Sunday, June 7, 2009

Three Failed Plans to Wipe Israel Off the Map that keep the conflict going

By Barry Rubin

There are now no less than three main plans for wiping Israel off the map.

1. Conquest. This is the old PLO strategy and continues to be the Hamas strategy. In addition, it is endorsed less overtly by a large group—arguably a majority—in Fatah, the party that controls the Palestinian Authority.

Israel will be militarily defeated, perhaps with some assistance from internal collapse, and replaced by a Palestinian Arab Islamic (Fatah version) or Palestinian Arab Islamist state.

2. Two-Stages. This was officially adopted by the PLO and Fatah. It is an alternative vision that appeals to many in those two groups but is rejected by Hamas.

A Palestinian state will be created on as much territory as possible and then used as a base for conquering the rest . A diplomatic deal can only be made to obtain such a state, however, if its terms do not foreclose the possibility of the second stage being implemented. The demand that virtually all Palestinians who wish to do so can go and live in Israel is a supplement to ensure that phase one turns into phase 2. In 2000, Yasir Arafat either rejected this in preference to Plan Number 1 or at least deemed the terms offered insufficient to make the second stage easy or possible.

3. Binational state (also known as the one-state solution). This is supported by some in PLO and Fatah, partly because it has more appeal to naïve or other Westerners. It is rejected by Hamas.

A binational state will be created. (Note the irony that this totally betrays the idea of the Palestinian movement being a nationalist one seeking its own state.) Despite assurances, it will be unworkable and beset by violence. But since Israel’s strength would be dismantled and millions of Palestinian Arabs would migrate onto its territory, there would be a relatively brief—but very bloody—transition to an Arab victory and the reconstitution of the state as an Arab Muslim Palestine.

No binational state has ever existed in the Middle East (the only one I can think of that partly fits that model today is Belgium) and multinational countries with some binational characteristics have been falling apart for years (Austria-Hungary, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia). It becomes funny when one thinks of such elements in Plan 3 as Israel turning over half of its tanks and planes to Palestinians after training them, gives them half its national budget, etc. As George Orwell once said, this is an idea so stupid that only an intellectual would consider it.

None of these plans will actually ever happen but they do motivate people to fight, die, kill, and hold conferences, not necessarily in that order.

Another major effect is to convince Palestinians (and also other Arabs and Muslims) that they don’t have to make the compromises necessary for a real two-state solution since they can gain victory through Plans 1, 2, or 3.

[Of course, Plans 1, 2, and 3 have something else in common as a solution, a Final Solution.]

If someone asks you why the conflict remains unsettled--and why there's no real two-state solution--tell them it's because the Palestinian (and to some extent Arab) side doesn’t see why it should settle for less when it can implement plans 1, 2, or 3. And of course to the extent Westerners make them think this is possible they assist in postponing a solution and ensuring more suffering and bloodshed.

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