* Stop all settlement construction and expansion. Dead stop. Not another nail, not another brick.
* Except for the large settlements right on or within stones throw of the West Bank/Israel border, Israel must begin dismantling of all settlements deeper within West Bank territories. Sure that's going to mean uprooting tens of thousands of Jewish “settlers,” but the wages of sin are rarely pleasant.
* As for those settlements straddling that border, they can stay in Israeli hands, but only if Israel provides Palestinians an acre for acre swap for those lands. These in-kind lands must be adjacent to Palestinian lands on the West Bank border or Gaza.
* Israel must begin serious negotiations with Palestinians on the final status of the historically blood soaked “holy city” of Jerusalem. That final status must include a genuine possibility of Arab control of a portion of the traditionally Arab sector of Jerusalem.
Now none of this will be either easy or painless for Israel. In fact it could spark an armed rebellion from Israel's rabid right wingers who, all the holocaust rhetoric aside, simply hate Arabs, all Arabs. Israel's right wingers are that regions equivalent of our southern crackers during the civil rights years of the 1960s, or Afrikaners during apartheid in South Africa. They can't be changed, only controlled and contained and, when they act out, imprisoned. (The exact same goes for members of Hamas and Hezbollah. Ignorant, racist, crackers, one and all.)
To make matters even more complicated Israel's new leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, can best be described as Dick Cheney in yamaka. His power is derived through creating and maintaining fear – fear of Arabs, fear of terrorism. Now no one in their right mind would suggest that Israel is not Target One for every Middle Eastern terrorist, the USA being Target Two.
But neither the US or Israel face anything even close to an strategic threat from terrorism. Neither country is going to be "defeated," occupied or taken over by al Qaida, et al. It just ain't gonna happen – ever. But like Dick Cheney, Netanyahu would have Israelis and the rest of the world believe that that's precisely the threat his nation faces. It worked for Cheney – if not for his nation. Because, when belligerency is peddled as the only alternative to the threat of harm, then belligerency becomes, not just policy, but policy married to patriotism.
The last remaining element needed to create a full-blown disaster is an ambitious demagogue. (H. L. Mencken defined a demagogue as "one who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.")
Anyway, by now it should be clear to any sane person that, when it comes to Palestinians and Israelis there's never been a shortage of either demagogues or idiots. It's long past time for the rest of the world to draw red lines in the sand.
But this time it's gotta be TWO lines, not just one. There' has to be one clear line for Hamas and their ilk, and, for the first time, another clear line for Israel.
Because when a friend becomes self-destructive and more trouble than he's worth, there's really only two choices; desert your friend, or organize an intervention. Real friends intervene.
P.S. Okay, now you can email me and accuse me of being an anti-semite.
(Which of course, I am not. I'm just fed up, right up to here, with both sides. I'm not anti-anything except anti-prick. So, an aside to both sides: Stop being such giant, swaggering, selfrighteous, unrepentant pricks.)
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