Saturday, May 23, 2009

Juvenile and Stupid Opinions About Mideast Justice

According to the Israeli media, a member of Netanyahu's delegation to Washington described the alleged Washington perspective that the two-state solution will solve all the Mideast's problems as "juvenile and stupid." I suppose said delegate considers the 60-year-long Zionist campaign of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland and Israel's generation-long policy of security through (vastly superior) strength proudly displayed via the semi-starvation of Gaza civilians, the enforcement of apartheid in the West Bank, the scattering of cluster bomblets across southern Lebanon, and threats of aggression repeated ad nauseum against Iran to be "mature and intelligent."

Ironically, I have finally found an example of an opinion from the militarist Zionist right wing with which I can actually agree. Yes! If there is someone so naive as to imagine that "all" the problems in the troubled Mideast flow from Israeli repression and aggression, that would indeed be "juvenile and stupid." But in a Mideast ripped apart by Western pressure, Sunni-Shi'ite competition, conservative dictatorships vs frustrated populations, traditional and rising powers, the one thing that almost everyone can agree on is that the egregious, in-your-face viciousness of Israeli repression of Palestinian aspirations is just pouring gasoline on the flames of regional hostility.

Even assuming that a "two-state solution" means true justice for Palestinians (a very big assumption), it still will not solve all the Mideast's problems, but it will open the door to addressing all those problems by enabling the world to get past this enormous roadblock to progress. The poison of Palestinian repression blinds enflames everyone's passions, blinding all to reason and making it impossible to conceive of positive-sum solutions to all the region's other problems.

In fact, it is very difficult to imagine how Israel's extremist settlers can be herded back into Israel, Jerusalem peacefully divided, competent Palestinian governance invented, scarce water resources equitably reapportioned, the devastated Palestinian economy rebuilt, and a Palestinian military sufficient to protect a new state from Israeli aggression but securely under civilian control be created. Israeli Zionists have been allowed to carry their expansionist campaign so far that the two-state solution may well prove to be an impossible dream. It may be that one multi-ethnic state based on religious freedom and equality will ultimately be necessary. But for the moment, the two-state solution symbolizes the desire to give both societies a place to live - not a concentration camp but a home. There is a difference between the two; not to recognize that difference is juvenile and stupid.

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