By Ben-Dror Yemini | Yedioth Ahronoth | September 27th, 2017
There is something frustrating in the entirely predictable reactions to the terror attack. We once again received the same slew of clichés, the very same clichés, from left and right. Nearly all the representatives of the two camps are stuck in a division that long ago became obsolete. The left and the right are bankrupt. And the painful terror attack that was committed yesterday only prompted them to sink deeper into their own mud.
The left wants a “resumption of the peace process.” Did the peace process prevent terror attacks? Are the people who go out to commit terror attacks peace-seeking individuals who merely want to advance that process by slightly violent means? Lethal terror attacks were also committed while the peace process was alive and well. The largest wave of terrorism, the second Intifada, was launched after Israel crossed the proverbial Rubicon, and agreed for the first time ever to the establishment of a Palestinian state and to partitioning Jerusalem. That didn’t stop terrorism.
The right wants an “apt Zionist response.” In other words, it wants more and more settlement outposts that are misrepresented as being “new neighborhoods.” When the hell has mixing populations together ever solved problems? When has that ever worked? And when did making the PLO’s old dream of establishing one large and bi-national state become the Zionist goal? After all, that is precisely what the Palestinian rejectionist front wants. That is what the BDS activists want. So should the Israeli right wing make that dream come true? Should the response to terrorism be the enactment of the vision held by the terrorists?
We need to admit that there always has been and will be terrorism, with or without peace. Terrorism is also a problem in places where Sharia law is enforced; and terrorism is also a problem in Germany, England and France, none of which maintain checkpoints or an occupation. Terrorism has its own intrinsic logic, which isn’t directly related to what Israel either does or doesn’t do.
We need to remember and remind ourselves that Israel succeeded in the past at lowering the volume of terrorism. The second Intifada’s terrorism was defeated. The wave of knifing attacks has abated, even if it hasn’t completely ended. And terror attacks committed by lone assailants who aren’t affiliated with any particular organization have been and will continue to be a part of life on both sides of the Green Line.
But one thing is clear: the more that mutually-hostile populations—such as the residents of the settlement outposts on the one hand and Hamas supporters on the other—are mixed together, the higher the level of violence becomes. Anyone who wants more terrorism ought to approve establishing more settlement outposts near more and more villages. Separation won’t end terrorism, but it will reduce the volume of terrorism. The problem is that we currently don’t have a partner with whom we can reach an agreement about consensual separation. Even if Netanyahu were to offer the Clinton parameters to Abu Mazen tomorrow—and it’s a shame that he hasn’t—Abu Mazen’s rejection is entirely predictable.
All of which means that there is one plan that a good many people—from the non-dogmatic right and the non-dogmatic left— have been aiming for in the past several years: separation while retaining control. This is a plan that was drafted and is supported by many veterans of the security establishment. It’s known as the “commanders’ plan.” The Palestinians will receive [in the context of this plan] far more autonomy and far more self-government, on the one hand, whereas Israel will retain control over the border with Jordan and every other point that is vital for security, on the other.
There isn’t any magical solution to the problem of terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But there is a path forward that will save us from the dream of a single bi-national state and will put us back on track towards a Jewish state. This path doesn’t have any of the starry-eyed utopia that is being sold to us by the people who bandy their clichés. But it does offer us the modest hope of more sanity and normalcy.