IT IS now fashionable to say that "the two-state solution is dead." Or: "Time for the two-state solution is running out."
Why dead? How dead? It's one of those things that need no proof. To say it is enough.
If pressed, though, the fake mourners of the two-state solution give a reason: there are just too many settlers in the West Bank and Jerusalem. They can't be removed. It's just impossible.
TWO EXAMPLES are cited as evidence: the removal of the North Sinai settlements by Menachem Begin under the peace treaty with Egypt, and the removal of the Gaza Strip settlements by Ariel Sharon.
How terrible they were! Remember the heart-rending scenes on TV, the weeping female soldiers carrying struggling settler girls away, the Auschwitz pajamas with the yellow star worn by the settlers, the storming of the rooftops, the rabbis with their Torah scrolls weeping in unison in the synagogues.
All this for just a handful of settlements. What will happen if half a million people have to be removed? Awful! Unthinkable!
Actually, the removal of the Gaza Strip settlers was nothing but a well-staged tragi-comedy. Nobody was killed. Nobody was seriously injured. Nobody committed suicide, whatever their threats. After playing their assigned roles, all the settlers left the stage. Only a handful of soldiers and police officers refused to obey orders. The bulk of the army carried out the instructions of the democratically elected government.
Will the same happen again? Not necessarily. Removing West Bank settlers from the hilltops in the heart of Biblical "Eretz Israel" is something else.
Let's look at it from close up.
THE FIRST stage of planning is to analyze the problem. Who are these settlers that have to be removed?
Well, first of all they are not a homogenous, monolithic force. When one speaks of "the settlers," one sees before one's mind's eye a mass of half-crazed, religious fanatics, expecting the messiah at any moment, ready to shoot anyone who comes to remove them from their strongholds.
This is pure imagination.
There are such settlers, of course. They are the hard core, the ones who appear on television. The ones who set fire to mosques in Palestinian villages, who attack Palestinian farmers in their fields, who fell olive trees. They have long hair, including side locks, wear the obligatory fringed garment under or over their shirts, dance their odd dances, are so very, very different from ordinary Israelis.
Almost all of these are new-born Jews (known in Hebrew as "those who go back in remorse"), and are heartily despised by real orthodox Jews, who would not marry their daughters to them. But they are a tiny minority.