Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Israel & The Palestinians: Why A Two-State Solution Is Best For A Lasting Peace And For Economic Benefits

Israel & The Palestinians

An article (“All Fall Down: The Uncertain Future of the Only Solution for Israel and Palestine; May 14, 2013), by  Larry Diamond, in The Atlantic says that only viable solution to the Israel-Palestinian imbroglio is a two-state solution. The continuing occupation by Israel of a people is both untenable and humiliating and is not in keeping with the long-term best interests of Israel.

In this article, Diamond writes:
Yet there are two other elements to the current conundrum that deeply worry many Israelis, and even some current and former leaders of politics and government. One is their mounting concern about what the occupation is doing not simply to Palestinians but also to Israelis -- that the country is losing part of its soul in the dehumanizing task of dominating and controlling another people for decades on end. For more than 45 years, well over two-thirds of Israel's existence as a state, it has occupied the West Bank. Even as governing authority over economic and social matters has been transferred to the Palestinian Authority over a portion of the territory, and even as security cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security officials has notably improved, the occupation has become institutionalized, the settlements have relentlessly expanded, and a sense of despair has settled into populations on both sides of the divide. As we approach the half-century mark in occupation, with a steady expansion in settlements deep into the West Bank that have the look, feel and even intention of permanence, it becomes increasingly difficult to regard the phenomenon as a temporary reality waiting for a lasting resolution.
This raises the second concern, what many feel is the most acute existential threat to Israel's survival as a Jewish state. For at least two decades now, thoughtful Israelis have worried that Israel cannot be a democracy, a Jewish State, and Greater Israel, for a simple reason. They could see that the demographic trends would eventually produce an Arab population majority in the combined territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. That was twenty years ago. Now, "eventually" has arrived. There are roughly 6 million Jewish citizens of Israel. If we combine Israeli Arab citizens (about 1.6 million, or slightly over 20 percent of all Israelis) and the Palestinian populations in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem (4.4 million), the total is now about the same as the Jewish population (or even slightly higher). And the Arab population growth rate is higher (in fact, among Israeli Arabs, significantly so). In a single bi-national state, Arabs would vote -- democratically -- to eliminate the Jewish character of the state. This is why a growing number of West Bank Palestinians, particularly youth and intellectuals, are now calling for a single unitary state. And it is why President Obama declared in Israel on March 21, "Given the demographics west of the Jordan River, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine."
I agree; the occupation—and that’s what it is and has been for decades—and control of a people, the Palestinians, has damaged both the Palestinians and the Israelis. This point is undeniably and painfully true. It’s time to forget the battles of the past, the politics of settlements, the religious arguments from “holy book,” and who has the moral high ground. This is not as important as signing a peace deal between the two peoples. The status quo in not tenable, and the longer it continues the more damage it inflicts on the two peoples.

I remain unconvinced that both Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas want to now sign a peace treaty, the distrust so great; but perhaps U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry—along with the power brokers in Russia and China—can persuade both leaders of its immediate necessity. The two men don’t have to like each other—that’s neither expected nor necessary—but they have to act as mature adults and come to an agreement, not carrying the weight of past “injustices” in mind, but carrying a positive view that such an approach will provide a better future for all. Such is a key requirement.

Sure, the hawks on both sides will screech bloody murder, but they have had their say for far too long. And we can see the fruits of their labours. It’s time for a change in thinking.


You can read the rest of the article at [The Atlantic]