.
The earth will not quake if the status quo continues in Jerusalem and if Jews and Palestinians are permitted to continue living where they live.