America gave Israel the opportunity of a lifetime

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The newly released peace plan means that Israel no longer has to choose between three bad options. It now has a great option and it must seize it, despite the costs.

President Donald Trump’s peace plan creates, for the very first time, an opportunity for Israel to shape reality in Judea and Samaria in a way that serves its national security interests.

Until now, Israel has had three options, all of which were dangerous and harmful. However, with the rollout of the Trump administration’s Vision for Peace, Israel now has a good hand with which it can pursue a fourth option that will address is chief security concerns.

One of the options that Israel pursued was the effort to have the Palestinians become independent so that they will not have to rely on Israel. However, the Palestinian leadership and its people do not want to step up to the plate and become their own masters; they want statehood just so they could establish a permanent base from which to fight Israel.

Israel learned its lesson. Today you will not find a single political figure in Israel within the major parties who would want to give the Palestinians full statehood. Apart from the radicals, everyone knows that as soon as the Palestinians get hold of their airspace and border crossings they would use them to further their attacks against Israel, which would in turn have to reconquer Judea and Samaria and stay there permanently.

The second option was continuing the occupation. And because giving them sovereignty was too dangerous, Israel had to control them, and run their lives.

The third option was to integrate the millions of Palestinian inside Israel through some kind of annexation that would give them full civil rights or something close to that. If that were the case, Israel would have lost the ability to pursue its Zionist objectives and would have ceased to properly function due to the seismic demographic shift this would entail.

These three options all served the Palestinian radicals. All three options undermined Israel and boosted the Palestinians as the victims that should not be held accountable for their actions, even if they were the aggressors.

The range of options until now served Palestinian radicalism because all of them hurt the Israeli success story and essentially absolved the Palestinians of any responsibility

Israel has played a zero-sum game with Palestinian nationalists for the past 100 years. In 1948, then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion understood that the Palestinians could not be counted on as peace partners in the partition of the land. That is why he made sure to take the nationalist movement out of the equation and deal directly with the Jordanian king.

President Trump’s plan can help Israel by forcing the Palestinians to adopt a fourth option, under which the Jewish state would disengage from them and impose borders and security arrangements, essentially denying them the ability to hurt and exploit the Jewish state.

In order to do that, the settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley have to be annexed to Israel and the new border must be impenetrable. The Palestinians would get to have contact with the Arab world under Israeli supervision, and the Gaza Strip will be denied access to Judea and Samaria,  to make sure Hamas does not take over.

This option will exact a heavy toll on Israeli society. It requires that the Palestinians get a contiguous border so that Israel can fully separate, and thus it will necessarily lead to the uprooting of Israeli communities that are outside the blocs and the Jordan Valley. This could be made easier by having this become a gradual process, with people getting equivalent housing within the new boundaries.

Israel will have to choose between doing what is necessary and painful and or forfeiting an opportunity of a lifetime. If we decide to apply sovereignty on every community, we would eventually have no choice but apply the third option that would have the Palestinians become de facto Israelis, to their delight.

Originally posted at israelhayom.com


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