Monday, October 22, 2007

A Three State Solution for Palestine?

Original posting on my Yahoo 360 blog Saturday June 30, 2007 - 01:16pm (CDT)

Yesterday, I grabbed a copy of the Chicago Tribune with blogging in mind and started scanning it for stories to write about, and the pickings were slim. There's the problem when one does this - one can go to the newspaper, which for budgetary reasons is limited to the publications of stories that are little more than soundbites, or one can go online where space is abundant but credibility is not. But I did come across one piece that got enough of a "huh?" out of me to merit a post.

"In the West Bank, Hamas supporters told to lie low"

NO! Surely that can't be the case. Why, everybody know that there is war in the Middle East only because of those wicked, wicked Israelis, and the Palestininian authority has taken over in Gaza and is expanding its territory in the West Bank, so all should be peace and love and butterflies and daffodils. Is this not so? Maybe not.

"Nablus, West Bank - Khulud al-Masri, a deputy mayor of this Palestinian city, doesn't go to work at city hall anymore. A city councilor representing Hamas, she was ordered out of her office by gunmen from the rival Fatah faction last week in retaliation for Hamas' rout of Fatan-lead forces and takeover of the Gaza strip. 'They told me, 'This is your last day here. You can leave safely now, but tomorrow we will prevent you'', she recalled. 'I haven't been back since.'"

Now, help me out here - which of these groups was set up as part of an Israeli plot? Being as busy as I am with our own American Jewish plot to take over the banks and press in the US (a role I've cleverly hidden by living below the poverty line), to say nothing of the fluoridation of the drinking water of Aryans everywhere, I don't always have time to keep up with what the boys overseas have been up to, but I guess they've been busy, because this was not an isolated incident.

"The other deputy mayor, hafez Shaheen, also a Hamas representative, has received similar warnings. He ventures to city hall only every few days, mostly after office hours, for paperwork and brief consultation with Fatah council members who are still running daily affairs. 'I avoid going not because I'm afraid but because I want to avoid complicating things', Shaheen said."

Arguably, they could not be complicated any further than they already have been.

"The state of the city administration in Nablus, where Hamas controls 13 or 15 council seats, is a window into the altered balance of forces in the West Bank since the militant Islamic group seized control of the Gaza strip. Hamas officials in the West Bank, swept to power in local and parliamentary elections in the past two years, have been driven underground by a Fatah intimidation campaign, and the group's supporters are lying low. Offices and institutions linked to Hamas have been ransacked and burned, dozens of the group's leaders and supporters arrested by Fatah-led security forces, and civil servants affiliated with Hamas warned not to show up for work."

See where this is going? In the beginning (sort of), there was the Palestinian trust territory which was divided into a Jewish state (Israel) and an Arab state (Jordan), but that little detail was forgotten somewhere along the way, so the Jewish state was eventually divided itself, into yet another Arab state and a smaller Jewish state, and as for why the Arab state saw no splitting, given the reality of how many of the Sephardim were themselves uprooted from Middle Eastern homes they had lived in for centuries? Don't ask so many questions.

Now Hamas would seem to be in control of Gaza, and Fatah in control of the West Bank which means that instead of having two states in the initial Jewish state's territory (Israel the diminished and Palestine, not to be confused with the original trust territory), we now have three - Israel (maybe we can call it "Israel II"), the Gaza Strip ("Hamastan"?) and the West Bank, which I guess we can call "Palestine the diminished" or "Palestine III", as it is clearly the larger of the two chunks, or we could be even handed and call it "Fatahstan". How about "East Palestine" and "West Palestine"? So many possibilities, so many questions, not the least of which is "when will these two rump states start firing rockets at each other, a la Lebanon, with the trajectories taking them through Israeli airspace, and how long will the Israelis be expected to accept this". But then, we all recall, I'm sure, the way in which the Israelis were expected to accept it and not strike back when missiles for Iraq weren't just flying over Israel, but were being target on Israel, which seems a perfectly reasonable request for the American government to make, when one considers the mild response it gives when any portion of the United States gets bombed. No hypocrisy there, no siree! And no democracy in Palestine.

"'The aim was to take control of the West Bank, and we have it under control,' said Mahdi Masraqa, a local leader of Al Asqa Martyrs Brigades, whose gunmen led the anti-Hamas rampage in Nablus. 'Hamas is a banned organization; we will watch it and strike at any of its activities.'"

To say the least. Later in the article, we read

"In one building, a scorched first-floor facade leads to what used to be a women's center, Al-Juthur, or Roots, that was run by al-masri, the deputy mayor. The center sponsored embroidery and cooking projects, fitness classes, computer courses and a kindergarten. Now it is a blackened wreck, its equipment looted and burned.

'What does this have to do with what happened in Gaza?' said al-Masri. This place served people's needs. What is the message?'

Al-Masri said she and her husband left home for a week with their five children after the gaza takeover, fearing an attack."

Fears which do not seem unwarranted. Let us now ask the forbidden question - is an independent Palestine still sounding like such a good idea? How viable is this state looking? But, on the other hand, would Egypt really want to send its forces into a place like Gaza, and how comfortable should Israel be expected with the thought of the Egyptian army being so close at hand, even if the Egyptians were masochistic enough to agree to be there and had the funds to support an indefinite peacekeeping mission? How much trust has been earned?

An obvious solution presents itself, and I'll leave it to the reader to guess what it is, because I guarantee that almost nobody is going to like it and no, I'm not talking about genocide, a nonsolution I've already heard suggested. Still, maybe something not so nice, or perhaps rather, something that might not be seen as being very nice, if one takes Libertarianism and a Western definition of "Modernism" as given, together forming something that should be seen as being rationally desirable for all people in all places.