Friday, March 12, 2010

A Word or Two on the Immediate "Israelization" of East Jerusalem and the Infamous 1600 Units

I argued before once:

...There is a continuum between ceding legitimacy to the “territories” and the right of Israel proper to exist. When Obama spoke of Israel as a consequence of the Holocaust he fueled the canard that she is but a colonial-like imposition on the Palestinians by the Western powers. If an important reason for Israel’s legitimacy is Jews’ deep and long historical connection to the lands, then that reason applies to the territories as well. Deny the latter, and then the former becomes more fragile. Assert the latter, then the former gains strength…

Now for me that isn’t an argument for Israel's insistence on claiming the West Bank, though it can be the framework for an overall position under which negotiations can proceed. But it is an argument that does apply more directly to Israel's present claim to a non divided Jerusalem.

The immediate inclusion of East Jerusalem into Israel proper would be a terrible decision. It would be so unilateral and provocative as to generate immensely grave consequences. For example, stalled as the peace process is, there is still a notion of it, something that may be resurrected. One can’t hold to any idea of a two state solution without faith in that possibility. The immediate, unilateral inclusive Israelization of East Jerusalem would be the death knell of a two state solution. No, the parties, I think, will have to limp along with their stalled process including the present status of Jerusalem.

For myself, I like the sounds of this approach in principle, questions of its own timing notwithstanding:

Also, I would in the interest of clearer thinking separate the issues of the timing of the announcement--whether snafu or intended, I do not know; the principled right of Israel to build in East (or North as Marty Peretz says) Jerusalem, I am not sure, which right Obama and Clinton affirmed in backing off their freeze position to that extent, as Barry Rubin argued; and whether this particular announced 1600 unit project is a pragmatically wise one, leaving the timing aside. For myself, for the latter pragmatic issue I need to know more about it and see an analysis of the costs against the benefits and its rationales.

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