What's missing in Israeli policy
On the eve of an election in Israel where Kahane's ideological heirs have become legitimized, it doesn't appear that alternative political approaches to the one that brought Cast Lead to Gaza are really on the table. Nevertheless, there are occasional valiant and well-intentioned attempts in the Israeli press to determine a different course for the future. But some if not most of these are frustratingly misguided. For example, this Ha'aretz opinion article by Yehezkel Dror. Quoth the article:
So Israel must initiate a paradigm jump. Instead of the Annapolis agreement and the road map, which focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there should be a Washington agreement, which would present a final picture of the entire Israeli-Arab-Muslim conflict. There would also be a "road atlas" for a regional agreement, in which every Israeli concession would be met with one by the Palestinians, Syria, and most Arab and Muslim states, all adding up to full, peaceful relations and credible security arrangements. The refugee problem would be solved by agreeing on a formula for compensating and absorbing them into all Middle East countries that agree to take them in, in accordance with their capacity.
The new paradigm needs to include steps to stabilize the moderate Arab regimes to gain time for economic development and modernization, without which any "democratization" is a prescription for fanaticism. Security arrangements and demilitarization, all under watchful supervision, will help contain Iran, neutralize organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah, and prevent a Palestinian state from becoming a factor that endangers Israel, Jordan and the Middle East.
Ultimately, this is a repeat of the same frustrating error that Israel and the West have been making since forever---that by making deals with Arab regimes, they can control the future policy of Arab and Muslims states after their putative "democratization". Said "democratization" would only happen under terms that are acceptable to Israel and the West. The issues that separate Muslim populations from Western policy and Israeli priorities would somehow, by making deals with these Kings and generalissimi, be neutralized.
It's another variation of the fait accompli theory behind the West Bank settlements, and it's not going to work. After all, it hasn't before.
The problem that Israel faces is not that Arab regimes want to keep rejecting it. The elites of many Arab and Muslim countries would like to have normal relations with Israel and the West. The problem is that Arab and Muslim rejection of Israel exists at a popular and individual level. There are hardly any authentic popular movements in the Arab and Muslim world at any point on the political spectrum that accept the legitimacy of Zionist claims as such, and certainly none that view the events of 1948 to be a good thing---and more importantly, an immutable thing. We are talking about a part of the world that had little hand in creating---and little reason to be loyal to---the present arrangement of nation-states and international law. And hence little reason to believe that the arrangements are legitimate. Why would they?
Making deals with ruling elites that somehow make the refugee problem go away---the Israeli fantasy---is not going to solve the problem for Israel. What Israel ultimately needed to have done would be to appeal, somehow, to the Arab and Muslim masses. They had one chance in 1967 to make themselves look slightly more legitimate---by not settling the West Bank, etc. But it would have been hard.
Nevertheless, this angle is completely absent from Israeli or Western discourse. Israel has somehow never managed to conceive of or make this appeal. Why this is the case I leave as an exercise for the reader (if your only answer is "they've always pathologically hated Jews", then you've already sealed the world's fate). But the Arab and Muslim masses have their widely-held opinions, and these opinions will not be engineered by some clever procedural tricks, and these opinions have consequences.