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Israel-Palestine: One State or Two?

TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck

The JERUSALEM POST op-ed transmitted below, by former Israeli Foreign
Ministry director-general David Kimche, makes for very interesting
reading. Unlike most op-eds, it might even have a real-world impact.

The nightmare (for Kimche) evoked in the first three paragraphs of this
article is, aside from its reference to rising anti-Semitism, my dream,
which I have been urging in published articles and in correspondence
with both Palestinian leaderships for the past two years.

With the choice becoming clearer, those Israelis for whom Mr. Kimche's
scenario looks like a nightmare should lean hard on their government to
offer the Palestinians a *REALLY GOOD* two-state solution and to do so
*NOW*.

Those Palestinians who are fed up with 40 years of occupation and a
perpetual "peace process" based on perpetual procrastination and
illusion should lean hard on both of their leaderships to come together
and to make clear to Israelis and the world that, if a *REALLY GOOD* and
definitive two-state solution, acceptable to most Palestinians, is not
offered within a fixed deadline measured in months, they will make Mr.
Kimche's nightmare their dream.

As Henry Siegman made clear in his superb article on "The Middle East
Peace Process Scam" (which I circulated on August 18), all Israeli
governments since 1967 have always preferred the status quo of
occupation without formal annexation (and continuing opportunities to
nibble away at what remained of Palestine with more "facts on the
ground") to either peace or any other alternative which they deemed
available.

It is time to ring down the curtain on the perpetual peace process scam.
It is time to choose.


The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition <http://www.jpost.com/>

Why failure is not an option at Annapolis

------------------------------------------------------------------------
David Kimche , THE JERUSALEM POST       Oct. 18, 2007

------------------------------------------------------------------------

October 2009: After the failure of the Annapolis conference two years
ago, the two-state solution has finally been buried. The Palestinian
Authority has disbanded itself, proclaiming that the official policy of
the Palestinians will henceforth be a one-state solution, a democratic
state with the right to vote for all its citizens over the age of 18.
"The battle of the womb," they call it. "We will win through the womb.
There will be a majority of Palestinians in this state."

The responsibility for caring for the Palestinian population has been
thrust back into Israeli hands. With no PA to care for education, health
and all the other daily needs of the Palestinians, the government in
Jerusalem has been forced to take over, creating a heavy economic
burden. Hamas has become the dominant factor in Judea and Samaria. It
has ceased all violent actions against Israel, proclaiming that "the
womb" is a more powerful weapon than Kassam rockets or suicide bombers.

A worldwide movement has gathered momentum denigrating Israel for its
"apartheid" policies and calling upon it to grant voting rights to all
its inhabitants. Demonstrations are held daily outside Israeli
embassies, in a similar fashion to the rallies outside South African
embassies during the apartheid days. The legitimacy of the State of
Israel is increasingly being called into question as country after
country slap boycotts on Israeli goods and institutions. Anti-Semitism
is on the rise, with daily attacks on Jews. The pro-Israeli stance of
Washington is coming under fire in American public opinion for defending
a state that is so blatantly ignoring basic democratic rights.

***

SOUNDS BAD? A one-state solution is rapidly gaining supporters among
Palestinian radical elements. A failure in Annapolis could eventually
tip the balance in its favor. The idea being currently floated in
certain circles in Israel, that the Palestinians would become Jordanian
citizens with the West Bank remaining under Israeli rule, is laughable;
the Hashemite Kingdom would be committing hara-kiri by agreeing to such
a solution. There could be an eventual confederation between Jordan and
Palestine, but only after the Palestinians first achieve independence.

I just cannot understand our right-wingers, good Zionists, for failing
to realize that the failure of the two-state solution spells disaster
for the Zionist dream. This is not a question of Left versus Right; it
is about understanding the reality on the ground. For Israelis - and
Palestinians - to lead normal lives they must separate from each other,
and that means living in two separate states.

A two-state solution, however, has its price, which both Israelis and
Palestinians will have to pay. Jerusalem, a key factor in any solution,
is a case in point. Jerusalem, arguably, is today the most divided city
in the world - Jerusalemite Jews don't venture into Palestinian suburbs,
and the Palestinian Jerusalemites steer clear of west Jerusalem.

Take, for example, the isolated village of Walaja, a so-called suburb of
Jerusalem, mentioned in Prime Minister Olmert's speech in the Knesset
last week. How many Jewish Jerusalemites have ever heard of Walaja? How
many have ever visited it? How often does the Jerusalem Municipality
tender to its needs?

As for the Shuafat refugee camp, you could count the number of Jerusalem
Jewish civilians who have ever been there on the fingers of one hand,
and still not use all the fingers. I could offer a dozen more names, all
part of the Jerusalem Municipality and all equally unknown to the vast
majority of Jerusalemites.

When the leader of the opposition, Bibi Netanyahu, theatrically declares
in the Knesset that Annapolis will decide on the division of Jerusalem,
he means Walaja, Shuafat, Kalandiya and a dozen more such places.

The real problem of Jerusalem, of course, is the Old City and the Temple
Mount. Creative solutions that will satisfy neither side will have to be
found; that will be part of the price for a two-state solution. Zalman
Shoval, head of the Likud's foreign relations department and a former
ambassador to the US, intimated as much when he addressed the Foreign
Press Association this week.

IT WOULD be infantile to imagine that the Israeli and Palestinian
negotiating teams could come up with solutions for Jerusalem, the
refugee question and borders before the Annapolis event.

They will, however, have to decide on a document that will be sufficient
for Annapolis to take place and be termed a success, for failure is not
an option. Its consequences would be too harrowing - the collapse of the
moderate, anti-violence and pro-peace camp of PA Prime Minister Salaam
Fayad and President Mahmoud Abbas, victory for Hamas and other extremist
factions, and the eventual demise of the two-state solution.

Annapolis will have to be the trigger that can initiate serious
negotiations. Annapolis must not be a one-off affair; it must be the
start of a series of meetings to move the process forward, and to get
the international players - and in particular the US - more involved.
The Palestinians will have to take steps against the terrorist
organizations; the Israelis will have to freeze settlement building and
remove illegal outposts.

It will not be easy. Both sides will have to make painful concessions.
There will be strong opposition, Israeli and Palestinian, to moving from
the maximal demands that exist at present.

But eventually we will have to make the choice - to make the most of the
opportunity that exists to end the conflict, or to be drawn,
willy-nilly, into the unknown of a one-state solution, with all its dire
consequences.

/The writer is president of the Israel Council for Foreign Relations, an
independent organization operating under the auspices of the World
Jewish Congress, and a former director-general of the Foreign Ministry. /

 
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