This is the question Rabbi Reuven Spolter asks, in reference to the contention often made on this blog, that it is in Israel's best interest to help birth a Palestinian state on the West Bank. Spolter is writing from the settlement of Elkana:
(L)ooking at a map from halfway around the world people seem to know what's best for us over here. As an example I quote Jeffrey Goldberg, whose blog I enjoy, who seems to consider settlements like Elkana an obstacle to peace. He recently wrote, "I would like to see Prime Minister Netanyahu go to Ramallah and address the Palestinians directly, and provide them with a vision -- a generous vision, I hope -- of what the future could look like, and then set Israel on a course to achieve that vision. Part of that vision, of course, includes what he thinks the final borders of the unborn state of Palestine should be."
Why is it always up to us? Why does the Israeli Prime Minister need to travel to Ramallah to provide a vision? Has he ever heard of Hamas? Does he really think that the larger Palestinian goal is two live peacefully, side-by-side? And even if he does, would he bet his life on it, much less mine?
Let me try to answer his questions briefly: 1) It is not up to Israel entirely, of course, but it is Israel that occupies the land in question, not the Palestinians; 2) Ramallah would be a good place to challenge the Palestinians to grapple with a generous vision of the future, because it is their de facto capital; Paris would be a nice place, too, but it is less relevant to the issue at hand; 3) Hamas is that chickpea spread you put on pita, right? 4) I'm not sure what the larger Palestinian goal is. I believe there are many Palestinians who would see a Palestinian state as a launching pad from which they could begin the final assault on Israel; I also believe there are Palestinians who, in their hearts, have reconciled themselves to their Jewish neighbor. Israelis have a profoundly important stake in empowering that latter group; 5) Let me reverse this question on Reuven Spolter: Does he believe that his country will survive if it continues to dominate another ethnic group that resists domination? Because that, in essence, is what he is arguing for.
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