Monday, December 24, 2012

Creative solutions

Recently there have been several proposals of rational solutions to the Arab-Israel dispute with the Palestinians as the representatives of the Arabs.
1. Individual pay-offs  Martin Sherman, an expert on the Middle East and frequent commentator in The Jerusalem Post has proposed a scheme whereby individual Palestinian families will be paid off to move elsewhere.  He considers this the only alternative to a failed two-state solution, one that would be a great danger to the Jewish State of Israel, and to an organized transfer of the Arab population.  If this is a "private" initiative then money would have to be collected for a fund that would be used to pay individual heads of families, say an amount from $20,000 to $100,000, to move to another country.  There are clearly rational arguments against this scheme, first of all it would be illegal under international law, just as would forced transfer of a population, second where would the money come from and how would it be administered (governments would not contribute to such a scheme), third the terrorist organizations, Fatah and Hamas, would not stand for it and would murder anyone who took the money.  Finally, Islamic countries would refuse entry to such immigrants and no other countries would probably accept them, even with the money.  I think this could only be done on a small scale and in secret.
2. Palestinian Emirates  In an article in The Jerusalem Post entitled, "Thoughts on a possible solution to the Israel-Palestinian Conflict," Barry Shaw bravely tries to sell the idea of Mordechai Kedar of a Palestinian Emirates as a "solution" to the long-term impasse between Israel's existence and Palestinian Arab ambitions.   This is intended as a viable alternative to the supposedly dead-end of the internationally preferred "two-state solution" of "Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace," as the mantra goes.  The idea is that the cities of the West Bank would combine in a kind of parallel to the Gulf Emirates to form a small (and weak) alternative to a Palestinian State.  The support of those States, particularly Qatar it is hoped, would bankroll this idea.  However, it is as likely that the Gulf States would pump money into the Palestinian territories as they are to help Israel in any way. 
3. Fifteen point plan  Dennis Ross has come to the area to present a Fifteen point plan that could pave the way towards a two-state solution.  Of course, it would require Israel to stop all building in the West Bank as well as require Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish State, neither of which are going to happen in our lifetime.  Since Dennis Ross is an advisor to Pres. Obama we should listen to him, but since he was also an advisor to Pres. Clinton and has been trying vainly to push the two-state solution for lo these past 20 years, he is by definition a loser.  He also admitted in print that they allowed Yasir Arafat to lie and cheat and pretended otherwise.  Dennis Ross is not someone that Israel can trust.  Noone seems to know what his 15 points actually are, they will be forgotten like Bush's Road Map.
Others have their own favorite solutions, each extreme (say Hamas and Habayit HaYehudi) preferring a "one-state solution" of their own making. But, as former head of the Mossad Yehoshafat Harkabi once said, "anyone can come up with his or her preferred solution, but situations like the Israel-Arab conflict don't get solved in a rational way, they get resolved over time as a result of unpredictable events."  Such events include the visit of Pres. Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem (that no expert predicted) or the Yom Kippur war (that most experts did not foresee).  
I have my own preferred solution to this problem (see my blog Isblog 19/12/12), but I will not state it here since the whole point of this article is to indicate how irrelevant such rational schemes are to reality.


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