Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Liebermann All the Way

Avigdor Liebermann, the presumptive king-maker of the new Israeli cabinet, shocked liberals and progressives when he suggested that Israeli Arabs be required to take an oath of allegiance to the Israeli state.

But maybe without realizing it, Liebermann pointed the way to a possible solution to the Arab-Israeli deadlock:  What if those terrible Israeli hilltop settlements whose construction has mocked U.N. resolutions, making the Left Bank into a Swiss cheese, were to become part of the Palestinian State, with their inhabitants required to take an oath of allegiance to that state?

With one fell swoop, Israelis and Palestinians would at last be made equal, with an equal interest in keeping both states safe and independent. Israeli settlers for whom that particular LAND is all-important, as one woman put it recently on TV, scooping up a handful of earth, would have to consider themselves satisfied, since it should not matter to them whether that land is part of a Palestinian or an Israeli state, and Israelis could cease to regard the Palestinians in their midst as a fifth column.

Better still, Israelis could settle on whatever land they could purchase in the Palestinian state, and Palestinians could return to their homes in the Jewish state upon adequate compensation to present owners. The Jewish state would be open to all Jews who wish to live there, and if enough Jews immigrated, it would remain largely Jewish. If they didn’t, well, at some point down the road, when both Arab fundamentalism and Jewish fundamentalism had subsided, perhaps there would again be one state of Palestine, with the same mixed population as in ancient times.