Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Pragmatic Dove's Case For Israel

From the NY Times.

Published: February 11, 2008
SOMETHING strange is happening to us Zionists in the 60th year of the state of Israel: we are repudiating our astonishing success. If in the 1880s (the start of Zionist settlement in what is now Israel) or in 1948 (the War of Independence) or even in 1967 (the Six-Day War) somebody had said that one day virtually the entire world, including all the Arab nations, would accept the existence of the State of Israel in 78 percent of the land of Israel, he would have been regarded as either idiotically optimistic or clinically insane. That, however, is where we are today. We have won, but we are refusing to accept the result.

It is as if the captain of a team winning the World Cup, a triumphant Olympic sprinter or a victor of Wimbledon were to say: “No, no. There has been a mistake. I didn’t win, I lost. My victory is an illusion.”
Wake up, fellow Israelis, it’s over, we’ve won! What is more we’ve won a lot: more than 8,000 square miles out of the 10,400 square miles of the British Mandate for Palestine. And most Palestinians have accepted this territorially lopsided resolution of the 100-year-old dispute.

Problems remain, of course. We Israelis have made a shambles of our Zionist enterprise by establishing settlements in the Palestinian territories we have occupied since 1967. Either we must disentangle ourselves from the Palestinians, or else create a structure for sharing the land with them. Many of the flagship Jewish settlements are so deep in Palestinian territory that no matter how the borders were to be redrawn, the settlements would be left inside Palestine.

And the current talk of swapping “settlement blocs” in the West Bank for equivalent amounts of land in Israel near the border is unrealistic. For any “two-state solution” to work, we would need to conduct a complete withdrawal from the West Bank. Even so, the success of the Zionist enterprise would be astounding.

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