No word is more seductive to politicians than “solution.”
In an age of wealth and power when anything seems possible, politicians cannot grasp that some problems are caused by human nature and have no easy answer. Instead they tackle problems with experts, blue-ribbon committees, studies and proposals. Once the “solution” has been identified, it becomes unchallenged political dogma.
Few problems lead to as much blind faith in unworkable solutions as the problems of war and the solutions of peace.
Chamberlain brought back “peace for our time.” When challenged by Churchill, he retorted that if it were impossible to have “friendly relation… with totalitarian States… there is no future hope for civilisation or for any of the things that make life worth living.”
It takes a strong mind to reject the seductive solution of a piece of paper from the enemy promising peace and to look at the alternatives that can actually preserve civilization. That is what Caroline Glick has done in her latest book The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.
Glick’s The Israeli Solution is a realistic solution because it does not promise to create a new Middle East, assure us that terrorists will become statesmen or breezily offer an end to a hatred that has existed for over a thousand years. There are no impossible promises of an end to war and a utopian state of peace; instead she offers the real solution of managing the conflict by taking responsibility for the territory and people instead of abandoning it and them to Arafat or Abbas and hoping that the magic doves of peace will do the rest.
The Peace Process that pops up in the headlines every few years has been going on for over two decades and more lives have been lost in that peace than in the violence that preceded it.
The year after the Oslo Accords were signed, more Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks than at any time since the founding of the state. Israel had abandoned its sovereignty and allowed a state of chaos in its territories and its borders. The Israeli Solution calls for rolling back that chaos and restoring the rule of law by applying Israeli law to the territories and ending the sovereignty ambiguity in pre-48 Israel.
While Kerry prowls around Israel trying to sell yet another solution that is not fundamentally different than its failed predecessors, Caroline Glick, a veteran journalist, IDF member, foreign policy adviser and negotiator with the PLO, offers a different sort of solution. Instead of partitioning Israel into a territory run by a democratic government with legal law enforcement and another territory run by terrorists and their militias, she proposes reuniting all of Israel under one legal system and democratic government.
The Israeli Solution runs so counter to the conventional political wisdom that has led to twenty years of terror under the guise of peace that much of the first part of the book is dedicated to recapitulating basic facts about the conflict and the territorial division that unfortunately very few policymakers know.
Glick covers such topics as the arbitrariness of the ’48 conflict borders and the myth that any territory beyond that is “occupied”; she digs into the reality of the Palestinian Authority, its mismanagement and its long trail of broken agreements.
The Israeli Solution exposes how Arafat dismantled a working legal structure to create a state of lawlessness and rule by whim that the United States has spent decades and millions of dollars trying to patch over and it demonstrates that the Palestinian Authority has no interest in working government.
Arafat and his cronies profited from chaos and instability while Israel and the international community had a common interest in stability and order. This familiar dynamic between governments and terrorists has not changed despite Israeli territorial concessions and foreign aid. Abbas, like Arafat, benefits from chaos and instability. The international community wants stability and order, but it cannot get it by bribing the agents of chaos, rewarding them for violence even while trying to halt it, and encouraging the continuation of the same familiar cycle of peace negotiations, bribery and terror.
The Israeli Solution shows that peace can only come from reuniting pre-48 Israel with post-48 Israel, ending the separate status of the territories recaptured in 1967 and achieving complete equality. It fulfills the core demands of Israel’s opponents, but does so under the umbrella of a proven system of government, rather than the destructive partition of the two state solution that has not led to two states, only one state and one lawless state of terror.
Glick lays out the challenges and rewards of an Israeli reunification and the responses from across the Middle East and Europe and makes the case that such a move would open up more options by breaking a deadlock that is destroying Israel’s image and hindering its potential. The Israeli Solution looks at the demographic question, as well as the prospects for integrating current residents of the Palestinian Authority’s dysfunctional kleptocracy in pre-48 Israel into its working system of law and government.
Two state solution proponents have insisted rightly that the existing state of affairs cannot continue, but after two decades it is the two state solution that has become the state of affairs that cannot continue. The Israeli Solution advocates something that has never been tried before throughout this conflict; integration instead of segregation and unity instead of partition.
There are many who will dismiss Caroline Glick’s thesis without even reading it because its solution runs counter to the disastrous conventional wisdom of these two bloody decades, but with thousands dead and maimed on both sides by a peace process that never ends, they should ask themselves whether they have anything better to offer than trying to make partition work long after both Jews and Arabs in pre-48 Israel and post-48 Israel agree that it has failed.
In the decades since the Oslo Accords, Israel has shown that it can manage the violence, but the Palestinian Authority has not shown that it can run a country or deliver the peace. It may be time to save Kerry airfare and wrap up the failed experiment of finding a Palestinian solution to the conflict and begin to experiment with an Israeli solution to the fighting instead.
Israel has made the desert bloom, built cities over sand and generated a booming economy that has made the modern world of mobile technology possible. The world has tried to solve the conflict its way and gotten nowhere. It’s time for the world to stand back and let Israel’s best and brightest solve it.
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