Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Of two minds on the two-state solution

On the one hand, no one has been able truly to convince me that the presence of thousands of Palestinians within Israel’s current borders (such as they are) does not constitute a demographic time bomb that threatens to end, in the long run, the Jewish majority in, and, therefore, the Jewish character of, the Jewish state.

On the other hand, no one has been able truly to convince me that the political leadership of the Palestinians is really interested in peace with Israel, and/or would survive assassination attempts—political or physical—long to make it a reality. The last time Israel tried to exchange land for peace, it got war within less than a year, some of it originating from the very land that it had given up.

On the third hand (you should pardon the expression), the Israeli government has yet to convince me that it’s not more serious about making peace with the Palestinians than about maintaining peace among its own citizens. All this talk about ceding parts of Yehudah and the Shomron/the West Bank (pick your preferred term) is giving me a serious case of déjà vu. Does the Knesset really expect settlers to move out of their homes willingly, after seeing the evacuees of Gush Katif and the Northern Shomrom left to rot in caravilla camps (American-English translation: trailer parks) for over three years, many still unemployed?

In my humble opinion, there should be no peace agreement until two basic conditions are met:

  • The Palestinian government (such as it is, and whoever’s leading it at the time) must put teeth in their peace promises and disarm all terrorists, confiscating everything from ammo to guns to missiles and the materièl enabling the production of any and all of the above.

  • The Israeli government must build new communities for the settlers before asking them to abandon their current ones, and must also prepare for the settlers’ job retraining and placement, as necessary.

As far as I’m concerned, unless both those conditions are met, the residents of Peduel should stay put. The thought of the Israeli government creating yet another group of semi-homeless and possibly unemployed Jewish refugees and leaving yet another piece of abandoned real estate to be used for launching missiles makes me ill.


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