Monday, January 26, 2009

'Precisely the idea'

CBS: For peace to have a chance, Israel would have to withdraw from the West Bank, which would then become the Palestinian state. It's known as the 'two-state' solution. But, while negotiations have been going on for 15 years, hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers have moved in to occupy the West Bank. Palestinians say they can't have a state with Israeli settlers all over it, which the settlers say is precisely the idea.

CBS: As Bob Simon reports, a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians feel that a two-state solution is no longer possible.

Paul Woodward, War in Context: As President Obama's Middle East Envoy for Peace, George Mitchell, makes is way to the region this week, he should keep in mind a statement that Osama Hamdan, Hamas's representative in Lebanon, made in a speech in Beirut yesterday. Hamdan said, 'the peace process is irreversibly over.'... 

Just suppose that we were at a juncture were 1,300 Israelis had just been brutally killed, 5,000 were wounded, many in a grave condition, 20,000 houses had been destroyed and tens of thousands were now homeless. Suppose in such a situation Israel's leaders were to declare that the peace process was irreversibly over, we would now be commenting on their remarkable composure. We would marvel that they would bother making a political statement and not simply a blood-curdling cry of vengeance. Hamas, on the other hand, in spite of the devastation of Gaza, is still committed to politics.

Given the realities and ignoring the empty declarations, where does Israel want to go from here?

* Democracy: a one-state solution in which Jews and Palestinians have equal rights;
* Ethnic cleansing: a state that solidifies its Jewish identity by purging itself of every non-Jewish element; or
* Apartheid: the explicit formalization of what is already a practical reality.

These, as Bob Simons correctly observes, are Israel's choices. America can no longer serve as Israel's shield in its efforts to conceal a painful reality.