Sunday, September 04, 2011

Going Proactive?

In the Jerusalem Post, Dana Gordon makes the argument that Israel should get out in front of Palestine's statehood bid by submitting a statehood proposal of its own, with terms that include the necessary protections Israel needs as part of a final resolution of the conflict. This, Gordon argues, would be a "proactive" move by Israel that would allow it to recapture the terms of the debate and stem the international sentiment that it is the primary obstructionist towards peaceful resolution of the conflict.

I do think this is a decent idea, but I also think Gordon oversells it. First, Israel is not "strong now". Israel currently has a historically -- almost comically (were it not also so tragic) -- weak government that almost certainly could not launch a bold stroke like this on such a short timeframe. Second, Gordon is considerably more confident than I that a rejection by Palestinians and their allies would be considered a reflection upon them. Why? The counterargument is easy -- that Israeli demands were unreasonable or illegitimate, and that Palestinians had every right to reject them in favor of more favorable terms -- terms which would come up for a vote several weeks later when the Palestinian proposal came up. It might muddy the waters a bit, but to cast it as some sort of unstoppable move of moral jujitsu is wildly off the mark.

What the proposal does have in its favor is that, in its roundabout way, it effectively restores a situation of bilateral negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Israel and Palestine would both be putting their terms on the table, and would know where the other stands. The fact that both plans would be subjected to a UNGA vote would almost be a side theater. I care about as much what the U.N. General Assembly says about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as I do what the Dixiecrat Party has to say about the NAACP. But ignore them. The idea of putting parameters on the table is meaningful, and in that sense I think it is important for Israel to become "proactive" again.

1 comment:

Nyarlethotep said...
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