March 6, 2009


Symposium: Two States After Gaza / For the Two-State Solution (Michael Walzer, Spring/Summer 2009, Democratiya)

No one can say with any certainty that the two state solution was viable before the Gaza war. I can imagine arguments that the war made it more viable, and also less viable. But, really, its viability doesn't have a lot to do with the immediate strategic/political situation. There isn't any other solution; its viability derives from its uniqueness. People keep coming back to it because there's no other way to go. It survives, therefore I guess it's viable.

But it isn't in great shape right now, even though everyone knows what each side would have to do to realize this solution. The Palestinians have to end their civil war, and form a provisional government that recognizes Israel and represses all terrorist activity. The Israelis have to form a government that recognizes the Palestinians' right to a state of their own, defeats the settler movement, and begins the evacuation of the settlements. The nice thing about these two lists of what-ought-to-be-done is that they don't require any mutual engagement. Settling their civil war and repressing terrorism are things that the Palestinians can do, indeed, have to do, by themselves. And Israelis can defeat the settler movement and move the settlers out of the West Bank without a 'partner' on the other side and without handing over territory. Move the settlers out and the army in. That would be a sufficient indication of a readiness to withdraw, just as the repression of terrorist activity by the Palestinians would be a sufficient indication of a readiness to co-exist. The readiness is all. After that, negotiations would not be difficult (well, they would be difficult, but success would be possible, as it isn't now). that no negotiations are required at all. Israel can unilaterally withdraw to whatever borders it thinks it can defend and recognize the State of Palestine--which America will promptly second--and the Palestinians then have no alternative but to accept self-governance within the remaining territory. The two states would not be unlikely to tussle over the border for some period of years, as America and Canada or France and Germany have done. But eventually they'll quiet down and forget they ever had such issues.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at March 6, 2009 11:25 AM
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