March 17, 2017

The Content and Diplomatic Background of the State Visits of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The Independent Analytical Centre for Geopolitical Studies “Borysfen Intel” allows analysts to express their views on specific political, economic, security, information situation in Ukraine and the world at large, based on personal research and geopolitical analysis.

 

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 Vladimir (Zeev) Khanin

 

Born in Zaporizhzhya, he graduated from the Institute of Africa of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Moscow, Ph. D. (political science). After repatriation, he taught at a number of educational institutions in Israel, lectured at the universities of Oxford and London. Author of many publications in the world media, wrote 9 books, co-author and editor of a number of collective monographs.

Cooperates with Voice of Israel Radio, Radio Liberty, TV Channel 9 of Israel.

 

Prime Minister of Israel Binyamin Netanyahu's visit to the Russian capital on March 9, this year became an important intermediate accord of an unprecedented in intensity series of his foreign trips in the past and the current month. In February 2017 alone, Netanyahu was on official visits to Great Britain, the United States, Singapore and Australia, in early March, he made another visit to Washington, and at the end of the month he plans to go to China.

 

The General Context and the Moscow Agenda

In general, we can assume that these voyages have a dual purpose. The first relates to the issues of bilateral relations between Israel and its foreign partners, and the second relates to the Israeli leadership's desire, without delay, to make maximum use of those foreign policy opportunities and prospects for the Jewish state that emerge with Donald Trump's administration's coming to power in the USA.

At first glance, Netanyahu's blitz visit to Moscow, which was already his twelfth visiting Russia as the Israeli Prime Minister and fifth within the last year and a half, somewhat stands out from this general context. This time he had to find out to what extent is valid Russia's previous agreement to the conditions on which Israel is ready not to enter into an open confrontation with Russia's long-term and tactical allies in the Syrian conflict-Iran, Hezbollah and the Assad regime itself.

As you know, I mean the unacceptability for the Jewish state of the emergence of Iran and its satellites' new anti-Israeli front on the Syrian part of the Golan Heights and in the Mediterranean Sea; “understanding” by the Russian side of the need to prevent, by the available to Israel means, the transfer through Syria to the sponsored by Iran terrorist groups of Russian and other weapons that changes the balance of power in the region. As well as under any version of the settlement, taking into consideration Israel's vision of events, especially with regard to the Golan Heights, the belonging of which to Israel, from the point of view of Jerusalem, is no longer subject to discussion.

The current negotiations in Moscow had either to confirm the relevance of the earlier official agreements reached in this sense and the informal “understandings” of Jerusalem and Moscow in the new situation that emerged after the intentions of dividing Syria into the “zones of influence” of Russia, Turkey and Iran, proclaimed at the summit in Astana. Or, in addition to those who need clarification in the light of the new reality, plans of operational interaction to prevent conflict situations between the IDF and the Russian contingent in Syria, also to try and to develop a new package of strategic mutual understanding.

This is evidenced by the composition of the team accompanying Netanyahu in his visit to Moscow, which included the head of his office, Yoav Horowitz, the head of the Military Intelligence “Amman” Gertsi Halevi and the Israeli Co-Chairman of the Intergovernmental Commission of Russian-Israeli Cooperation, Minister of Ecology Zeev Elkin (also considered unofficial Adviser to the Prime Minister of Israel on “Russian matters”). As well as the head of Israel's National Security Council, Brigade General of reserve Yakov Nagel, and Israeli Military Attaché in Russia, Brigade General Eliezer Toledano.

While the Prime Minister of Israel believed it was necessary to also point out that “the frequency of visits by Israeli and Russian leaders” reflects “genuine friendly relations and strengthening of economic ties, the development of tourism, technological, cultural and humanitarian cooperation”, to a greater extent this declaration can be attributed to his other recent visits.

We are talking about the development of economic and humanitarian cooperation with the key countries of the regions, which are, in accordance with the current doctrine of the Israeli leadership, priority for the trade and economic ties of the Jewish state. It is with these countries that Israel connects a diverse and rapidly developing cooperation in the field of science, technology — industrial, agricultural, medical, military and others, in matters of defense and security, as well as in culture and tourism.

Thus, one of the main themes of Netanyahu's visit to London was the discussion of the free trade agreement between the countries on the basis of the existing or more advanced parameters on which economic cooperation between Israel and the UK was built before Brexit. At Benjamin Netanyahu's meetings with his Singaporean counterpart Li Xian Lun, the President of this country Tony Tan Kang Yam and at the meeting with the Singapore government Ministers, in fact, they continued the dialogue started a year ago, during the Singapore Prime Minister's visit to Israel. Its subject was cooperation in matters of cyber security, defense, economy, trade, as well as investments in high-tech spheres. That is, in the spheres that ensure, as the President of Singapore put it, “the opportunities of our two small countries deprived of natural resources to create technologies that help development and prosperity of the state”.

The agenda for Binyamin Netanyahu's visit to Australia (the first official visit of the Israeli Prime Minister to that country), apart from discussing the topics of cooperation in research, security and intelligence, included a series of important economic agreements. Including in the field of air communication, expansion of cooperation in the field of technologies and innovations (first of all, the cyber industry), agriculture, water resources, energy and ecology. As well as stimulating the growth of trade turnover between the countries, in order to achieve its tripling from the current 1.1 billion US dollars in the coming years.

In comparison with the themes of these and forthcoming contacts, the current visit of the Israeli delegation to Moscow was much more “focal” in nature. However, in addition to the operational issues related to Syria and Iran, the background of the visit to Moscow was also the more general plot connected with a more precise definition of Israel's position, both in the bilateral (in this case, Russian-Israeli) and in multilateral context, in the new polygon of the international cooperation, on formation of which US President Donald Trump hinted during a joint press conference with Benjamin Netanyahu.

 

The Strategic Paradigm

The issue's importance for Jerusalem is determined by the fact that putting it forward almost perfectly coincided with the military-political leadership of Israel's realizing the need for a new interpretation of its foreign policy doctrine. The latter traditionally included three main elements, the ratio of which has changed throughout the history of the country. Its first element, however, remained unchanged: the “iron” necessity of having, at each moment of time, a close strategic alliance with at least one of the great powers. The second element was the so-called “peripheral regional strategy”, which meant the establishment of bilateral relations with non-Arab Muslim states of the Middle East, as well as religious and ethnic minorities of the Arab countries themselves, as an alternative to the unsuccessful search for mutual understanding with the Arab regimes of the region.

In the 1990s the strategy of the “peripheral alliances” was largely overshadowed by the doctrine of the “New Middle East” put forward by the then Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. This doctrine presupposed a large-scale and speedy normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab-Islamic world, the trigger of which was to become the so-called “Oslo”, or “Norwegian” process. This is a political settlement of the conflict with Palestinian Arabs on the basis of the idea of ”peace in exchange for territories,” previously applied only to stable or moderate Arab Sunni regimes, which seemed like such before the “Arab Spring”. However, the scale of this normalization, even at the peak of the “Palestinian-Israeli peace process” was far from the minimum expectations, and the next round of the terrorist war of the early 2000s, provoked by the leaders of Yasir Arafat’s PNA/PLO against Israel, completely deprived the doctrine of the New Middle East of real political meaning.

The idea of returning to the “peripheral strategy” after the collapse of the “Oslo policy”, as a result of the above-mentioned “Islamic tsunami” that swept the Arab countries of the region at the beginning of this decade, was connected with the understanding that the possibilities of the “Arab direction” of Israel's regional diplomacy to date are very limited. And this is even taking into account the fact that the factor of pan-Arab and Muslim solidarity in some cases can give way to the direct interests of individual Arab countries (as happened with Egypt and Jordan, which are associated with “cold” diplomatic relations with Israel, and Arab regimes of the Persian Gulf, which today are ready to support options for informal cooperation with Jerusalem, in the light of common challenges and threats from Iran and radical Sunni Islamism).

Today, the idea of peripheral regional alliances remains relevant for Israel in the context of the three main plots.

Firstly, the development of cooperation with the non-Arab countries deeply involved in the Middle East situation to the south of the Red Sea — Ethiopia, Eritrea and the new independent state — Southern Sudan (which, having separated from the Arab-Muslim Northern Sudan, immediately appealed to Israel with the proposal to establish full-fledged diplomatic relations and the request to conclude an agreement on military and economic cooperation).

Secondly, the formalization and deepening of the long-standing partnership with the Kurdistan which is on the way to its state independence, as well as establishing contacts with other potential allies of Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean, which have the chance to gain self-government against the background of centrifugal tendencies in Iraq and Syria. Finally, the gradual formation of the “anti-Turkish” bloc of Israel with Greece and Cyprus (with the prospect of a possible joining by Bulgaria and Romania), which is not only a military-political, but also an economic union, including the joint production, processing and transportation to Europe of the gas found in the territorial waters of Israel and Cyprus.

The third element of Israel's foreign policy doctrine, and in many respects the continuation of its mentioned “peripheral strategy”, is the expansion of the Israeli trade, economic, technological and diplomatic presence in the regions outside the Greater Middle East (and, accordingly, the zone of the Arab-Israeli conflict). And within the framework of this line — the establishment of strategic partnership relations with countries that are also regional “centers of power” and factors of economic and/or political influence at the global level.

In this sense, the strategic goal of the diplomatic tour of the Prime Minister of Israel to the capitals of the “Anglo-Saxon world” (if the latter, with some conventionality, includes Singapore) that began in London, continued in Washington and proceeded with taking into consideration the results of Netanyahu and Trump's teams' meetings, may have an additional explanation. For example, it can be perceived as an attempt, apparently coordinated with the White House, to offer the traditional allies of Israel a new, backed by cooperation in trade, economy and technologies, model of an “active defensive alliance” against radical Islamism and regimes practicing and supporting it.

And this, if it is so, quite fits into the general concept of new international alliances developed by the US administration, which, apart from purely operational-strategic considerations, should return to the foreign policy agenda of the United States and its relations with its allies the value motives that the former administration was willing to partially sacrifice to the “reset of relations” with the Arab-Islamic world. It is significant that the official comments on the results of this series of meetings between the Prime Minister of Israel and the leaders of states and governments emphasized “friendship and mutual commitments built on the common values of democracy and adherence to the principles of the rule of law in the system of international relations”.

It is clear that from the point of view of Jerusalem, one of the main figures of the “included” project proposed by it, should be the leader of “Shiite jihadism” — Iran, which is widely sponsoring Shiite and other Islamist terrorist groups. And which, using the opportunities of the agreement “imposed” by the former US administration with it of great powers (“5+1”) turned into a country on the verge of possessing nuclear weapons and actively developing means of delivery. This, in the opinion of the Israeli (as well as, it seems, American) leaders, turns the ayatollah regime into the main, or one of the main threats to regional security, and thereby — to the world stability. The theme of the danger of the nuclear agreement with Iran, its aggressive policy in the region and Tehran's support for terrorist groups, as well as the development of the Iranian ballistic missile program, was a key subject of the discussions in London, Washington, Singapore and Sydney.

 

Factors of Diplomatic Strategy on the Palestinian Track

The Palestinian theme in the talks with the leaders of the countries — Israel's old and new strategic partners — was secondary during Netanyahu's visits, but, nevertheless, it also created a certain background for the dialogue.

The new Middle East strategy of the United States, with the promoting of which the Obama administration came and began its first cadence, implied a “reset” of the USA's relations with the Arab-Islamic world, including granting the status of legitimate partners to a number of Islamist movements (such as the “Muslim Brotherhood”), and reconciliation with Iran in exchange for the willingness to recognize the legitimacy of the nuclear ambitions of its leaders. Moreover, an important element of the “price of the issue” was to be Israel's cardinal political concessions on the Palestinian track, which was supposed to breathe a “new life” into the Oslo agreements and into the already largely fruitless, as most Israelis believe, “Palestinian-Israeli peace process”. And also Jerusalem's readiness to agree with the desire of the former US administration to let the IRI to the “nuclear club”.

In turn, Jerusalem sees such a strategy as not too compatible with the interests of the national security of the Jewish state — with what, ultimately, the Americans had to agree. Which, nevertheless, continued to insist on the relevance of the idea of solving the Palestinian problem on the model of “two states for two peoples”, including the partition of Jerusalem and the establishment of a border roughly along the “green line”. Only at the end of Barack Obama's second cadence, the United States actually agreed that the idea of the establishment of a Palestinian state on the basis of the Oslo paradigm did not quite meet the Middle East realities. What was done in exchange for, de facto, Israel's temporary reconciliation with “bad and dangerous for the Middle East region and the world as a whole,” as Netanyahu defined it, “nuclear” agreement of great powers with Tehran.

Of the entire set of the “indigenous” (which are resolved with difficulty) issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — the status of Jerusalem, borders, refugees, etc., “in the operational development” of the White House and the US State Department, there is actually only one topic left. Namely, the status of Jewish settlements on the so-called “Western bank of the River Jordan (in Jewish terminology — Judea and Samaria, historical areas of the ancient kingdom of Israel), which in the international diplomatic, political, journalistic and sometimes legal discourse, despite the well-founded objections of many international lawyers, are almost automatically called “Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories”.

Just to be fair, it should be said that the Israeli movement for settlements in the “disputed territories” has always been quite a controversial theme in the eyes of many political leaders of Western countries, and has considerable opposition in Israel itself. Therefore, the demands to freeze and liquidate Jewish settlements beyond the “green line”, and the Jewish construction in East Jerusalem as a “critical instrument of the Middle East settlement”, in the situation of a deficit of productive ideas due to the crisis of the classical “Oslo paradigm,” were enthusiastically supported by the USA's partners in the “four co-sponsors of the Middle East Peace process” — the UN, Russia and, especially, the European Union. And, of course, the Palestinian Arabs readily grasped for it, making the topic of the curtailment of the Jewish settlement project beyond the “green line” one of the prerequisites of the very readiness to resume political dialogue with Israel — thus leveling the very idea of such negotiations.

As for the Americans themselves, by the middle of Obama's first cadence, they had lowered the profile (that formerly was of ultimatum nature) of demands to freezing the settlement project, from time to time “adding fuel to this fire”. For their part, in Jerusalem, against the background of the White House's gradual loss of interest in the Palestinian theme, they are accustomed to relatively calmly perceive the White House's “expressions of concern” over some (rather minor) steps by the Israeli authorities to develop the infrastructure of some Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. Especially so because these disagreements, as it was generally believed, had almost no effect on other aspects of the allied relations between the two countries.

So the new promotion of this plot by the White House already at the end of Obama's second cadence was a great surprise. At this, in the most unpleasant for Israel context of actual support by Washington for the put forward by France idea to provide the “incapable of agreeing Israelis and Palestinian Arabs” with the parameters of the agreement close to “Clinton's plan” and the original “Arab peace initiative”. Which, of course, more than just suited the leaders of the PNA/PLO, but was completely unacceptable for the Israeli government. While the “Paris process” itself ended in a quite minor manner, its consequence was the adoption on December 23 of 2016 of the UN Security Council's Resolution 2334, condemning the construction of settlements in the Palestinian territories, which took place because, contrary to established practice, it was not blocked by the USA. As a result, the theme of “illegality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria”, vigorously promoted in 2009–2016 by the White House, from an insignificant figure of speech turned into a part of political, diplomatic or journalistic discourse, and to some extent — into a legal reality. That, in fact, is almost the only real legacy of Barack Obama's era on the Palestinian-Israeli field.

There is no doubt that Donald Trump's team which officially replaced the democratic administration of Barack Obama, having won the presidential election in November, a month later came to the White House and the US Department of State with a radically different vision of events. From the new platform of the Republican Party, with which its candidates won both the White House and the majority in both Houses of the US Congress, for the first time in the history of bilateral relations, was withdrawn the attitude to the “West Bank” and East Jerusalem that were occupied by the IDF during the Six Day War of 1967, as to the “occupied Arab territories”. Accordingly, it turned out that the Trump team was ready to accept a vision of the status of the territories of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, close to that of Israeli right and most of the moderate camp. (As well as of a significant majority of the “conservative Protestant core” of the American society, which provided D. Trump with a seat in the Oval Office).

In general, this approach is as follows. Firstly, Israel's control over the West Bank is not an occupation, but the return of Jews to that part of the historical homeland that had belonged to them, including in accordance with international law. Enshrined in the Mandate of the League of Nations to Palestine (and inherited by the UN), the right of Jews to live and settle in any part of historical Palestine/Eretz-Israel is a valid international legal norm that has not been challenged even by the PLO that signed the “Norwegian Agreements” in Oslo with Israel. The question of state sovereignty over certain territories of the West Bank, which, according to this approach, should not be discussed as occupied, but as “disputed”, can be subject to negotiations — with Palestinian Arabs or “about” them. Israel, guided by some ideological or pragmatic considerations, and being subject to certain conditions (for example, strict guarantees of its security), can make territorial and other concessions to the Palestinian Arabs, but this in no way will be the fulfillment of its unconditional moral-legal obligations.

 

”Phantom of Oslo”

It was in this context that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intended to discuss the “Palestinian theme” if it became the subject of conversation, during meetings with the leaders of Great Britain, Singapore and Australia, as well as the visit to China scheduled for the end of March. The above-mentioned diverse and rapidly developing cooperation of Israel with these countries in the spheres of science, technology, defense and security, as well as culture and tourism, gave reason to hope that the current international configuration will at last allow at least to push the problem of the “Palestinian state” to the far periphery of the interstate agenda. The head of the Israeli government believed that he would manage, as he did in his conversation with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, to explain the difference between the concept and the essence of the concept of “two states for two peoples”, and in any case take the problem off the table of bilateral relations.

But these expectations came true only partially. The tone was set by the head of the British government, Teresa May, who during the meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister stated that the ongoing “settlement activity undermines confidence” in the Middle East region and crosses out hopes for the resumption of the peace process. Due to what, according to her Spokesperson, “the position of the United Kingdom on the issue of settlements remains unchanged: we believe in the principle of” two states for two peoples “and recognize Israel's right to security and the need to eliminate the threat of terrorism”. Even the Prime Minister of Singapore, who, according to media reports, intended to talk with Binyamin Netanyahu only about cooperation in the development of advanced technologies, did not fail to say that his country supported the idea of “two states for two peoples”.

It seems that the plan for the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the “two states” model has taken root in the international diplomatic discourse too deeply to be disavowed without much effort. Which cannot be surprising, if only because the idea of creating a Palestinian state, as a means of settling the Middle East crisis, itself appeared only in 2002, during the epoch of George W. Bush's presidency. It was then that this sacramental phrase “two states for two peoples” was spoken aloud and a “roadmap” for achieving such a settlement was presented. Before that, there had been talks about political self-determination for Palestinian Arabs in one form or another, which would be achieved through direct negotiations between the government of Israel and the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Although in the 1990s there was the notion that the Palestinian autonomy is a kind of euphemism for the concept of a “Palestinian state”, which eventually would arise at the end of the negotiation process, in no international legal documents the ultimate duty of Israel or the Palestinians to go to this step had ever been fixed. The perfect breakthrough was the very willingness of Israel to speak with the leaders of the PLO directly, despite the fact that Israeli leaders had not previously recognized the Palestinians as an independent subject of the political process. As for the political self-determination of the Palestinian Arabs, it could be implemented in a variety of ways — be an autonomy with expanded powers, a confederation with Jordan, a “minus state”, etc.

Nevertheless, since 2002, for one reason or another, which should be studied separately, the “two states” model has been established as an automatic phrase, almost the only alternative to the “one state for two peoples” concept, which means Israel's annexation of the West Bank of the River Jordan with granting the living there almost 2 million Palestinian Arabs the citizenship of the Jewish state. Against this background, the fact that Gaza is governed by the Islamist criminal-terrorist regime and the PNA authorities in Ramallah are engaged in the implementation of corruption schemes for the “distribution” of international aid, as well as the incitement and propaganda of terror, is not the reason for removing the idea of “two states for two peoples” from the agenda. Even if we acknowledge that both, radical Islamists in Gaza and “secular nationalists” in Ramallah need not so much a Palestinian state as an endless struggle for it.

A point of view close to this understanding of events was expressed during the visit to Jerusalem by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, the Minister said, “while any Palestinian-Israeli agreement must ensure Israeli security, the choice is in fact between (the decision on the principle) a” two state solution or an apartheid”. Johnson, considered a great friend of Israel, in fact, repeated Teresa May's statement about the “two states” as a general strategy of her government — despite Donald Trump's statements containing a much more ambivalent approach.

It was this logic, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, that guided in Israel and in the countries that are partners of Israel in the international arena, those who believed that for the sake of creating a Palestinian state — what the leaders of various Palestinian groups and movements in fact would not want — Israel must go to fundamental concessions to the PNA. If nothing else, because the agreement with Ramallah is the key to the agreement with the Arab countries. Following this logic, those who believe that these concessions are not compatible with the national values and interests of the national security of Israel, immediately become “deserters of the peace process” — which, in turn, could not help giving the Arabs the feeling of being able to get everything from Israel there and then, giving almost nothing in return.

It is also clear that the scheme, which means many a political career being at stake, and which has become part of the international political, information and diplomatic, and for some time also legal discourse, cannot be broken overnight. This is understood even in the environment of the new head of the White House, where, as noted, in principle, people dominate who believe that the idea of creating a Palestinian state by itself is now little understood, and Donald Trump's above-mentioned maxim of “one state, two states or something else — as long as it will be accepted by both parties, Israel and the Palestinians” seems to be radically changing the rules of the regional game set fifteen to twenty years ago. Thus, even politicians like the new US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (the author of perhaps the most radical assessment of the “outrageous failures and systematic prejudice of the United Nations towards Israel, the closest US ally,” and whose critical attitude to the “Oslo paradigm” is no secret), are not ready to remove this sacramental phrase from her lexicon.

It is all the more difficult to expect this from the leaders with whom Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met. Nevertheless, today a lot of things sound different.

Firstly, there is a radical change in the tone and emphasis of the demands to Israel in matters of its policy behind the “green line” — in comparison with the rhetoric of the times of the former presidency, which found its expression in the “anti-settlement” resolution of the UN Security Council. Thus, the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, refused to condemn Israel for the construction of settlements in Judea and Samaria, on the contrary, saying that to his government “the policy of unilateral resolutions criticizing Israel, like the one recently adopted by the UN Security Council” was unacceptable and expressed commitment to fight against attempts to undermine its legitimacy. And in one of the first paragraphs of his joint statement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the declared by Australia recognition of the Jewish character of the state of Israel — that the PNA leaders refuse to recognize, and it is this refusal, and not the settlement problem, that, in the opinion of the current Israeli leadership, has brought the negotiation process into the impasse.

The Australian leadership also believes that a peace agreement should be reached in direct negotiations, and the principle of “two states” can be realized only if “the existence of Israel as a national state of the Jewish people in peaceful and reliable borders is observed”. The fact that this thesis in the era of “after Obama” has a chance to again become mainstream, is confirmed by the statement of the initiator of the “Paris process”, ending his cadenza as the President of France, Francois Hollande. At the annual dinner of Jewish organizations, he stated that although there is no alternative for the formula “two states for two peoples”, the issue of the status of Jerusalem and other territories should be resolved through direct negotiations between the parties. And, despite the fact that France previously voted for the UNESCO's decision, ignoring the belonging of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall (the Western wall of the 2nd Jewish temple destroyed in the 1st century AD) to Jewry and Judaism, this time stressed that “France will not agree to a decision denying the historical connection of Jews with Jerusalem".

Secondly, the idea of resolving the conflict on the “two states for two peoples” model, from the multilateral plane goes into the bilateral process: Israel's allies in the international arena, the further, the more are willing to consider the conflict between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs as an unsettled conflict inside the Western Eretz-Israel. What is radically different from previous understandings and cannot help being seen by the current ruling coalition in Israel as a positive development of events.

As pointed out by Boris Johnson, “Israel is a country of great creative genius, and the priority should be given to the protection and security of the people of Israel — and only with such guarantees we can speak about some kind of autonomy for the Palestinian Arabs”. The form of such self-government, added Johnson, may be a state, the issue of “demilitarization” of which should be resolved in the course of direct negotiations.

The third positive moment for the current leadership of the Jewish state is that the Palestinian-Israeli track is no longer an opening condition for Jerusalem's relations with the Arab world. The idea of a “Palestinian state” is becoming one of many — and no longer an ultimatum — way of solving the problem of political self-determination of Palestinian Arabs, which seems to be a preferred option for Israel's partners, at least until nothing else is proposed. Of course, with the exception of Israel's annexation of the entire West Bank, to which major part of the current right-wing coalition, including its most right-wing factions, does not agree.

Another popular idea — the plan for a regional agreement with the moderate Sunni Arab regimes in the Middle East, a settlement, for example, as proposed by Avigdor Lieberman (in the “package” with the exchange of territories and population, and the “cantonization” plan for the West Bank), has not yet been presented as the official position of the Government of Israel.

In other words, the document reflecting a new vision of the solution of the problem of Palestinian Arabs, and which would have an international legal connotation, has not yet been discussed, although it can be assumed that eventually it will undoubtedly appear. But today, with the exception of the idea that has lost its original meaning of “two states for two peoples,” there is almost nothing officially on the diplomatic field. Therefore, the leaders of the UK, Singapore and Australia, with whom the Prime Minister of Israel met, having paid tribute to the diplomatic tradition, pronounced this duty phrase, which means almost nothing in operational terms. And then they moved to discussing economic and political-strategic issues that are really relevant for each of the parties.

 

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