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Borrell is openly and candidly saying that the creation of a Palestinian state is both the means and ends of the process — all other pesky issues, such as peace, prosperity and security, for both Israelis and Palestinians, are just a side issue, Ohad Tal writes.
Sometimes in life, there are extreme moments of clarity.
The invasion of death, kidnap and rape squads by Hamas into Israel on 7 October was such a moment.
For many years, the conception in Israel and most of the world had been that if the situation for the Palestinians improved, economically, politically and socially, then they would have no reason to attack Israel.
On 6 October, the situation in Gaza was improving. Tens of thousands of Gazans were coming into Israel to work, there were no limits on goods and building materials going in, and the economy in the Strip was progressing.
The glee and rapture on the faces of the Hamas mass murderers as they sliced people apart, burned families to a crisp and executed men, women and children cowering in fear, all caught by the body cameras that chronicled their atrocities, shook us all from our previous hopeful conceptions.
Now attacked on seven fronts, the State of Israel is battling for its very existence and future.
Hopes for peace and security dashed
Obviously, all people of good conscience want the war to end as soon as possible, but if it does not end in a total victory for Israel, meaning the destruction of Hamas, the return of all the Israeli hostages, and ensuring that Gaza will never be a threat to Israel again, then the bloodshed will only intensify.
The sad point, both for Israel and innocent Palestinian civilians, is that Hamas and its allies in the Iranian-led axis of terror believe that they are winning and the only Jewish State in the world is nearing its destruction.
Even before the war, earlier in the year, a Palestinian poll demonstrated that around two-thirds of Palestinians do not believe that the State of Israel will exist in 25 years and celebrate the 100th birthday of the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty in its indigenous and ancestral homeland.
This violent rejectionism and hope of Israel’s destruction is what drove the inhuman and insane actions of terrorist organisations and the civilians that accompanied them on 7 October.
With every hacking of flesh amid cries of religious fervour, the Nazi-like perpetrators believed they were bringing forward the Jewish State’s imminent evisceration.
Israelis, from across the political and ideological spectrum, learned that day, and in the days proceeding, that their hopes for peace and security were dashed.
Borrell’s words are an eye-opener
Unfortunately, after the initial shock of Hamas’ barbarity had faded, some see a different lesson, devoid of reality.
Earlier in the week, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said: “I don’t think we should talk about the Middle East peace process anymore. We should start talking specifically about the two-state-solution implementation process.”
Borrell’s comments are another moment of clarity.
For many years, many Israelis accepted the two states for two peoples’ solution because they thought it could bring peace and security.
They were prepared to make massive concessions to attain them, and for 30 years were sold on the concept of a Palestinian state as being an essential means to achieve those much-craved goals.
The focus, Israel was told, was the end, which was peace and security, whereas a Palestinian state was merely the most appropriate means to get there.
Those like me who were always against a Palestinian state disagreed with the approach, but we respected the desire for peace.
Now, thanks to Borrell’s comments, many more Israelis understand that the obsessive and failed peace-processing of the last three decades, which led to multiple offers of a Palestinian state to first Yasser Arafat and then Mahmoud Abbas, all of which were rejected, were never really in Israel’s best interests.
They merely met the domestic political and ideological interests of international interlocutors.
Now Borrell has removed the mask and shorn the process of its baggage, by telling Israelis that this is just about the creation of a Palestinian state, and peace and security for Israel is of far lesser consequence.
Devastating cold-heartedness that Jews don’t count
While Borrell and others are trying to accuse Israel of burying the two states for two peoples’ solution, the EU foreign policy chief has probably himself just rung the death knell of this flawed approach.
He is openly and candidly saying that the creation of a Palestinian state is both the means and ends of the process — all other pesky issues, such as peace, prosperity and security, for both Israelis and Palestinians, are just a side issue.
Borrell is hardly unique in this. Over the last three months, Israelis have started to understand that what happens to them is of far lesser concern.
International institutions and organisations, like the ICRC, UN Women, and Human Rights Watch, have demonstrated with devastating cold-heartedness that Jews don’t count.
Perhaps, it is an opportunity to thank Josep Borrell for his candor, because he has exposed what I and my colleagues have long known, that considerations for Israel are a distant second. The only goal that matters is a Palestinian state, even if that state can and will threaten the very existence of the one Jewish state.
That being the case, I know that he will find few buyers in Israel, and Borrell’s comments, alongside Hamas’ butchery, have unwittingly provided the clarity to finally close the door on the two states for two peoples’ solution.
Ohad Tal is a Member of Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and chair of the Knesset Committee on Public Projects.
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