September 21, 2011

WRONG PM, WRONG CATASTROPHE:

Israel and America on the Wrong Side of History (Gareth Evans, 2011-09-20, Project Syndicate)

For all his deep emotional attachment to the idea of Israel embracing all of historical Judea and Samaria, Rabin knew that the only way to ensure a democratic Jewish state with viable, secure borders was to accept a Palestinian state alongside it, equally secure and viable. They would share Jerusalem as a capital, and find a mutually acceptable solution to the enormously sensitive issue of the return of Palestinian refugees.

Rabin's murder was a catastrophe from which the peace process has never recovered. No Israeli leader since has shown anything like his far-sighted vision, commitment, and capacity to deliver a negotiated two-state solution.

Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert came close, but not close enough. And since then Binyamin Netanyahu has lived down to every expectation of his statesmanship. His routine capitulation to the demands of the most extreme elements of a manifestly dysfunctional Knesset, and his continuing support of his impossibly divisive and pugnacious foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, have earned him little praise at home or abroad. One need not be naïve or in denial about the Palestinians' multiple problems and missteps over the years to recognize that most of the recent obstacles to progress have been erected in Israel.

Now, with negotiations at an impasse, settlement building continuing unabated, no end in sight to the never-ending humiliation of occupation, and all other forms of leverage evidently exhausted, the Palestinians are going to the United Nations to seek recognition in some form of their statehood. They want full UN membership, but - facing inevitable veto of that option by the United States in the Security Council - are willing to accept as a fallback a majority vote by the General Assembly recognizing Palestine as a non-member "observer state," the status now enjoyed by the Vatican.


Rabin could have negotiated with Arafat until the sun exploded and gotten nowhere. The tragedy is the stroke to the Israeli leader who isn't even mentioned there--Ariel Sharon would have unilaterally imposed a state on the Palestinians, long before they got this opportunity to unilaterally impose one on Israel.


Posted by at September 21, 2011 7:07 PM
  

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