Thursday, June 11, 2009

# Posted 8:04 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

CONSERVATIVES VS. THE TWO-STATE SOLUTION: George W. Bush is gone. There is no more pressure on conservatives to support Bush's call for a two-state solution.

Bibi Netanyahu is prime minister. Conservatives who oppose a two-state solution no longer have to explain why they reject the approach favored by Israel's own government.

Barack Obama is throwing his weight behind the two-state solution. Conservatives have every incentive to show that Obama's approach is misguided.

I have always considered myself a strong supporter of the two-state solution. But I have gradually given in to the argument that Israel can't negotiate peace when there is no one to negotiate with. So what can America do?

In the new issue of Commentary [subscription only], Hillel Halkin and Caroline Glick both advance their own plans as an alternative to the two-state solution. Halkin calls his approach the "Federation Plan" and Glick calls hers the "Stabilization Plan".

Yet the word "plan" generates confusion because neither Halkin nor Glick thinks the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be resolved, only managed. Halkin writes, "There will be no negotiated two-state settlement in the years ahead." Glick says of the conflict, "It cannot be resolved. It can only be stabilized."

A very different approach to the conflict was articulated by the Kansas Republican, Sen. Sam Brownback, in a recent speech to the Heritage Foundation. Brownback wastes no time in dismissing everything since Oslo as a failure. I don't agree, but I am more in sync with Brownback's ideas about where to go from here:
First and foremost, I strongly believe that the goal of peace process should be to ensure that every Palestinian possess civil and political rights.

These rights are foundational to society, to any society. Exercised properly and they allow citizens to shape society in the form desired by the majority, but with the input and protection of the minority. Without such a process, individuals are unable to articulate their vision of self determination on a personal or collective basis. In short, we cannot be sure of what the Palestinians truly want unless and until they have the chance to express it themselves openly and honestly, something that is never taken without fear or retribution by armed extremist groups.
Brownback clearly anticipates the main objection to this approach: giving the Palestinians what they want means giving them Hamas. Bush tried that approach and he failed. Brownback counters:
I reject any assertion that the election of Hamas, a rocket-firing, Iranian-backed militia represents the articulation of Palestinian self-determination. Hamas rules by the sword, not by the consent of the governed. With the objective of improving the lives of the Palestinians, therefore, any Middle East peace process must first and foremost provide for these basic freedoms to allow for the true articulation of Palestinian self-determination to blossom.
Yet what if the Palestinians still want Hamas, even when they have sufficient freedom to make a true choice between alternatives? Perhaps the good senator from Kansas doesn't want to be too downbeat or undiplomatic. But if Hamas is what the Palestinians want, Israel will batter Hamas relentlessly. Not because that is a path to peace, but because it is a means of survival.

Is it still worth building up a more effective, accountable and legitimate order in the West Bank and Gaza if Hamas has a chance of coming to power? I say yes. I never supported elections in the Palestinian territories because I thought that a single election would deliver the peace. Rather, Palestinians must be allowed to choose a government that rejects Israel and rejects peace. If they like what that government delivers, they can elect it again. When they are ready for peace, they can elect a different government.

Cross-posted at Conventional Folly
(2) opinions -- Add your opinion

I don't understand what they are talking about when they push for a "two-state solution" and, frankly, I doubt they do either.

We already have a two-state solution. What else would you call the West Bank and Gaza? They're not Israel anymore.

I agree with you about Hamas. The election of Hamas was not a failure of democracy if they got the most votes. If there is another election and Hamas loses but holds on to power, or if there is no next election, then that would be a failure of democracy.

True success is if, given the chance to put their extremists in power, the Palestineans realize that the ability to shout "death to Jews!" does not equate with an ability to keep the sewers and electric grid running and they elect bureaucrats next time around. That would be true victory, a triumph of the notion that democracy is a moderating influence.

But we can't achieve that result without letting Hamas take power first.
successfully implementing a two-state solution is the key to solving all the other issues of the Middle East. ... It would be difficult to oppose a prime minister who is facing what is viewed in Israel as a true crisis of national security.

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