An Anatomy of Israel’s Opposition Leader’s Peace Plan
In the midst of his search for political leadership, Shaul Mofaz, leader of Israel’s opposition Kadima party, came up recently with a plan for a political settlement to the Palestinian question, a move not surprising to many Israelis. It may well be useful to examine the plan in the light of its author’s history, as a military and political figure.
Mofaz, was the head of the Israeli military command before becoming the “defense” minister of Israel during Al-Aqsa Uprising period in the late eighties of the past century, where he ordered heinous measures to stop it. He was behind the project of a ‘protective’ Wall, which later turned into what many in the world know as the Wall of Apartheid. Moreover, he ordered the ravaging devastation of the Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin and the siege of the late President Yasser Arafat. Since 2009, he has been leading Kadima, the party that joined and later withdrew from the far-right coalition ruling Israel now. Being self-declared “pragmatist”, Mofaz always claimed that he supported a peaceful settlement resulting in the establishment of “a Palestinian State peacefully living side by side with Israel”. In the preface of his plan Mofaz says: “For the last sixteen years, I have been trying to devise a political settlement with the Palestinians. Without the success of attaining a settlement, Israel is trying a unilateral solution which could bring it the security it needs. But a unilateral solution cannot be the substitute for attaining an overall peaceful settlement that ends the conflict for good…” Mofaz even further stresses dire factors that Israel has to face in the meantime by saying: “Iran’s pace on the path to acquiring nuclear weapons, the increased militancy of extreme groups seeking the demise of Israel, the changing demographic balance favoring the Palestinian side and time, are not on the side of Israel”. He concludes that “the political thought” which has to be kept in every Israeli mind is that “the higher interest of Israel is to preserve the Jewish purity of the state as a democratic Jewish State, and the separation from the Palestinians must be an absolute necessity”. “To protect the Israeli national security and national interest”, he goes on to say, “we propose the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, without any armament, in the areas of the West Bank and Gaza, while we continue negotiations pertaining to the final outcome of a peace settlement”. Indeed, a gradual solution, rather than a peace settlement, is what Mofaz proposes. The plan calls for attaining full security measures first in piecemeal, till the time is convenient to establish an independent Palestinian state within four years. It also calls for two phases; in phase one, the independent Palestinian state is to be established on not more than 60% of the West Bank, in addition to Gaza. Only 90% of the Palestinian population is included in the state of phase one, with a contiguity established between ‘the Palestinian territories’. Israeli “settlements” in the occupied territories will remain in place within the Palestinian state while full recognition of Israeli sovereignty over these colonial settlements to be declared. Israeli security measures should be put in place to defend the eastern border of Israel!!
On other issues such as water, energy, environment, infrastructures, points of entry and exit and customs, Mofaz calls for establishing teams to negotiate them separately at the beginning of negotiations. What is decided and agreed upon is to be executed on the ground. The plan calls on the Israeli Knesset to pass laws pertaining to compensating the evacuations during the first year of phase one. Phase two is supposed to deal with the issues of the final settlement that will end the conflict for good, such as Jerusalem and the refugees. “Free access to religious places in Jerusalem” will be guaranteed for all, and an international body would be established to provide funds to compensate Palestinians who will not return to Israel and place them in other countries that agree to host them. After suggesting “solutions” to the dangers that might arise during the execution of the plan before reaching agreement on all issues of final settlement, Mofaz concludes that: “Israel has to be prepared to confront a failed state nearby if Hamas gains control over the West Bank, venting its militant anger against Israel. If the International community and the Arab states fail to reign down the Islamic militancy in control of the West Bank, Israel will have to deal with it alone by all means”.
What is not acceptable at all and rather extremely ugly about Mofaz plan is the very essence of it. The plan basically calls for the annexation of East Jerusalem along with 40% of the West Bank, and denies the right of return to 70% of the Palestinians, in defiance of UN resolution 194. It also insists on calling Jerusalem “the eternal capital of the Jewish State” as a part of a settlement that will never appeal to the Palestinians or to the Christians and the Islamic world. Such an act would negate the spiritual reality of Christianity and Islam, both of which are not recognized by Judaism. Indeed, the Mofaz plan – according to assessments of various intelligence agencies – is centered on providing security for Israel through measures that would generate fatal effects that may endanger the state of Israel. The plan is, more or less, another variation of the same mantra; the meaning of security in the Israeli lexicon is annexation and judaization, a meaning that will never bring Israel any permanent peace or security.