Bob Wright has a piece on the New York Times‘ Opinionator which should be read in full as he provocatively suggests that we take the earnestness out of the pursuit of a two-state peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians.
His view that the parties can’t get to a two-state arrangement as long as the most radical factions set the terms and temperature in the region rings true to me — and thus he thinks that quiet, complacent centrists need to be stirred.
there’s a third possibility that nobody ever talks about. Pursuing a one-state solution could actually lead to a two-state solution. Instead of following the current road map to a Palestinian state, maybe we can get there by detour.
One key to working up enthusiasm for this detour is to get clear on the nature of the roadblock.
It’s common to say that Israel’s intransigence on the settlements issue reflects the growing strength of the right, especially the religious fundamentalists who do much of the settling. But at least as big a problem as the zeal of the radicals is the apathy of the moderates.
A recent Time magazine cover story — “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace” — explained why many Israelis just don’t think a peace deal is all that important: they’ve already got peace. Ever since Israel built its security wall, they’ve been safe from suicide bombers, and homemade rockets from Gaza can’t reach them. They’re prosperous to boot. What’s not to like?
So long as this attitude prevails, the far right will have veto power over policy in the occupied territory. For a peace deal to happen, Israel’s centrists need to get jarred out of their indifference. Someone needs to scare these people.
There’s a way for Palestinians to do that — and not the usual way, with bombs and rockets. Quite the opposite.
If Palestinians want to strike fear into the hearts of Israelis they should (a) give up on violence as a tool of persuasion; (b) give up on the current round of negotiations; and (c) start holding demonstrations in which they ask for only one thing: the right to vote. Their argument would be simple: They live under Israeli rule, and Israel is a democracy, so why aren’t they part of it?
A truly peaceful movement with such elemental aspirations — think of Martin Luther King or Gandhi — would gain immediate international support. In Europe and the United States, leftists would agitate in growing numbers for economic and political pressure on Israel.
Read the rest. Interesting approach.
— Steve Clemons