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Israelis, Palestinians, and Great Truths

A friend recently asked me what I thought of what was happening in Israel. This prompted me to write something I had been meaning to write for a while now... and presto, I got an e-mail and a blog entry out of it.

I think that the Palestinians and the Israelis each have a great truth that they have to face up to, but can't.

I believe that, for their part, the Palestinians have to realize that Israeli will never give them the right of return. They will never do this. If they did, they would be signing a death warrant for Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestinians would overwhelm the Jews, probably over time through higher birth rates, and then Israel as a safe haven run by and for Jews would cease to exist. So it won't happen. Not ever.

And I believe that, for their part, the Israelis have to realize that the West Bank is as gone as Gaza -- gone, gone, gone. Not tomorrow, not next year, but a hundred years from now at the outside, probably more like fifty, maybe even twenty, those settlements will be gone. Palestinian control of the West Bank is inevitable and once that happens, no matter what anyone says, the settlements are doomed.

So what I wish is that Israel and Palestine would realize all this, and agree to a) no right of return, and b) Israel completely out of the West Bank. And I think an agreement like that would be something that most Middle East states could get behind, normalize relations with Israel as a result, and stop funding terrorism.

Here's the other thing I think: it's crazy to be worried about the short term, which is a few settlements here or there. The big picture is this: eventually, an Arab state will acquire the ability to wipe Israel off the face of the map. The only thing that will stop some Arab leader who wants to go down in history as the man who nuked Tel Aviv is not military power (not that Israel should disarm), but that Israel and its neighbors are so closely interlinked that for any of them to attack Israel would be as unimaginable as, say, Canada attacking the US, or Germany attacking Italy.

So if I were in charge of Israel, I would be trying to figure out how to cut a deal that would have the backing of the entire Middle East, that would take the Palestinian "problem" off the table for good, that would take away from dictators the leading excuse for the sins they commit against their own people in the name of anti-Zionism, and that would begin to bind together the countries there socially, economically, and maybe even politically.

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