Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Two State Solution: A Risk Worth Taking

In the matter of the present stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians, I support the two-state solution.  This is not because I trust the Palestinians to readily abandon their goal to exterminate Israel.  It's just that for years they have been an albatross around Israel's neck with no end to the issues between the two entities in sight. Thus the current status quo untenable.  It is wasting Israel's resources and security. Importantly, it is also corroding its moral fabric and has already sullied the international image of the country's Zionists and military as bullying occupiers in the Palestinian-claimed territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem..

Whatever good will that most Israelis once felt towards the Palestinians along with a willingness to negotiate a settlement has long since been exhausted by the latter's refusal to reciprocate in good faith.  So let them have their sovereignty as a nation.  For better or worse it may be easier to deal with them on that level as equals.  If the new state (presumably to be named Palestine) then commits aggression against Israel, it will demonstrate that its people  never intended to recognize Israel's right to exist.  If on the other hand, Palestine demonstrates a willingness to pursue the path of peace between the two countries and Israel refuses to cooperate, this will be a propaganda victory for the Palestinians and by extension for the Arabs as a whole.  Further, it will severely damage Israel's diplomatic credibility and long-held assertion that it is only a beleaguered state simply trying to defend itself from a bad neighborhood.  

But should the hoped-for but unlikely outcome of a mutual and sincere peace accord take place between the Jewish state and Palestine, it could spark a region-wide and acceptance of Israel. After all, a major reason for the Arabs' hostility towards Israel is the issue of Palestinian statelessness.   However, should there be  a successful relationship between the two countries and the Arab nations still remain  opposed to Israel's existence, it will prove that all along they were just using the Palestinian issue as an phony excuse, and that they never had and never will accept Israel.  This unfortunately  is likely the case, proof of which is that for decades the Arab countries have used the Palestinians  as pawns, refusing  to integrate them into Arab countries and instead  let them languish in refugee camps.  If the Arabs really cared about their Palestinian brethren, wouldn't they have absorbed them into their own lands as Israel did with the Jewish populations whom the Arabs expelled from their countries in 1948 when Israel became a nation?  

It can't be easy for Israel to face the prospect of living next door to to Palestine.   But the last thing Israel needs is to become another pariah state as was South Africa, or an isolated hermit one like North Korea.   However,  if matters continue on their present course, Israel may well either collapse or become so politically and socially deformed by apartheid that even its most ardent Jewish supporters abroad especially those in America will turn away. 

As previously mentioned the present situation is unsustainable. There is no easy way out, but one way or another a change is going to have to come.  And time is on nobody's side, least of all Israel's.