Nearly every time I suggest to someone that Israel needs to declare complete sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, I am bombarded with doubts and accusations - "Are you crazy, it can't be done!" "What will the world say?", "America will not allow us", "We'll be boycotted and perhaps attacked", "We'll lose the Jewish majority in Israel", etc, etc.
Although it's true that it's a complicated issue, my initial response to the valid concerns is to temporarily change the subject. Thus, rather than addressing each point I bring up the feasibility of the current two-state solution since as they say, "the best defense is a good offense". The conversation usually goes something like this:
"After nearly twenty years of trying to reach an accord with the Arabs via all the various forms of more or less the same Oslo approach, a period that witnessed numerous Israeli "good-will gestures" as well as endless Palestinian terrorist attacks, do you honestly believe that further Israeli concessions and another Israeli retreat will actually lead to peace?" The answer is nearly always "no".
My next question is "If removing soldiers from Lebanon brought missiles to Haifa and dismantling Jewish communities in Gaza brought missiles to Beersheva, do you believe the Palestinians will act any differently if they are given a state of their own in Judea and Samaria?" Once again, the answer is nearly always "no".
My final question is "Do you believe that an Arab state in Judea and Samaria will pose a threat to the very existence of the remaining State of Israel?" Not surprisingly the answer is nearly always "yes".
At this point I usually stop the conversation to provide my "opponent" with a few moments to reflect on what was just said and to slowly digest the meaning of our brief discussion. Nearly always, these few sentences help to make it abundantly clear to my former detractor that a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria might very well lead to the eventual destruction of the State of Israel.
With this issue clarified I return to the original subject of declaring Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. I place everything on the table and openly admit to my former scoffer and now attentive listener that it is in fact a very complicated subject with many problems and issues that need to be worked out. I don't pretend for a second that it will be simple.
However, when it is clarified that we're talking about a choice between possible destruction and national suicide on the one hand or having to deal with intricate issues and difficult problems on the other hand, not surprisingly the latter suddenly becomes the preferred option.
After twenty years of Israel paying a heavy price for its failed attempts at reconciliation with the Arabs despite all its good intentions, the writing is on the wall: Israel simply cannot afford to continue going down the same path of retreat and withdrawal since eventually there will be nowhere left to run.
Yoel Meltzer is a freelance writer living in Jerusalem. His personal blog is yoelmeltzer.com