So while the U.S. continues to talk about the health care reform bill(s) (my comments come next week), the p/i show continues! First, some recent news articles on the issue:
Mon 22 Mar: Clinton accuses Israel of hurting U.S. credibility (AP)
Wed 24 Mar: Israel approves new building in East Jerusalem (AP)
Thurs 25 Mar: U.S. Fails to Persuade Israel on Housing Dispute (NY Times)
On to today’s post!
Both the blogs in pt. 1 and pt. 2 on this topic talked about Israeli policy in relation to Palestine and Palestinians, and in this blog I want to focus mainly on whether or not those policies are actually positive for Israel’s future, brought about by an Op-Ed by Uri Dromi, who was spokesman for the Israeli governments from 1992 to 1996, titled “Will Israel Join the March of Folly?”
Dromi begins this way:
“Barbara Tuchman, in her classic book “March of Folly,” examined four cases in history when governments acted contrary to their own best interests: the Trojans who let the Greeks bring the fatal horse into their midst; the papacy, which allowed and even brought about the Protestant secession; the British who lost America, and America, which lost the war in Vietnam.”
He continues shortly after with his thesis at hand:
“By expanding settlements instead of separating from the Palestinians while we still can, we Israelis are dooming ourselves to lose the Jewish and democratic state that has been won with so much sacrifice. In other words, we are immersed in our own march of folly. And we are doing it with our eyes open.”
I went to a session last fall that detailed some strategies for talking with members of Congress about the Palestine/Israel issue and conflict, and one of the main points to suggested to use was that a sustained people, involving a Palestinian state, was in the best interests of the the U.S. and Israel. And that is Dromi’s point, too. However, the current Israeli policies are running counter to that objective and leave Israel open to continued critism and possibly, in the end, it’s own downfall.
This week continued the dispute of the last two, and Britain joined in the criticism, too (see Israel Absorbs Twin Rebukes From Top Allies).
Dromi’s point comes to a head this way:
Consider the following scenario: The Palestinians decide to do nothing, just wait patiently until there is no way to divide the land anymore. The country just becomes one, binational state.
Then, assuming that the Israelis wouldn’t dare or wouldn’t be allowed by the rest of the world to run the country as an apartheid state, the Palestinians start voting in elections and running for Parliament.
Thus, the existence of a Jewish national state, which many people do desire (I’m not against it, actually; I just want justice for all), is no more. Do you see why the U.S. needs to continue it’s rebukes?
So while the settlements in the West Bank may pose the most problems for a Palestinian state, as I said in pt. 2, Jerusalem is likely the final sticking point for any agreement. It may be that Palestinians will not even begin peace talks until settlement construction and home takeovers in East Jerusalem cease, and with the current Israeli policy of a unified Jerusalem, can peace ever happen?
This Map of Settlements Around Jerusalem shows one reason the Palestinians are so mad. If you click on the map, you can see a red dotted line that demarcates what Israel claims to be Jerusalem, much of which is on the Palestinian side of the 1967 Green Line. I counted a dozen settlements Israel considers part of Jerusalem that are on what many would consider the Palestinian side of the boundary for a future state. There are also Palestinian towns inside this boundary, and even one in the bottom left corner you can see that is planned to be encircled by the wall/barrier Israel is constructing. (Read about that town, the village of Al-Walaja, here.)
It would be impossible to simply reverse the last 40+ years since the 1967 Six-Day War. However, if Israel continues forward with it’s current policy, Israel as a Jewish state may soon cease to exist. If that’s not how you want the future shaping up, I suggest you make your voice heard and do something about it.
(Also, I have here a link to another Op-Ed I thought I’d want to write more on by Michael B. Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States which mainly just says that the U.S. and Israel are best buds and it needs to remain that way (especially from an Israeli perspective). Read his take on things here:
For Israel and America, a Disagreement, Not a Crisis)