Katsav lashes out against Israeli concessions

June 28, 2006 at 2:51 am (Islamism, Israel, Middle East, Palestinian Territories)

The President of Israel, Moshe Katsav, lashed out against Israeli concessions which have yielded nothing for Israel. He blames previous administrations of not preparing adequately before enacting their concessions, especially by

the abiding absence of an agreed “map of vital Israeli national and security interests” to guide policymakers.

According to an article in The Jerusalem Post by David Horovitz and Greer Fay Cashman, “Katsav: We got nothing from conceding”

In a startling departure from his usual resolute non-intervention in the internal governance of Israel, President Moshe Katsav has launched a scathing attack on a series of Israel’s recent prime ministers and governments for failing to “get anything in return” for the historic concessions they made in signing the Oslo accords, endorsing the notion of independent Palestinian statehood, and pulling out of the Gaza Strip. Because of this cardinal error, he said, Israel was today further from peace with the Palestinians than it would otherwise likely have been.

The whole article is a good read.

One the one hand, President Katsav has a point. Israel has made significant concessions. I still remember being very, very upset with Benyamin Netanyahu when he handed Hebron over to the Palestinians. I supported Netanyahu (not that it matters, I not being a Jew or an Israeli national) precisely because I imagined he would be more assertive and less prone to giving things away. I recognize, of course, the political necessity of making concessions, but the fact that Israel has yet to gain anything from these concessions–and Israel’s preparations to march into the Gaza Strip, from which it unilaterally withdrew amidst substantial resistance from settlers, shows that the Gaza Strip has actually become more of a thorn in Israel’s side rather than causing fruits of peace to come forth–can demonstrate that there is little to gain.

On the other hand, by these concessions Israel has earned the international community’s begrudging sympathies. After the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, Pakistan announced it will seek to establish formal ties with Israel. It also announced that it hopes the Palestinians will reciprocate in peace overtures.

Furthermore, Israel has to do something. I outright completely reject a one-state plan, under which the Palestinians and Israelis would live in one state (presumably administered by the Israelis). There can be no arrangement that will keep both people (both nations, really) at peace or in cooperation. There is some chance the Palestinians and the Israelis can coexist as independent states, but they will not be able to coexist within the same state. If anyone wants to know more why I believe a one-state solution will not work, I can elaborate. Otherwise, I will assume it is common sense.

As such, as mentioned before, Israel has to do something. Bilateral plans don’t work because the Palestinians always backtrack. They have broken practically every agreement they agreed to. They cannot be trusted. This isn’t a matter of protocol but one of Qassam missiles, terrorism, violence, and vicious propaganda.

All that has its place. President Katsav has a very valid point. What have the Israelis gained from their many, many concessions? Is there a way to grant concessions and yet ensure Israel’s national security? After President Katsav’s remarks, and with the apparent failure of withdrawing from the Gaza Strip, will the people be willing to compromise on the realignment of the West Bank?

For those who may support what President Katsav said, some good news may be had when he said:

that Olmert “does not rule out what I say when we talk,” and that “I’m not sure he doesn’t believe the same. First he wants to try [the diplomatic route].”

(Ehud Olmert is the Prime Minister of Israel.)

True, I don’t have anything positive to say about the Middle East. Perhaps because too many people believe there is something positive to behold when there isn’t. It’s important to know the truth.


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