No matter what their beliefs about Palestinians’ aims and desires, the policy of Israel’s leaders does not accord with their stated support for a two-state solution or for a democratic and Jewish state.
Following up on my post regarding the two-state solution (and some of the comments to that post), I would like to put forth a more general and formal version of my argument.
Let’s say that you are stridently opposed to the idea of one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean – one that would be undemocratic, and based on the explicit, formal and institutionalized supremacy of the (soon-to-be) Jewish minority within such a state. Let’s also say that you reject a democratic and egalitarian one-state solution, which would not – in your opinion – be compatible with the Jewish right for national self-determination. What do you do?
That depends on your assessment regarding the Palestinian position. As I see it, there are three possibilities for understanding the Palestinians’ stand.
First, you may believe that the Palestinians will reject any solution in which the state of Israel continues to exist in anything resembling its current form. If that is what you think, the solution is clear: dismantle the vast majority of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and retreat to lines of contiguous Israeli territory.
Such a solution would be good for security, as it does not constrict the IDF’s operational leeway in any way, and indeed it would release precious resources currently directed to defending these settlements. It would show the world Israel is committed to a reasonable solution, and would allow the country to retain both its Jewish and (formally) democratic character. Even the economic cost would be limited, as not all that many settlers live in those isolated settlements. It would entail a political rift with the hard right, but then again, the hard right supports a non-democratic one-state solution, so it is hard to see how friction with it can be avoided, if you stick to your own positions.
Second, you may believe that the Palestinians will only accept a solution in which they get 98 percent of West Bank. In this case, you will just give them what they want. You get to avoid the one-state non-democratic nightmare you are so concerned about, peace with the Palestinians, and widespread international support, probably covering most of the cost of this mass evacuation.
Third, you may believe that the Palestinians will accept a lot less than 98 percent, perhaps 94 percent (as Olmert suggested), or even less than that. In that case, it is only a matter of holding out until they cave. How long will you wait? Ten years? 20? 45? Eventually, you may conclude that Palestinians will not cave after all, or you will just grow impatient of living in your one-state, non-democratic nightmare for so long, that you will decide those few percentage of the West Bank are just not worth the trouble.
This bare-bones analysis clearly shows that, no matter what their beliefs about Palestinians’ aims and desires, the policy of Israel’s leaders does not accord with their stated support for a two-state solution or for a democratic and Jewish state. Whether they like to admit it or not (even to themselves), the leaders of all of Israel’s major parties support a non-democratic, one-state solution, based on Jewish supremacy.