Israeli voters at the forthcoming elections on 9 April should be given the opportunity to send President Trump, the PLO, EU and UN a clear message on what they want to see happening in Judea Samaria and East Jerusalem (West Bank) and Gaza – the last 5 per cent of the territory comprised in the Mandate for Palestine where sovereignty remains unresolved between Jews and Arabs (“disputed territories”).
For this to happen - all political parties need to state in clear and unambiguous terms what their policies in relation to the disputed territories will be if they form part of the next Government.
The options and the choices are many – and include:
* Continuing to press for a negotiated “two-state solution” – the creation of an Arab State – in addition to Jordan – in all or part of the disputed territories
* Annexing all or part of the disputed territories
* Creating Jordanian enclaves in all or part of the disputed territories
* Maintaining the status quo without any further negotiations
* Redrawing the international borders between Israel, Jordan and EgyptCo-head of the frontrunner Blue and White Party – Benny Gantz – needs to do better than stating:
“The main question is that of security. It [the Government] needs to ensure the State of Israel's security. Now, there's a question of interest here. We — and Netanyahu said this in his Bar-Ilan speech (a 2009 address in which the prime minister backed Palestinian statehood) — are not looking to control anyone else. We need to find a way in which we're not controlling other people.”Is Gantz talking about the Arab populations in the disputed territories? 95 per cent of the Arab population in Judea and Samaria is under PLO control. 100 per cent of Gaza’s Arabs-only population is under Hamas control. East Jerusalem Arabs are under Israel’s control.
Gantz must articulate his plan for ending what he sees as Israel’s control of other people.
Gantz’s partner Yair Lapid expressed the following view in 2008:
“The greatest tragedy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that everyone knows how it will end. We will divide up the region. Israel will return most of the West Bank, and the Palestinian flag will fly on public buildings in East Jerusalem. The only unanswered question is how many more people will have to die along the way. And so we will fight against the extremists on both sides, including our extremists, the settlers. When you look at the history of wars, they ultimately revolve around one claim: "My god is better than yours."Is this still Lapid’s view in 2019? He – like Gantz – owes it to the electorate to spell out his party’s position should it be in the next Government.
Netanyahu needs to state what the Likud Party’s policy is right now – not what it might have been in 2009 or at any time since. All political parties seeking election must do likewise.
Views held in 2008 or 2009 are irrelevant – raking over old coals is counter-productive.
Gantz is right in recognising that security is the main question at this election – as it always has been.
All the promises and allure of a better and more prosperous society, equality and justice for all – even going to the moon and back – count for nought if those voting are murdered, injured or traumatised to not enjoy the benefits.
President Trump needs to know what outcomes the Israelis want for the disputed territories before issuing his long-anticipated “deal of the century” very soon after the elections. The PLO, EU and UN need to also listen digest and respond.
The time for straight-talking on the disputed territories is right now.