Friday, February 6, 2009

CBS Declares Two State Solution Dead

Over at the blog Mondoweiss, they posted the following video from "60 Minutes" arguing that Israel has 3 options before it - ethnic cleansing, apartheid or democracy.

Here's a key excerpt that the folks from Mondoweiss highlighted, as well as some of their analysis.

Demographers predict that within ten years Arabs will outnumber Jews in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Without a separate Palestinian state the Israelis would have three options, none of them good. They could try ethnic cleansing, drive the Palestinians out of the West Bank, or they could give the Palestinians the vote. That would be the democratic option but it would mean the end of the Jewish state. Or they could try apartheid - have the minority Israelis rule the majority Palestinians, but apartheid regimes don't have a very long life.

"Unfortunately, and I have to say to you that apartheid is already in place," Dr. Barghouti argued.

Apartheid? Israel is building what it calls a security wall between the West Bank and Israel. The Palestinians are furious because it appropriates eight percent of the West Bank. Not only that. It weaves its way through Palestinian farms, separating farmers from their land. They have to wait at gates for soldiers to let them in. Settlers get a lot more water than Palestinians, which is why settlements are green and Arab areas are not.

Moderate Israelis who deplore the occupation used to believe passionately in a two-state solution. That is no longer the case.

Meron Benvenisti used to be deputy mayor of Jerusalem. He told Simon the prospects of the two-state solution becoming a reality are "nil."

"The geopolitical condition that’s been created in '67 is irreversible. Cannot be changed. You cannot unscramble that egg," he explained.

Mondoweiss continued:

"What made the piece so good is that it did not equivocate. It did not excuse the Israeli occupation as an "unfortunate necessity guided by security concerns". It did not blame Hamas or Palestinian governance for a plan successive Israeli governments have been carrying out for over 40 years (if not longer). Instead, it showed a family in Nablus who can't leave their home while its taken over by Israeli soldiers. It showed a man fighting to protect his home from demolition in Jerusalem. It juxtaposed the verdant green lawns of a settler community with the parched starved landscape of the Palestinian West Bank. And while Tzipi Livni swoops in at the end to tell the world they have nothing to worry about, that the Israeli government has this under control, settler Daniella Weiss displays a supreme arrogance and confidence to end the story that tells you all you need to know - she doesn't plan on going anywhere.

As I watched it I was slightly frustrated that it didn't deal with Gaza, or Jerusalem (the settler population is over 500,000 with Jerusalem, not the 280,000 in the story), or the refugees. But then I realized that that is part of what made it so powerful. Those are the "difficult" issues that are supposedly always standing in the way of peace. Here was the "easy" issue of the illegal Israeli settlers, and Simon was saying that that alone has torpedoed the two-state possibility. Israel has made the two-state solution impossible.

When the two-state solution was first raised in the early 1970s it was a radical notion. Golda Meir wouldn't even acknowledge that Palestinians existed, let alone deserve a state. But the idea slowly built credibility, then gained official endorsements, and now represents political common sense. How many news stories include the passage "the basic parameters of an eventual peace deal have been known for some time . . ." and then goes on to describe a two-state solution? Two states have been assumed, it was just a matter of a little land here, some more walls there. Tonight, 60 Minutes put an end to all that. Everything is back on the table. Even better they laid out three options for the future: ethnic cleansing, apartheid or democracy. Which one do you think the world is going to support?"

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