Prof. Asher Susser of Tel-Aviv University was interviewed on the news show "London and Kirschenbaum" last week. He said interesting things that are worth repeating. The gist of it was that there are two "cases" in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: the Case of 1948 and the Case of 1967. The latter is easier to resolve, and indeed, the two sides have come closer on '67-related issues over the years: the two-state solution, borders, and even the question of Jerusalem. The Case of 1948, however, seems harder to resolve, if it is even possible at all. Over the last few years the gaps have even widened over the issues stemming from the very birth of the State of Israel: Palestinian refugees, the Jewish character of Israel, the question of Israeli responsibility for the Nakba, etc.
So if we realize that this is the reality, what is to be done? Susser suggested in the interview that Israel should withdraw unilaterally from most of the West Bank, except for the large settlement blocs just on the green line. I strongly disagree with this solution. I opposed the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, and in hindsight, I was absolutely right. Unilateralism is a disaster that awards and encourages terrorism like the rocket fire from the Strip.
It is exactly this inability to resolve the Case of 1948 that makes unilateralism dangerous. If we leave the West Bank and semi-solve some of the 1967 problems without any agreement, the Palestinians will be encouraged to keep fighting for 1948. We need an agreement - not because it will absolutely prevent Palestinians from reigniting the flames of conflict, but because it will be our insurance in case they do. If Palestinians violate the agreement, the world will hold them responsible.
So what's the solution? That's the million dollar question and I don't have an answer.
Since the interview was in Hebrew, I looked for a similar link in English. Here is a lecture Prof. Susser gave at a conference at Tel-Aviv University a few months ago, where he pretty much discusses the same issue. It's almost 20 minutes long, but it is worth it. He talks more specifically about 1948 vs. 1967 near the end, at the 1 hour 7 minute mark, if you don't want to hear the whole thing.
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