So how should Israel respond to the changed environment? Thus far we have been offered two broad approaches by Israeli establishment voices. One has been to dig in, to convince the West that we are its outpost of stability in a sea of hostility, and to attempt to make our favorite adage of being the only democracy in the Middle East an aspiration rather than a lamentation. In the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu, “might” is the answer.
The second approach advocates an urgent return to the peace process. Neither will work. The first will exacerbate Israel’s predicament, and the second is too little too late.
Broadly speaking, this option has three components. First, an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 armistice lines almost without preconditions or exceptions (minor, equitable and agreed-upon land swaps and international security guarantees could fall into the latter category ). Second, Israel should undertake an act of genuine acknowledgement of the dispossession and displacement visited on the Palestinian people, including compensating refugees where appropriate, and thus set in motion the possibility of reconciliation. Third, there needs to be a clear Israeli commitment to full equality for all of its citizens, notably including removal of the structural barriers to full civil rights for the Palestinian Arab minority.