Today’s borders are the ‘indefensible’ ones
Haaretz editorial, published 01:16 22.05.11
Lots of high-sounding words were uttered over the weekend. There was U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech, in which he welcomed the civil revolutions in the Middle East and sketched the outlines of the best diplomatic plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Then came the unabashed longing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for peace on his terms. But the cascades of verbiage did not produce concord between Israel and the United States – to the point where it’s hard to decide which disagreement is greater, between Israel and the Palestinians or between Israel and the United States.
There is no doubt which is more dangerous for Israel. Netanyahu’s decision to have Israel clash with Obama is not only a dead end, it could remove the only protective wall Israel has left and sacrifice the country’s future on the altar of hollow ideology and unbridled nationalism.
Netanyahu is lying to the Israeli public and leading the U.S. administration astray when he portrays Israel’s current borders as defensible. The occupation of the West Bank, the planting of more settlements on the rocky hilltops, control of the Jordan Valley or the construction of thousands of homes in East Jerusalem do not remove the Iranian threat, prevent the firing of Qassam rockets or end Hezbollah’s willingness to fire missiles at Israel.
Borders themselves do not guarantee security. But borders that are recognized by the international community give a country the legitimacy to defend its sovereignty. Israel has no such borders, and more and more countries are finding it difficult to defend Israel’s position, which seeks to persuade others that occupation is a means of defense.
The real danger for Israel is not only the crisis in relations with the United States and most of Europe, it’s the deception Israel is trying to market to the Israeli public. According to that deception, a strong stand based only on nationalist slogans can replace a diplomatic solution; all that’s needed to survive Obama’s term with the current borders are well-crafted speeches and the right amount of manipulation. This strategy turns Netanyahu into a real threat to Israel’s security and future.