Expose the enemy: Say yes
I’m worried about Israel. I’m always worried about the terror forces in the region that want to destroy the Jewish state, but these days, I’m even more worried about the evil forces around the world that want to annihilate Israel through other means.
These forces are out to isolate Israel and turn it into the world’s No. 1 pariah state.
It would be a great mistake to underestimate this movement. Over the past few years, especially while Benjamin Netanyahu has served as Israel’s prime minister, the movement has gained dangerous momentum and is now nearing a tipping point.
As Barak Ravid wrote recently in Haaretz, “One of the gravest threats Israel will face in the coming year [is] its growing international isolation.”
“Should the negotiations with the Palestinians run aground,” Ravid quotes a European diplomat as saying, “you should expect a deluge of sanctions.”
This “deluge” of global isolation, economic sanctions, boycotts and even criminal prosecution is not just horrible for Jewish pride and Israel’s self image, it also runs the risk of turning the Start-Up Nation into Shut-Down Nation. Few companies or countries like to do business with a criminal state.
Don’t think Palestinian leaders aren’t watching all this. For many of them, the goal has long been to undermine the legitimacy of the Jewish state. They see this global anti-Israel movement as manna from heaven. That’s one reason —perhaps the key reason — why they refuse to make a deal. The longer they say no, the worse Israel looks.
Defenders of Israel must swallow this truth: As brilliant as Israel has been in fighting real terrorism, it has failed utterly in fighting the global terrorism of cunning and hateful anti-Israel propaganda.
Netanyahu can lecture the world about the real obstacle to peace being the anti-Israel incitement and glorifying of terrorism in Palestinian society, but at this stage, words are weak. We’ve lost the argument.
Rightly or wrongly, world opinion has landed on the Palestinian side: Israel is now seen as an illegal occupier and primarily to blame for the absence of peace. As painful as it is to admit, that train has pretty much left the station.
Unfair, you say? Of course. But, as we often tell our kids, “Life isn’t fair. Deal with it.”
So, how should Israel deal with this resounding defeat in the global war of perception? How can Israel turn the tables on its enemies?
Here’s one way: Expose the enemy by saying yes.
If I were prime minister, I would call a press conference and hold up a card, just as Bibi did last year at the United Nations when he drew his infamous red line on an Iranian nuclear bomb.
Only this time, instead of a bomb, the visual would be the U.S. Framework Agreement for peace. And instead of drawing a red line, I would sign my name at the bottom of the agreement.
Yes, I would say, “Israel agrees to this framework. This is our signed commitment that Israel is ready to end the occupation for the sake of peace.”
Only one caveat: If this signature is not reciprocated, our agreement is off the table.
That will give the world a chance to see that it is the Palestinian leadership that refuses to end the occupation. And why should they? The occupation is their gift that keeps on giving. It is their foot on Israel’s throat. It is the cocaine that feeds their addiction to victimhood. It is the mountain that gives them the moral high ground.
That truth will never come out unless the world hears a big, resounding Yes from Israel.
When I hear complaints that “Palestinians are suffering” under Israeli occupation, I think, “Yeah, but what about their leaders? The ones living in fancy villas in Ramallah, with fat bank accounts in Switzerland, who send their kids to private schools in England? Are they suffering?”
Those leaders must have nightmares that Israel will one day call their bluff. I want to see Mahmoud Abbas’ face when John Kerry shows him Bibi’s signature on the Framework Agreement. What will he do then? Tell his people that they’ve been lied to for 66 years and will never return to their homes in Haifa and Tel Aviv? That Jews really do have a connection to the land and Israel really is the legitimate homeland of the Jewish people?
Bibi has lost credibility on the world stage. His bunker mentality has reinforced the notion of Israel’s guilt. If anyone needs to make a dramatic and credible gesture, it is Bibi.
Releasing murderers from prison and then announcing new settlement construction has been suicidal on so many levels. Bibi should quit these games and just sign the Framework, which, after all, is not a final deal but a framework to negotiate. He’s already convinced Kerry to incorporate some key Israeli demands. Believe me, it’s the best “framework” he’ll get.
By shining the spotlight squarely on Ramallah, Bibi will expose the truth of the world’s highest-profile conflict: The Palestinians are incapable of saying yes.
And, in the highly unlikely event that Abbas decides to say yes and teach peaceful co-existence to his people, well, it’s perfectly OK to dream.
The thought of disarming the global anti-Israel movement might put a bad taste in Abbas’ mouth, but it makes me salivate.