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Resisting the Pressure

There are increasing indications that Western powers will seek to renew Israeli-Palestinian negotiations right after the Israeli elections on March 17. Dore Gold writes at The Algemeiner that no matter how the elections turn out, Israel’s government must stand firm in resisting the pressure to agree to a dangerous deal:

Whatever government Israel elects on March 17 will have to be firm in resisting the pressures that are likely to mount. The most immediate demand to be made is that Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders, with “limited” land swaps, as the U.N. draft resolution [from December 2014] recommended. In past interviews, such as the one he gave to The New York Times on Feb. 7, 2011, [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas clarified that his idea of a “limited land swap” involved 1.9 percent of the West Bank. This miniscule land swap in no way could offset the huge concession he was demanding of Israel — to agree to the 1967 borders.

This land swap would not provide enough territory to protect Israeli settlement blocs. Leaks to Al Jazeera of past negotiations under Olmert indicate that the Palestinians refused to concede the large settlements of Ariel and Maale Adumim. In short, Abbas’ land swaps would leave thousands of Israelis on territory that the Palestinians expect to be theirs. The concept of 1967 borders with land swaps is a non-starter.

The pressure on Israel to agree to a nearly full withdrawal on the basis of the 1967 lines also directly impacts Israel’s security — yet another reason for any Israeli government to resist such a demand. Ironically, just as this pressure can be expected to increase, the current chaos in the Middle East makes such a withdrawal more dangerous than ever. The vacuum created by the breakdown of several Arab states, like Syria and Iraq, has allowed for the growth of a new breed of terrorist organizations, like Islamic State, that are far more challenging than the organizations Israel fought in the past. …

Unfortunately, many in the international community who will be pressing Israel to accept their proposals do not appreciate correctly how the dramatic shifts in the Middle East have altered Israel’s basic requirements in any revived peace negotiations. There is a tendency to take old peace proposals from the 1990s and to try and rework them and make them relevant for today, ignoring how much the Middle East has changed. The next Israeli government will find itself pulled between the determination of the international community to implement its latest ideas and the necessities of Israel’s security on the ground in a much more chaotic and unstable Middle East.

Tags: Israel , Palestinians

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