Stav Shaffir: Asking for a Revolution
At the JStreet Gala on 18 April 2016, MK Stav Shaffir asked for something revolutionary to happen in Israel. She declared:
In the exact same way we have revolutionized Israel’s economic and transparency challenges it is now time to revolutionize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But what revolution is she asking for? She reiterates the only two options closed-minded people see: either annex the territories with its millions of Arabs, thus losing the Jewish state OR carry out the supposedly workable two-state solution (2SS). Of the former she notes that the current government, in its 20 years of holding the reins, has not yet annexed the settlements as, according to her, they know that this would end the Zionist project. Of the latter, she claims that the answer to the fears expressed by the majority of Israelis who she thinks support the 2SS is to rely on American guarantees of Israel’s safety.
Let us look at these in turn and then come to what I suggest may truly be a revolutionary idea.
Why Has a Right-Wing Government Not Annexed the Settlements?
Shaffir had not yet been born when then president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, landed at Ben Gurion Airport in 1977. He spoke to the Knesset during the first Right-wing government in the history of this country. Peace with Egypt was signed by a Likud-led government and not the Left. But Shaffir did not get to experience the delirium of that time, the hope and optimism generated by this first peace treaty signed between Israel and an Arab country, alongside the heart-breaking price of pulling apart the thriving community living in Yamit.
Peace with Egypt opened the door to peace with Jordan and made removal of Jews from Arab land legitimate. It was the Right that did that. So please, Shaffir, do not lecture us about hope, peace, compromise and sacrifice!
If Netanyahu has not yet annexed the settlements it may not be for the reason she ascribes to it. It may not be because he is afraid of bringing into Israel millions of Arabs – especially since the idea is not to annex the entire West Bank (as that land has been named by those who want to claim that it is somehow “Palestinian”), but only Area C, where Jews currently reside and in which there are about 350,000 Jews and 50-70,000 Arabs. Shaffir and others disingenuously misrepresent the issue when they claim that annexation of the “settlements” means including millions of Arabs into Israel. Time to stop that lie!
If Netanyahu has not yet annexed Area C, perhaps it is because he is well aware of the likelihood that that would further isolate Israel from her allies, something you say he has caused – yet would annexation not lead to further isolation?
We have some indication of how our allies would react to annexation if we look at how our allies who are members of UNESCO voted re the executive resolution saying that the Temple Mount and Wailing Wall are Muslim sacred sites with nothing to do with us Jews: 19 allies supported the resolution (out of 34 votes) and 16 abstained (of 17 abstentions). And some of these allies want security and intelligence assistance from us! Would these so-called “friends”, and even the 6 countries who voted against this resolution, support us if we annexed Area C? Or would THAT not be a call to war?
Why We Should Not Rely on the USA to Protect Us in Case the 2SS Doesn’t Quite Work Out as Shaffir Hopes
Aside from the fact that the Americans have not shown that they have much stomach for long protracted hostilities on the other side of the ocean, you mean?
But most importantly, Israel is a sovereign nation that needs to know that it has the means to protect herself. If, going into a deal, when
- we have the feeling that it might not work and we might be attacked from a disadvantaged position into which that deal puts us so that
- we can contemplate signing the deal only with the promise that the USA will have our backs, then
- that is a deal we should not accept.
Tell me another country, that has won the wars of anticipated annihilation waged against it, that would agree to humiliate and endanger itself as you propose, Shaffir.
What Would Truly Be Revolutionary
Here is what I propose: I suggest we let our representatives on the Left show us what they can do better. We should demand more of our MKs on the Left than photo ops with smiling “Palestinian” leaders who talk about peace in English and Hebrew alone. I would like to see Shaffir, Herzog, Yechimovitz, Galon, and anyone else who thinks they could do better than Bibi sit down with Abbas and his cronies and work out a peace deal Israel can live with and not die by. (If Shaffir can take on Abbas as she has Bennett and Slomiansky, I would love to be a fly on the wall of that meeting room.)
Of course before such a deal becomes Law, there would have to be a referendum and Israeli citizens would have to be convinced that the deal they struck is the best deal possible. I guarantee that all Israelis would be curious because we really are tired of fighting and just want to raise our kids in a healthy environment. So if they can bring us the deal we can live by, I will take off my hat to them.
I have the feeling they wouldn’t be able to do it because, when it will come down to the finishing line, they will find that the so-called Palestinians don’t want any Jew here except the dhimmi Jew. But, hey! Prove me wrong.
I dare them to prove me wrong.
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Here is the entire speech, if you care to watch MK Stav Shaffir at the 2016 JStreet Gala: