Monday, April 20, 2009

israel, iran, and fear

NYTimes | “The biggest risk to Israel is Israel.”

A core contradiction inhabits Israeli policy. While talking about a two-state solution — at least until Netanyahu redux — Israel has gone on building the West Bank settlements that render a peace agreement impossible by atomizing the 23 percent of the land theoretically destined for Palestine.

As Ehud Barak, now the defense minister, remarked in 1999: “Every attempt to keep hold of this area as one political entity leads, necessarily, to either a non-democratic or a non-Jewish state, because if the Palestinians vote, then it is a binational state, and if they don’t vote it is an apartheid state ...”

That’s right. The population of Arabs in the Holy Land, at about 5.4 million, will one day overtake the number of Jews. So a two-state solution is essential to Israel’s survival as a Jewish state. Persisting in the 42-year-old occupation and the building of settlements gnaws at the very foundations of the Zionist dream.

Netanyahu now wants Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, who have recognized Israel, to go further and recognize it as a Jewish state, even before he accepts a hypothetical Palestinian state. That’s a sign of the Israeli angst occupation has institutionalized.

Closure is the overcoming of horror. It is the achievement of normality through responsibility. It cannot be attained through the inflation of threats, the perpetuation of fears, or retreat into the victimhood that sees every act, however violent, as defensive.