|Tarek Barakat | Fashion Industry||Dubai|
Most of the Israelis I have met admitted with some struggle that it’s better to “give up” the Golan in exchange for peace with Syria. I hate to begin with such an aggressive tone. But even this notion is flawed from the get go. Because like it or not the Golan is NOT Israel’s to give up but Syria’s to get back.
I won’t bore you with UN Security Council resolutions or various facts and documents that prove my point. But I think it’s important to remember that all governments (including the US) acknowledge that the Golan is Syrian land. Even hard-line Prime Ministers such as Benjamin Netanyahu accepted the fact that at the very least most of the Golan should be returned to Syria. It was only the finer details (few kilometers here and there) that blocked a peace treaty from going through.
One of the popular arguments one often hears from “the Israeli Public” is that land for peace never paid off. Gaza and South Lebanon became launching pads for attacks on Israel and their civilian population. That peace with Egypt, even though it remains intact, is nothing more than a formality. Well, my counter argument to this will be “what the hell did you expect?” If someone chops your leg off then helps you mend it, will that make you overcome all your bitterness?
This lack of satisfactory outcomes after Israel experimented with “settling issues with the Arabs” is also due to your country’s decision to not negotiate with your neighbors as one unit in order to reach a complete and comprehensive peace on all fronts… Not to mention the hypocrisy in dealing with different neighbors along different standards ā?¦ setting the cessation of attacks from the Palestinian side as a precondition to peace negotiations with them, while the Syrian/Israeli border has been completely conflict free for over 3 decades, yet Syria gets its own different set of reasons why Israel can not start to engage with it in peace talks.
The divide-and-conquer policy has without a doubt helped Israel attain very successfully some of its short-to-medium term strategic goals. But when these states are your neighbors for what everyone hopes will be an eternity itā??s the long term goals that should be prioritized.
Unfortunately, I am a firm believer that Israeli governments’ (note the word governments and not public) strategic policy has been and continues to be one of maintaining controllable conflicts. Because if peace and prosperity should ever reign across the region for a long period of time. Israel would lose its primary justification in requesting US political, financial and military aid. To put it simply, as long as there is a threat of war the money will keep flowing in and Israelis will maintain their edge.
Israel’s existence is not under a serious threat anymore. Over the last few decades Israel’s military, economic and industrial profile has developed tremendously to become the regional, and in some cases international, powerhouse. The return of the Golan Heights to Syria no longer establishes a strategic military threat. With the exception of some negligible and eventually controllable groups in the region, all neighboring governments have long ceased to call for the annihilation of Israel.
My main point boils down to the next few lines; Your government has used force, in many cases unjustifiably, to assert its position as the region’s strongest nation but that has come with the price of instability, loss of life on both sides and the displacement of millions of your neighbors. So what is the harm in taking the other route for a change? Its only when you give the land back that you can really hold the Arabs responsible for their actions. And the sad reality is that the Israeli public has more influence than any other force in the region. You and your countrymen have the ability to bring peace to the region, it only requires vision that many Israeli, and Arab, leaders donā??t have.