Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Barak: make peace with Palestinians or face apartheid.

Ehud Barak has stood up and made the exact same point which I have been harping on about for ages.

Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, last night delivered an unusually blunt ­warning to his country that a failure to make peace with the Palestinians would leave either a state with no Jewish ­majority or an "apartheid" regime.

His stark language and the South African analogy might have been unthinkable for a senior Israeli figure only a few years ago and is a rare admission of the gravity of the deadlocked peace process.

There are only so many ways that this conflict can be resolved, and Netanyahu's intransigence is no less than an inability to face facts.

You can have a one state solution, a two state solution, ethnic cleansing or an apartheid regime.

Those are the stark choices facing Israel and the two state solution is the only solution which suits the Israelis, which is why Netanyahu's refusal to countenance it means he is unwilling to accept reality.

Barak, a former general and Israel's most decorated soldier, sought to appeal to Israelis on both right and left by saying a peace agreement with the Palestinians was the only way to secure Israel's future as a "Zionist, Jewish, democratic state".

"As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic," Barak said. "If this bloc of millions of ­Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state."

He described Israel and the Palestinian territories as the historic "land of Israel" to which Israelis had a right.

"We have to demarcate a border within the land of Israel," he said.

"We have a linkage, we have a right, but the reality of standing on the stage of history in realistic terms requires us to pay attention to ­international constraints."

Barak is to be applauded for saying what he has said. The truth is, as Obama articulated it, that peace will be good for Israel, good for the Palestinians and good for the Americans.

It is ideological blindness which prevents Netanyahu from coming to the table. For even if he gains what he wants, an Israeli state incorporating both Judea and Samaria, Israel loses. Palestinian demographics will see to that.

One has to be wilfully ignoring that fact, or simply unable to bring oneself to accept it, to continue to behave in the way Netanyahu behaves.

Obama should take Barak's words as an encouragement to put more pressure on Netanyahu to give up his stupid stance.

Click here for full article.

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