Jonathan Wolfman's Blog
APRIL 21, 2011 6:48AM

Israel's Bottom Line for a Palestinian State

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     Many dozens of winners of Israel's prestigious Emet (Truth) and Israel Prizes have signed a declaration "endorsing a Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders", writes Ethan Bronner in The New York Times (4/20/11). The official announcement came from the spot where Israeli independence was first declared in 1948. The one-page document, read aloud by actress Hanna Maron, an Israel Prize recipient, says, in part, that it is now time "to extend our land" according to the vision of Israel's founders and "offer peace and good neighborliness." Just two weeks back, a group of prominent Israeli security experts and businesspeople, the Israeli Peace Initiative, announced a similar yet more detailed proposal.

     While I view moves like this with measured hope, these sentiments and proposals are realistic only in a broader context of Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. For a people with a history such as ours, that only makes sense. This much should be clear-as-a-bell: an officially recognised and robust Israel, robust economically, intellectually, and militarily, recognised by all parties, has to be a bottom-line requirement of an overall settlement. Our lives as Jews, in Israel and the world over, depend on it. And our lives are as legitimate as others'.

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Eventually there will be peace; those who tell you all sorts of 'reasons' there will not or cannot be peace there, Jew or Muslim, simply do not want there to be peace. They are no more knowledgeable than are you or I; they have no secial insight reserved for 'those in the know'. What they do have is a personally- and/or politically-motivated cynicism that will not stand, and/or they somehow profit (usually emotionally more than i other ways) from the idea of continual tension/conflict/death there.

Peace will happen .

Both sides will accept that two states, one officially Jewish, one officially Palestinian and Muslim, are, as every U.S. president since Truman has said, necessary.
I'm not so sure there will ever be peace between all the parties involved. As long as people have memories, and refuse to let yesterday die, there will be no peace.
Of course.

There are two exceptions to strict 1967 borders, the first of which I sincerely doubt Israel will negotiate about, and that's the Kotel (Wailing Wall). No significant part of the Israeli population is likely to relinquish that. That being said, a portion of East Jerusalem has to serve as a Palestinian capital or the agreement won't be stable enough to survive long-term. The second is the Golan Heights, which I don't think Israel will relinquish military control over because there are literally sight lines from there to the Mediterranean, but they might relinquish civilian use of the land for agriculture. This is a more peripheral issue here because it has nothing to do with Palestine, being an issue between Israel and Syria.

A two-state solution is firstly viable and secondly the only viable possibility. Neither population is going anywhere, a reality that cannot be gotten around by anyone concerned. A single state solution would have a Muslim majority within a generation or two, which Israel wouldn't find viable, unless Israel became a real apartheid state (as opposed to what they're often accused of now), which no one would find viable. The 1967 solution would, at this point, be acceptable to most of the Palestinian population (to my knowledge), to most of the Arab world, and to a sufficient number of Israelis to work. On the Palestinian side, the main problem would be Hamas, who has indicated that they would accept a "long term truce" in exchange for 1967 borders. That, in spite of anything anyone might tell you, does not constitute recognition. On the other hand, if a Palestinian state were founded, Hamas would not currently be its majority party, so this probably wouldn't be their call. That dynamic could get interesting in all sorts of ways.
My "of course" was a response to Jonathan, not Scanner. I started my comment before Scanner's posted.
Scanner at some point they'll have to--
Kosh while I have reservations abt the 2-state solution, they're historical and not practical reservations. Thanks for this analysis.
this must somehow be healed
Such an ugly game of chicken. You recognize me! No, you recognize me! You first! No, you first!

I can understand emotionally the need for Israel to hear and see words that state that Israel is legitimate, I really can.

But then I go back to the Cold War and the behind-the-scenes negotiations constantly taking place between Russian and the United States even as the then U.S.S.R. was calling for our destruction. What do words mean? What does their absence mean?

If everything possible were there--guarantees, protections, clear understanding of borders, backstops, fail-safes, U.N. sanctions, etc. to protect Israel against attack, would it matter what the Palestine leadership acknowledged? That is to say, if Israel ipso facto exists, does it matter whether the leadership, for whatever political, cultural, economic, or other reasons won't publicly acknowledge it?

*opening can of worms, hoping for reasoned conversation on this subject*
Nikki excellent questions. Thank you.
As to the US/Soviets, the one missing element there, thank Gd, was layered-on to the politics ethnc and religious bigotry. Jews and Muslims must get past that or at least set it aside for practicbility's sake, as well as deal w the politics and that's just a tougher thing to do. But it'll be done.
The fact that I made it over here to read your blog today is a miracle in itself. Now if we could have a miracle for peace the world would be great.
Rated with hugs
Sounds reasonable, Jon.
Linda Miracles abound...Jesus, in fact, told us that Heaven (what he called his Kingdom of God program) was here, laid out before us if we would only grab it. He was a very wise rabbi.
Matt I sure hope it is.
To peace - Amen!

I propose a Middle Eastern Union, under Egyptisn or Turkish leadership, with Israel but one member state. It would be like the European Union. This way, borders can be secured and faiths respected and maintained by way of a dis-interested third party.
Mohammed --

I am not at all sure that other readers will consider Egypt or Turkey a disinterested third party, but let's see what they say.
And with a common currency and free movement of peoples, money and labor, peace will be truly achieved
Or at least an Eastern Mediteranean Union, with Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Libya, Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, Rhodes, Greece and others.

Dates, olives and wine will unite us!
Mohammed pleased to share a bottle of wine with you!
Anything's possible, Jon. I remain optimistically hopeful that one day there will be peace within the Palestine and Muslim populaces. If not today, perhaps tomorrow.

OTOH, there's always altrustic peace. One just has to know where to look for its origin. :)
B. you're right, thi in this case we need peace altruistic in origin or no.
The day Muslims and Jews and Christians can settle these issues, eat dates and olives, break bread and drink wine (or grape juice) together at a common table and start working on issues that glorify Allah rather than debase him, then we and all humanity can move forward.

Within sight of the Dome and Wall, we should establish a table with bread and dates and figs and eat these, together. Symbolically, for the peace and brotherhood we all hope will come. And we should do this, every year, until peace comes. And when peace comes, all people should do this throughout the land, throughout the region, a testament to the power of love and mercy over the sins of hatred and division.

This is my hope for us all.

But we must still address the suffering and poverty of the Palestinian people and there must be some way for innocent Palestinian civilians to have some sort of indemnification for lost property. My grandparents lived in Palestine and were driven out of their homes by the British. The British, too, need to address this issue of indemnification.

My dream is to be able to drive from Cairo to Jerusalem to Baghdad and pass no soldiers, no barbed wire fences, no checkpoints and not be reminded of violence or war. I would much rather see olive trees and vinyards and children playing and families worshiping and villages living in peace and harmony than all this discord.

It is not worthy for a land as holy as this. It makes my heart sad.
Peaceful co-existence. Whatever happened to that concept?

Mohammed we share much of the same dream.
What does this mean to atheists or heathens? Are these people excluded from your utopian phantasms?
Mohammed, that's theoretically possible. A lot of Israelis would give up a lot if they saw that as a realistic end result.
What a wonderful scenario this could be--as you are advocating, Jonathan and seemingly as Mohammed al Ashban is endorsing. It's time and hopefully this evolution will come to be. For when it does, it will do more to promote world peace than anything that has occured prior to it. The possibilities are fascinating.
I have to agree and disagree and perhaps be a bit cynical here.
I definitely think there cannot be a Palestinian state without their recognition of Israel's right to exist. Whether that happens is another matter. There is too much influence from radical factions in the scenario that make me think that there might not be peace. And if there is a peace, I'm not so sure that these same radical factions might not try to dismantle it. To just think that there will be peace because it's the right thing may be dreaming.

On a positive note, many more things need to be ironed out perhaps and kept in place and SAFEGUARDED before the greater good can happen. That of course will take A LOT of work.

And believe me I do want peace. BADLY!

End of rant.

Buddy I wholly believe you and I don't underestimate the challenges.
My dream has always been for peace and dignity in the area. I hope that I live long enough to see it.
Sheila as it happens, Israel's National Anthem is Ha Tikvah (The Hope).
I can see your dream!
אתה צבוע ושקרן