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Seeds of hope?

Reader comment on item: Arafat's Failure May Offer Seeds of Hope

Submitted by Yehudit Hirsch (United States), May 6, 2002 at 17:43

For a number of years, your profound understanding of the Middle East has amazed me. In 1983 you wrote: "…support for the PLO comes much more from the Arab states than from the Palestinians themselves". You know that the Arab-Israeli conflict is fueled not by "irreconcilable interests, megalomaniac ambitions, still less soaring ideals, but a cultural chasm." This cultural chasm is not going to disappear in our lifetime. I pray you are right about the "seeds of hope".

It appears to me that two nationalisms are holding on to each other in a deadly grip, as strong as ever. There are three apparent alternative ways out it:

1. TWO STATES FOR TWO PEOPLE
2. GREATER ISRAEL
3. ONE STATE FOR TWO PEOPLE

The "two-state" solution does not appear to be a viable option: For a while Israel will have for a neighbor a free Palestine plagued by weak leadership and terrorized by multiple security services. A few remaining "steadfast" Palestinian intellectuals will give up and flee to London. In a few years, half-educated militants will be fighting with each other over various versions of Islam. They will also be fighting with the State of Israel, the remaining outpost of colonialism in the Islamic paradise. Corrupt Arab regimes everywhere will welcome this situation, and will make sure that the Palestinians are well supplied with light arms. If Palestinians can’t compromise for the sake of peace while Israel controls their land, why would they abandon their war against the last outpost of colonialism after Israel gives away the last card? It looks like the Israeli-Palestinian territory has no capacity to accommodate two nationalisms?

The "Greater Israel" idea could be saved only by a very fundamentalist Messiah, considering that the moment of Jewish-Arabic demographic parity in the Greater Israel is coming within 10 to 20 years.

What about the "one-state for two people" solution?

An Israeli-Palestinian symbiotic relationship will have to be acknowledged by both sides. Israeli future success is bound to Palestinian. We are the "intimate enemies" (Meron Benvenisti). We will learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools. We will give up the nationalist interpretation of Zion and Jerusalem, and return to the traditional Jewish interpretation. We will agree not do unto the other what we do not want done to us. We will replace the sprawling urban congestion of today’s Jerusalem with a symbolic shining City on the Hill. We will give up the stifling Zion controlled by the religious and national Orthodoxy with a Zion which could become a spiritual home to anybody "who is mad enough to call himself a Jew" (Amos Oz) or a Palestinian.

"… For from Zion will come the Wisdom, and from Jerusalem – the word of God…"

A shining City on the Hill… Is it just a dream?
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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