Sunday, October 28, 2007
Shalom u-le-hitraot to "Harry's Place"
Here was my parting shot at the Brit blog, Harry's Place, where virtually everything I wrote was misunderstood by my ideological opponents. The political Zionists are quite happy that they were allowed to represent the two-state solution at the Oxford Union instead of Norman Finkelstein. Pity that none of them really believe in it. Indeed, as I have written here before, I know very few Israelis, and almost no diaspora Jews, who favor a true two-state solution in which one state neither dominates, nor is dominated by, the other, a solution in which there is real parity between the states. Most Israelis I know who say they support two-states, basically support one state -- Israel -- and one 'state' -- a weakened Palestine in a neo-colonial relationship with Israel, what Bibi calls "medinat-minus" a "lesser state." The former will have one of the most powerful defence forces in the world, whereas the latter will be demilitarized, or non-militarized. Even the Geneva Initiative has the Palestinian's state security subcontracted out to a multi-national force. Now, dear friends, imagine an Israel without a Zahal/IDF -- imagine such a Jewish state proposed to David Ben-Gurion in 1948 -- and what do you think he would have said? Mind you, I am not a big fan of militaries, or the place the military has played in Israeli society. But as an ex-IDF reservist, and the proud father of four children who have served in the IDF -- and one combat officer who still serves in the reserves -- just as I cannot conceive of Israeli without Zahal, so I cannot conceive of a Palestinian state without a strong military force to protect it, and which serves as a source of its national pride. If you are opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state that would be equal in power -- economically and militarily -- to Israel, then you are not in favor of a genuine two-state solution. You would be in good company, by the way. The Palestinian negotiators were willing to give in on the army issue because of their weak negotiating position. They knew it would be a non-starter with the Israelis. That was unfortunate. Where there is no central army, there is inevitably a vacuum in which militias, terrorist organizations, and vigilante squads, rush in. I don't expect most of the pro-Israel folks reading the blog to understand what I have just written. It took me thirty years to wean myself from the pro-Israel gut reaction: "Are you nuts? What would the Palestinians have to be afraid of? It is they who have been the aggressors since 1920's! Let them prove themselves first, and if they can stop terrorism for a few decades, then we maybe can consider allowing them to arm." But if you answer like that, then you are not in favor of a two-state solution. You want one powerful state, which has virtual control over the land, resources, and borders of another people -- but without the headache of having to take care of that people, much less allowing them citizenship. The question is very simple. If you believe that the Palestinians have a right to a state in Palestine, is it less a right, more a right, or the same right as Israeli Jews have? If it is less a right, then you are a one state-one 'state' person. If it is an equal right -- and I assume Jonathan Hoffman believes that it is -- then it is simply unfair for one state to be allowed to fulfill the first and most important function of any state -- protection of its people; whereas the other state is not allowed to fulfill that function. Ditto for other aspects of control. So are the Zionist here willing to bite the bullet and sign a peace-treaty in which the other side has a modern army and not a mere police force, and a strong economy that could wreak the same damage on Israel as Israel's economy could on Palestine? Alternatively, are you willing, to join a federation in which there will be one federal defence force, a coordinated foreign and economic policy, and a federal board for the use of resources? If you are not prepared for either alternative, then the irony is that the Palestinians who support the two-state solution are much more two-statist than their Israeli counterparts. Because they do not require of Israel that it disarm, or that it allow the Palestinian state to be equal in power. They are quite willing to have a powerful state like Israel, with which it enjoys a natural rivalry, on its borders.