What If Israel Changed Direction?

Following Obama's speech, the time has come for Israel to finally make a real change.

In the early years of Saturday Night Live there was a classic skit called "What if?" Posing as pseudo-intellectuals, Jane Curtain and company discussed such nonsensical topics as "What if Napoleon Bonaparte had B-52 bombers at the Battle of Waterloo?" or "What if Superman had landed in Germany instead of America?"  As silly as those topics were, I have a feeling that in the future people will consider Israel's resurrection of Yasser Arafat and the PLO nearly twenty years ago as being far more outlandish.

Kicked out of Jordan in the early 1970s and then out of Lebanon a decade later before finally being exiled to Tunisia, Arafat and his comrades were not only brought back to life by Israel but were even, in an act that defied all levels of pretzel logic, deposited on our own doorstep.  Not surprisingly, such foolish acts of benevolence to someone who was arguably the godfather of international terrorism ended up costing us dearly throughout the past twenty years.  In retrospect one can only wonder "What if Israel had not acted so imprudently?"

In order to counterbalance such rash Israeli behavior and perhaps even to point the way for a fresh change of direction, I'd like to pose here a series of very real "What ifs?".  Moreover, in light of President Obama's recent speech and the unrealistic demands he is placing on Israel, the time for a real change has never been more urgent.

* What if Israel told the world that following years of repeatedly having its naïve willingness to divide the land and reconcile with the Arabs always greeted by an Arab refusal to settle the dispute, Israel finally understands that its intentions have been misguided and therefore it no longer intends to continue down the same path?

* What if Israel told the world that despite endless attempts at reconciliation with the Arabs as well as countless "good-will gestures", we’ve had it with the murderous attacks, threats, boycotts, condemnations and overall de-legitimization?

* What if Israel said that the path it's been following for the last twenty years, at the urging of the international community, has brought no peace to the region and has only weakened Israel's deterrence and thus jeopardized its security?

* What if Israel told the world that the only chance for real peace in the region depends on Israel making a shift in direction?

* What if Israel politely yet firmly told the world "No, we don't accept the two-state solution"?

* What if Israel told the world that the two-state solution will eventually lead to Israel's destruction, and this being the case we do not intend to commit national suicide?  Would the world criticize us for acting logically?

* What if Israel calmly and confidently told the world that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people and therefore we are declaring full Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria?

* What if Israel stated that the Jewish people, as opposed to its Arab neighbors, have only one country of their own?  Would the world argue with this fact?

* What if Israel told the world that we have no guilt concerning our actions over the last one hundred years and that the mess in the region is certainly not because of Israel?

* What if Israel told the world that had the Arabs prevailed victorious in 1948, 1967 or 1973, it's a safe bet that the world would not be clamoring for the Arabs to return "occupied territories" or to make good-will gestures to Israel?  Does anyone honestly believe otherwise?

* What if Israel finally put its foot down and said "no" to the world?  What would happen?

* What if Israel utilized all its technological know-how and bombarded YouTube, Facebook and the rest of the social media world with endless ideas promoting the above messages?

* What if Israel's leaders and diplomatic corps actively promoted these messages?

What would be the ramifications of such an abrupt change by Israel?  No one can say for sure although undoubtedly many will claim that if Israel were to make such a shift in direction it would only damage itself by bringing on more condemnations and boycotts, which in turn will lead to further de-legitimization.  Perhaps this assumption is accurate, but then again perhaps it isn't.  More importantly, since Israel is already being vilified and ostracized despite years of acquiescing to continue with a political process that has already weakened its image in the eyes of its enemies and has also cost it dearly in terms of lost lives, should we be overly concerned about the implications of making such a change in direction?  Likewise, if more and more people are coming to understand that continuing down the current path might eventually lead to our destruction, should we just blindly carry on and ignore all the concerned voices?

The truth is there's a good chance that such a shift in direction would actually garner a fair share of support.  The average Israeli Jew is somewhat right-wing, nationalistic and traditional, as evidenced by both the last elections when the largest winning bloc by far was a right-wing/nationalist/religious bloc and by data from the Central Bureau of Statistics which finds that 60% of the Jews in Israel identify themselves as traditional or religious while even amongst the 40% that call themselves "secular" they still observe various aspects of the tradition.  Together, these factors suggest that such a change of direction by Israel would be welcomed by a large percentage of its Jewish citizens.

In America as well it's safe to assume that such a qualitative shift by Israel would resonate well with its many backers there, be it pro-Israel congressmen, conservative pro-Israel Christians or simply with the many average Americans that are naturally pro-Israel.

Although no one knows for certain how the various world leaders would react, I think the silent majority of Jews and non-Jews throughout the world, those who see through the lies and international hypocrisy and understand the true worth of a strong, vibrant and confident Israel, would be very happy and most supportive.  Moreover, this grass-roots support in turn might just influence the respective world leaders.

Yoel Meltzer is a freelance writer living in Jerusalem. His personal blog is yoelmeltzer.com.