Wednesday, April 04, 2012

What About the Settlements?

I’ve been reading Peter Beinart’s excellent, loving and wise book about Israel, The Crisis of Zionism, and I’d normally wait until I finish to write about it, but I’ve become so distressed by the thuggish, half-crazed response that the book has received from neocon fringe elements, like this Commentary writer, that I felt I had to pitch in and defend Beinart’s eminently reasonable and profoundly pro-Israel work before the book is irrevocably stained by the lies being promulgated against it. (Indeed, I suspect that it’s Beinart’s sanity and obvious love of Israel that is driving the neocon nutters up the wall).

Beinart’s argument is simple:

Israel’s democracy is threatened by its continuing occupation of Palestinian lands. The millions of Palestinians living on the West Bank and Gaza can’t vote, and will never be able to, lest the Jewishness of the Jewish state be obliterated. A two-state solution is therefore necessary. And a two-state solution won’t be possible until (a) the expansion of Jewish settlements is stopped, (b) many of the settlers are relocated within the 1967 borders of Israel and (c) there are mutually agreed upon land swaps that change those borders to include a majority of the others. (As I’ve written before, the Washington Institute’s David Makovsky has come up with plausible land swaps that would allow the vast majority of settlements to become part of Israel in return for contiguous unoccupied lands along the green line ceded to the Palestinians.)

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