July 14, 2014


Netanyahu's Mistake (JEFFREY GOLDBERG, JUL 14 2014, Atlantic)

Netanyahu is not crazy, and he's also not delusional, in the manner of certain political figures to his right, who believe that Israel can keep control of the Arabs of the West Bank forever without profound moral and political consequences. He knows, as he suggested to me in an interview this spring, that the status quo is not sustainable:

The first point of [Israeli national] consensus is that we don't want a binational state. Another point of consensus is that we don't want an Iranian proxy in territories we vacate. We want a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the nation-state of the Jews. 

If Netanyahu has convinced himself that a Palestinian state is an impossibility, then he has no choice but to accept the idea that the status quo eventually brings him to binationalism, either in its Jim Crow form--Palestinians absorbed into Israel, except without full voting rights--or its end-of-Israel-as-a-Jewish-state form, in which the two warring populations, Jewish and Arab, are combined into a single political entity, with chaos to predictably ensue. (Recent events in the Middle East suggest that it is not a place ripe for experiments in coexistence.)

Netanyahu's admission that he doesn't see a path to a truly independent Palestinian state serves no purpose except to convince that diminishing number of Palestinians who believe that the two-state solution is the best solution that they have no partner for compromise. As such, Netanyahu's comments are the rhetorical equivalent of settlement expansion in the West Bank. When West Bank Palestinians see new roads being built to connect settlements to Israel proper; when they see existing settlements growing, and hear of tenders for yet more dramatic growth, they ask themselves--as any observant person would--if the Israeli government is serious about allowing a viable Palestinian state to be born on land the Palestinians consider to be theirs.

Posted by at July 14, 2014 3:24 PM

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