Friday, March 15, 2002
And finally, thinking a little about the future.
There's a good piece in STRATFOR about the Saudi peace initiative. It's a good analysis of the cynical motives behind the initiative, and of why it will fail, as it was intended to do. But what I want to focus on is that STRATFOR, uniquely among commentators on the conflict, understands that coexistence between a sovereign Israel and a sovereign Palestinian state, each within secure borders, is physically impossible. Even a withdrawal to the suicide borders of 1967 would result in two insecure states intertwined with one another. Any realistic proposal to secure Israel's population centers would mean a Palestinian state reduced to a pathetic dependency. Arafat understands this, and for this reason he has always chosen war rather than peace, because peace would mean accepting such a depedency. Palestinian nationalism is incompatible with any result other than the total destruction of the Jewish state. It is physically incompatible, because the minimal requirements of nationalism are a fully sovereign state, able to defend itself and determine its own destiny, and Palestine can never be that without destroying Israel.
For that reason, any serious discussion of an ultimate peace must be on the terms of dependency - specifically, of what state or states will a Palestinian state be a colony. Israel has no desire to rule the Palestinian population centers, and is amply willing to abandon isolated settlements. In the context of a genuine peace, all the tought issues - water rights, Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, etc. - can be negotiated. But at the end of the day, if the Jewish people is to be fully sovereign in Israel, there can be no fully sovereign Palestinian state. So the only question is: will this state be a dependency of Israel, of Jordan, of Turkey, of America, of the United Nations - who? It would be well for those who are making policy in this area to keep this fact clear in the mind, and it would be even better if the media could understand this. Even with Arafat gone, even with a PA that was not a terrorist entity, even with an Israeli government of the Left and without a strong right-wing constituency, even with Saddam Hussein overthrown, the aspirations of the Palestinian nationalists can be satisfied only by the destruction of Israel. And so those aspirations must be rejected, always, by Israel and by any friends of Israel. And any serious proposal to solve the plight of the Palestinian people must start from this understanding, and not from the premises of Palestinian nationalism.