Roughly twenty years ago Israel made a decision to bring back from exile in faraway Tunisia it’s most bitter enemy, Yasser Arafat, and deposit him together with his close associates on our own doorstep. Still further, not content with the shock value of such a startling move, the leaders of the day outdid themselves by actually helping to arm and train Arafat’s newly created “police force”.
Underlying this odd yet bold course of action was the assumption that the only way to achieve stability in the region is by increasing the amount of Arab sovereignty, which of course is just a kinder way of saying by reducing the amount of Israeli sovereignty. Although perhaps it’s never been explicitly stated this way, there’s no doubt that this belief has had an enormous influence in shaping the policies of successive Israeli leaders for nearly twenty years.
Moreover, although it’s true that when the Oslo process was launched many people honestly believed that the reasoning behind taking such a gamble was sufficiently sound, two decades of experience have demonstrated the fact that the essential assumption was clearly wrong: reduced Israeli sovereignty does not lead to local or regional stability. It never did and it never will. In fact the very opposite is true since such a way of thinking exudes a defeatist attitude and projects a message that “we’re wrong, the land is not ours”, which in turn empowers our enemies to act in a more brazen manner. This of course perpetuates, rather than eradicates, local and regional instability.
Hence this flawed line of reasoning, despite some good intentions, is the real driving force behind the many diversified attacks on Israel since the dawn of Oslo. Moreover, it makes no difference whether the attacks are against Israel’s legitimacy, such as the international BDS campaign or the yearly Israeli Apartheid Week, or against Israel’s very existence, such as the countless terrorist attacks or missile barrages from Gaza. They’re all a result of Israel’s indefatigable attempt to grant further Arab sovereignty at the expense of Israeli sovereignty.
What’s more, each time the attack is of a military nature Israel is reluctantly drawn into yet another round of tit-for-tat reprisals – you kill, we kill, you kill, we kill – which do little, if anything, in diminishing the constant Arab-Israeli tension. Thus, in order to finally change the seemingly endless cycle of insanity for both Jews and Arabs, Israel needs to take a clear look at reality and simply change the paradigm. As the only source of real stability in the entire Middle East, it’s a no-brainer that the exact opposite of the Oslo assumption is true. Namely, real stability can be achieved only by increasing Israeli sovereignty, not reducing it, while increasing Arab sovereignty will only lead to Israel’s demise.
Although such a change in direction at this late stage of the game would not be easy for Israel, it’s simply a must, not just for those of us who happen to be alive today but more importantly for future generations.