The New York Times Sunday Review prominently featured a lengthy opinion essay this week, “Two-State Illusion,” asserting that the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is dead, and calling for Israel to abandon its core Zionist principles so as to free up Arabs and Jews to live together in newly realized harmony.
What starts out as a provocative and pungent critique of current Mideast diplomacy by University of Pennsylvania political science professor Ian Lustick, showing how the mirage of peace talks goes on because it serves the short-term interests of the Israelis, Palestinians and Americans — even though they know the goals are unattainable — soon morphs into a false parallel with other historical resolutions of territorial disputes. And then it ends up in a chorus of Shangri La-like scenarios suggesting that once Israel abandons its insistence on remaining a Jewish state, “anti-national ultra-Orthodox Jews might find common cause with Muslim traditionalists … Israelis whose families came from Arab countries might find new reasons to think of themselves not as ‘Eastern,’ but as Arab … and masses of downtrodden and exploited Muslim and Arab refugees, in Gaza, the West Bank and in Israel itself could see democracy, not Islam, as the solution…”
You get the picture.
One wonders how Lustick is able to somehow blame Israel and its commitment to remain a Jewish state as virtually the sole stumbling block to Arab-Israeli harmony, with nary a mention of Palestinian intransigence, violence and expressed hatred of Jews. On another level, one questions why the editors of The Times chose to give prime space to such a specious argument. A challenging essay calling out the impossibility of a full-scale peace agreement at this point between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would be welcome if it came up with some pragmatic alternatives.