242. Palestinian state is a necessity

How can this intractable conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis be solved?

The problem is that the Israelis are too strong militarily to be convinced to accept a genuine compromise; and the Palestinians are too weak militarily to achieve an honorable solution.

The balance of power between the two peoples is too wide. It is in favor of either side depending on which balance of power is in play.

No doubt the military balance of power is in favor of the Israelis. It is not, however, determinant because the Israelis are not facing a Palestinian regular army whose defeat would put an end to the conflict.

Demographically, the balance of power is in favor of the Palestinians. Prof. Arnon Sofer, a demographer at Haifa University, predicted that in 2020 the population in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean would reach 15.5 million, while only 40 percent will be Jews. It is, therefore, in the interest of the Israelis that a Palestinian state be established quickly.

Back in May, however, the Likud Central Committee voted against such a state. Labor waffles. The Right and the classical Left in Israel are two sides of the same coin. The former is against a Palestinian state; the latter is for one devoid of substance. Meanwhile, an apartheid system is rapidly becoming the norm.

A cosmetic two-state solution would not solve the problem. If implemented, a third intifada would erupt sooner or later. Israelis should start listening to organizations like Gush Shalom.

August 13, 2002