Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Two-State Solution or Dream?

The dream of a two-state solution to the increasingly menacing Palestinian-Israeli conflict may conjure up mirages from the 1930s of peaceful Jewish farmers living next to peaceful Palestinian farmers. Whether or not a militaristic Jewish industrial power with a disturbing tendency toward racism and fascism can coexist with an impoverished Palestinian state that will most likely be dominated by highly dissatisfied activists egged on by a young and alienated population is a somewhat more serious question. Glib words by jet-set politicians won't pull this rabbit out of the hat.

Of course, the talk of two states may just be hot air; perhaps there is an "understanding" that the plan is one Jewish state and one Palestinian bantustan designed never to have any independent substance. But just supposing that the talk is sincere, still, a few issues need to be addressed.

First, explain to me the mechanics of moving half a million illegal Israeli settlers back to Israel. To declare the existence of a Palestinian state while Israeli occupier forces remain would be meaningless, so do the settlers leave before the new state is created or does some non-Israeli military force control a population made up of heavily armed vigilante groups?
  • How will bitter settlers who are already extremist even in victory be controlled in defeat?
  • How will the houses they are vacating be protected from being trashed as Israeli settlers removed from Gaza trashed their homes?
  • How will a fair price be set for the Palestinians who will be moving into those houses (or will receiving a house free be considered "fair compensation" for giving up the right of return to their original homeland before the 1948 Zionist ethnic cleansing campaign)?
  • Even assuming goodwill on the part of all Israeli settlers, moving that many people will take time. What will be the process of opening Israel's West Bank apartheid road system to Palestinians?

Second, explain to me how the water infrastructure so meticulously designed to cheat Palestinian farmers in favor of Israeli farmers will be redesigned to share this scarce resource equitably.

Third, explain to me how Palestinians will travel between Gaza and the West Bank.

Fourth, explain to me who will provide security for Palestine while it goes about the long process of building up an army. And, by the way, you might want to shorten that process. The longer it takes the new Palestinian state to acquire modern weapons, the greater the likelihood that it will invite Iran, which has so kindly just announced to the world its readiness to provide regional security, to construct a military base and sign a mutual defense pact.
  • Will a mutual military inspections regime be implemented?
  • Will an international defense force be put on the Palestinian-Israeli border with the power and authority to prevent Israeli air force violations such as those Israel uses to intimidate Lebanon?

Fifth, explain to me where, in this recession world, the money will come from to create a peaceful Palestinian society.
  • Who will pay the salaries of all those unemployed young men?
  • What countries will offer to import Palestinian products, needed or not, to ensure that a stable socio-economic structure can be created?

I apologize to all glib jet-set politicians for the tedium of this essay. Go ahead, ignore the details. Just remember what happened after the U.N. Resolution 181's original definition of a two-state solution in November 1947. Just remember what happened after the British, as they fled South Asia following WWII, designated a two-state solution for their Indian colony.

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