As currently defined and negotiated, a conflict-ending settlement is practically unachievable; even if signed it will not be implemented and even if implemented it will not be sustained. Against this background, the idea of a long-term interim arrangement acquires some logic. Instead of a resolution that promises finality, Israelis and Palestinians could strive for an agreement that seeks to minimize risks of violence by attempting to stop some of the dispute's more inflammatory manifestations. Such an agreement could create a more positive climate and new realities that may, in time, end the conflict. Israel would withdraw from all or part of the West Bank, diminishing friction between the two peoples. Security arrangements would be put in place. More vexing questions, including final boundaries, the fate of refugees and of Jerusalem's holy sites as well as Palestinian recognition of a Jewish state, for now put on a slow track, would be taken up only after both peoples had grown accustomed to their new interaction.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Realism in Israel/Palestine
At the NY Review, a long, pessimistic article by Hussein Agha and Robert Malley on the prospects for peace in Israel/Palestine. Like me, they are not enthused about the prospects for a two-state solution any time soon, bemused that people think the problems can be solved by clever diplomatic manuevering, and interested in what they call a "Long Term Interim Solution":