Thursday, February 12, 2009

Three cheers for the Israeli center!

This is the outcome, according to the genuine Middle East expert Juan Cole, of the Israeli elections:

The outcome of the Israeli election has sounded the death knell for the two-state solution. There are not 61 votes for it in the new Knesset of 120 seats. A good 64 of the just-elected and/or re-elected Members of Parliament favor accelerated Israeli colonization of the West Bank and oppose Palestinian statehood. Most militant of all is Avigdor Lieberman, a former bouncer from Moldova who has risen in Israeli politics on a platform of racial hatred for Israeli-Palestinians (20% of the population), whom he has urged be "executed" or made to take loyalty oaths, stripped of their citizenship and possibly transferred to the Palestine Authority.

With Lieberman emerging as kingmaker in the new government, logically speaking, there are only three other plausible future relationships of Israel and the Palestinians:

1. Apartheid, with Israeli citizens dominating stateless Palestinians and controlling their borders, land, water and air. Apartheid would be accelerated under Lieberman's baleful influence. [(]Over time, this outcome would break down, since it will be unacceptable to the rest of the world over the coming decades).

2. Expulsion. The Israelis could try to violently expel the Palestinians (and possibly Israeli-Palestinians as well), creating a massive new wave of refugees in Jordan or Egypt's Sinai. (This option would almost certainly end the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan and might well push the Arab states into the arms of Iran, creating a powerful anti-Israel military coalition and a huge set of threats to the United States.)

3. One State. The Israelis could be forced over time, by economic and technological boycotts, to grant citizenship to the Palestinians of the occupied territories.

The last one is, of course, the least likely, since the Jews would be an instant minority in a “Greater Israel.”

The Israeli electorate has probably just handed the United States another generation of terrorism.

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