Moshe Dann: Is There a Plan B in Israel?

Roundup: Historians' Take

[The author, a former assistant professor of history, is a writer and journalist living in Jerusalem.]

"No," says Robert Serry, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, speaking recently at the Hebrew University's Truman Institute. "I don't know of any alternatives," he added. Nor does he seem interested in exploring other possibilities.

Myopic thinking is at the root of the problem. Without a "Plan B," critical thinking is frozen, locked into a disaster model, regardless of the consequences.

This is exactly what happened in planning the Oslo Accords. According to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy Dan Meridor, when he asked one of the architects of the Oslo Accords why the issue of Palestinian refugees was not brought up in negotiations, he was told that this would have prevented an agreement; form was more important than substance.

The result was an implosion within the Palestinian Authority, a civil war between Fatah and Hamas, and an explosion of terrorism against Israel.

Unwillingness to think about "Plan B," lack of critical thinking, led to disasters following Israeli withdrawals from the Gaza Strip and south Lebanon.

Without thinking strategically, Israeli politicians and the international community tried to fix tactical breakdowns, pouring vast sums into PA coffers and hoping that reason would prevail. Instead, it encouraged irresponsibility and dependency.

Serry's role is not as innovator, but as program facilitator – even as success remains distant. He likes to point to PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as a leader whose projects, like building new towns and infrastructure, offer hope. But Fayyad does not possess political power, organizational backing, or popularity....

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