By: Alan Hart
But refreshing though this NYT editorial stance was – broadly pro Obama and anti Netanyahu – it missed, by default or design, a major point; but we’ll come to that in a moment.
The editorial’s opening paragraph was this:
“After taking office last year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel privately told many Americans and Europeans that he was committed to and capable of peacemaking, despite the hard-line positions that he had used to get elected for a second time. Trust me, he told them. We were sceptical when we first heard that, and we’re even more sceptical now.”
It went on to say that the Obama administration should “insist” that proximity talks, once started, should grapple immediately with core issues like borders and security, “not incidentals”.
It then said:
“Many Israelis find Mr. Obama’s willingness to challenge Israel unsettling. We find it refreshing that he has forced public debate on issues that must be debated publicly for a peace deal to happen. He must also press Palestinians and Arab leaders just as forcefully.
“Questions from Israeli hard-liners and others about his commitment to Israel’s security are misplaced. The question is whether Mr. Netanyahu is able or willing to lead his country to a peace deal. He grudgingly endorsed the two-state solution. Does he intend to get there?”
The point the editorial missed is that Netanyahu is not a complete liar. He is merely thoroughly disingenuous, as Zionism by nature is, was and always will be. Netanyahu did indeed pay lip-service to a “two-state” solution. The question is – Why did he and what two-state solution did he have in mind?
The answer to the first part of the question is not a mystery to those who are informed by more than Zionist propaganda. Netanyahu understands, as Sharon understood, that if Israel remains in occupation of all the West Bank, it will have three options.
OPTION 1: formally annexing the West Bank and granting all of its citizens equal rights, to enable Israel to go on claiming that it was a democracy. The problem is that this would bring about the end of the Jewish state by political means because, in due course, the Arab citizens of Greater Israel would outnumber and outvote its Jewish citizens.
OPTION 2: formally annexing the West Bank but denying Greater Israel’s Arab citizens (the majority in-the-making) equal rights. In this scenario Greater Israel would have to treat its Arab citizens even worse than the black majority in South Africa was treated by the apartheid regime. And that would not be acceptable to most Jews of the world and, probably, at least some of the Jews of Israel. It would also present the organised international community with no choice, at some point, but to declare Greater Israel a pariah state and impose sanctions on it.
OPTION 3: to resort to another and final round of ethnic cleansing – provoking an all-out confrontation with the Palestinians to give the IDF and the armed settlers the pretext for driving the Palestinians off the West Bank and into Jordan or wherever, in the name of self defence, of course. If the Palestinians refused to flee, there would be a bloodbath. A Zionist holocaust.
It was thinking about those three options if Israel stayed in occupation of all of the West Bank, that led Sharon to conclude that he had no choice but to impose his own two-state solution on the Palestinians. His unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip was not a step on the road to peace. It was about defusing the demographic time-bomb of occupation. Sharon was not therefore turning his back on his Zionist past as his right wing critics and former soul-mates claimed, and many in the mainstream Western media believed. He was being practical to an extent. He was saying, in effect, “If we don’t give the Palestinians something, our Zionist enterprise might well be doomed.”
The two-state solution Sharon was intending to offer the Palestinians on a take or it leave it basis was two or three Bantustans, on between 40 to 50 percent of the West Bank, which the Palestinians could call a state if they wished.
The Netanyahu plan is more or less the Sharon plan, and that’s what the NYT’s editorial writers either don’t understand or don’t yet want to acknowledge.
The question arising is this: What is most likely to happen when Israel’s leaders come to the conclusion that the occupied and oppressed Palestinians will not accept crumbs from Zionism’ table (even if a puppet Palestinian leadership is urging them to do so)?
My guess is that Zionism’s in-Israel leaders will go for OPTION 3 as identified by Sharon.