mepeace.org

THE TWO-STATE DELUSION
By Alan Sabrosky
05/09/09
www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/opinion/2009/May......


The world is once again being treated to yet another round in the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" charade. The "usual suspects" are posturing, pronouncements are being made, speeches are being given, and hints and rumors about a supposed "toughening" in the US Government's approach to Israel are filtering out from the press. We are supposed to think that something different is about to happen, and that, as the old American folk song had it, "The times, they are a-changing."


Arranging the Stage


It is all nonsense. The whole exercise strikes me as what the old Soviet Army used to call a maskirovka, sort of a complex strategic masquerade on steroids, with rehearsed actors playing their scripted roles before a fully aware and involved audience, and that includes the head of the American NSC and his "leaked" memos. There may be some blunter words said to Netanyahu than he (or other Israeli prime ministers) have heard in a while, but it isn't unprecedented. Former President Reagan was VERY pro-Israeli, but he got so incensed at Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon that he reportedly yelled at then-Israeli Prime Minister Begin and deployed Marines with naval support to block them around Beirut. And regardless of how the intervention ended, there were occasions when US Marines and Israeli troops came right up to the edge of a full-scale fire-fight, and I was assured at the time by several Marine officers who were there that they were fully prepared to slug it out with the IDF if that was required, and the 6th Fleet had standing orders to go to the mat in their support if that happened - a far cry from 1967, when it had stood back in the face of the deliberate Israeli air and naval attack on the USS Liberty that killed or wounded more than 200 American sailors and Marines.

Today that would never happen, of course, or the US Navy & Marine Corps would have punched a hole through the Israeli blockade on Gaza and ended their assault on it a few months ago. They didn't, and President Obama wouldn't have sent them in, either -- most of the rest of the world has been outraged by the brutal Israeli action that killed over 1400 Palestinians and wounded thousands more, the majority of them women and children, but all Obama does is talk about America's undying commitment to the security of "our staunch ally Israel," while the US Congress declaims its support of "poor, brave little Israel" and continues to vote billions of dollars in assistance to it.

What is going to happen is that stories will leak about "full & frank" discussions between Obama & Netanyahu, and then after hemming and hawing for a while, Netanyahu will grudgingly agree to negotiations leading towards a two-state solution, he will be praised as a "man of peace" (just like Ariel Sharon, right?), and that pot will just keep boiling and boiling until both Obama and Netanyahu go away, or the war with Iran starts and everyone else forgets about the Palestinians, at which point more Jewish settlements go up in the West Bank, more Palestinian homes are demolished in East Jerusalem, and the Israelis invade Gaza again. Q.E.D.

What two states?

Besides, the two-state solution is a dead-in-the-water derelict, and given the Israeli attitude, probably always was. For it to be viable, three things would absolutely have to happen. First, all Israeli settlements would have to be withdrawn from the West Bank and Palestinian refugees allowed to return without Israeli interference. That isn't going to happen -- aside from party positions and other things, can you see Netanyahu telling his favored foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman to pack his suitcase and abandon his home in a West Bank settlement? He won't, the settlements will stay, and that means the larger piece of this so-called "second state" would have about a half-million armed Jewish settlers in its midst, plus regular Israeli army patrols, plus the fence, plus border guards and check points...and so on.

Second, a viable Palestinian state would have to be sufficiently well armed to make the Israelis think ten times before doing a Gaza strike in either part, and the Israelis flat out won't go there -- the most they'll accept is a lightly-armed Palestinian police force, because (as they showed in Gaza) policemen can be killed very easily by tactical aircraft, heavy artillery and main battle tanks. This has nothing to do with fear of attack from Palestinians -- Israel's own massive nuclear arsenal and powerful air force utterly negate that option -- but with minimizing their own casualties the next time they decide to terrorize the Palestinians.

And last, a viable Palestinian state would need armed guarantees from other nations -- a permanent international naval force off Gaza to keep its coast open, heavily armed ground forces in both parts to ensure that an Israeli invasion would hit them first and suffer doing so, and at least one carrier battle group off the coast for air and missile and electronics support. That would close off Israel's military option against Palestine, so of course they won't do this, either. So nothing the Palestinians need to be viable and safe will happen, which means there is no two-state solution, and since the US has already announced it won't employ sanctions or penalties against Israel no matter what (which is why the AIPAC audience applauded Biden....), the whole thing is just propaganda. Harsh language without tangible penalties is meaningless, and ALL of the key players on all sides know this. And that's the end of it.

Playing the Players

Looking beyond the two-state political zombie requires one to look at the key players. Aside from their impoverishment, geographical separation and vulnerability, about the only cards the Palestinians hold are a willingness to persevere and a comparable willingness to die. The misbegotten Palestinian Authority (PA) is so useless, and its top leaders -- Arafat as well as Abbas -- have been so bad, that I cannot decide if it and they are creations of Mossad, or simply tolerated to ensure that nothing much better will come along. Hamas is better for Palestinians, of course, which is why it won the election a few years ago, and it is for that reason more than any other that the Jewish lobbies in the US and elsewhere have made its presence in negotiations all but unthinkable. It isn't because of Hamas involvement in what Israelis call "terrorism" and the Palestinians call "resistance" -- most newly-independent countries after WWII, including Israel itself, have been led by parties whose roots were just like Hamas -- but because Hamas has more legitimacy and effectiveness than the Palestinian Authority, and is less of a toady to the Israelis, so of course Israel opposes it. It wants a weak, hapless and inept Palestinian leadership, and in Abbas and the PA today it assuredly has what it wants.

Israel itself is a fascinating case study in the principle that people often acquire the worst habits of their oppressors, for the dominant Israeli attitude -- openly expressed in their English-language press and blogs, and on news websites outside of the US where criticism of Israel is still permissible -- views Arabs generally and Palestinians in particular much the way their last oppressors viewed Jews. Certainly, state-sponsored military Schrecklichkeit ("frightfulness" or "terror") by these "kosher Nazis" is at the core of their policy towards Palestine, which apparently assumes that if they kill enough Palestinian children and make life sufficiently miserable for the rest, the Palestinians will finally succumb and serve their masters -- "ethnic cleansing" these days just being so messy diplomatically. And even when an Israeli government comes to power whose key leaders -- Netanyahu and Lieberman -- make the neo-Nazi NPD in Germany seem almost moderate, and apartheid-era South Africa look positively liberal, no government in Europe or the United States dares say so and act accordingly. What we get instead is yet another Holocaust memorial, intended less to try to excuse what Jews do to Palestinians today, than to humiliate Europeans and Americans by reminding them of what they did (or did not do) during the Holocaust, as a way of encouraging them to keep out of Israel's affairs today. And so far it works for them.

As for the United States, the Jewish lobbies together constitute another fascinating case study in history's only successful takeover of a major power's central government from within by a domestic Fifth Column, serving the interests of a foreign country. Money, manipulation of political appointments, and management of news and views are the name of the dominance game, and it is a game Jerusalem has played expertly. If anyone ever doubted the extent to which the majority of the US Government has been well and truly bought or compromised, Congressional votes in support of Israel during and after the most recent assault on Gaza, US vetoes of even half-hearted UN attempts to bring Israel to heel and hold it to account, and Bush's endorsement of Israel's "right to defend itself" speak volumes. Obama's silence on the issue speaks even louder -- contrast that with what he (and the US Congress as well) would likely have said and done if during apartheid South African jets, tanks and artillery had attacked the black township of Soweto the way the Israelis attacked Gaza, killing and wounding thousands of black women and children and turning Soweto into a burning ruin. Somehow, I do not believe silence, indifference or support of Pretoria would have been forthcoming from Washington.

There is only one possible fly in this ointment, from the Israeli perspective, and it is the only one that anyone wishing to unravel this Gordian knot can exploit: American public opinion. At present, a large majority of Americans support Israel, having been fed a steady diet for decades of Israeli "victimization" in the face of Arab "barbarism." But that support is, as the saying goes in America, "a mile wide and an inch deep," and AIPAC and company know this, which is why they work so hard to filter what most Americans see, hear and read about the Middle East. But it is a filter that is starting to weaken -- more and more Americans surf the internet and encounter very different views, a difference that is reflected in growing criticism of Israel and of US support for it, something that would have been almost impossible even a decade ago. Disrupt this pro-Israel filter, make historical events like the Israeli assault on the USS Liberty and the IDF's murder of a young American woman named Rachel Corrie household words in the US, bring images of ravaged Gaza into American homes, and watch the world start to change -- because it can. And the technology is there to do this.


About the author: Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D, University of Michigan) is a ten-year US Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the US Army War College. He can be contacted at docbrosk@comcast.net

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Neri

It base on the dynamic of human change.I am not sure that I follow this logic. Could you give us examples of how changes have occurred in Israeli and Arab society since 1947.

I can certainly see this occurring in Europe with the break up of the USSR and the EU but I would like your take on the Middle East.
Igor,

the change is complex and has a lot of threads, I hope this description can help you out, but remember it is partial.

in the end of the 18th century the concept of National identity was at its prime, 1848 was the spring of nations and many changes happed - that later led to WW-I and WW-II

This ideas influenced the Jews, and some Jews start self organizing themselves to manifest the idea of National state. These Ideas were expected to be natural and actually put this Jewish group in the from line of change. in less then 100 years with the help of Global catastrophes and Jewish catastrophe these people managed to work with the "Nations" and granted the territory in Palestine province.

unfortunately the life conditions in Palestine when this movement started was still in its feudal stage with land ownership laws that were different then the "national state" laws the European had. the Ottoman laws and social cohesion of the Arab world made the Arabs unable to cope with the resources the Zionists manage to get and at the end of the day the Arabs fail to accept the separation plan and fail to include the Arab palestinians as integrated part of the Arab world.

After wars and occupation Israel manage to increase its power and resources and today we do not have parallel power neighboring Israel and we have depressing occupation of Arab palestinian people in WB, GAZA and refugee camps.

In the last 60 years we witnessed development of Palestinian identity, this group of Arabs that payed for the success of the Zionists are now a young nation standing on the same crossroad the Zionist stood 120 years ago. but they are not in the same life condition, so their road for statehood is different and the "cost" of the struggle is different.

The development of groups into nation is natural process, and today this is the way our world work, the Palestinian must get "nation" recognition from the other nations and this process is painful as they are requested to form a democratic political structure that may not serve them. the "democratic" western system that work in the west is very open, and when you have society that have "big family" structure with "tribal" history it is very hard to keep it balanced. so the Palestinian did not had a chance to pass Oslo stage. from the other side of the border, in Israel, we have different dynamics. the conflict is strengthening extremist group that use the Israeli democratic system to manifest their agenda.

so we have two societies that are in a different stage of national development. The Palestinian need to get into National-State phase and the Israelis need to get out from "ethno-centric" phase of the national interpretation.


There is a lot to add, but I hope it describe the image I see when I look into the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Dana

Any further expulsions of settlers from East Jerusalem or any built up settlements would cause the army to revolt en masse and any government that attempted it would fall. The Israeli public have spoken and made sure that Gaza cannot happen again.

Netanyahu was forced to state that the Golan will not be returned to Syria and he is hedging his bets by not mentioning a two state solution for fear that his government would fall simply for the mere mention of it. There are no negotiations between Israel and the palestinians other than trial balloons in the press.

The statement that Israel must be recognized as a Jewish state met with rejection by the "moderate" Abbas and that is only a opening salvo.

I do not see anything on the horizon (Obama included) that will advance peace. The only way is for the Arabs to take the initiative and show that they are ready for compromise. Dismantle terrorism, retake Gaza and try to rebuild trust that was shattered in 2000.

1967 borders are a distant memory and will not be resurrected. There are 500,000 settlers in Judea and Samaria and they are not going anywhere. The so called refugees will never be repatriated to Israel.

The deal now is worse than in 2000(Camp David) that was worse than Oslo and certainly worse than what they had in 1967 and much worse than in 1948. The writing is on the wall that a deal in the future will certainly be much, much worse than now.

Time is not on the side of the Palestinians, yet they do not seem to want peace or a state all that much.

Perhaps UNWRA has something to do with that.
Sami:

Lets cut to the chase. what Arab concessions that I suggested do you actually object to and that you term blind ideology?

Dismantle Terrorism?
Retake Gaza?
Rebuild Trust?

Israel cant be strong forver!!! Empires collapsed man!! and then????

AH yes submit or we will take it by force. we will be strong for a while yet both economically and militarily. Can you say the same for the Palestinians? The economy is in shambles. The majority is beholden to UNWRA.

But that pesky Honour rears its head again.
How lives by the sword will perish by the sword (or the atom bomb...)!
Shaul

WOW. That was very deep. Are you talking about the Iranians?

In the meantime you live on "occupied" land, interacts with "apartheid" officials and refuses to live what you preach. You should vacate your house, give it to an Arab and leave that nasty, zionist place and move back to Switzerland where you may have a following , being "Jewish" and all.

PS: Do take your wife ,Eva , with you. Please!!!!
Sami,

there is a price in human life and life condition that the Palestinian pay for waiting for the fall of Israel.

can you think of other paths?
You are right Igor of the trend, the anti-peace extremists will do what ever they can to prevent process.
But we are stronger and have more resources and better future for Israel, so we will have to find a solution.

Time is not on the side of the Israeli settlers, yet they do not seem to want peace or a stability for Israel all that much.

We need to help them and protect them as their world view of "BIG ISRAEL" is going to be destroyed.

any how, you are wrong about Oslo, the content and the way it was introduce was wrong and the Palestinian now can gain more autonomy and freedom then they had in Oslo. They also have the reality more clear and that they must have united political system for creating their state. being a palestinian who suffered for 60 years is not enough victims need to be transformed into leaders and build the state that was never existed before.
As a starting point I could agree with you. Where we differ is on the approach. I believe that the basic culture of death must be eliminated now to show Israelis that we CAN in fact live side by side.

I (btw Netanyahu is saying the same) do not have a problem with giving Palestinians more autonomy until such time as the Israeli public (not me) is satisfied that their security is assured.

Abbas must retake Gaza and unite both sides under the banner of peace and co-existance for two peoples.
Just Notice that you relate to palestinians as ones who has "basic culture of death" which is a degradation.

The aggression we experience from palestinians is not core culture element, it is a reaction for a situation where Israel actions are used by extremist groups (minority) to justify aggression and the population (majority) had t go throgh check points daily humiliation and also "surrender" the Zionist claim on Palestine.


From reviewing the issue with palestinians it seem that the "settlements" are understood as basic culture of theft of Zionists. as you expressed that Israel waiting to see less expression of the ill "core culture" same the Palestinians expect end expression of the Israeli ill "core culture".

The process is not simple, the extremists from Palestine and from Israel are fighting the majority and seeking ways to manifest their idealism - one state solution. so they will attack any peace progress.

so paradoxically, the more peace potential grew the more aggression we will see from Settlers and Hamas. so if we go by your condition (culture of death must be eliminated) you will never be able to go beyond repeated blame of palestinians to have ill basic culture .

we need to work with trust and with resilience to solve the conflict, and work from what is right to do wisely but unconditionally.
10 or so years ago i wrote a lot on yahoo's news forums about the racist state of israel and i felt like one of only a few who had these opinions...now, what a change! things are changing.

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