Peace in Palestine-Israel

Last night, “Sixty Minutes” tore the veil off the discussion of peace in Palestine. It pointed out that there is little or no chance that a peace can be attained. Events have moved too fast, and positions are too entrenched. Specifically, by establishing more and larger colonies in the West Bank, Israelis have foreclosed any opportunity for a resolution. Arabs are never going to agree to the maintenance of these settlements in anything like their present condition and no Israeli government will be strong enough to actually move the bulk of the settlers out.

One hates to admit that this is probably right. The two state solution opportunity has vanished, destroyed by the ambitions of the radical settlers who believe all of Palestime is their god-given inheritance.

In a recent Op-Ed, Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, has argued that the only solution is a one-state solution with an elected government for all people living in Palestine. This seems right, for it would lay the basis for a truly democratic state, something that a state founded on a particular religion can never achieve. However, the fact that the Arabs would soon outnumber the Jews also makes this a nonstarter.

The only hope has to be growth in the strength of moderates on both sides. On the Arab side, the moderates have been seriously weakened by Israeli actions, such as its decimation of Gaza. It is unlikely that Fatah would be able to negotiate anything but the most pro-Arab and thus most unlikely agreement under present conditions. The Israelis have many moderates, one of whom hopes to become their leader in the near future, but the record of their being able to significantly alter what the Arabs see on the ground is not promising. They have not controlled the settlements in the past: how could they destroy the homes of hundreds of thousands of Israelis and move them out after an ageement? Sixty Minutes suggested that the army would simply not carry out such orders.

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