Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Two States for Two Populations

From this academic paper, entitled "The Unexplored Option: Jewish Settlements in a Palestinian State" by David M. Phillips, Professor at Northeastern University School of Law: -

...Israeli settlements, first and foremost, need not be an obstacle to peace for the reason that their location may influence the eventual borders between Israel and a Palestinian state, but need not determine such borders. Just as Palestinians can and do live within the predominantly Jewish state of Israel, Israeli Jews can live within a predominantly Palestinian nation...

...The approximately 20 percent of Israel’s present population that is Arab does not so threaten Israel’s Jewish character. Similarly, if the raison d’etre of a future Palestinian state is to provide a political sovereignty for Arabs who identify themselves as Palestinians, whether or not they reside in that state, Palestine’s Arab identity should not be threatened by a Jewish minority that would become a majority. Two conclusions flow from this construct. The first of these is that, indeed, some Jewish settlements like Maale Adumim that are contiguous or substantially contiguous to the 1967 borders of Israel will surely remain part of Israel in any final settlement, with land swaps...even some of the most pro-Palestinian Israeli politicians, like former Foreign Minister Yossi Beilen...acknowledge the need for border adjustments that would integrate into Israel settlements that border on the old armistice lines of Israel...

The second conclusion is that the remainder of the settlements and the Jewish settlers there, including those in the Hebron area, need not be the obstacle to a peace settlement that is commonly portrayed. Even if close to 100,000 settlers remain (a rather high estimate, if major settlement blocs contiguous to the Green Line are incorporated into Israel in exchange for other Israeli land), that number would probably constitute no more than 2 percent of the population of such a Palestinian state and probably less. The land area of those settlements would constitute considerably less than 2 percent of the land under Palestinian sovereignty.

Let us return to the African-American analogy tendered at the beginning of this article. Most Americans, especially liberal Americans, would never think that the solution to conflict within a predominantly white ethnic neighborhood, whether Irish, Italian or other, if an African-American family moved into it would be to remove the African-American family. Rather, substantial resources would be devoted to insuring that the neighbors respect the new inhabitants. Instead of reiterations of the assumption that the settlements are an obstacle to peace, thought and resources should be devoted to a serious discussion of the context and conditions under which Jews might continue to live on the West Bank. While both reason and justice support the creation and co-existence of two states west of the Jordan River, neither justice nor other reason is served by requiring that one of these states be free of Jews.

Isn't that a reasonable review of the situation?


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