Thu,Dec 19,2013 16 Tevet 5774
I hope I understood correctly what Professor Alan Dershowitz intended in his latest attempt to assist Israel gain peace which was published in the Wall Street Journal.
Entitled "A Settlement Freeze Can Advance Israeli-Palestinian Peace", he suggests that "the time is ripe for [Israel's new coalition] government to make a bold peace offer to the Palestinian Authority."
But what he considers bold could be considered by others as perhaps, well, naive and even irrational. And not clever at all.
He writes there that since the "Palestinian Authority refuses to negotiate unless Israel accepts a 'freeze' on settlement building" and, since "Israel accepted a 10-month freeze in 2009, but the Palestinian Authority didn't come to the bargaining table" and when it "demanded that the freeze be extended indefinitely" and "Israel refused", well, "they walked away from the table...[and] there is every reason to believe that they would continue such game-playing if the Israeli government imposed a similar freeze now...".
Someone, like me, given that set of circumstances and odds, would say why get involved at all? Yes, Israel is being criticized but we do not have to keep repeating the same move (or mistake) over and over. Why gamble having once won?
But what does the defense counsel suggest? That
...Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should now offer a conditional freeze: Israel will stop all settlement building in the West Bank as soon as the Palestinian Authority sits down at the bargaining table, and the freeze will continue as long as the talks continue in good faith...The Israeli government should take the first step, but the Palestinian Authority must take the second step by immediately sitting down to negotiate in good faith..."
Does that make sense to you? Would you play chess in that fashion? Gamble even?
The first thing the Arabs would do - and have done, always - is up the ante. Jerusalem need be included, which is what they did last time. They even had Hillary Clinton agree. And the President and Vice-President, too. But our Prime Minister, to his credit, stood firm. Why needlessly test his mettle again?
Why not turn the table around and, for instance, have the Pals. stop all their construction first for the time period of negotiations? That there be halt in media incitement? That a security crackdown be effectively performed? Those are great aces up our sleeves. I'd even toss in a few limits on refugees to get the Arabs really upset.
To be generous, this is fairly amusing and at the same time, disappointing.
One would have presumed a true defender of Israel to be more imaginative and, at the same time, more cognizant of the political realities of the conflict.