Saturday, 4 September 2010

Lose lose

Poor Palestinians! It's heads you lose, tails you lose. If they refused talks with Israel they'd be accused of not wanting peace, but they cannot agree to talks without being asked to accept all the 'facts on the ground' that Israel has created since 1948. The 'two-state solution', which effectively existed until Israel destroyed it in 1967, has long since been made impossible, with much of the West Bank illegally occupied by settlers and their exclusive roads.

The Israeli tactic is still what it has always been, to play for time, hoping that the Palestinians will finally give up and either submit or emigrate. The astonishing thing is that these people still will not go away. And meanwhile, increasing numbers of Jews inside and outside Israel are refusing to support this inhuman policy, which degrades its enforcers as much as its victims. Stolen land and water, bulldozed homes and olive trees, imprisoned men and terrified women and children - these things are not what Judaism is about.

There does seem to be a gleam of hope for a one-state solution. Rubi Rivlin, Speaker of the Knesset is the latest and most senior Israeli to go on record as saying it is unacceptable to go on offering the Palestinians nothing but permanent inferiority: 'Barak, Livni, Peres and recently Netanyahu are not even talking about a real state for the Palestinians. They’re talking about an autonomy with no army, borders, control over airspace or telecommunications... {but] you have the basic fact that contrary to Barak’s slogan — "We’re here and they’re there" — Jews and Arabs today live both here and there, on both sides of the Green line, especially in Jerusalem. Partitioning Jerusalem would lead to continuous bloodshed between segregated enclaves, like in Belfast some years ago. If there’s a threat to Jewish statehood, its less in a bi-national solution than in partitioning the land.'

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