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Israel, Which Way?

Direct or indirect talks, just like aimless or straightforward walks, are all the same if the talkers and walkers don’t know where they are going. Which is certainly the case with the current Israeli government’s approach to the peace negotiations with the Palestinians. In fact, it holds true for quite some years now, and stems from a conundrum of conflicting movements and desires that have been shaping the Israeli public, and its governments, going all the way back the seventh day of the Six-Day-War in 1967. Yet then as now, there are only two real options available to Israel, the winner of that war, with a third one establishing itself through the years. Here they are:

The Two-State solution. Nothing new here: A Palestinian state would be established, mainly in the West Bank, with a branch in the Gaza Strip, and a narrow neck of a road connecting them. It would include most of the West Bank, pre Six-Day-War’s borders, with a small-scale territorial land-swap to accommodate Israel’s security demands, including the largest of the settlement blocks. The Palestinians would be compensated for this land in the Negev Desert or elsewhere. East Jerusalem would be the new state’s capital, with the holy sites, as well as the borders between the two states, controlled internationally by the U.N. or the Quartet. Palestinian refuges from the 1948 War of Independence would not be allowed to return to their homes, mostly nonexistent by now, but would be compensated financially. Of course, this is just an outline. In general terms, though, it encompasses what most leaders, nations and experts accept as the right formula for a just solution to the conflict. And, last but not least, it retains Israel as a Jewish state!

The One-State solution. More and more this option is gaining traction, and being mentioned as the most favorable, and likeable, adding converts on both sides—not only from the extreme left, Israelis and Palestinians, but from leading figures in the Likud Party and among the settlers—as peace-less days march on. In essence, two columns support this option: One, the two-state solution has missed the train already, and the favorite Israeli modus operandi of “facts on the ground” has won the day. As a result, the settlement policy of the last forty-three years is irreversible. Two, Israel and Palestine are by now unseparated, and therefore—for all intents and purposes—one entity. It should from now on be regarded as one state and country, binational, with all its inhabitants also its citizens. In that sense, of course, Israel would lose its characteristic as solely a Jewish state. It would be a Jewish-Arab state. And, possible and probably, an Arab-Jewish state in the future, with the majority no longer Jewish.

The Current Statue-Quo Solution. For leaders without the vision and courage needed to make peace, and so far Netanyahu seems to be among them, this solution is the best of all. Let’s continue with the insane settlement police, with poses here and there to appease our friends and benefactors in the USA, until not much land is left for the Palestinians to claim as a state of their own. In the meantime, let them suffer under our rule, while we also encourage them to develop and modernize their economy, therefore showing to the world what good occupiers we are. Of course, since their movements are restricted, and a fence is fencing them in, and since they don’t have a state of their own, and cannot vote in the Israeli election, let’s call a spade a spade, and declare the West Bank an apartheid state. Hence lies the problem: since it is apartheid, the world will never accept it as a solution, and will increase the pressure even further on Israel, bringing isolation and eventual demise. This option is therefore not a solution; it’s a prescription for disaster!

Other options do exist (and I invite my readers to comment and offer them here), such as transferring forcibly all the Palestinians living in the West Bank to Jordan, and at the other end of the spectrum throwing all the Jews in Israel to the Mediterranean Sea. But even the most extremists among us, and we certainly have quite a few of them, must understand that such options are not serious, and possess no chance of ever becoming a reality.

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One Response

  1. Mr. Damron:

    You are such an eloquent writer. Too bad your memory is not as good. You are forgetting that the Palestinians are so lacking in courage that we should refer to them as the epitomy of cowards. Since the UN’s 1949 mandate vote they have continually relied upon the dastardly act of murdering civilians instead of following the lead of Israel and simply declaring their own country. I would submit to you that it substantiates my longstanding claim that they do not want a country. They only want dead Jews. So why bother discussing this issue? How can you dis Bibi when he’s just unable to find anyone who is not crazed with the thought of spilling blood? I vote for locking them up. There is no other viable solution.

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