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Response to "Does Israel Need a Plan"

Reader comment on item: Does Israel Need a [Peace] Plan?

Submitted by robert goldstein (United Kingdom), Feb 3, 2003 at 11:25

A fascinating article. However if it remains the case that Western countries have too much at stake to risk upsetting Arabs and Moslems. It is not in Western interests to assist Israel in bringing about the "defeat" that Pipes says is necessary. This has essentially been the core problem throughout the 120 year Jewish self determination effort.

It is, on the other hand, a Western interest to see democratic transparent institutions take hold in the Moslem world. A secondary consequence of this is that such states may change their attitude towards Israel. However this is a roundabout long term development.

Therefore "defeat" can only be brought about by Israel alone. How is this to be done ? By all rational Western standards, the Palestinians should by now have accepted "defeat". However it would seem that they are as hopeful of a final positive outcome as they have always been. The ordinary Palestinian's position, as Pipes shows, is probably worse than that of German citizens after world war two. I suggest their unchanged hopes are partly explained by the Palestinians belief that the Western nations will impose limits on how far Israel might go to "defeat" them. Recent protection of Arafat must confirm them in this view. There has always been a clear understanding amongst the Arabs that the majority of Western citizens think the creation of Israel was unjust if it was not accepted by the Palestinian Arabs (the original people living in the area).

I see no answer to this problem other than the traditional Israeli reponse, which is to keep building more and more settlements in the disputed territories. Even this though will probably not work because population growth amongst the Palestinians is working towards their overall majority in the next decade. This is the great advantage India and China enjoy in their dealings with Kashmir and Singkiang.

In my view defeat will only come from the transfer of population not being blocked by Western nations. After all, this has been the standard solution in Europe. The USA did not block the transfer of millions of Europeans at the end of the second world war. However if the Western nations were to permit such transfer, then how much more should they be ready to insist that Arab refugees no longer have any right of return. Much as Pipes would like this, there seems to be no evidence of the Western nations imposing even this on the Palestinians given the USA position at Camp David two years ago. I would welcome learning what other options Pipes thinks the Israelis have.

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