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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Consensus? What Consensus?

In light of the dozens of terror attacks that have taken place within walking distance of my home in Gush Etzion over the past few months, I decided to take a step back and take a look at how Gush Etzion fits into the 'consensus'  - a word that has assumed nearly religious stature among Israel's left - as to what Israel's borders will look like the day after a peace agreement is signed with the Palestinians.

The great thing about throwing around the word 'consensus', is that it sounds suspiciously canonical; as if the wise powers that be have met, discussed, and agreed upon the general principles of a contentious issue.  If a 'consensus' has been reached, it implies broad agreement, or at least an acceptable resolution; one that can be supported, even if not the "favorite" of each individual. [source]

When the Israeli left talks about 'consensus' in terms of what portion of the areas conquered in 1967 will remain part of Israel the day after an agreement, they usually mean all of Jerusalem (and its surrounding neighborhoods), the Jordan valley and the major settlement blocks (Ariel and Gush Etzion).

Yet most Israelis have no idea where this consensus came from or whose views that consensus represents.

It may surprise many to learn that it was none other than the sainted Yitzhak Rabin who laid out the basis for this broad consensus of Israel's ultimate borders in his last speech to the Israeli Knesset just one month before he was assassinated (you should read the whole thing, if you have the time).  If that doesn't lend broad credibility to the consensus, I don't know what does.

Let's have a look at Rabin's words (I have added emphasis in bold to words and phrases which some may find surprising):


We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority. The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.

And these are the main changes, not all of them, which we envision and want in the permanent solution:

A. First and foremost, united Jerusalem, which will include both Ma'ale Adumim and Givat Ze'ev -- as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty, while preserving the rights of the members of the other faiths, Christianity and Islam, to freedom of access and freedom of worship in their holy places, according to the customs of their faiths.

B. The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.

C. Changes which will include the addition of Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar and other communities, most of which are in the area east of what was the "Green Line," prior to the Six Day War.

D. The establishment of blocs of settlements in Judea and Samaria, like the one in Gush Katif.


So if a consensus already exists, why does the current wave of terrorism seem to be directed almost exclusively against targets within that consensus; within the green line (i.e. pre-1967 Israel), as well as within areas of the 'West Bank' that are, according to 'the consensus', slated to be included inside the borders of the State of Israel after any eventual agreement?

The inescapable conclusion is that despite the Oslo accords and all subsequent offers that have been made to the Palestinians by successive Israeli governments, and despite the strident claims of Israel's left to the contrary, the Palestinians do not feel party to, or bound by, any sort of consensus.

The only thing that can possibly explain the focus of this current wave of terror attacks in areas that are supposedly within 'the consensus' is that the Palestinians still envision establishing their state within those areas being attacked... meaning, in place of Israel, not alongside it.

Posted by David Bogner on December 1, 2015 | Permalink


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With all respect to Rabin and not to speak ill of the dead but his speech is meaningless. Remember that when the Oslo process started he was quite clear that he would demand that the Arabs keep their side of the deal. Then as Arafat, y"sh, broke the rules one after another he would back away and say "Well but that's not one of the deal-breaking rules so Oslo goes on".
From the start the Israeli position has moved backwards, offering the Arabs more and more. In contrast, the Arab position has never changed - all of Yesha and the right of unlimited return to any Arab that can spell the word "Palestinian" to pre-1967 Israel. Rabin moved the goal posts several times to keep Oslo alive, there's no convincing me that he wouldn't eventually have stood at the podium and talked about how important it was to divide Yerushalayim.

Posted by: Garnel Ironheart | Dec 1, 2015 6:41:55 PM

I doubt the killers chose their targets based on any consensus,or how much planning goes into these terror acts. As long as there are Jews,or as in recent attacks looked like a Jew,they will be attacked.As for Rabin,we will never know if he would have continued on the same course,or at a certain point made a change.

Posted by: Ed | Dec 2, 2015 8:30:25 PM

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