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تاريخ التسجيل: Jun 2019
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افتراضي Opinion | How an Israeli Unity Government Could Shrink the Conflict

Most Israelis are acutely aware of the trap they are in: Withdrawing from the territories would jeopardize their national security, but annexing the territories would jeopardize their national majority. In the recent elections, this conceptual trap produced political deadlock. And the only way out of this deadlock (and to avoid a third election) is to form a national unity government, in which the Likud Party and Blue and White share power. Such a government would give political expression to an emerging consensus in Israeli society. But ironically, this consensus is not about what must be done but what must not be done — no to a territorial withdrawal, and no to a territorial annexation. This raises the concern that a unity government will settle on perpetuating the status quo.
But there is another way forward, an alternative to trying to “solveâ€‌ the conflict or “manage itâ€‌: shrinking the conflict. Israelis have started talking about steps that Israel could take to avert the threat of a one-state reality without increasing the risk of rockets on Tel Aviv. This third way could include paving a network of roads connecting all the Palestinian autonomous areas to each other, and transferring these roads to Palestinian Authority control. Israel’s defense establishment already has various plans that could realize this goal, of achieving autonomous transportational contiguity for the Palestinians. Such a mighty initiative would eliminate Israeli checkpoints and give Palestinians full freedom to move across the West Bank. Israel could also give the Palestinian Authority more land for development around the major towns and support the construction of new Palestinian towns, along the lines of the successful Rawabi initiative. Other steps might promote the Palestinians’ economic independence and prosperity.
This third way, of shrinking the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, wouldn’t solve or end the conflict — a hope that doesn’t look realistic. It would contain it, it would lessen it. It would broaden the Palestinians’ freedom of movement, their freedom to develop and their freedom to prosper — all without an Israeli military withdrawal, and therefore no security dangers for Israeli civilians. Since this third way enhances the Palestinians’ effective independence, it would mitigate the risk of a deterioration into a one-state reality and create new horizons for diplomatic progress.
Yet why has no government done so yet? The right-wing objects for obvious reasons: For many, the land is sacred and not even an inch can be given away. But surprisingly, the left also objects. For many, “concessionsâ€‌ should only be made in the context of a permanent peace accord that solves the conflict as a whole. Hence, a paradox: By making a full peace treaty a condition for progress on the ground, the impossibility of reaching a full peace treaty guarantees that there will never be progress on the ground. And thus emerged a baffling, implicit alliance between the right and the left. Both of them support a form of the status quo. Paradoxically, faith in the sanctity of peace is as much a contributor to the status quo as faith in the sanctity of the land.
If they form a national unity government, the Likud and Blue and White have a golden opportunity to govern from the new political center. To reject the right-wing vision of annexation and the left-wing vision of peace and embrace a centrist vision of shrinking the conflict. This is a vision that refuses to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. A national unity government could liberate Israel and the Palestinians from the rigid ideologies that have perpetuated the unsustainable status quo and dramatically transform the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Micah Goodman is the author of “Catc7: The Left, the Right and the Legacy of the Six-Day War.â€‌
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conflict, government, israeli, opinion, shrink, unity


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