Danny Ayalon, deputy foreign minister to Israel’s Avigdor Lieberman and resident clown, has a vision for the Middle East. Gather around, children, it’s compelling and breathlessly reported by the Murdoch press:
In an interview with The Weekend Australian, Ayalon accused Saudi Arabia of funding a campaign to delegitimise Israel and drew on the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia as models to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His views are important as it will not be the Left in Israel – or what is left of it – that determines any peace agreement.
In Israel, it has often been those on the Right who have delivered deals as the public has become suspicious that the Left gives up land and leaves the country less secure. It took Ariel Sharon to convince Israelis to withdraw from Gaza and many say only a leader of the Right could evacuate settlements in the West Bank.
Israel’s boundaries are ill-defined. Its eastern border, which joins the disputed West Bank, is not a formal border but an armistice line. “So I think it makes sense that if we do a whole new architecture in the Middle East, creating indeed a new state which never existed, a Palestinian state, it would be right to redraw the borders,” Ayalon says.
“And when you redraw the borders, of course, you have to take into account the geography and also the demography. We don’t want to create Balkanisation here. Indeed, we do want to have stable nation-states – an Israeli nation-state, which is mostly Jewish, and a Palestinian nation-state, which is mostly Arab.”
Ayalon says 80 per cent of Jewish settlers are on 8 per cent of the West Bank.
“So the solution is very obvious,” he says. “We incorporate this 8 per cent and we give them some swap. I think it would make sense that the 8 per cent – let’s say that they get in return – would be on par with the land that we incorporate into Israel, which would be also heavily populated, and by this I think you would really create two countries, which would be more homogeneous and would be more harmonious with themselves. And we see this as the trend internationally – to actually break down countries to homogenous elements.”
Get that? West Bank settlements will never stop. It’s the Jewish right to build there forever. A viable Palestinian state is impossible under these circumstances which is of course the point. Such arrogance will be severely tempered with growing international isolation.