Subject: Israel/Palestine


I just read the latest exhange on the Isreal/Palestine issue, and I wanted
to toss in my 2 cents. Morgan is correct in nearly everything he says.
Unfortunately, so are you. And this is the very nature of the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict. It is what makes it the most intractable problem in
international politics. Both sides have very legitimate grievances.
And the issues really boils down to one question:

Are Israeli security and Palestinian sovereignty mutually exclusive?

I don't believe they are, but for the issue to be resolved, both sides must
be willing to compromise on some key issues. Namely, Israel is going to
have to allow Palestine not just to have a state (i.e. terroritory), but to
have governing rights to it's roadways, waterways, etc. The reason Arafat
rejected the last Camp David accord is because, while it gave Palestinians
control of 96% of the terroritory in Gaza and the West Bank, it gave Israel
the right to be in charge of the freeways and water systems in those areas.
In other words, the land was non-contiguous. On the other hand, the
Palestinians will have to accept that Israel has a right to strong security
measures (i.e. a strong threat of defensive force, which is different from
using that force offensively) , since virtually every surrounding Arab state
has shown an interest in driving the Israelis into the Mediterranian.
And of course there is the very touchy issue of East Jerusalem and the
Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount, both extremely sacred places to
Islam and Judiasm, respectively. This is a classic case of what we in
political science call a "zero sum game". Any possible outcome is unlikely
to be viewed as fair by both sides.

To add to the problem, those currently in power in both Israel and Palestine
represent the more extremist and dogmatic factions of their respective
populations. And meanwhile, the religious, ethnic and class cleavages
between Israelis and Palestinians continue to grow. It is truly a tragic
situation. I have very dear friends currently living in the area-- some are
Jews, some are Palestinians. I hear from them frequently, and their letters
are heartbreaking. The fact of the matter is that virtually no one feels secure,
the vast majority of people want peace and understand the legitimacy of the
claims of the other side, and feel almost completely helpless to change the
situation. Is it a wonder that violence on both sides continues to escalate?


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