Yachad is a Jewish group in Britain akin to JStreet in America. Like JStreet, it claims to be pro-Israel.
Yachad says it supports a Two-State Solution. Nothing new about that. Even Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has publicly stated he accepts a Two States for Two Peoples solution to the Israel-Palestinian issue, one that is based on mutual recognition, recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people in return for their commitment to live in peace alongside the Jewish State.
The problem is that groups like Yachad fail to face up to the fact that what is missing is not the first half of Bibi’s essential condition, but the latter, the part where a Palestinian leadership must recognize and commit to the existence of the Jewish State of Israel and is prepared to live with it in peace and security.
This is the key for guaranteeing Israel’s security, and it is singularly lacking.
It is an issue that is waved aside as irrelevant by those who rush a Two State Now agenda. They presuppose that Israel needs to withdraw from territory in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. If not, Israel will be to blame for the consequences. If only life were that simple.
There is no resolution, no treaty that demands of Israel to withdraw from all territory over non-existent 1967 borders. None. It has been patently clear for decades that Israel would retain territory, even if a deal could be reached with a future, more pragmatic, Palestinian leadership. That day is yet to come and, until it does, Israel is required to hold on to essential territory, and even strengthen it, for the sake of its vital security.
This is the significant difference between an Israeli perspective and the mistaken one of people that support groups like Yachad.
They think that Israel will get security if it surrenders land, according to Palestinian and Yachad demands. Not true. Not only is it not true, it is a fatal notion - fatal for Israel, that is. One only has to look at the result of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza to see proof of the flaw of such a naïve notion. One only has to look at the current Palestinian leadership to realize how dangerous this fatal step would be for Israel.
Is there anybody who witnessed what transpired out of Gaza last summer who still thinks that Hamas would transform into a liberal democratic peaceful party if only Israel were to make way for them? For, as surely as night follows day, Hamas, by ballot or by bullet, will usurp power in any future Palestinian state as they did in Gaza. What then?
What then when Yachad has forced Israel out of crucial strategic territory including the heights above Ben Gurion Airport, to a narrow nine mile coastal corridor between Tulkarm and Netanya on the Mediterranean Sea, and facing Hamas on the streets of Jerusalem?
What then when Yachad would have, like other dangerously misguided altruists, hacked and chipped away at Israel’s fingers, fingers desperately holding on to its security safety-belt of strategic territory until we meet a strong pragmatic Palestinian leader who can deliver peace and security for both peoples?
Faced with the real Palestinian intent, what then when a rampant Palestinian entity, on the tailwind of international support and Islamic resurgence, demands the liberation of the rest of their “stolen holy land from the Zionists,” meaning what is left of the Jewish rump state?
What then when the new Palestinian regime will tell Israeli Arabs living in Jaffa, Haifa, Akko, and the Galilee – what today they call the “Palestinians of the Interior” – that they are coming to liberate them, as the current Fatah-led Palestinian Authority do in their official statements and media? Where will Yachad and their supporters be then when Hamas continues its conquest of Palestine, as it surely will? Will they show guilt and express remorse for their mistaken pressure on Israel as a desperate reduced nation valiantly tries to resist Palestinian terror without the safety belt of territory?
Israel is not obligated to withdraw from territory until a final permanent agreement is reached between the parties. This is unlikely in the near future, in light of the reality of our Palestinian adversaries. Neither side of the current Palestinian political divide can offer Israel a genuine peace. Instead, they plot and scheme to destroy Israel in stages, and by violence if necessary. This is no secret. It is out there in the Palestinian public space, if only groups like Yachad would open their eyes to this reality.
Yachad deceptively says it opposes BDS, but they are quoted as saying they “do not support new investment inside the Israeli controlled West Bank, including in East Jerusalem.” So they do support BDS.
If groups like Yachad support a Two-State solution and claim to be pro-Israel, they must rally to Israel’s security needs and employ the patience required to achieve a lasting secure future for Israel.
Barry Shaw is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’ He is also the consultant on delegitimisation issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center in Israel.