Netanyahu, Slavery, and Our Real Problem

Posted: February 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: The Left, The Right, The Settlements, the US and us | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Israel's current borders. Click on the map to see it in full size

RECENTLY, I HAVE BEEN THINKING A LOT ABOUT AMERICAN HISTORY, AND ESPECIALY ABOUT SLAVERY. I think there is much resemblance between the occupation, and even the question of Israel’s relations with its Arab citizens, and the issue of slavery. Not in the nature of the problem (claiming that the Palestinians’ condition resembles that of the slaves is absurd), but in the place the problem takes within our political system.

The occupation started in ’67, but in a sense, the Palestinian problem predates the state, much in the way slavery predated the union. From early Zionist writings, it is clear that our founding fathers were so busy trying to create the Jewish state, that they somehow overlooked the question of what will happen with the native people of this land once the state was created. It’s not that they didn’t deal with the “Arab problem” – they dealt with it extensively – it’s that they didn’t address it in the context of a sovereign Jewish state, which won the battle over the land. Many of them didn’t even believe they would live to see the Jewish state created, so I guess they didn’t see the point in dealing with a problem that was yet to exist.

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The Right Offers No Solutions

Posted: February 4th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, The Right | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

There has been some talk recently about a “three states solution” to the Palestinian problem. John Bolton, George Bush’s ambassador to the UN, promoted this idea in an op-ed in the Washington Post and Daniel Pipes, president of The Middle East Forum, wrote similar things in the Jerusalem post.

The idea is simple: instead of a forming a Palestinian state, Jordan and Egypt will regain control over the West Bank and Gaza for a generation or two, or even permanently, thus enabling Israel to evacuate these areas without putting its security at risk. The blogger Mary Madigan called it “the no-state solution”.

I won’t go to length in explaining why this idea is a waste of time. It would be enough to say that both Jordan and Egypt won’t have it, mainly for the internal problems it might cause them; the radical Islam is the main threat to the presidency of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, which is why he won’t want to add Gaza’s Hamas to his list of enemies from home; and in Jordan, the Palestinians were close to bringing down the regime in the early 70′s. And as for the issue of Israel’s security, there is no reason to believe that Arab soldiers will do a better job chasing rocket launchers and suicide bombers than we do now.

But my real problem with this line of thought– and this goes for Thomas Friedman’s “5-State Solution” in the NYT as well – is that we don’t lack solutions for the Middle East, but rather the political power and will to carry them out.

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