If Israel wants peace, why doesn't it withdraw to 1967 borders?
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If Israel wants peace, why doesn't it withdraw to 1967 borders?
The occupation did not cause the enmity between Israelis and the Arabs of Palestine. The occupation was a result of this enmity. The Arab struggle to destroy Israel has been going on since 1948. Palestinian Arab attempts to exclude Jews from their homeland have been going on for over a hundred years. Bloody riots erupted periodically in Palestine under the British Mandate in 1920, 1921, 1929 (see Arab Riots and Massacres of 1929) and 1936-9 ( see Arab Uprising in Palestine). Israeli withdrawal, regardless of its other possible merits, will not end Palestinian violence. Israeli withdrawal without peace could create a lawless and chaotic area such as we are witnessing in Gaza, that is used to launch terror attacks against Israel. It could also create another confrontation state like Iran, right on Israel's borders. Israel is 10 miles across near Tel Aviv ( See Map - How big is Israel?), bordering on populous Palestinian areas.
Israel offered virtually all of the territories and Arab Jerusalem to the Palestinians at Taba in 2001, but PNA Chairman Yasser Arafat rejected the offer and the Palestinians went on with the second intifada instead. The offer included about 95% of the territory of the West Bank in a contiguous area, not Bantustans as Palestinians claim. See The Myth of the Israeli Bantustan offer at Taba and other myths
The second intifada was made possible by the withdrawal of the Israeli army in the previous years from virtually all Palestinian towns. Arafat's active role in funding and promoting terror, and his double-speak regarding this and Israel's right to exist, resulted in Israel's rejection to view him as a partner in further negotiations. At that time, the ideas of the fence and the disengagement as unilateral plans were born. Despite official declarations, many Palestinians still don't accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. The charters of both Hamas and Fatah call for the destruction of Israel and all Zionist activity. The Hamas charter states:
"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."
"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "
The Fatah Constitution states:
Article (7) The Zionist Movement is racial, colonial and aggressive in ideology, goals, organisation and method.
Article (8) The Israeli existence in Palestine is a Zionist invasion with a colonial expansive base, and it is a natural ally to colonialism and international imperialism.
It is worth remembering that the Fatah was founded before the 1967 war, and the constitution dates from approximately 1964. The desire to destroy Israel did not begin with the occupation.
The leader of Fatah, Farouk Kaddoumi, said not long ago that a Palestinian state in 1967 borders is only the first stage to liberating all of historical Palestine. About half of the Palestinians (the numbers vary in different polls) support 'armed resistance' against Israel, including suicide attacks on civilians. PA TV regularly broadcasts hate-sermons or clips that glorify violence against Israel and Jews. Since Abbas came to power, this has changed a bit but far from stopped.
No country would welcome the creation of a hostile country that seeks its destruction at its doorstep. Therefore a Palestinian state can only come into being if the Palestinians too work hard for peace. Confidence building measures or other concessions like the disengagement, removal of checkpoints, release of prisoners, should be answered by concessions from the Palestinians. The Palestinians were powerful enough to kill over 1000 Israelis during the second intifada, they get a lot of international aid and support from the international community and have all the Islamic countries on their side. They are not powerless and helpless victims.
A full withdrawal to 1967 borders means Israel would have to give up parts of Jerusalem that have been part of Jewish consciousness for 3000 years, and settled by Jews almost continuously. Jerusalem has has a Jewish majority for at least 100 years and probably much longer (see Importance of Jerusalem to the Jews). These areas include the Old city of Jerusalem, including the Wailing Wall and the Jewish Quarter, as well as the Hebrew University. Moreover, as the occupation is the result of a war forced on Israel, and the settlement policy a reaction to the Arab refusal to make peace, it is unfair to demand from Israel that it alone bears the burden of solving the situation. Contrary to anti-Zionist rhetoric, a contiguous Palestinian state is possible also if Israel keeps the large settlement blocs. The Taba proposal as well as Geneva are based on that premise, with a land swap to compensate the Palestinians. The exact borders are issues however that have to be negotiated in a final peace agreement between both parties.
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