Yes, There is Still Hope for Peace

There is some collective Israeli will for actual peace, and although I don’t have much direct contact with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, I hope that there is some collective Palestinian will for peace.

I find that there are five categories of people that describe that there is no prospect for peace.

1. Israeli right-wing that desire that there be no peace, that either regard the current conditions as desirable or only acceptable, and most that harbor some desire to annex all of the land from river to sea.

2. Israeli’s theoretically willing for peace, but don’t see much meeting of the minds, either for distrust of Palestinian intent, disunity of Palestinian parties, distrust of the Israeli government intention, and/or distrust of settlers and far right proponents willingness to give up control over land and people.

3. Palestinians willing for peace, urgently desiring some sense of order, but also distrusting Israeli intent, or the ability of Palestinian political parties to reconcile to the extent that consented negotiations with Israel can occur (consented authority of the PA to negotiate a proposal to be ratified by the populace at large).

4. Palestinians and sympathizers that identify that the existing conditions on the ground have gone past the point where a Palestinian state can be both viable and democratically incorporate those settlers that would remain in Palestine after consented clarification of boundaries.

5. Those Palestinians that desire that there be no peace, that the land is Palestinian and not Israeli at all, that Jews should not be offered any expeditious citizenship, but that descendants of Palestinians should be.

I personally consider the two-state approach to be the only currently feasible approach, that I could live with. (I’m not an Israeli citizen, so my voice is muted at most. My qualms of conscience are not tested.)

The two state solution optimizes the consent of the governed. There is NO condition that would currently realize consent of the governed perfectly. A large portion of Israelis’ would just not consent to a single state, with either a slight Zionist or a slight Palestinian majority. They would regard it as too significant a compromise. Similarly for many Palestinians, though I think more Palestinians would accept a single-state democracy, majority or minority.

In both cases, even with MUCH effort to humanize the other, there is still a large minority (probably a critical mass) of both Zionist Israelis and nationalist Palestinians that would not consent to a single state and go to war to assert that.

I think that there is a likely possibility within a decade of an EU style confederation that preserves the sovereignty of states, but also allows for nearly free movement, residence, interaction, economy.

The current situation for Palestinians, and worst for Gazan and Lebanese and Syrian refugees (still) is of severe restriction of movement, dependance on Israel, restriction of trade, and worst, being subject to periodic brutal military attacks that end up harming far more civilians than rationalizable military targets.

That is not a statement of the justness or relevance of Israeli military actions, so much as a description of the condition of Palestinian civilians.

That is just not fair, and breeds the kind of hatreds that last centuries and are not healable, and are not even tried to be healed.

The current setting is an abuse of Judaism, even as many Israeli rabbis urge that the features that are abusive, be escalated.

The answer to the question is by sincere desire for peace, for the sincere willingness to make incidental and substantive compromises unconditionally. So, while I personally do not advocate for the removal of settlers from their homes (an ethnic cleansing), I do strongly believe that continuing the expansion of settlements, including in East Jerusalem, is petty, deceptive, even evil.

Particularly, when the settlement expansion occurs by multi-step processes that seem to provide clear title to ethnically and ideologically screened residents. In auditing (my original profession), there is a concept of “substance over form”. In auditing that means that an auditor must determine the substance of a series of transactions to determine what actually occurred economically, NOT rely the form of single isolated transactions.

In the case of sale of apartments to individual settlers, the chain of events often include a military closure of an area stated as for security purposes, then populating that area with military personnel, with increasingly permanent fixtures, the military declaring the land annexed, then civilian services are brought in, housed, at which point it becomes a settlement, open to the free market for apartments but only for Israeli Jews.

The substance of that chain of transactions is some form of taking, and without due process.

So, that opportunism really has no clothes. It should stop, for its own sake, and for the sake of communicating “we intend to reconcile with you, to make amends, to compensate to perfect title.”

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