Wednesday, June 3, 2009
On a Two-State Solution
I've had a couple exchanges of late with friends about the idea of a two-state solution, the Obama administration's stance on what they see as Israeli intransigence on the issue of settlements, and the degree to which the election of Bibi Netanyahu presents an obstacle to peace - to which I would be inclined to reply as follows:
The recent election of a center-right government headed by Netanyahu - who refuses to (explicitly) accept a two-state solution and who refuses to put a halt to natural growth in W. Bank Settlements - merely reflects mainstream opinion in Israel at the moment that a two-state solution, and subsequent compromises necessary for such a deal, makes sense at some point, but probably not now under the current circumstances.
And, the circumstances I'm referring to are a Hamas-controlled Gaza, PA leadership in the W. Bank that, even if they are committed to peace, is far too weak to carry out the terms of any such deal, and the violence and instability created by Iran and Syria's support of both Hamas and Hezbollah.
More broadly, I think it needs to be noted that a two-state solution should not be viewed as a dynamic that, when implemented, will result in the end of hostilities between Israel and her Arab / Palestinian neighbors. Rather, a peaceful two-state solution will be the RESULT of the end of hostilities against Israel. So, I don't think the onus is on Israel to agree to any more territorial concessions in lieu of concrete steps by the Arab world and the Palestinians to remove the factors which contribute to violence and incitement. I think what Israelis want is some indication that the creation of a Palestinian state will really bring a cessation of hostility against us, will truly result in Hamas being marginalized and/or eliminated as a significant player in the region, and, more broadly, will really result in a truly more peaceful Middle East.
I don't think that's too much to ask.