Tuesday, June 13, 2006

An Excellent Defense of Unilateral Withdrawal

An editorial in today's Yediot Ahranot by Dr. Yossi Beilin, the leader of the left-wing Meretz party, provides an excellent defense of Prime Minister Olmert's plans to withdraw unilaterally from large parts of Judea and Samaria. I freely admit that my politics moved quite a bit to the right in the wake of the collapse of the peace process in 2000 and the subsequent Palestinian decision to launch a war of terror against Israel. I have rarely agreed with Dr. Beilin or Meretz in general in recent years but he squarely hits the proverbial nail on the head in today's editorial.

While I do recommend reading the piece in its entirety, here are some particularly strong parts:
If we stick to the idea of the complete Land of Israel, we will soon be left with no State of Israel, and if we are left with no State of Israel, we will be left with no Land of Israel. In the best case scenario, we will become beholden to the good graces of a Palestinian state that will include the Whole Land of Israel.

That's the whole story. It is also the reason that Ariel Sharon changed his mind, and Ehud Olmert changed his mind, as did Tzipi Livni, Dan Meridor, Tzachi Hanegbi, Michael Eitan and many other "Whole Land of Israel" proponents both in and out of the Knesset.

[...]

Either we will have a Jewish democracy here, with a stable Jewish majority and equal civilian rights for all – or we will have nothing.

[...]

The Land of Israel west of the Jordan River will have a Palestinian majority in another four or five years. If we continue to rule this entire area (directly or indirectly), the Palestinians will come to us with a simple demand: One man, one vote. They will tell us not to worry about taking down settlements, dividing Jerusalem, creating a Palestinian state or anything else.

This, in turn, will create one, large state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, but it will not be the State of Israel.

The Whole Land of Israel – or in other words, Israeli control of the western portion of the Land of Israel – is not an alternative to a Jewish state in part of that territory.

For those who dismiss realignment or convergence or disengagement or whatever the current nom du jour is as some sort of retreat in the face of Palestinian terrorism I can only quote Prime Minister Olmert's words yesterday before the British parliament:
We'll never agree to pull out of all of the territories, because the borders of 1967 are indefensible

A withdrawal to borders that make sense for Israel without any Palestinian Arab input is the last thing the Palestinians or their supporters want because it takes the territorial issue and "occupation" off the table. This is why supporters of the Palestinians cry "annexation" so loudly even as Israel makes what amount to unprecedented concessions.

Yossi Beilin is right this time. Israel is following the only practical course open to her.

[NOTE: This piece also appears in Blogs of Zion, where I write under my Hebrew name.]

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1 comment:

Yael K said...

Oh no, Caitlyn, I just read your news about Nyssa. I'm hoping it won't be to say goodbye yet. I'm sending you a big hug and to little Nyssa too.