Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Wednesday that a future Palestinian state must be established according to Israel's security needs, including supervision of border crossings and the disarming of militants.
Let me translate that into plain English. It means:
no Palestinian state!
A political entity established according to the security needs of another state is not a state; it is a colony. A state has certain powers: it controls its own borders, it has the right to self-defense.
Reverse the situation. Suppose Hamas offered to accept the existence of an Israeli state provided that the future Israeli state were established according to Palestine's security needs! Such needs would presumably include Palestinian access to the sea and the return of Palestinians ethnicly cleansed from what is now Israel. After all, what is the meaning of "security" if it does not include the right to defend the people's access to their own homes? It would certainly also include territorial integrity for the Palestinian state - the removal of apartheid-like Jews-only roads on the West Bank. It would of course also include the removal of Israeli citizens from the West Bank. It would also include freedom from attack by Israel and access to not only its own taxes (which Israel steals at will) and to international assistance and trade (without Israeli embargoes) sufficient to enable it to function. HOWEVER, that would not be all. If those million or so illegal squatters who have been violating the U.N. by living on Palestinian land went back to Israel with a chip on their shoulder and advocated a new war of expansion against Palestine, then even their presence within Israel's 1967 borders would violate the "needs of the Palestinian state."
And what about Lebanon? Given the repeated Israeli invasions of Lebanon since 1978, an Israeli state that meets the security interests of Lebanon would be defined as a state with a military so weak that it would be incapable of launching any sort of ground, air, or sea attack across the Israeli-Lebanese border, not to mention a Mossad so weak that it would be incapable of mounting any sort of assassination operation in Lebanon.
And what about Iran? What if the Israeli state were allowed to exist so long as it met the security needs of the Iranian state? Israel has nuclear weapons. Where is Israel to store all those bombs and missiles and submarines in order that they no longer pose a threat to the security of the Iranian state? On the moon?
States cannot be established according to the security needs of other states. The real problem here is the outdated notion of state sovereignty, but as long as the world choses to retain this dangerous and outmoded concept, all states must accept constraints on their security. Total security does not exist in an international political system of independent states. That is why we have armies and treaties and alliances and peacekeeping troops and diplomats and confidence-building measures. That is why we talk to and work with opponents - we want them to have a stake in cooperation with us.
Until we become mature enough to create a unified global government, no state can have total security. Any state that seeks total security merely provokes hostility on the part of the rest. Of course, if we did have a unified global government, then who would protect us from our government? That's a complicated philosophical discussion we can postpone...say, until the next century. For now, interstate security is all about balance.
Since our leaders have such trouble bending their minds around this concept, perhaps we should go back to the neatest solution ever invented. All of you with kids know it well: let one side slice the cake, and let the other side choose a piece first. Let Livni divide the Palestinian region into two independent entities with borders, access to the sea, access to water, assigned military capabilities, etc., etc. Then let the Palestinians select which one they prefer to live in.