Det är ganska uppseendeväckande att någon som fortfarande är kvar som premiärminister om än tillfälligt säger vad ingen annan Israelisk politiker skulle våga. De ockuperade territorierna är värdelösa för Israels säkerhets. Eller att Israels mål hela tiden varit att behålla hela Jerusalem något som även det hotar Israels säkerhet. Han går med andra ord emot hela bosättningsrörelsen som dominerar israels politik efter 1967.
Nu säger Ehud Olmert det. Det är förstås meningslöst. För att citera Haaretz. Israel har valt balkan som modell. Tvåstats lösningen är död även om ingen säger det. Samtidigt är Israel som en judisk stat lika orealistiskt som sydafrika som en vit.
It is difficult to imagine that a veteran political hack and smart lawyer like Ehud Olmert did not understand that once Israel’s prime minister loudly set the bar for an agreement with the Palestinians at the 1967 borders, no Palestinian leader will settle for less. Like the heiress apparent, Tzipi Livni, Olmert knows that there is no point in continuing to bargain. Both have concluded that the old game of the endless peace process that leads nowhere has reached its end. The mantra ”if they give, they’ll get, if they don’t give, they won’t get” that Benjamin Netanyahu waved arrogantly in the Palestinians’ faces has changed direction: If Israel gives the territories, all the territories, it will get a Jewish state. If Israel does not give the territories, including East Jerusalem, it will get the Balkans.
But Olmert and Livni, not to mention the Zionist left, have not managed to pass on to the public their anxiety over losing the two-state option. The right’s frightening scenarios that Palestine will launch missiles at the homes of Kfar Sava and planes landing at Ben-Gurion Airport are scaring people much more than the danger of one state for two peoples; that is, the loss of the state’s Jewish character. In fact, Israelis have lived for 41 years in a binational reality, but the regime, and that is what counts for them, has consistently remained unitary.
The numbers of Arabs living five minutes from Israelis’ homes, between settlements and army bases, does not bother them. To ease their conscience, most Israelis (55 percent according to the Steinmetz Peace Index from last March) define the West Bank as ”liberated territory” and only 32 percent have adopted the term ”occupied territory.” As long as Israel does not annex the territories and does not give its inhabitants civil rights, the ”demographic threat” is a statistical paper tiger. Even ”international pressure” to reach a settlement has turned out time after time to make momentary headlines, accompanied the next day by the report of a new outpost and two days later by an invitation to another peace conference.
It appears, therefore, that there is a long-range alternative to a two-state solution other than the one-state solution for two peoples: a Jewish and democratic state west of the Green Line and Jewish and undemocratic rule east of the line. The Palestinian Authority, which was intended to be a temporary arrangement until the establishment of an independent state, has become a fig leaf covering the nakedness of a deluxe version of occupation. The European taxpayer, rather than the Israeli one, is paying the salaries of teachers and doctors in the West Bank. And Mahmoud Abbas’ police have become the subcontractors for the Israeli security forces.
In an interview with Haaretz last week, GOC Central Command Gadi Shamni praised the Palestinian police for their raids on mosques and their arrests of imams. The voices of Palestinian public figures like Professor Sari Nusseibeh, who called on Abbas to end the theater of the absurd of the diplomatic talks, dismantle the PA and begin an international struggle for equal rights in all of Mandatory Palestine, have fallen silent. The pollster Khalil Shikaki found that only 25 percent of the West Bank’s inhabitants support a one-state solution.
The Palestinians have come to know the Jewish community and they know it will not agree to give up its dominance by force for the sake of egalitarian coexistence with the Palestinian community. Their support for Hamas does not stem from a loss of support for a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines – it stems from a loss of faith in the possibility of bringing Israel back to those lines without a fight.
JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an interview published on Monday that Israel must withdraw from nearly all of the West Bank as well as East Jerusalem to attain peace with the Palestinians and that any occupied land it held onto would have to be exchanged for the same quantity of Israeli territory.
He also dismissed as “megalomania” any thought that Israel would or should attack Iran on its own to stop it from developing nuclear weapons, saying the international community and not Israel alone was charged with handling the issue.
In an unusually frank and soul-searching interview granted after he resigned to fight corruption charges — he remains interim prime minister until a new government is sworn in — Mr. Olmert discarded longstanding Israeli defense doctrine and called for radical new thinking, in words that are sure to stir controversy as his expected successor, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, tries to build a coalition.
“What I am saying to you now has not been said by any Israeli leader before me,” Mr. Olmert told the newspaper Yediot Aharonot in the interview on the occasion of the Jewish new year, observed from Monday evening till Wednesday evening. “The time has come to say these things.”
He said that traditional Israeli defense strategists had learned nothing from past experiences and that they seemed stuck in the considerations of the 1948 war of independence.
“With them, it is all about tanks and land and controlling territories and controlled territories and this hilltop and that hilltop,” he said. “All these things are worthless.”
He added, “Who thinks seriously that if we sit on another hilltop, on another hundred meters, that this is what will make the difference for the State of Israel’s basic security?”
Over the last year, Mr. Olmert has publicly castigated himself for his earlier right-wing views and he did so again in this interview. On Jerusalem, for example, he said: “I am the first who wanted to enforce Israeli sovereignty on the entire city. I admit it. I am not trying to justify retroactively what I did for 35 years. For a large portion of these years, I was unwilling to look at reality in all its depth.”
He said that maintaining sovereignty over an undivided Jerusalem, Israel’s official policy, would involve bringing 270,000 Palestinians inside Israel’s security barrier. It would mean a continuing risk of terrorist attacks against civilians like those carried out this year by Jerusalem Palestinian residents with front-end loaders.
“A decision has to be made,” he said. “This decision is difficult, terrible, a decision that contradicts our natural instincts, our innermost desires, our collective memories, the prayers of the Jewish people for 2,000 years.”
The government’s public stand on Jerusalem until now has been to assert that the status of the city was not under discussion. But Mr. Olmert made clear that the eastern, predominantly Arab, sector had to be yielded “with special solutions” for the holy sites.
On peace with the Palestinians, Mr. Olmert said in the interview: “We face the need to decide but are not willing to tell ourselves, yes, this is what we have to do. We have to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, the meaning of which is that in practice we will withdraw from almost all the territories, if not all the territories. We will leave a percentage of these territories in our hands, but will have to give the Palestinians a similar percentage, because without that there will be no peace.”
Elsewhere in the interview, when discussing a land swap with the Palestinians, he said the exchange would have to be “more or less one to one.”