Monday, December 01, 2008

The Two State Solution: A Given, Until The Day It Won’t Be.


A black man can’t be elected President of the United States. This was, after all, a “given.”

Unless Israel withdraws to the pre-1967 armistice line, Israel and her Arab neighbors won’t have peace. This is also is accepted as a given.

Let’s compare the two givens.

President-elect Obama could easily have talked himself out of running for the Presidency. Beside the color of his skin, powerful interests backing the “inevitable” Hillary Clinton blocked his road to the Presidency. A politically more seasoned African-American, Colin Powell, took a pass when the office was his to be won rather than rise to the challenge.

Rather than accept the wisdom of the conventional given, President-elect Obama fought and won. Israeli leadership, on the other hand, has talked itself out of fighting for a viable, self-sufficient Israel. They don’t fully stand up to the powerful interests allied against Israel. Israeli leaders ignore national necessity and aspiration. They accept as a given that powerful global interests will never allow Israel to control more territory than it did prior to 1967.

And so, Israeli leadership embraces the conventional given: the so-called two state solution.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, supports the two-state solution and is working hard in her final days to push this idea forward. Amazingly, Ms. Rice does so, in part, because she equates Palestinian hardship to the American civil rights movement of the 1960s. Sadly, she does not see Israel’s struggle against 21 Arab states in the same light.

For all who think as Secretary Rice does, an analogy: Picture a black man living in a very small but nicely kept house in an otherwise white neighborhood filled with dilapidated mansions built on huge estates. Now, envision that the white people hate the black man, and blame the fact their mansions are falling apart on the black man’s very presence. Now picture many of the white people in white hoods burning an image of the black man in effigy to drive the black man out of the neighborhood. One white man in particular, owns no home of his own. He lives in a run-down rental, next door to the black man’s nicely kept house.

Rather than helping this poor white man find an appropriate place to build a nice house on empty land within one of the vast white owned estates, Secretary Rice has concluded that this particular white man—a white man who hates the black man with great passion—can be mollified by building him a tiny house right next door to the black man’s tiny house. To Secretary Rice, the black man, even though surrounded by angry white folks has made it! Not only that, but Secretary Rice wants us to believe that once the poor white man has a tiny house, all the white people will stop hating the black man.

Oh my God!!! Thankfully, she will soon be leaving the stage.

Unfortunately, the two-state solution is the “given” of powerful interests around the world. But the two-state solution, one that harms Israel and Palestinian Arabs alike, is only today’s given. It will be tomorrow’s given only if the people of the world accept it as such. In politics, the only given that is definitive is the one no one stands up to change.

The call for a larger Israel—a state that is properly sized to be durable, successful, and self-sustaining in good and bad economic times—is considered a non-starter in the halls of power. But making it a reality is no more of a fantasy than a black man’s successful quest for the Presidency of the United States.

On January 20th, 2009, Barack Obama will be sworn in as President of the United States. He fought and changed the given that precluded him from the White House.

The given of a two-state solution must be fought and changed as well. In the long-term, it is destructive to the well being of Israel, Palestinian Arabs, and to regional peace. When the powerful interests no longer abide by this given, but rather look to alternative remedies such as those found in my book, Israel will no longer be impeded from becoming a truly self-sustaining state—one that contributes mightily to the greater good of humanity. Palestinian Arabs will no longer be impeded from living better and more prosperous lives. And the vast majority of Muslims and Arabs, people who care more about their children than hating Israel, will no longer be impeded from making real peace with Israel.

I, for one, am hopeful that in January, the incoming President of the United States will studiously revisit the “given” of a two-state solution. It is my hope that in February, new leadership in Israel will help him do so. Like the impossible election of Mr. Obama, the tragedy of pursuing a two-state solution is only a given, until the day it won’t be.

--David Naggar