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How Trump Gave a Green Light to Israel’s ‘One State Solution’

Annexationists of all stripes are crowing about Donald Trump’s blockbuster decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

The government of Benjamin Netanyahu needs no encouragement when it comes to destroying the prospect of a sovereign Palestinian state. But what must have seemed like a green light from Washington was followed by a bill approved in the Israeli Knesset just last week that will require a special two-thirds vote [1] before any part of the city can ever be relinquished to a new Palestinian state.

Meanwhile, the central committee of Netanyahu’s Likud Party voted [2] to allow Israel to annex the Jewish settlements on the West Bank, disputed territory now under Israeli military control but home to 2.6 million Palestinians. Currently, 500,000 settlers live in what can only be described as small cities in the West Bank, making it increasingly difficult to imagine ceding land back to Palestinians in any future peace deal.

Of course, establishing settlements in the West Bank that friend and foe alike have no choice but to accommodate has always been at the heart of Israel’s strategy to defeat the Palestinians. But it now appears to have been adopted by the Trump administration as its diplomatic lodestone, too.

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In the early years of occupation, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, the prime architect of Israeli occupation and settlement policies, presciently laid out the challenge facing Israel in the territories it had recently conquered. It was, he noted, not to reach agreement with the Arabs—but to learn to live without one.

There was a brief moment in the years after the Oslo agreement (signed in 1993 with great fanfare in the Rose Garden) when, in contrast to Dayan’s prescription, the prospect of a historic reconciliation between Zionism and Palestinian nationalism seemed to be on the horizon. But that moment passed long before Trump appeared on the scene.

It has been more than two decades since that last Israeli-Palestinian agreement. In 2017, Trump inherited a diplomatic corpse known as the Oslo process from his predecessors, Democrat and Republican alike, who had been unable to cajole and unwilling to force fractious parties into agreement.

Barack Obama’s failures left the Middle East diplomatic cupboard bare for the first time in a generation, and sapped energy and enthusiasm for the idea of a consensual agreement to end Israel’s occupation. If Trump was not responsible for this failure, his support for Israel’s longstanding policy of creating facts on the ground—in Jerusalem and therefore presumably elsewhere—opens a new and dangerous post-Oslo era of Middle East diplomacy.

This new era confers a premium on unilateral Israeli moves rather than diplomacy, leaves Washington overtly sabotaging an international consensus forged over many decades, and exposes an Arab and Palestinian incapacity to compel Israeli territorial concessions. No wonder the foreign policy cognoscenti—whose shortcomings set the stage that Trump utterly rejects and now commands—are in such a lather.

Palestinians will find no comfort in Washington’s limp suggestion that the Trump declaration on Jerusalem—the most significant move of its sort since the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which announced British support for a Jewish home in Palestine—does not prejudge the shape of a diplomatic solution. Balfour, too, promised that Palestinian prospects would not be prejudiced by its support for Zionism, and we all know how that turned out.

Trump’s precipitous declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has dramatically altered and, at the same time, defined the diplomatic landscape of this new era, while offering a tailwind to already well-entrenched unilateral Israeli efforts to crush any Palestinian aspiration to sovereignty.

The time has long since passed when Israel’s settlement efforts consisted of a small group of fanatics claiming a barren hilltop. The settlement machine is now an Israeli enterprise engaging almost every one of its national institutions, not least of which are the leading financial, construction, and economic leaders of the private and public sectors.

The political power and domestic needs of this expanding enterprise, numbering more than one half million, create a constituency whose demands for expansion, security, and political, ideological, and institutional power cannot be ignored. So, too, the requirement to ensure the permanence of an Israeli preponderance of power in all of Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank independent of whatever fashion captures Washington’s interest.

Creating a security and legal institutional environment offering seamless integration with Israel across the borderless border is a top priority across all Israeli parties responsible for providing for the everyday needs of the expanding Jewish community across the Green Line.

Not surprisingly, Israel’s right wing has found a winning political strategy in its support for creating such facts. Its political renaissance in 1977 under the leadership of Menachem Begin, long ostracized by Israel’s ruling establishment as a crank, dates exactly from its promotion of wide-ranging settlement, expanding upon the system established by Dayan and Shimon Peres in the first decade after Israel’s historic territorial gains in the June 1967 war.

This effort, pursued for five decades in the teeth of Arab opposition and an international consensus that has, until Trump, refused to recognize the legitimacy of settlement expansion, has succeeded in reducing the space in which Palestinian sovereignty can be exercised. With the White House now sympathetic, we can only surmise that the Palestinians will be even further set back in the coming years.

Geoffrey Aronson is chairman and co-founder of The Mortons Group and a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute.

38 Comments (Open | Close)

38 Comments To "How Trump Gave a Green Light to Israel’s ‘One State Solution’"

#1 Comment By Fran Macadam On January 11, 2018 @ 2:31 am

No chance for peace? As in settler America, there’s always the peace of the grave, achieved in piecemeal fashion.

#2 Comment By Whine Merchant On January 11, 2018 @ 5:32 am

What’s all the fuss? The settlers just need lebensraum to breath.
Trump has guaranteed the world ‘peace for our time’ and even flashed a blank piece of paper for the cameras.

#3 Comment By TTT On January 11, 2018 @ 7:51 am

Currently, 500,000 settlers live in what can only be described as small cities in the West Bank, making it increasingly difficult to imagine ceding land back to Palestinians in any future peace deal.

Only if you agree with the Palestinians’ demand for ethnic cleansing, that all the Jews must vanish. But on the contrary, if Israel can have a million Arabs, why can’t a Palestinian state have a few hundred thousand Jews, most of them in self-contained gated communities?

#4 Comment By KD On January 11, 2018 @ 9:25 am

The two state solution was always a fantasy. Who is going to subdivide their land and give half to another group who wishes to see you bulldozed into the sea?

You have two groups locked in existential conflict. Now it is possible, as we have seen in Northern Ireland, that this conflict can be ratcheted down significantly, but that would have to happen before anyone in good faith would agree to a two state solution. Moreover, it is clear that for the Israeli hardliners, such a de-escalation is not in their interests.

Israel is strong, the Palestinians are weak, and the question is how much Palestinian territory can be gobbled up without provoking an international backlash (and lose of American support).

#5 Comment By mrscracker On January 11, 2018 @ 9:57 am

I don’t defend Israel in everything but if you look at the geography of Israel & the size & proximity of its neighbors, how would it make any sense to have a hostile neighbor-state’s border right at Israel’s narrowest point?
We have the advantages of geography & friendly neighbors who don’t wish for our destruction. Israel doesn’t.

#6 Comment By TT On January 11, 2018 @ 10:31 am

The two-state solution was always a cover story to give the Israelis time to divide up the land as they see fit. In the documentary “Cold Stone Justice”, Golda Meir admits to working with Ariel Sharon to allocate settlements in such a way to prevent any Palestinian state from being formed. Her comments begin at the 39 minute mark:

#7 Comment By Richard L Harrell On January 11, 2018 @ 10:46 am

The Two State Solution has always been fiction from the Israeli viewpoint. But contrary to what some Israelis would like us to believe the Palestinian people are real and there are there where they have been for centuries, millions of them. Israel has operated an effective One State Solution for the last half a century, but continues to deny that they are doing so, while literally committing war crimes on the Palestinian lands, including murders that are never, ever dealt with for the war crimes that they are. Fine, let’s go on from here. The only solution now is one state, but one state that is not, and cannot ever be, a Jewish state. It must be a state for both Jews and Arabs, with complete and total equality of citizenship for both peoples, and the end of the fantastic idea that a Jewish only state has or can have any legitimacy whatsoever. It has in fact resulted in massive and murderous war crimes against the Palestinian people. The state must certainly allow for the full life and freedom of the Jewish people in it, and also for the life and freedom of the Palestinian people in it. It cannot possibly remain Israel, as that covers on one of them. When it was Palestine before it was for both of them, and that is what it must become again. The world must insist on this, require it, and enforce it, and put a stop to the Israeli murders, demolitions of homes, illegal imprisonments, outdoor concentration camps of the Palestinian people, and take up a constitution that allows complete and total equality for both peoples. Anything else is, and always has been, state terrorism, and it is long past time for it to stop. If the Israelis are not willing to do this they should face world-wide sanctions on every level of their existence until this evil comes to an end. The Constitution of the Untied States might be a good place to bring this problem to an end, and to create and maintain full freedom for all of the citizens of the Holy Land. The UN Security Council should demand this solution, authorize the means to undertake it, and enforce it now, on every level.

#8 Comment By Donald On January 11, 2018 @ 11:14 am

TTT continues to repeat hasbara. The Palestinians in Israel are living in their own homeland— they are the ones who were not ethnically cleansed. TTT generously thinks they should be allowed to stay. The settlers in the West Bank are living on stolen land for the most part. Their presence is a violation of international law. They have profited from a system where they can move into the West Bank when Palestinians on the WB could not move back to their homeland in Israel. And some of the settlers came from Brooklyn.

I suggest that anyone who defends the settlers give up their own homes to Palestinian families without receiving any compensation. Seems fair.

TTT’s suggestion that the settlers be allowed to stay would make more sense if it was part of a larger proposal that truly was fair— a one state solution with equal rights for everyone and compensation for land stolen. That would go both ways. But TTT’s actual proposal is that Israeli Jews be allowed to keep what they stole while Palestinians are allowed to keep some portion of what was already theirs.

#9 Comment By John On January 11, 2018 @ 11:20 am

Wait until they place the embassy in East Jerusalem.

#10 Comment By TTT On January 11, 2018 @ 11:26 am

the end of the fantastic idea that a Jewish only state has or can have any legitimacy whatsoever

That is indeed a “fantastic” idea, in the sense that it’s just your fantasy you made up. Israel has never been “Jewish only,” in either fact or goal. That you could even suggest it means you don’t know anything about this topic, and should be quiet.

#11 Comment By Donald On January 11, 2018 @ 11:27 am

Mrscracker— the choices are either a two state solution or a one state solution. The second choice further breaks down to either an apartheid system, which is what the occupation is, or equal rights for everyone. There is also civil war, but that is what the occupation is— a low grade civil war which sometimes flares up into something bloodier.

#12 Comment By EarlyBird On January 11, 2018 @ 12:00 pm

Neither the Israelis or Palestinians have ever wanted a two state solution. While the Pals have always taken every opportunity to pull defeat from the jaws of victory, the Israelis have, as this column reveals, forever been in the business of “nibbling the cheese which is being negotiated,” as one honest Israeli diplomat admitted during Clinton’s reign.

The US pretends that Israel is serious about a two state solution, throws its hands up over the latest intifada, and tsk tsks over the latest round of illegal West Bank settlements. Let’s get real: if the US was serious about forcing a two state solution, it has enormous leverage on Israel to do just that. But for a variety of reasons it always finds excuses to support Israel’s project, while bewailing the fact that we can’ force “Middle East peace” on two parties which are not interested in such a peace.

While I won’t give Trump credit for having the vision, information or attention span for “policy making,” at least his latest spasm drops the charade that either Israel or the US has ever been serious about two states living side by side.

#13 Comment By TTT On January 11, 2018 @ 12:57 pm

Donald still telling fairy tales about Narnia but calling it “Palestine”, I see.

There would never be “equal rights for all” under an Arab majority state. There aren’t “equal rights” in any Arab state now. There certainly weren’t equal rights in Ottoman or British Mandate Palestine (the latter at least having been officially secular, for all the good it did amidst near-constant riots and massacres). Arab states just don’t do the whole minority thing; talk to a Kurd or Yezidi about it. I’d say “Ask a Jew,” but I’m assuming you disregard the centuries of brutal antisemitic apartheid under regional Arab / Muslim governments as just being “hasbara” too.

There is a black ink law in the Palestinian Authority, signed by Abbas himself, that any Palestinian selling land to a Jew is to be EXECUTED. Enough of your bedtime stories, enough of your trying to wish problems away. There are real survival needs for the Jews that MUST AND WILL BE MET before any change on the ground ever takes place. You have no mechanism for change against their wishes.

I suggest you get over your problems with Israel. It isn’t going anywhere.

#14 Comment By Donald On January 11, 2018 @ 2:37 pm

TTT

You completely ignored my points as you did in the other thread, and just as in the other thread I am going to respond to yours. So I gather you can’t defend the behavior of the settlers or the occupation which allowed them to steal land, so you try to make it about Palestinians enraged about the slow motion takeover of their homeland.

Yes, there are no inspiring examples anywhere in the Mideast of a democracy with equal rights for everyone. Israel is no exception. There might be a chance of something decent developing if Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs work together to build a truly democratic state. There are some trying to do this. The NYR of Books has an article about thisnin the Jan 18 issue.

Possibly the second best solution of two states might come to pass, but it won’t work unless the two sides genuinely like and respect each other.

But your attitude is going to lead nowhere except either apartheid or endless war. And just as in the other thread, the only way you can justify your position is to caricature mine, because your position is not defensible either morally or in the long run, practically, unless you think apartheid is stable. So yes, Israel is here to stay. I have zero desire to see a reverse Nakba. But your solution is to allow the settlers to stay while the Palestinians get to keep whatever hasn’t be taken from them. How generous.

#15 Comment By Donald On January 11, 2018 @ 2:51 pm

“ I’d say “Ask a Jew,” but I’m assuming you disregard the centuries of brutal antisemitic apartheid.”

I regard most of human history everywhere as showing that majority groups usually oppress minority groups to varying degrees. Elsewhere Rod is criticizing secular liberalism with some justice, but secular liberal ideals are the only cure for the kind of oppression which is the norm in human history. And btw, the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians is a fairly typical example of what groups in power do to outsiders who are in their way.

On the Yezidi, I read Rania Khalek’s article about them months ago. Like most defenders of Israel, you like to assume that people who criticize Israel must not know or care about any other human rights violations.

As an American I wouldn’t give it so much attention except that we have been Israel’s enablers for decades, using bad arguments to justify their bad behavior as we give them billions every year.

#16 Comment By mrscracker On January 11, 2018 @ 2:55 pm

Donald ,
Thank you for your comments.
I realize any solution carries both good & bad, but I think Israel has to take its survival seriously. From what I see, it doesn’t have too many sincere supporters outside of America & its surrounded by enemies.
But for sure, Israel can’t be supported in every action it takes. And the same goes for any other nation, but we seem to hold Israel to a different standard than the rest of the world.

#17 Comment By Whine Merchant On January 11, 2018 @ 3:22 pm

I am so amazed that there is only one of Bibi’s sock puppets on this comment stream [so far]. As long as Likud supports the settlers’ lebensraum, they will give him cover for his suspicious financial dealings…

#18 Comment By Jeeves On January 11, 2018 @ 3:45 pm

the Trump declaration on Jerusalem—the most significant move of its sort since the Balfour Declaration in 1917

You can’t be serious. Even if by “move” you mean strictly diplomatic event (ignoring Arab attempts to change the map by force), the most significant move since Balfour was Sadat’s peace agreement in ’79.

#19 Comment By Delia Ruhe On January 11, 2018 @ 5:17 pm

So long as the US continues to bankroll Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and the Zionist dream of Greater Israel there will never be peace in the Middle East. Like every other people on the planet — except the Palestinians, of course — Israel deserves a country of its own, and they will never stop pursuing an Arabrein Israel.

#20 Comment By TTT On January 11, 2018 @ 5:58 pm

Donald, it’s hilarious that you complain about me “mischaracterizing your position” when you admitted I was right that your proposed new Arab state would actually not have equal rights. Meanwhile, in about 5 of these threads now you’ve proclaimed me to be a “hasbara” stooge. A bit of self-awareness would do you good.

Israel is the only MENA state NOT under apartheid. Israel has diversity and inclusion – which leads naturally to racism and conflict. The neighboring countries have successfully banished or exterminated their Jews, leaving the false peace of the mass grave and the monoculture. But if you can’t comprehend how an Israel supporter isn’t also an apartheid supporter – well, again, grow some thicker skin about being “mischaracterized.”

The constant invocation of apartheid South Africa in this topic is just as transparently false as when neocons compare the enemy of the week to Nazi Germany / WW2 over and over again. It’s just as much a grasp for valor from people who don’t know the history and don’t intend to personally sacrifice anything. Without Googling, can you name ONE export product of apartheid South Africa other than diamonds? The chief export of apartheid Rhodesia was animal hides. The world was not sacrificing anything there. Meanwhile, Israel is intimately woven into the tech and medical sectors – you are reading this message thanks to Israeli chips and code. Do you think countries like Turkey and Jordan and China and India and Singapore sign multi-billion-dollar deals with Israel every year because they’re all die-hard Zionists? Even I don’t think they are. They just like their own economies more than they like Palestinians. If they could afford to ditch Israel they would have done so already. Constantly asserting “apartheid” this or that is not going to accomplish anything.

I will halfway agree with one of your points: I do think the status quo is very much stable. It’s growing more stable as we speak. I don’t think there will be significant on-the-ground change in Israel in the imaginable future, and then only if they cannot technologically withstand global warming in their neck of the desert.

Gone are the days when anyone, anywhere, could force Jews off their land, or when mass population transfers of the sort that Mahmoud Abbas fantasizes about would ever be allowed. That so much of the “international community” is not offended by the idea only further proves that most of their countries aren’t worth the dirt they’re on. So yes, the Palestinians should settle for what they can get. A state in a few big connected chunks, with a Jewish minority in some gated towns. If that means “oh noes the Jews aren’t punished enough for stealing,” I’m sure there are some nice Jewish psychiatrists they can go see. Though they’d probably miss that opportunity too.

#21 Comment By BJ On January 11, 2018 @ 6:43 pm

I’ve often wondered why the situation for the Palestinians can’t be something like the situation of Native Americans in the United States. Set aside a reservation for the Palestinians where they have as much self-rule as allowed by the Israeli government and allow the Palestinians to kick the settlers out. Israel gets to keep the borders it wants and the Palestinians have all the sovereignty they’d likely ever get.

#22 Comment By after all On January 11, 2018 @ 8:24 pm

“So long as the US continues to bankroll Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and the Zionist dream of Greater Israel there will never be peace in the Middle East.”

Peace in the Middle East is grossly overrated as US foreign policy goal.

At this point it’s pretty obvious that the hatreds are implacable and that our own role has only intensified them.

Which raises the question as to why we’re still involved. The welfare of Israelis and Palestinians isn’t of much concern to the typical American, and we have big problems of our own to attend to here at home.

#23 Comment By bullet force On January 11, 2018 @ 8:37 pm

The government of Benjamin Netanyahu needs no encouragement when it comes to destroying the prospect of a sovereign Palestinian state

#24 Comment By Louis On January 11, 2018 @ 10:46 pm

“We have the advantages of geography & friendly neighbors who don’t wish for our destruction. Israel doesn’t.”

Why is that?

#25 Comment By William M. On January 11, 2018 @ 11:27 pm

We are talking about the historically most heavily contested piece of real estate on the planet here. The Egyptians and Hittites were fighting over it before the Jews even existed. The only times it has ever known peace were when it was located well within some empire and even then there would be civil disorder flaring up regularly.

Even if you could get the two current sides to “share the land” (which isn’t entirely outside the realm of possibility given that both sides seem to be exhausted) there is still the question of The Rock. Not Dwayne Johnson, but that Rock which both sides consider sacred and inviolable. That is what this whole thing is about.

If you look at a map of the settlements, you will notice that they cluster around the area east of Jerusalem. That is so that, in the event of a settlement, Israel will get The Rock. The Palestinians, for their part, are more than happy to give up their claims to the rest of the land, provided they get The Rock. Also, it is the status of The Rock which is the given cause of the Intifadas.

If you did create a single secular democracy, that would fail to answer the question of who gets The Rock. If you made it accessible to any and all people, it would be amenable to Jews, but only because they know that Muslims would consider it an abomination. (Or at least Sunnis because I don’t think Shiites are allowed in either.) If you left it under Muslim/Sunni control, then you have a never-ending problem with Jewish terrorism, which the Israeli government barely keeps a lid on as is. (It should go without saying that there would be a never-ending problem with Islamic terrorism as it is the Middle East.)

All things considered, this whole thing wouldn’t last more than a couple of years before the Jewish controlled military launched a coup (another Middle Eastern tradition) and we wound up with the autocratic one state solution.

I’m not saying that the current situation is okay (it’s horrible). My preferred solution would be a two-state solution where we go with the pre-1967 borders except East Jerusalem will go to Israel (minus a couple of suburbs that will go to Palestine so that they can claim they have East Jerusalem). The Jews in the settlements will be moved back into Israel (like they did with Gaza) and the Arabs in Israel can be moved into the settlements (or maybe just the annoying ones). The Jews get the Temple Mount (which is the bit they want) while The Rock itself gets shipped off to Dubai or to whichever Gulf state is willing to pay the most (this wouldn’t be any more sacrilegious than what the Saudis have done with Mecca). This whole process would be achieved by paying the respective leaderships obscenely large bribes. It would provide peace for an entire decade (possibly two), which is excellent by Middle Eastern standards. This might sound like a joke, but so does the rest of the peace process.

#26 Comment By Donald On January 12, 2018 @ 7:39 am

Mrscracker—

We give Israel billions per year and most of our politicians fall over themselves praising them. So the double standard in this country works in their favor. Though I would argue that in the long run our support for their bad behavior has not been in their long term interests.

Israel is or was a favorite punching bag for various dictatorial regimes, but hypocrisy on human rights is pretty much the norm with governments, including ours. This is not as true as it used to be. Israel has been tacitly aligned with the Saudis and some other Arab countries for years.

#27 Comment By Brian Villanueva On January 12, 2018 @ 9:01 am

Israel offered a 2 state solution to Yassir Arafat at Camp David. They gave him everything he could have asked for. And yet he refused to sign on the dotted line.

The reason there isn’t a Palestine today is because the Palestinians don’t want one. They want to murder Jews more than they want their own country.

Muslims took the Holy Land (enslaving and murdering most of the Jews and Christians there) in the 7th century. In the Koran, once land is dar-al-Islam, it can never revert to dar-al-harb.

There will never be a 2 state solution.

#28 Comment By Andrew Zook On January 12, 2018 @ 10:02 am

“Of course, establishing settlements in the West Bank that friend and foe alike have no choice but to accommodate has always been at the heart of Israel’s strategy to defeat the Palestinians. But it now appears to have been adopted by the Trump administration as its diplomatic lodestone, too.”

Paying attention long ago one would see that the “religious advisers” (all pre-trib/dispensationalist rapture-ready kooks) around Trump have always championed and wished for this colonization-by-force. Every Trump supporter I know has always wanted the Palestinians to, essentially be wiped off the face of the earth… Their apocalyptic fantasies, in their minds, would have been fulfilled years ago, if it weren’t for the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine… So it’s a no-brainer that this admin would follow such a course. Beyond sad, but not surprising.

#29 Comment By trackfan On January 12, 2018 @ 9:09 pm

TTT says:
“if Israel can have a million Arabs, why can’t a Palestinian state have a few hundred thousand Jews, most of them in self-contained gated communities?”

It all depends on whether these settlements would be part of the Palestinian state or Israel? Even Arafat had agreed that some of the settlers could stay and live as Palestinian citizens but no reasonable person would expect the Palestinians to accept a state that looks like a slice of Swiss cheese.

#30 Comment By jeff866 On January 13, 2018 @ 3:00 am

I’ve read this thread and its clear “TTT” has the better argument over “Donald.” The Arabs “stole” all the land in the Middle East just like the White people stole North America and everyone stole land from some other people (including the ancient Jews who stole it with God’s permission from the Canaanites). That argument goes nowhere.

Objectively speaking the Arabs already have 99.9% of the land and if you cede Israel plus the West Bank to the Jews they get 0.1%. Does not seem very fair–to the Jews–but they seem willing to accept it. Arabs who don’t like it should leave Israel (and the Jews for the most part have already left or be driven out of all Arab nations).

Yes, it can be a minor hardship for some individuals but not really that big of deal since we are talking about moving 25 miles or so to a fellow Arab state.

No one is “stealing” Palestinian land at this because the settlements are built on state land which belonged to Turkey, England and now Israel. Arabs who own private land have their property rights usually respected in the court system (where their proof if not adequate or where eminent domain is exercised they may lose).

The best solution is for Israel to annex the West Bank with the Arabs who want Israeli citizenship to be given a chance to apply for it, subject to security screening and subject to annual quotas. Israel will take over the education system, regulate the propaganda from Mosques and in a generation or two, more Arabs can be incorporated into Israel. But for now, most of the Arabs in the West Bank will vote in local elections but not Israeli national elections because they are not citizens (they can vote in Jordan or Gazan elections, such as they are). Other Arabs may choose to sell their property at market value to the Israeli government. The rest can stay as resident aliens with full civil (but not full voting) rights.

As for why Israel faces hostile neighbors the answer is simple. They are Arab Muslim states. If this were the middle ages, people in European states would also face hostile enemies because those people were violent and primitive. Most Arab states are still in the Middle Ages.

#31 Comment By Aviel On January 13, 2018 @ 3:05 pm

“The settlement machine is now an Israeli enterprise engaging almost every one of its national institutions, not least of which are the leading financial, construction, and economic leaders of the private and public sectors.”
As it should be. If the Arabs had won a war there would be no Jews left in the region.As it is the Palestinians are fortunate to be allowed to remain. The war against the Jews and the goal of ridding the region of the Zionist entity remains alive despite losing all the battles . That is their right but don’t expect Israel to help them in their goal. The greatest fear of most the Arabs within Israel is having to become a part of a Palestinian State, alongside Israel as a Jewish State. it’s far from perfect but the majority of Jews and Palestinians here prefer the status quo to anything that the other side would accept

#32 Comment By My Middle East Vision On January 14, 2018 @ 9:58 am

I wish some kindly giant would come along and flush the whole Middle East down the toilet.

We’ve wasted enough time, money, blood, and focus on it. Time to cut our losses and get out.

#33 Comment By Dan Green On January 15, 2018 @ 9:24 am

We have always avoided declaring whose side were on. Obama’s disdain for Israel went nowhere.

#34 Comment By Stephen On January 15, 2018 @ 11:50 am

jeff866 wrote:

“Objectively speaking the Arabs already have 99.9% of the land…”

So you’re including the entirety of the Middle East in that statistic, even those parts not populated by Arabs. Turks, Iranians, Kurds, to name just three, live in the Middle East and hold extensive territories there (far more than 0.1%), but they are NOT Arabs.

Or is it simply that to you every non-Israeli in the Middle East is an Arab?

I guess to an American all foreigners look alike, eh?

“Arabs who don’t like it should leave Israel…”

I wonder what the American Indians would have thought had Anglo-Americans given that same ultimatum to them? (“Indians who don’t the reservations we’ve penned them up into should leave America…”)

“Yes, it can be a minor hardship for some individuals but not really that big of deal since we are talking about moving 25 miles or so to a fellow Arab state.”

I wonder what would be the response if somebody in Washington DC suggested to (say) Manhattan Islanders that they think “about moving 25 miles or so” to make room for somebody else? Somebody who had decided Manhattan would make a nice place for themselves to live and didn’t want all those funny-looking Manhattan Americans cluttering the sidewalks.

“No one is ‘stealing’ Palestinian land at this because the settlements are built on state land which belonged to Turkey, England and now Israel.”

So you’re basically saying that they wouldn’t be given any compensation for having their homes taken away from them because all the land “belonged to Turkey, England and now Israel”. That’d be like DC using the power of eminent domain to throw home owners off their property without compensation—on the ground that the “land…belonged to” America, rather than to them.

“…they can vote in Jordan or Gazan elections…”

Memo to jeff866: Jordan doesn’t control the West Bank. Why would anyone vote in elections for representatives who canNOT represent their interests, or for a government which has no control over the land they live on or an ability to provide the services they use or need?

“Other Arabs may choose to sell their property at market value to the Israeli government. ”

I take it selling it to other Arabs would be forbidden?

Oh, and by the way where would they move to? Can they move into Jewish areas? Or would that be forbidden?

In short, are you advocating a system of apartheid?

#35 Comment By Beer baron On January 16, 2018 @ 9:49 pm

We can all agree that Israel is a shining star of freedom in a region, sadly, largely devoid of it.

In truth, Israel is a veritable social justice Shangri-La compared to the rest of the Arab Middle East.

#36 Comment By Dieter Heymann On January 19, 2018 @ 8:53 am

The 500,000 or so settlers on the West Bank are a deadly threat to every government of Israel because they will fight any attempt of forced integration let alone return to Israel proper demanded by a two state solution. Hence there will be no two state solution.

#37 Comment By george Archers On January 19, 2018 @ 9:11 am

“— Israel deserves a country of its own, ” Already has United States of Israel

#38 Comment By RNM On January 19, 2018 @ 11:41 am

It is very simple. The choices looking forward are clear, either (1) continuation of status quo, (2) a two state solution, one of which is an overwhelming, undemocratic theocracy sitting on by far most of the prime land, land which was acquired by conquest while the other is an impoverished, subservient remnant, (3) a single apartheid state, or (4) a single, free, pluralistic state that is non-racial and non-religious, like our ideal, the United States. The obvious and only choice is #4. Plain as the nose on one’s face.