prefers the term disengagement or disassociation, rather than separation. He believes it unlikely that the near future will produce a practical solution, and sees a tendency towards further deterioration and a resurgence of tribal instincts, though not necessarily full-fledged war.
Sher has spent thousands of hours in negotiations, and the final agreement will, by necessity, be reached only through negotiations. But today, dialogue and negotiations are inadequate.
Separation between the two peoples was the underlying logic of the process that began in 1991. Israel can’t surrender its national interests: democracy, Jewish identity, security, its ethical heartland are all at stake today. What is needed is to secure our Jewish, democratic identity through an historic, territorial compromise.
Today, the only realistic approach is unilateral disengagement. About 80 percent of the settlers would remain, while both sides would renew their commitment to negotiations based upon the Clinton guidelines and the latest common draft of the Quartet’s Road Map. An Israeli withdrawal would end the occupation and lead to a provisional Palestinian state, before the final status negotiations. This would enable the Palestinians to develop their own society. The success of this approach depends upon our ability to differentiate between essentials and expendables.
believes that, given the Israeli economic situation, there may not be enough money available to complete the building of a wall.
Siniora can’t contemplate any forward momentum in the next four years. The June 24 Bush speech and the Quartet’s Road Map have already been by-passed by events, particularly given the current state of relations between the US and Europe, with a new alliance being created by the American neo-conservatives and the East Europeans. If the West can’t agree on a policy of war or containment on Iraq, how can it promote the Road Map? There are also fears of religious wars between born-again Christians and fundamentalist Muslims.
Still, the Road Map is one of the few glimpses of a possible solution available. But if the possible war is not a “surgical” one, Bush won’t be able to implement his vision of a Palestinian state by 2005. Domestic policy influences foreign policy, and he’ll be in the midst of elections.
Any unilateral step would create new borders, and some villages will be left on the other side of the wall, while Israel will start building settlements around it. Siniora doesn’t believe it’s possible to talk with Ariel Sharon, but he was elected, so there’s no alternative. Yet Sharon has already raised a hundred reservations about the Road Map, and he doesn’t want a timetable for a solution. As for changes in the Palestinian leadership, that can only be the result of free elections, not Israeli or American imposition. Professor Menachem Milson tried to promote the Village Leagues as an alternative to the PLO almost 25 years ago, and it failed.
Sharon promised to provide security for Israelis, but never have so many Israelis and Palestinians been killed. There is a terrible economic situation, on both sides. Maybe a revolt in both communities will lead to different leaderships.
Sharon should remove at least one settlement, like Netzarim in the Gaza Strip, as a first step. More people have been killed guarding it than there are settlers living in it. What we need is for an Israeli leader to become a Nixon or a de Gaulle.