Sunday, February 08, 2009

Statement of the Problem

This post by Yglesias about the Israel-Palestine conflict made sense to me:
Israel’s Palestinian problem is fairly simple to define—there are millions of Palestinians living in Israeli-controlled territory. To preserve its Jewish character, Israel doesn’t want to give these Palestinians the rights of Israeli citizens. And so the Palestinians live, stateless and without rights, and they’re not happy about it. Exactly what to do about this situation is a somewhat thorny issue, but Israeli leaders have spent a distressing amount of time over the past ten years trying to convince themselves that their Palestinian problem is about something other than this. That it’s “really” about Syria or “really” about Iraq or “really” about Iran.
Yes. Exactly. This is why some form of negotiated two-state solution is really the only road forward. (Apologies to those idealists pushing for a one-state solution: it's a lovely vision but I'm skeptical that it could be negotiated at this point.)

This is also why I've become impatient when people begin discussing the conflict by providing their take on the region's history. There is sufficient (I won't say 'evenly distributed', but 'sufficient') pain and suffering on each side that partisans can construct histories to justify their cause. But the cold hard fact remains that there are roughly equal numbers of arabs and jews living in close quarters in the holy land, and Israel will never have true security without a prosperous, sovereign Palestinian nation as its neighbor. And vice versa.

More and more, the only way to be pro-Israel is to also be pro-Palestinian. That doesn't make it easy, or even possible in the current climate, and I'm leaving out the nasty details (of course) but let's keep our eyes on the prize here, people.

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