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Amira Hass / Israel knows that peace just doesn't pay
05-15-2009, 11:47 AM, (This post was last modified: 05-15-2009, 11:47 AM by ---.)
Amira Hass / Israel knows that peace just doesn't pay
Last update - 07:37 11/05/2009
Amira Hass / Israel knows that peace just doesn't pay
By Amira Hass
Tags: Amira Hass, Israel News

Successive Israeli governments since 1993 certainly must have known
what they were doing, being in no hurry to make peace with the
Palestinians. As representatives of Israeli society, these governments
understood that peace would involve serious damage to national

Economic damage:

The security industry is an important export branch - weapons,
ammunition and refinements that are tested daily in Gaza and the West
Bank. The Oslo process - negotiations that were never meant to end -
allowed Israel to shake off its status as occupying power (obligated
to the welfare of the occupied people) and treat the Palestinian
territories as independent entities. That is, to use weapons and
ammunition at a magnitude Israel could not have otherwise used on the
Palestinians after 1967. Protecting the settlements requires constant
development of security, surveillance and deterrence equipment such as
fences, roadblocks, electronic surveillance, cameras and robots. These
are security's cutting edge in the developed world, and serve banks,
companies and luxury neighborhoods next to shantytowns and ethnic
enclaves where rebellions must be suppressed.

The collective Israeli creativity in security is fertilized by a state
of constant friction between most Israelis and a population defined as
hostile. A state of combat over a low flame, and sometimes over a high
one, brings together a variety of Israeli temperaments: rambos,
computer wizards, people with gifted hands, inventors. Under peace,
their chances of meeting would be greatly reduced.

Damage to careers:

Maintaining the occupation and a state of non-peace employs hundreds
of thousands of Israelis. Some 70,000 people work in the security
industry. Each year, tens of thousands finish their army service with
special skills or a desirable sideline. For thousands it becomes their
main career: professional soldiers, Shin Bet operatives, foreign
consultants, mercenaries, weapons dealers. Therefore peace endangers
the careers and professional futures of an important and prestigious
stratum of Israelis, a stratum that has a major influence on the

Damage to quality of life:

A peace agreement would require equal distribution of water resources
throughout the country (from the river to the sea) between Jews and
Palestinians, regardless of the desalination of seawater and
water-saving techniques. Even now it's hard for Israelis to get used
to saving water because of the drought. It's not difficult to guess
how traumatic a slash in water consumption to equalize distribution
would be.

Damage to welfare:

As the past 30 years have shown, settlements flourish as the welfare
state contracts. They offer ordinary people what their salaries would
not allow them in sovereign Israel, within the borders of June 4,
1967: cheap land, large homes, benefits, subsidies, wide-open spaces,
a view, a superior road network and quality education. Even for those
Israeli Jews who have not moved there, the settlements illuminate
their horizon as an option for a social and economic upgrade. That
option is more real than the vague promises of peacetime improvements,
an unknown situation.

Peace will also reduce, if not erase entirely, the security pretext
for discriminating against Palestinian Israelis - in land
distribution, development resources, education, health employment and
civil rights (such as marriage and citizenship) . People who have
gotten used to privilege under a system based on ethnic discrimination
see its abrogation as a threat to their welfare.

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