Posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 at 1:14 am
Author: Jonathan Mok
This is a review of A Possible Peace Between Israel and Palestine: An Insider’s Account of the Geneva Initiative by Menachem Klein, translated by Haim Watzman. Columbia University Press. 2007.
We are being driven to accept the two-state solution as the only way to solve the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The logic is simple:
Israel remains a Jewish state; Palestine is going to be independent.
The book, written by an Israeli academic who used to serve as an adviser of Ehud Barak, calls for a deeper re-thinking of the peace settlement. His vision of the future between Israel and Palestine is idealistic, but also, I believe, pragmatic. Instead of seeing peace deals with Palestinians as grace-giving measures, he urges for Israelis to treat Palestinians as equals.
Rather than dismantling all Israeli settlements, which, he argues, is impossible due to the political influence of settlers and heavy costs, he advocates the maintenance of large settlement blocs. Turning to Jerusalem, Klein believes that the division of the city should be based on the historical positions of individual religious sites, while East Jerusalem should be drawn into different districts to ensure villages close to Ramallah will be under direct governance of the future Palestinian state. Villages between Ramallah and the Old City can have their public and social services provided by third parties, for the sake of stability.
Klein portrays the failure of American involvement, which is blindly pro-Israel, as well as the danger of unilateral movement, which inevitably leaves one side bitter. He is deeply invested in the emotional aspects of the conflict, arguing that Jerusalem in particular has tremendous meaning for all parties involved. He discusses Zionism, the abandonment of Palestinian right of return, and the price both sides have had to pay in the ongoing struggle.
I recommend this book to anyone seeking an alternative voice in discussions surrounding the two-state solution.
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