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22 May 2009

Boston Globe Death Watch

This is what a supposedly liberal paper looks like. Jeff Jacoby is the house conservative for the Boston Globe's op-ed page, and when it comes to most things, there is only one way to think, the facts be damned.

I suppose that I should be glad that the house conservative thinks that a two-state solution to the problem of Israel and Palestine is good, at least in theory. But I despair that he nonetheless shows that you don't need to be factual when you're a columnist.

Who favors a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict?

President Obama does, of course, as he made clear in welcoming Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House on Monday. So does former president George W. Bush, who began advocating Palestinian statehood in 2002 and continued until his final days in office. The Democratic Party's national platform endorses a two-state solution; the Republican platform does, too. The UN Security Council unanimously reaffirmed its support a few days ago, and the European Union is strongly in favor as well....

International consensus or no, the two-state solution is a chimera. Peace will not be achieved by granting sovereignty to the Palestinians, because Palestinian sovereignty has never been the Arabs' goal. Time and time again, a two-state solution has been proposed. Time and time again, the Arabs have turned it down....

Over and over, the pattern has been repeated. Following its stunning victory in the 1967 Six Day War, Israel offered to exchange the land it had won for permanent peace with its neighbors. From their summit in Khartoum came the Arabs' notorious response: "No peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel."

The problem is that it isn't 1967 anymore. In 1978, Egypt and Israel signed the Camp David Accords. Egypt sought peace with Israel, negotiated with Israel, and even recognized Israel. In 1994, Jordan signed the Washington Declaration. By doing so, that Arab country demonstrated that it was good to seek peace with Israel, negotiate with Israel, and recognize Israel.

It is unfortunate that more Arab countries have not been able to emulate Egypt and Jordan. (One should point out that the previous inhabitant of the White House was not exactly bending over backwards to get either a comprehensive peace accord signed or a more specific one with, say, Syria.)

Writing, in essence, that the Arab countries are immutably opposed to peace is ignoring the glaring fact that Israel is at peace with two of its three immediate neighbors. Alas, doing so would be an opportunity for nuanced thinking about Israel and Palestine, and in the United States, even so-called liberal newspapers would rather have arrant nonsense than nuance.

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Posted by Tim W at 5/22/2009 02:00:00 PM

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