Yousef Munayyer directs the Jerusalem Fund in Washington, D.C., and its educational program, the Palestine Center.
It is well worth taking a moment to read his article. After reading it, myself, I found myself taking exception only to the basic premise of who is standing in the way of progress.
The last paragraph is epic: "Standing in the way of any progress will be two-state absolutists, who refuse to rethink and reevaluate failed policy and strategy because of an irrational or ideological commitment to it. This is dangerous stuff. Absolutism is innovation’s mortal enemy. It’s time to start thinking outside the Zionist box and look for solutions that secure the human rights and equality of all involved, and not simply the political demands of the stronger party."
However, as tempting as it is for me to want to blame the folks who support a two-state option, I don't believe they are the problem. The problem, more precisely, is the Israeli people. Replace "two-state absolutists" with "the Israeli people" and that's the solution. Now before anyone get's livid, let me explain why . . . it really is quite simple.
Actually, there has been a one state solution for a very long time - two to three generations in reality - the entire time Israel has been occupying Palestinian Territory. Israel has never intended to give up oPt, which is clearly demonstrated by all the hasbara, stalling, deprivation, and killing that has targeted Palestinians for over 60 years. Yes, during that time some Palestinians have responded violently, in kind. But that is not the issue anymore than the kid who finally punches the bully is the issue. And, yes, I know, too, that technically "hasbara" does not mean "negative propaganda". However, the fact is that Israel's public relations effort to make itself look good, as the noble victim, is most often at the expense of explanations that are twisted truth complex negative propaganda designed to blame the Palestinian people.
The political Zionist leadership became the self-declared Israeli government in 1948 by declaring itself a nation in Palestine. From day one their one-state solution, given as the choice to Palestinian people, was to leave or be killed. There was consistent and frequent killing of Palestinian people a few at a time throughout the years, too many of them children; add to that the massacres of Deir Yassin, Jenin, Gaza, and the Sabra and Shatila Camps too, and it totally demonstrates that the 1948 absolutist mind-set of the Israeli government is still it's reality.
The only solution is a legal solution whereby Israel would stop violating International Laws (and Human Rights) regarding the way it treats an occupied people. And nobody imagines Israel is willing to do that, let alone make reparations to the victims and their families because . . . the world has allowed Israel's deadly apartheid to continue.
Because the U.N. can not enforce International Laws, that leaves ONLY the Israeli people to make the Israeli government do what is right. Even though the Israeli people have made progress, after 60+ years how likely does it seem they are willing to acknowledge the whole sordid reality - to the point of being ready and willing to make their government do what is right? I would like to believe that it is possible, but after 60 years I will not believe it until I see it. Until the Israeli people are prepared to take a stand, the Israeli government will not stop the violating, the hasbara, the stalling, or the killing. So . . . it is actually the Israeli people who are standing in the way of progress.
What the Israeli people need to know is that should they choose to become the solution, they will have the worldwide support of all. Without that knowledge how can they be expected to collectively summon the necessary courage? Because until they do muster up the courage to be the solution that only they can be, they will remain the problem, even though at fault is their government.
Addendum: Until the Israeli people collectively choose to be the win-win solution, their government will continue to victimize Palestinians. Israel will continue to be destabilized, so too the entire Eastern Mediterranean region (known as Palestine for several thousands of years), and the larger Middle East region (including surrounding nations that do not speak Arabic) will continue to suffer and be destablized - the entire world in fact, because of an unnecessary, manufactured, one-sided, on-going war on an occupied people in violation of the Geneva Conventions. We simply do not declare war on an occupied people. When it does happen, the Geneva Conventions have a word for it: genocide.*
Only the Israeli people have the collective power to put a peaceful end to all the problems their government has created. How much longer must the world wait?
*see: Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
in particular Article II which defines Genocide:
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.