There are some fights Israel can win, others that are hopeless - and there may be a very small group that seem hopeless but are so crucial we'll have to fight for them no matter what. The malignant idea that dividing Jerusalem will bring peace may be one of those.
The blockade of Gaza, however, isn't. To the best of my knowledge no Israeli government since the onset of the blockade in early 2006 has clearly stated what it's for, what it's intended to achieve, and what benchmarks are in use to determine its extent, duration, and eventual lifting. It started, I think, as a response to the electoral victory of Hamas; it was strengthened, if memory serves, after the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit; it has been tightened or loosened in some form of correspondence to the rocket fire from Gaza. At one point Ehud Olmert, then prime minister, said clearly that the blockade would be lifted when Shalit came home; if that's the policy still then it isn't about smuggling weapons - but perhaps the policy has changed. I honestly don't think it has ever been publicly discussed.
Israel is great (sometimes disastrously so) at audacious military moves. So here's a suggestion for an audacious diplomatic move that we can afford, on the one hand, and that would be likely to have the same sort of outcome as a brilliant military move: it would throw the other side off balance.
Benjamin Netanyahu should make a phone call to Obama, and tell him that he's about to make the following short speech:
Israel recognizes that the blockade of Gaza is causing human suffering, and wishes to end it as soon as possible. Since there are no Israeli forces or citizens in Gaza, and the border between it and Israel is undisputed, all that remains for Israel to fully desist from any sort of intervention in the lives of the Gazans is that they not interfere in the lives of Israelis. This means they must return the single Israeli still in Gaza, Gilad Shalit; they must desist from any form of aggression against Israel; and they must pay the bill for whatever services they receive from Israel such as electricity or medical bills of Gazan citizens. Should these terms be met, the blockade will be lifted completely and immediately.
Israel now turns to the United States, to Turkey, and to the United Nations. We hereby announce that it is our urgent wish to lift the blockade from Gaza so as to enable the Gazans to live their lives independently of us. We will take this measure as soon as you can assure us of the following:
1. There will be no attacks from Gaza on Israel.
2. Imports of aggressive weapons into Gaza will not happen.
3. Gilad Shalit has returned to his family.
Israel has decided that Gaza is the test for the continuation of the peace process. Should the international community in collaboration with the Palestinians be able to deliver the three simple conditions described above, Israel will be eager to move forward in negotiations regarding the West Bank. If these three simple conditions cannot be met by the Palestinians, or cannot be guaranteed by the US, Turkey and the United Nations, how can Israel lower its defensive abilities on the West Bank?
The onus is now on you: Gazans, the United States, Turkey, and the United Nations. Please hurry, since the populace of Gaza is suffering, and we wish to end our part of that suffering as soon as possible.
As Prime Minister of Israel, it is my intention to repeat this short speech once a week, every Monday morning New York/Washington time, until we are able to lift the blockade.