Thursday, November 29, 2012
New Palestinian State
I agree that this development has put a slight crimp in the plans of the right-wing Likud government of Israel to achieve its goal of the restoration of all the Biblical land of Eretz Israel. It remains to be seen whether it will impede negotiations between Palestinian leaders and the Israeli government. In the past, the negotiations went nowhere. There was never any agreement on where the boundary should be between Israel and a hypothetical Palestine. Any apparent boundary was repeatedly changed by the actions of Israeli settlers, who would go into territory that was provisionally reserved for the Palestinians and create a new settlement to be annexed to Israel. There seemed to be no way to stop the settlement activity. The Israeli government agreed that the settlements were illegal, but still permitted them to be built and occupied. Once occupied, they were protected from retaliation by frustrated Palestinians who had lost access to their farms. Every American President has declared that the settlement activity hinders the move toward a settlement of the two parties in the form of two separate states, Palestine and Israel. No American President has dared to use the power at his disposal to stop the settlement activity. That is the power of money. The United States provides Israel a generous foreign aid income. If that income were stopped, Israel would be brought to its knees and would have to abandon the settlements. If that income were stopped, Congress would be outraged and would impeach the President.
I read occasionally that a majority of Israelis and a majority of Palestinians favor and end to hostilities and the establishment of two independent states, side by side, living in harmony and peace. The coalition supporting the present Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, does not support that view. I suspect that the present Israeli government does not always act in accord with the wishes of the majority of the Israeli people, just as our own elected government does not always act according to our wishes.