Monday, July 13, 2015

An indirect route to the two-state solution

An article in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs (Grant Rumley and Amir Tibon, "The Death and Life of the Two-State Solution") argues that the best way for Palestinians to get their own state "is, paradoxically, to give up on trying to get one."

The authors suggest that one thing Israeli officialdom would like even less than a viable Palestinian state is the roughly 4.5 million Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza incorporated into Israel as citizens with voting rights.  Hence Palestinians should push for such incorporation, saying that what they really want is to be Israeli citizens (which is apparently true for much of the younger generation; Rumley and Tibon cite a 2013 poll showing that only 48 percent of the 18-to-28 age group favor two states).  As a result, the two-state solution would appear in a new light to Israelis: i.e., as the preferable alternative to Palestinian incorporation.

Would this approach work? I don't know, and I don't agree with every single statement in the article.  Still, the piece is interesting.  The concluding passage:
In such a situation...this [two-state] outcome could credibly be presented to Israeli voters not as a soft act of justice or charity...but as a hard act of self-preservation.  Dov Weisglass, who was [Ariel] Sharon's chief of staff during the Gaza disengagement negotiations, has said that Sharon presented the pullout to Israeli voters in "fluent Likudish."  Sharon did not conjure up fantasies of everlasting peace; he framed the decision as necessary for Israel's survival.  A pullout from the West Bank will need to be explained in similar terms.  Only then will the threats [or claimed threats--LFC] that come with it stop trumping the supposed opportunities of some distant peace accord.

ETA: On a related issue, Tom Gregory at Duck of Minerva had a post on the UN report on last summer's Gaza war (here).

No comments: