Thursday, October 23, 2003

Re: One state solution Gaining Ground

If I read him right, Joe's premise is that the Palestinian people and government want a two state solution to the conflict, while the Israeli people and government don't. In actuality, both populi are divided on the issue between the hardliners and the moderates. Among the Palestinians, this divide is between the Islamists (with Hamas the largest player) and the secularists. From everything I've seen, since the 1993 Oslo accords, the Israeli population has moved toward acceptance of the two state solution, while the Palestinian population, spurred on by Hamas, has moved away. I suppose that's the "losing interest" of which Joe speaks.

What has actually happened is that Hamas and its supporters made an organized decision in the wake of the Oslo accords to oppose and undermine any efforts to actually bring about a separate Palestinian state. The Hamas charter claims all lands which have ever been under Muslim control as Muslim lands and vows to secure them via jihad. While presently applied to the entire state of Israel, the logic could be applied to Spain, Greece, and a host of other sovereign countries. An English translation of the charter can be found at www.library.cornell.edu/colldev/mideast/hamas.htm.

Since the Oslo Accords in 1993, Hamas has steadily and successfully done three things to force an all out war for Israel: 1. Undermine and render ineffective any Palestinian Authority government; 2. Use terrorist acts to weaken moderate Israeli leadership and cause the Israelis to respond in kind, enabling international onlookers to find sympathy for the Palestinian side; and 3. Use its massive financial resources to build in the Palestinial community and, in so doing, indoctrinate the population. Today, I would bet that if an honest, somehow binding vote were taken of both populations on the question: Should Israel revert to its 1967 borders and the remaining lands become a Palestinian state, resolving all disputes and ending all violence?, the Israelis would overwhelmingly vote yes while the Palestinian vote would be very close. And every day Hamas is at work, the numbers drop further.

I'm not saying that the Israelis don't have their own hardliners standing in the way of peace and the two state solution. One killed Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. I am saying that the bigger obstacle to peace is Hamas, a sort of combination terrorist group/mafia/religious cult. That they have turned Israel into the party in the wrong in the eyes of so many in the West goes to their effectiveness.

However, their dreams of dominating all of Israel are still farfetched. Regardless of what Israel does, the U.S. will back them up until the end of time, and despite the current U.S. blundering, I don't see the rest of the world taking on the U.S. over this issue. Nor do I see the pro-Israel influence within the U.S. fading any time soon, especially after 9/11. Especially since the powerful traditional pro-Israel lobby has gained two new and unexpected allies: the neoconservatives and the Christian Right.

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