The past two weeks have renewed global interest in the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. Between President Obama’s original reference to the 1967 borders, a modification of sorts to the AIPAC convention, and a response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Jewish and political communities have been arguing over how to make sense of the policies.
One recurring theme has been the repeated call of defensible borders. Under the assumption that peace in Israel must consist of land swap with a forthcoming Palestinian state, parties on all sides have repeated that the border between the two states be “defensible,” without further clarification as to what that would mean in terms of specific borders.
However, a more significant question regarding the “defensible border” requirement is why would it be necessary. The “land for peace” mantra assumes that the Palestinian people are really interested in peace, but are oppressed by their Israeli occupiers. Logically then, if the Palestinians were to form their own nation, then it would be as Mahmoud Abbas stated, “a peace-loving nation, committed to human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the principles of the United Nations Charter.”
But if we were to take Abbas at his word, then why would Israel’s borders need to be defensible. From whom would Israel need defending if not the “peace-loving” nation? For comparison’s sake, the US / Canadian Border is 5,525miles, and yet despite this extremely long border, US is more concerned with illegal border crossings than military attacks. The reason is obvious; the United States is not concerned with having “defensible” borders with Canada because there is no risk of military attack and there is no risk of military attack because the United States is actually at peace with Canada.
The fact that “defensible borders” is still employed in Israeli / Palestinian rhetoric demonstrates that even proponents of a Palestinian state are not fully convinced by the “peace-loving” intentions. Any call for “land for peace” based on “defensible borders” is thus paradoxical to the point of dishonest for it assumes that Israel would still face a military threat despite acquiescing territory.
While I do not have a solution to the conflict, the process would probably be helped if people were more honest about their positions, intentions, and true motivations.
We also are at peace with Mexico, and yet we are concerned with defensible borders there, to deal with illegal immigration. And relationships between nations change – 75 years ago the issue of defensible borders between Germany and France was a reasonable concern – who is to say what the situation will be 75 years from now?
Larry – granting everything you say, it still disproves the conventional wisdom that “land for peace” is really the issue. If Israel could give up all strategic land with no guarantee of peace then there doesn’t seem to be much of a point.
1) Defensible borders (stated in the form of ‘a contiguous state’) are also a concern on the Palestinian side.
2) The demilitarization of the US/Canadian border occurred after decades of peace (and several military border disputes – google “54 40 or fight” some time.
3) If the prerequisite for a peace treaty with the Palestinians is that the subsequent relations between the two states immediately be on the level of the US and Canada the peace treaty will never happen. There are those who regard that as a good thing – I am not one of them.
KAHANE WAS RIGHT!
There is already a Palestinian state, and it’s called Jordan.
Whenever I hear the idiotic phrase “two-state solution,” I am reminded of another interesting “solution” – the Final Solution to the Jewish question.
What’s going on with the NewYork fanatics supporting the destruction of Israel?