I hear things like, "If only Netanyahu had been serious about peace," "If only he had not preferred Lieberman," "If only he was willing to freeze settlements....we wouldn't be in this mess." Or: "We Israelis deserve all this; we had the best partner in Abu Mazen imaginable, and we screwed up. Instead of a negotiated peace, we are now witnessing Palestinian unilateralism."
The closest position to support I have seen in a mainstream media publication is this article by Yossi Alpher in the International Herald Tribune. Alpher argues that by going to the UN, the PA is making concessions that it could never make with its own people. He views the statehood bid as a way to leverage progress towards a viable two-state solution.
Ideally, the Palestinian request for U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state can be leveraged into a two-state agreement that serves Israel’s vital needs, as well as those of the Palestinians.Americans for Peace Now have posted this on their website. To its credit, it does not oppose the statehood bid, as does the center left organization, J Street (which is better named "O[bama] Street".) But I don't see an explicit endorsement either.
If that doesn’t work, the primary international challenge of the months following the U.N. drama will be to forge a new post-Oslo state-to-state paradigm, then deliver it to the two parties.
This strikes me as odd. After all, liberal Zionists have endorsed the principle of "two states for two peoples". Were they to regret Zionist unilateralism in 1948 the way they regret Palestinian unilateralism in 2011, I would understand. In other words, had they said, "History has shown that unilateralism doesn't work; that the unilateral declaration of the State of Israel in 1948 was a tragic mistake for which generations have paid and continued to pay," their insistence on a settlement acceptable to both sides would be reasonable.
But the ones I have seen don't do this. Instead of cheerleading for the Palestinian two-state solution on at the UN, and writing editorials and op-eds that endorse the statehood bid (while questioning its efficacy in achieving true statehood), most see it as a counter-productive gesture that does not advance the peace process. The liberal Zionist New York Times opposes it. So does the liberal Zionist establishment in the US.
I think the reason is that all Zionists fear Palestinian empowerment. The Zionist left is willing to grant Palestinians enough unilateralism to move forward the Left's two-state solution through the UN, and nothing more. Alpher says that if the UN bid doesn't move the two-state solution forward:
....the primary international challenge of the months following the U.N. drama will be to forge a new post-Oslo state-to-state paradigm, then deliver it to the two partiesIn other words, if Mahmoud Abbas can't move the two-state solution along through the UN, it should be "delivered" to ("imposed on"?) the two parties. And then what? Will their be sanctions on Israel and Palestine if they refuse the delivered solution? Will the Palestinian diaspora have a voice in the solution? Will those who support Hamas, whose military wing is comparable to the Irgun and the Stern gang? And what of the Israeli public and the settlers?
I have my misgivings about Mr. Abbas's move simply because I do not think that he has the authority to negotiate in the name of the Palestinian people. He is not the elected representative of the Palestinians, either in the diaspora or in Palestine. He is propped up by Western and Arab money. He is, I fear, willing to forego the legitimate rights of the Palestinians for the sake of a negotiated settlement; and if he had Yossi Alpher for a negotiating partner, a peace agreement between them (without real peace) could be attained.
The liberal Zionist's first and foremost concern is not justice but peace and quiet for Israel. As I heard a young activist say, "Israelis want to be free of the Palestinians; they don't want the Palestinians to be free". I agree with Alpher that we have to move beyond Oslo. But the post-Oslo paradigm for peace should be to abandon seeking a two state solution, and to work instead towards an equitable division of power between Jews and Arabs in Palestine and outside it.
Let there be compromise, but let it not be a rotten one.