Israel and The Event Horizon
Yesterday the US abstained during a United Nations vote critical of Israel’s continued settlement building in and around Jerusalem. Despite strong words from President-elect Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Obama called for the “no vote” rather than issue a veto. To say this is a complicated issue is an understatement. One would hope logic and not politics underpinned the US position. Hmmm.
The first difficulty in assessing Israel’s right to annex occupied territory land is to identify which State (Israel or Palestinians) has a just claim for what land. Does one begin with the 1947 resolutions which created the State of Israel? Or does one take into account the Yom Kippur and 6 Day wars initiated by the Arab States and subsequently won by Israel? And what weight should one put on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s claim that Israel still seeks a “two State” solution to this near 70 year conflict?
Israel actions seems to suggest a preferred compromise would be an Israeli State with a minority Arab population and with Jerusalem Israel’s capital. As for the Palestinians, Israel would accept a disarmed separate State occupying the West Bank land Israel does not want, and with no right of return for any Palestinian refugees. Hmmm.
This type of two State solution flies in the face of the 1947/48 boarders as well as any year since. Israel has continually expanded its occupied territory with housing developments each year. Each year Israel asserts its preference to negotiate a lasting 2 State peace only to take over more land the next year. Does Israel have an end game in mind?
A very real complication lies in demographics. The Arab population living in Israel or even the occupied lands is growing faster than the Jewish residents. Consequently, the Israeli desire to remain a “Jewish” state and a democratic one can project its end as the Arab population outgrows the Jewish residents, and then in a democratic state, votes to change the nature of a “Jewish” State.
Given this complication, the two State solution seems like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, Israel’s behavior, building more settlements in the occupied territories and laying claim to all of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, simply do not provide suitable conditions for negotiations.
For most outsiders, Israel’s actions do not appear to have been an accident. Israel appears to have a premeditated intent of changing the “on the ground” facts and claim negations should be about the rest of the West Bank. Hmmm.
Israel’s actions are not the only events taking place in the Middle East. The Sunni and Shiite worlds seem out of control and the radical elements like al Qaeda and ISIS could potentially lead to a two headed Arab world (Sunni and Shiite oriented) with only one thing in common, hatred of a Jewish State in their midst. The event horizon could suck the Arab States and Israel in a new round of armed conflicts making Hezbollah look like a beginner’s militia.
President Obama has steered a wise course denying any encouragement to Israel avoiding negotiations and instead annexing land by simply occupying it.
Come January 20th, this policy will likely change. Will Israel (and the US) get swept over the event horizon?