Saturday, April 17, 2004

Discussion: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

This article will discuss the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and we will try to predict the outcome.

Online articles today reported the historical decision by the Bush Administration to endorse all major Israeli settlements in the West Bank where 230,000 reside. The bush Administraation also decided, after meeting with Sharon, to endorse Sharon's unilateral pullout from Gaza and to deny the Palestinian claim to the "right to return".

It seems that the media is surprised at these seemingly radical shifts in American Mideast policy, but I see it as natural. I am usually critical of Bush policy but I fuly apporve of this. It's totally unrealistic to think that over 200,000 Israeli's living in their sttlements for three decades now will uproot as a price for "peace". Not only have the Palestinians demonstrated their unwillingness to make peace with Israils, but even if they do want peace, why would the Israeli's be willing to make such a huge concession? It's like asking a millionaire to give away half his assets to charity... It's just not happening. The Israelis have no natural incentive to make such huge concessions and any attempts to get them to make such concessions through unnatural incentives -such as economic incentives- are doomed to failure. The Israeli will to remain there is too big and the Internationonal community does not have enough of an incentive to try to overcome the Israeli will.

What I am saying is "be realistic!". The sooner the EU, Arabs in general, and the Palestinians in particular realize that the Israeli settlements are there to stay, the sooner they will be able to move on with life psychologically and phyysically in a manner that is to their very own benefit. Living in a delusion is NEVER beneficial to anyone. It does not matter whether your hopes are justified or not. One must accept the realities of this life. I deserve more money and more comforts than I have, but I'm not going to squander my money in the next several weeks or go rob a bank because I believe (I really do...) that my fellow humans have "wronged" me.

The same applies to the Palestinian aspiration to return to Isreal. There are many Palestinians living in Israel already and many more commute to Israel to work. This is pretty much the limit of what Israel can take without having its very identity erased. Israel was created several decades ego with the idea of being the homeland for Jews. While this idea might not be very relevant in 200-300 years from now (when Jews will be mostly assimilated and they will not be persecuted or have any need for a homeland), the idea of a Jewish homeland is crucial to all Jews of our generation due to the Holocaust. Isrealis can therefore not allow millions of Palestinians to deluge their state and thus eliminate the Jewish character of Israel. A small-scale. selective return is extremely hard to implement and since it's only selective it doesn't solve the problem on the Palestinian end anyway, so what's the point?

I am therefore very glad that the US has come to realize these important concepts and I am looking forward to see how events will unfold now and I am sure that the International community will gradually come to concur with the US policy in this regard.


Our prediction is as follows:

2005: The Israeli border fence is completed. Palestinians cannot enter Israel without passing an Israeli check-point. All palestinians working in Israel require special permits which they can only obtain after undergoing a security background check. The border fence virtually eliminates the suicide bombing now common in Israel.

The border fence also indirectly renders everything outside the fence "palestinian territory" partially or fully. Most of the area outside the fence will be under full Palestinian control immediately. Some areas will be held on to by the Israeli military ONLY for security purposes and on a temporary basis (as long as the security is required).

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah are veyr popular in Palestine. The Palestinian Authortiy is still in ruins after 3+ years of Intifadah.

2007: Arafat is probably dead. The 2000-2004 intifada is now over. A new Palestinian state emerges along with a radical palestinian leadership. It's a colaition among the extremist groups Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah who have become very popular during the Intifada years. They run the newly created Palestinian State. The Palestinian State is in a state of "truce" with Israel. There is no major active fighting going on but there is no political contact among the two states. Palestinians without working permits are not allowed to visit Israel and Israelis are not allowed to visit Palestine.

Israel control the borders of the new Palestinian state and is mostly concerned that the Palestinians do not acquire long range weapons (missiles or sophisticated rockets that can be launched from a distance). Israelis do not care much about Palestinian acquistion of guns etc... now that they cannot enter Israel. Radical Palestinians occasionally manage to infiltrate Israel and launch an attack (mostly suicidal) or get an Israeli Arab to do it. Israeli reprisals are minor and inconsequential since the attacks are infrequent as well.

The Palestinian government mostly turns a blind eye towards those seeking to attack Israel, but the state (including hamas, Islamic Jihad and fatah) is officially in a "truce" state. Palestinians foster hatred towards Israelis among their youth.

2010: The palestinian state consolidates politically. It begins to develop economically. Other countries invest in it and International trade flourishes. Focus is now on economic development and education that brings about better jobs as a means to improve their lives and also to provide a better footing in its conflict with Israel.

The Palestinian government is now concentrating, with international help, on building new projects, such as malls, theaters, residential complexes etc... It tries to create jobs and prevent the need for palestinians to have to commute to Israel to work. It places major emphasis on secular education, the kind of eucation that brings about a good-paying job.

Attacks on Israel are now strictly prohibited by the government and it is for the most part enforced. This is not because they don't hate Israel. It's just becasue they seek to avoid the Israeli retaliation militarilly and/or economically that could result in the interruption of their economic progress. A real truce now exists between the two countries, but there are now official political contacts.

2018: Low-level and eventuall high-level political contacts are established between Palestine and Israel. The states are now officially in peace. Palestinians are now allowed to visit Israel and vice versa. The two states now engage in trade and Israel is helping the Palestininas build themselves up.

Student exchanges and other projects are designed to foster peace and mutual understanding. The Palestinian government now strictly prohibits attacks against Israelis. Israelis can safely travel in Palestine. Hatred against Israel is no longer a major rhetoric and educational objective among the palestinian youth.

2035: The wall comes down!! No, not literally... the border still exists between the two states but a new generation of Palestinians emerges who did not know the Intifada. They are "enlightened" and totally critical of the older generation and the way they handled the Israeli conflict. The young enlightened generation slowly takes control of government positions and they promulgate new ideas and laws. Islam is no longer the las of the land. The law is now completely secular. Monuments and honors attributed to early palestinian figures such as arafat are now removed or downgraded as these figures are considered "primitive", too radical and narrow-minded.

The Israeli-Palesinian physical conflict virtually does not exist any longer. Even the older generation does not advocate physical force any longer.