...and they don't like the riffraff. The main issues with Israel joining the international country club called the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development seem to be related to Israel's deregulated drug industry, not its occupation of East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank. Mark my words, hell will freeze over before the OECD seriously considers denying a country's membership over political issues. I do find it interesting, however, that Israeli President Shimon Peres points out that joining the OECD will show Israel's "other face," meaning the one that isn't primarily concerned with occupation and repression. For years I've thought signing a lasting, fair peace agreement with the Palestinians would be exactly what Israel would want for both its economy and international image. Without the occupation, pundits could only talk about Israel as being a regional economic powerhouse, with a strong entrepreneurial economy. Wouldn't it be great if everyone could talk of Israel's successes without trying to awkwardly avoid bringing up the occupation. The Occupation is Israel's stain, but it's certainly not permanent and ending it could bring real, almost immediate benefits to Israel's international role.
For some reason, Israeli politicians seem to always overlook these benefits when they think of peace negotiations. They're simply consumed with security, and they are unable to see anything else, even how a political deal could disarm a military problem. It's kind of like the laughable quote from an Israeli general a few years after the 1967 war where Israel captured the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, "I would rather have the Sinai and no peace, then peace without the Sinai." It sounds positively mad today, and the general simply could not see around the military problem. It's the same situation today, except with the West Bank. The Israelis believe they need to hold the West Bank to preserve security in Tel Aviv, and cannot begin to imagine that ending the occupation will bring a huge measure of security to Israel.