American foreign policy has committed to the "two state" solution in occupied Palestine and Israel. Many people of good will also believe the answer for the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is two states, sovereign and separate. But someone believes otherwise: Ariel Sharon.
Mr. Sharon favors a one-state solution: Palestine.
To admit my own bias, I support the two-state option. As a candidate, I have called for Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 Green Line.
But Mr. Sharon insists on eventually handing all of the original mandated territory of Palestine to Arab control.
Am I mistaken? Do I have it backwards? Have I misread the signals from the Israeli "war cabinet" that calls for Arafat’s "elimination?" Am I overlooking President Bush’s latest statement on September 18th that Arafat is a failed leader? I don’t think so.
First, we need to take a trip down memory lane. We need to remember that the Israelis, who mock Palestinian indecision, have been their own worst enemies. Whom do we demonize today? Hamas, of course. But Hamas was created with Israeli encouragement, as a counterweight to the Palestinian national movement.
Facing a Palestinian uprising that was secular, Israelis schemers sought to use "fundamentalists" to disrupt Arafat and his program. Israelis helped foster the creation of Hamas. Big mistake. Israeli cunning backfired. Today Israel considers Hamas the enemy.
Another trip down memory lane: Israelis were welcomed as "liberators" in 1967 when they freed Palestinians from the yoke of Egyptian and Jordanian exploitation. But Israelis, like Americans in Iraq, stayed too long, and transmogrified from liberators to occupiers. They are still there, 36 years later.
So when Israelis lecture the world on "terrorism" and go on and on about standing alone about terrorists, remember that Israel has been extremely successful in creating its own enemies.
If Israel had facilitated the creation of a secular Palestinian state on the West Bank in 1967 we would not be here, and Israel would not face extinction.
Easy enough to say, but where do we go from here?
When you visit the modern city of Tel Aviv, it is difficult to conceptualize Israel as becoming extinct. American media lionize Israeli tanks and Israeli soldiers. And, unfortunately, Bush administration thinkers have turned to Sharon for help in learning how to "occupy" Iraq.
But, in reality, Israel is a dying society, and Arafat has won. History will vindicate him, however odious he may appear in current American media propaganda. Arafat’s refusal to surrender to the Israeli jackboot will be vindicated.
Young Israelis are leaving Israel. Jews from around the world are no longer migrating to Israel.
Another trip down memory lane. The biggest beneficiaries of the "Oslo accords" were Israelis, not Palestinians. Palestinians continued to be occupied, abused, terrorized and held hostage by Israeli military power.
Israel, on the contrary, profited mightily from the Oslo period. Israel received tens of billions of dollars of technology investment from American companies. Intel, Microsoft and others built massive facilities in Israel. That’s over. Israel has lost the investment that fueled growth in its economy.
So where do we stand: the plain truth is that Israelis will not put up with militarism and danger forever. They will vote with their feet and move to safer countries, for a peaceful life.
The wackos who build "settlements" on Palestinian territory will persist a little longer. But the tide is running out for the bogus "settlers."
Sharon, and his coterie of bloodthirsty thugs who terrorize Palestinians, and who smugly rely on American media distortion to mischaracterize Palestinian freedom fighters as "terrorists," control a moribund economy and a dying regime.
Today Israel looks strong, omnipotent, and dictatorial.
But tomorrow Israel will be history.
Notice I have not mentioned the demographic time bomb. Population experts predict an Arab majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. I am an observer of political and economic trends; Israel is doomed irrespective of demography.
A liberal society, a free economy, a free people cannot survive, will not prevail when that nation is sustained by occupation, human rights atrocities and the subjugation of another nation.
Israelis in denial try to paint the obvious conclusions of impartial observers such as myself as anti-Semitic. That’s wrong. It is not anti-Semitic to state the obvious. Israel will not survive as a militaristic fortress in an Arab neighborhood+.
American companies will not invest in new facilities in Israel. Without investment, the Israeli economy will perish. Without the prospect of a better life, a peaceful life, young Israelis will abandon ship.
Yasser Arafat is the winner. Sharon the loser. Kill Arafat, expel Arafat, these are all gestures in futility, as American foreign policy acknowledges.
Peace is the only solution.
War persists because Sharon thinks he can win a war he has lost. War persists because Bush is stupid enough to confuse Palestinian nationalism with Al Qaeda terrorism. They are entirely separate.
What should American Jews do? What should American foreign policy be? Immediate recognition of Palestine as a nation, within the 1967 borders. Before it is too late.
Otherwise, we are headed, inevitably, to a single state, an Arab state.
Mr. Sharon is well on the way to accomplishing the exact opposite of his dreams: the recreation of Palestine as an Arab state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean.
Although America will last longer, and fight harder, as long as we link our nation to a dying and despotic Israel, sooner or later America will also be diminished. We have allied ourselves with a monster state that has no future.
We should wage the war against the fanaticism, terrorism and violence of Al Qaeda without mercy. But we must decouple that war from the war of Palestinian national liberation. Ultimately, fighting vaporous enemies everywhere we diffuse our strength and allow our real enemies to survive anywhere.
The bottom line: President Bush has made a tragic error in supporting Israeli imperialism and in suppressing Palestinian nationalism. Arafat is not a failed leader; Bush is. Whether Arafat is a "nice guy" is irrelevant. He is on the right side of history. Period.
The Bush/Sharon linkage is harmful to Israel, and harmful to the United States, We need to return to a bi-partisan foreign policy directed at genuine terrorists, not Palestinian freedom fighters.
May peace and freedom come to all the peoples of the Middle East. May Palestine and Israel both survive as a peaceful countries in a demilitarized and peaceful region.
If only Israeli leaders would tell their people the truth. But then telling the truth is not something Israeli leaders are good at, something else that Mr. Bush and his administration have copied from Sharon. Lies garner more votes than reality. And innocent civilians on both sides pay the price for political folly.
Enough already. Peace now.