19 November 2007

Ted Belman's four points against Annapolis

Ted Belman the Israpundit advocates the rejection of Annapolis very strongly. Agree with him or not, you could not ignore the dangers of a reckless decision making, where desire to show some results overwhelms rational thinking. Here are the four points Ted makes:

A settlement as envisioned by the US will impact Israel in very significant ways:
  1. Economically. It will cost Israel about $90 billion just for relocation.
  2. Security. It will greatly endanger Israel causing a vast increase in the Defense Budget
  3. Socially. Israel society will be further divided to the breaking point. Also the lives of 200,000 citizens will be seriously disrupted as witnessed by the Gush Katif expellees.
  4. Ideologically. It will bring the end of Zionism and will gut Judaism.
And the conclusion:
Israel as a Jewish state will not survive.
I am not sure that I always agree with Ted Belman. I am not sure, too, that I am sharing the prophecy of doom quoted above. However, to disregard what Ted is saying would be foolish, and the dangers he is pointing out are real - to some degree.

Saying this, I think that my kind of pessimism is predicting something that will preempt the four points of doom. Namely, the Annapolis conference is a stillborn child - even before its birthday. And not only for fairly good reasons listed in Haaretz by Zvi Bar'el. There are a few more.
  1. The whole idea of the Annapolis was ill-conceived - as a possible feather in the hat for a weak POTUS at the end of his career.
  2. There wasn't enough time for preparation and the goals of the initiative were not defined by the people who conceived it.>
  3. It is carried out by a weak Secretary of State with a long list of failures in her dealings with both friends and enemies of United States.
  4. Even when Annapolis is defined as a low expectations kick-start meeting for the future negotiations, the two sides cannot agree on a high-level declaration of principles, and that on the eve of the conference!
  5. The last, but the most important: Olmert is too weak to give, and Abbas is too weak to compromise on what is being offered.
I predict that Annapolis will be a failure. Not in the sense that Ted Belman sees, but rather for more mundane reasons listed above. And I don't think that it is the last chance we have to make peace. Too many times during the last twenty or thirty years we have heard this "the last opportunity" call, it does not work anymore.

Only when (and if) the two sides realize that there is no future in the strife and the leaders on both sides are empowered to compromise, an alternative to the current stand-off will be found.

But not in Annapolis.