Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What State? Where? Why?

Shmuel Rosner sent me here:

Do the Palestinians Really Want a State?
by Robert D. Kaplan

Why landlessness may be its own source of power

The statelessness of Palestinian Arabs has been a principal feature of world politics for more than half a century. It is the signature issue of our time. The inability of Israelis and Palestinians to reach an accord of mutual recognition and land-for-peace has helped infect the globe with violence and radicalism—and has long been a bane of American foreign policy...

Obviously, part of the problem has been Israeli intransigence. Despite seeming to submit to territorial concessions, one Israeli government after another has quietly continued to bolster illegal settlements in the occupied territories...And yet this Israeli government faithfully represents the Israeli electorate, which is in utter despair over the impossibility of finding credible partners on the Palestinian side with which to negotiate...And because the Palestinians are unable to cut a deal, a majority of Israelis, as shown by the recent election results, have apparently given up any hope for peace.

But there is a deeper structural and philosophical reason why the Palestinians remain stateless—a reason more profound than the political narrative would indicate. It is best explained by associate Johns Hopkins professor Jakub Grygiel, in his brilliant essay, “The Power of Statelessness: the Withering Appeal of Governing” (Policy Review April/May 2009)...Statehood is no longer a goal, he writes. Many stateless groups “do not aspire to have a state,” for they are more capable of achieving their objectives without one. Instead of actively seeking statehood to address their weakness, as Zionist Jews did in an earlier phase of history, groups like the Palestinians now embrace their statelessness as a source of power.
...the most tempting aspect of statelessness is that it permits a people to savor the pleasures of religious zeal, extremist ideologies, and moral absolutes, without having to make the kinds of messy, mundane compromises that accompany the work of looking after a geographical space.

Grygiel raises a challenging proposition. If his theory is correct, then the Palestinians may never have a state, because at a deep psychological level, enough of them—or at least the groups that speak in their name—may not really want one. Statehood would mean openly compromising with Israel...Better the glory of victimhood, combined with the power of radical abstractions! As a stateless people, Palestinians can lob rockets into Israel, but not be wholly blamed in the eyes of the international community. Statehood would, perforce, put an end to such license.

...the U.S. should also brace itself for an Israeli-Palestinian conflict that may never end, because the Palestinians may already have what they want.

I have a question: there are Israeli Arabs between the sea and the Green Line; Palestinian Arabs between the Green Line and the river; and Jordanian Arabs from the rive to the desert. I am ignoring the more radical approach of Israeli Arabs who define themselves as Palestinian Arabs who just happen to be citizens of Israel.

Is that just - three different Arab "national groups" within a width of 50 miles? With two of them (and the third, too) demanding separate states with the Jews just maybe deserving one?


g said...

I am confused, is Grygiel political scientist or psychiatrist, he is making conclusion about "deep psychological level" of people he doesn't even know.

He needs to stop wasting his time with his crappy theories.

Martijn Lauwens said...

Mr. Medad, it's not that complicated. There's the native population, and there's the immigrant population.

And now you will argue that the Jewish people are native. But most of them are not, and have never been.
Most of the Arabs, however, are native. And a huge amount of them are forced to be a refugee in their own land.

YMedad said...

see my new post here