Thursday, February 23, 2012

An' A One, An' A Two, An' A One

Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouthi, surveying the new tactic of nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation of the West Bank, says time is running out on the two-state solution:
[C]ontinuing Israeli settlement activity could soon lead us to the point of no return. Indeed, if we do not soon achieve a genuinely independent Palestinian state, we will be forced to press instead for a single democratic state with equal rights and responsibilities for both Palestinians and Israelis.
He also writes, "Our movement is not intended to delegitimize Israel, as the Israeli government claims." That depends on what the meaning of delegitimize is. Polls show that many Palestinians see the two-state solution merely as an intermediate step toward "a single democratic state" with an Arab majority, which would not only delegitimize the Jewish state but eliminate it. If Palestinians' true objective is a single state now or later, it's not hard to understand Israel's intransigence, since most Israelis desire the maintenance of a Jewish Israel.

If Palestinian elites want to demonstrate their commitment to two states coexisting indefinitely, they should stop waiting for Israel to stop building settlements, which isn't likely, for the U.S. to make it stop, which is even less likely, or for the alternative outcome of a single state, which is a fantasy. Instead, they should conditionally accept Israel's best current territorial offer.

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