by John Hawkins | June 17, 2002 7:58 am
Imposed Settlement vs. Transfer: Hubert Vedrine, who we last heard from as he was ripping the “War on Terrorism” as being simplistic, has now come up with a solution to the Israeli/Palestinian problem…
“President Bush, who says he wants to seize the initiative in the Middle East, should impose a peace settlement.
…To succeed he must:
(1) Commit himself to a long-term presence of U.S. forces on the ground (perhaps with troops from other countries) along the Israeli-Palestinian borders and Israel’s borders with Jordan, Syria and Lebanon — assuming the Israelis want such a military presence as part of a peace settlement.
(2) Be ready at the outset to withstand several months of opposition from the Israeli right and its allies in the United States. Despite this resistance, it will be vital to lay out the peace plan and fix a calendar and a deadline for creation of a Palestinian state.”
There are so many things wrong with this suggestion that I don’t even know where to begin. First off, he wants Bush to impose a settlement that his own party, almost his entire cabinet, the majority of the American people, and our only real ally in the Middle East would all be strongly opposed too. Moreover, I notice that although he suggests the use of a massive peace keeping force, he doesn’t suggest using French troops to do it. That’s understandable since any force keeping the two sides apart would be hit with numerous terrorist attacks, would be loathed by the Palestinian population if an attempt was made to root out terrorists, and would be there for decades (lest the two sides start fighting again as soon as they leave.) Furthermore, what would the “imposed” solution be for the “right of return?” The Palestinians absolutely insist on it and the Israelis will not under any circumstances accept it because it would mean the end of Israel. How does “Mr. simplistic” suggest that gap be bridged?
Here’s the real truth that people like Verdrine refuse to accept. There is no win/win solution to all of this. There isn’t enough land to support both the Palestinians and Israel and no matter how this thing gets settled today, the Palestinians will find some pretense to crank the intifada back up in the future (See Lebanon for a perfect example of what I mean.)
The best way to actually solve the problem would be to “transfer” the Palestinians into Jordan. 80% of the land that was set aside for a Palestinian State is there and they have an army that’s disciplined enough to keep the Pal terrorists in check. I know you’re thinking that’s “mean”, “cruel”, “unfair”, etc., and you’re probably right. But unlike this pointless negotiating and these ridiculous ideas about “imposed settlements”, it would work. Israel could handle any military threat that the rest of the Middle East could throw at them and considering that they have essentially zero public support in the Middle East anyway, I don’t see that they have anything to lose on that front. Europe would probably refuse to trade with them for a while but a year or two down the road, after things calmed down, they’d come around as well.
Short-term, transferring the Palestinians would be a painful undertaking, but long-term, it would put an end to the almost daily terrorist attacks and would insure that Israel has defensible borders when their neighbors make their inevitable 5th attempt at genocide.
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