Israel and Palestine: The Civil War Solution (DD versus Bibi Part 3)

03/04/2015 08:57 am ET | Updated May 03, 2015

"I am all for a renewal of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations," said DD, the imaginary Israeli Defense Dove, when she contacted me again.

"There is a big 'but,' she added: "diplomatic progress is never a matter of a simplistic imposition of pre-established principles. It is a matter of circumstances and ripe timing along with negotiation and compromise. People need to reflect a little. Think of those people who keep shouting that the "Palestine Question" is the key to peace in the whole Middle East. Shouldn't we really reverse this logic? Isn't the failure to solve our region's broader problems the real reason why the Israel-Palestine issue is so intransigent?"

"That is partly why," she continued, "I am suspicious when someone says 'We already know the solution to the whole problem, the only question is getting there. The way out is two states for two peoples, Israel and Palestine.'"

"You surprise me, " I commented, "I thought you favored two states."

"I am not against a two state solution" she replied, adding, "if it really ends the conflict. But solutions don't come before negotiations. We might well accept a demilitarized Palestinian state but no sober Israeli will accept a Hamas state in the West Bank. Think of those missiles flying towards Ben Gurion airport during the last Gaza explosion. Remember that the West Bank's border before the 1967 war was only nine miles from the Israeli seaside town of Netanya.

"Besides," she went on, "there are other possibilities worth discussing -- a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation, for one instance. It would be better than the 'One State Solution' that some anti-Zionists and intellectuals chatter about. The 'One State Solution' is a 'Civil War" solution. It means Israel's end. It's a propaganda ploy like comparing Israel with South Africa. Sadly, Netanyahu's settlement policies will also bring a 'One State Solution' and endless bloodshed. Israel must get out of the West Bank."

"If you like what has happened in Syria, Iraq or Lebanon in the past, you'll love a 'One State Solution.' Israeli and Palestinian extremists can't face it. Or perhaps it is their idea of a good time -- everyone else dying for 'eternal principles.' By the way, what is it with those BDS people in the U.S.? I've read about them. You know, all their blacklisting reminds me of a bleak chapter in your country's history -- McCarthyism."

It was easy to agree.

Suddenly she said, "Hang on." I heard muffled voices. Something about al-Qaeda or ISIS affiliates in the desert near Israel's southern border, as best as I could tell.

"Sorry, I'll have to get back to you," DD said.
I understood that she had to attend to more urgent things. But I felt as if I should start calling her Sheherazade.

The conversation continues in the next post.

Mitchell Cohen is editor emeritus of Dissent Magazine and professor of political science at Baruch College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York. His book Zion and State (Columbia University Press) examines the intellectual origins of the conflict between the left and the right in Israel. It has just been republished in Paris by Editions la Decouverte.