Sunday, 21 June 2009

Unfortunately - Israel is not Iran

The good news is that Israel is a democracy. That – is also the bad news.

Unlike in Iran, the actions and policies of governments in Israel reflect the wishes of the people. Israelis have knowingly and freely voted in right-wing governments for many years.

Unlike Iran, Israel stands no chance of being saved by a revolution.

Put Up or Shut Up

Israelis often claim that they would be willing to give up the Occupied Territories (West Bank) in the framework of a “real peace” agreement with the Palestinians. Should one believe them?

If Israelis really want peace and if they are really willing to give up the Occupied Territories and if they are, rightly, worried about handing over control to an unreliable and unstable Palestinian Authority, let Israel:

• Unilaterally move the Jewish Settlers from the Occupied Territories back to Israel and dismantle the Jewish settlements.
• Retain her military control until a peace agreement is reached between the two sides.

Much would be achieved by such an act:

• Removing the settlers would immediately reduce the friction between Israelis and Palestinians and help pacify the West Bank. Much of the friction is the direct result of provocations by Jewish settlers and not due to actions of the Israeli army. The calmer atmosphere would give peace talks a better chance.
• Once the deed will be done, Israeli governments will no longer be constrained and limited in their ability to act by the ransom to which the Jewish settlers hold them. No longer will Israeli governments be afraid of the civil unrest and disobedience that may be unleashed by the settlers.
• It would send a clear signal that Israel is really willing to get out of the West Bank. Neither the Arabs, nor many of Israel’s friends in other countries believe this to be the case.
• The dynamics of such a truly momentous move could kick-start the peace process. The onus would be on the Palestinians to get their act together and stop prevaricating as they have been doing for so many years.

Unless, of course, those who do not believe that Israel is willing to get out of the Occupied Territories, are right.


  1. It is a blessing that Israel is not Iran.

    Otherwise I could not agree more with your analysis. Let us hope that we both will see the day when the Israeli Prime Minister has both the power and courage to stop further settlements in the West Bank.

  2. H,

    I agree with you that it is a blessing that Israel is not Iran.

    But your hope that an Israeli prime minister might have the power and courage to stop further settlements is rather minimalist. They need to move out of the existing settlements.

    A prime minister needs a mandate from his voters. Israelis have for quite a while given their votes to parties that are hard-line on the settlements issue.

    What Israel needs is a leader of change. More than courage, its about vision and the necessary charisma to change the direction in which the country is going.

  3. Don't you feel Gaza was a wake-up call to the land-for-peaceniks?

  4. Marc,

    Gaza was a badly managed departure. Possibly engineered to prove that it does not work.

    Israel should have moved the settlers out and left the army there until an agreement was reached with the Palestinians. That would have prevented the chaos.