It is high time to pause and reflect what is in it for Israel to give up the illegal occupation and settlements? Put simply, why should they?
For starters, if Israel were to ever return Palestinian sovereignty in the occupied Palestinian territories (West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements), the following events (non-exhaustive list) are quite likely to happen:
(1) Huge, possibly violent demonstrations could break out among secular and religious Jews, Zionists and Jewish settlers (think of Gaza evacuations, only much larger and violent in scale);
(2) There are likely to be huge economic, political and social repercussions for relocating over half a million settlers from the West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements into proper Israel;
(3) If Palestinians were to be given full sovereign control of Gaza and West Bank, there could also be new security risks for Israel including weapons smuggling and risk of future attacks by Palestinian individuals and groups based in the West Bank and East Jerusalem;
(4) Israel will also no longer be able to extract natural resources including water, agriculture and other key industries from the occupied Palestinian territories; and
(5) Relations with powerful Zionist Jews and Evangelical Christians will also dramatically worsen if Israel were to ever pull out from the West Bank & East Jerusalem settlements.
In exchange for:
(1) The government of Israel will be praised in international diplomatic circles. It will also gain worldwide sympathy and respect;
(2) Globally, government-to-government relations will improve dramatically and cooperation with large, key countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt as well as Malaysia and Indonesia, will go from covert to overt;
(3) Businesses in Israel will be able to operate more openly in Arab and Muslim-majority countries;
(4) Israel may also receive additional financial and security aid offered by US and Europe, on top of what it is already receiving; and
(5) Relations with diaspora Jews could also improve.
An overall dismal (and pathetic) set of reasons why it makes zero sense for Israel to end the occupation and pull out from the settlements, when the advantages of the status quo option easily outweigh the disadvantageous option calling for change.
Viewed from the vantage point of Israel, one can’t help but ask, why bother?
For over 50 years or since 1967, Israel has been publicly admonished with a long list of criticisms by human rights agencies, activists, media, world governing bodies, and variedly called a pariah state, apartheid state, colonial state, oppressor, occupier, etc., among others.
Yet it has dug its heels, ignoring numerous UN resolutions, Geneva conventions, ICJ rulings, etc., while continuing to receive billions in US military aid.
Israel continues to demolish homes, expand the illegal settlements and entrench its tentacles of occupation while claiming the country itself is under some fictitious “existential” threat, all the while expanding its well-diversified economy and “brand-washing” its technological edge to the world, etc.,
Truth be told, Israel it seems has far much more to benefit by simply participating in peace talks, roadmaps and secret negotiations that lead to nowhere, while it retains and expands its frenzied settlement building and occupation, in essence “wiping Palestine off the map”.
How to end the impasse, then?
In Solidarity Revolting Against Expansion of Land forever
Unless the moral, security and financial costs of retaining and expanding the illegal occupation and settlements is made prohibitively high for Israel, the Israel-Palestine issue will forever be going around in circles.
In simple terms: If all the so-called “threats” faced by Israel today are not strong enough to make it want to sign, seal and deliver a two-state deal, this very idea needs to be turned on its head.
In fact, the entire State of Israel (not just those linked with the illegal settlements) should be threatened with “BDS-on-steroids”, until the threats faced by the State of Israel becomes far too strong to bear and albeit socially, politically and economically costly, forcing Israel into making a two-state deal and resolving this 70-year old conflict, once and for all.