If you were an Israeli, why would you want to build more settlements in the West Bank?
- West Bank? Where's that? We're building our birthright in Judea and Samaria. This is the Zionist fanatic's answer. It assumes that YHWH granted the land in perpetuity to his chosen people. There is no prospect of peace down this path.
- The settlers are an important coalition partner. This is the domestic politician's answer. It trades electoral success now for more difficulty in the future. In the long run - is there any other? - it condemns Israel and the Palestinians to perpetual conflict.
- We're creating facts on the ground. This is the statesman's (Risk-player's) answer. What they're not saying is that these facts will eventually have to be traded away for the Palestinian right of return, which for Israel is a never-happen, non-starting method of slow suicide. But see #2.
- It's our answer to terror. Settlement expansion provides a goad to the Palestinians to seek peace whenever they choose war ... or vote for Hamas. Uh, how's that working out so far?
- What have I missed?
- Palestinians give up right of return.
- Israelis give up the settlements. They'd probably have to retrench the wall to the 1967 border, too, but I have no problem with the wall itself.
- Palestinians get the old Arab Quarter in Jerusalem for their capital.
- Palestinians commit to the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.
- Compensation and economic aid for both sides from the U.S., Europe, and Russia (yeah, sure). After all, we midwifed this problem by expiating our guilt over the Holocaust onto contested land.
- No heavy weapons for the Palestinians, but outside military guarantees, probably from Europe since neither the U.S. (too pro-Israeli) nor the U.N. (too pro-Palestinian) would be seen as an honest broker.
If Duhbya bought the PNAC program that intervening militarily in Middle East religious conflicts could solve the Israel-Palestine problem, and it appears he did, maybe he invaded the wrong place. Yeah, sure.
Maybe a solution has to bubble up from the bottom? How about two changes:
- A guaranteed job for every Palestinian male between 17 and 65. Help them have something to lose and keep most of them too tired for conspiracies.
- The end of blanket military deferments for all groups in Israel, notably the ultra-orthodox. Help them have something to lose, too.
Update (6/24/2011) - minor editorial improvements.