Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Finding The Solution To The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict--Far From The Madding Crowd

But a resolution to avoid an evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible.
Thomas Hardy, Far From The Madding Crowd

The Middle East is not a problem. A problem implies there is a solution. The Middle East is a mess.
Paraphrase of George Will on "This Week With David Brinkley", from years ago

Elyakim Haetzni writes in YnetNews that the key to solving the problem of the Israel-Palestinian conflict--is not to. In Peace Is Not A Must, Haetzni writes:
The Arabs, based on their religious, cultural, and national perceptions, cannot sign a deal that in their view would turn a Muslim state into a Jewish one; an Arab state into an Israeli one. Whoever does so, will pay with their life.

An authentic Arab leader will also not be giving up the right of return of Muslim Arabs to the heart of the “house of Islam.” Arafat in 2000 and Abbas in 2009 reached this obstacle and drew back. The blind Americans and Israelis failed to understand why.

A realistic position vis-à-vis the Arabs requires a different approach:

1. Don’t recognize our existence and certainly not our existence as a Jewish entity; as we already exist, we have no need for such recognition. It won’t give us anything. “Recognition” is not a type of merchandize and we offer nothing for it.

2. Don’t give up Haifa and Jaffa. Signing such deal would pain you while granting us no benefit. We know that should we become weaker one day, you will take back the 1948 Palestine even if you declare a thousand times that you renounced it. Hence, “renunciation” is not a type of merchandize either.

Don’t engage in negotiations with us and don’t sign an agreement whereby you cannot get more than 1967 in exchange for 1948. This will merely create frustration and disappointment and bring catastrophe to both sides. We will maintain ties, understandings, and even friendship “under the table” – de facto and not de jure. We will have a modus vivendi rather than a formal “peace.”

Apparently, relations between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East have been best when there is no formal agreement--

Our official ties with Jordan have been characterized by King Abdullah as a “cold peace.” It appears that the secret ties that prevailed previously were better. When it comes to give and take, Jews and Arabs get along very well – ranging from commerce to health and from matters of garbage collection to knowledge-sharing and joint projects.

Whatever it is that is deemed worthy for both sides because of neighborly needs goes well, as long as it is managed far away from the watchful eye of the media and public opinion; that is, far away from politics and the agreed-upon lies.

The question is, how far can you really get from the media--or the meddling countries who see a formal resolution of the conflict as the solution to their own internal Muslim problems?

And what about the perceptions of the main players in this conflict?

Haetzni concludes:
It is difficult for us to internalize the fact that the conflict with the Palestinians is a zero-sum game: Each side feels deep in its soul that this is its land, and this is the only conflict in history where both nations demand the same city as their capital. Only a fool or a swindler would be seeking a “solution,” a term taken from the math realm, just like “peace process” is reminiscent of chemistry, as if we are dealing with exact science here. In life, not everything is resolvable.
A fact that has never stopped anyone from trying.

[Hat tip: P. David Hornik]

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