May 30, 2024

A Palestinian State?

The NY Times has a transcript of the speech read by President Bush at Annapolis yesterday here

The key bits:

The Palestinian people are blessed with many gifts and talents. They want the opportunity to use those gifts to better their own lives and build a future for their children.

They want the dignity that comes with sovereignty and independence. They want justice and equality under the rule of law. They want freedom from violence and fear.

The people of Israel have just aspirations as well. They want their children to be able to ride a bus or to go to school without fear of suicide bombers. They want an end to rocket attacks and constant threats of assault. They want their nation to be recognized and welcomed in the region where they live.

For these negotiations to succeed, the Palestinians must do their part. They must show the world they understand that while the borders of a Palestinian state are important, the nature of a Palestinian state is just as important. They must demonstrate that a Palestinian state will create opportunity for all its citizens and govern justly and dismantle the infrastructure of terror. They must show that a Palestinian state will accept its responsibility and have the capability to be a source of stability and peace for its own citizens, for the people of Israel and for the whole region.

The Israelis must do their part. They must show the world that they are ready to begin — bring an end to the occupation that began in 1967 through a negotiated settlement. This settlement will establish Palestine as a Palestinian homeland, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people. Israel must demonstrate its support for the creation of a prosperous and successful Palestinian state by removing unauthorized outposts, ending settlement expansion and finding other ways for the Palestinian Authority to exercise its responsibilities without compromising Israel’s security.

Arab states should also reach out to Israel, work toward the normalization of relations, and demonstrate in both word and deed that they believe that Israel and its people have a permanent home in the Middle East. These are vital steps toward the comprehensive peace that we all seek.

Will this may be the time that the Israelis give in and allow the creation of a true Palestinian nation?  Anything less is certain to be used as a rallying point to continue the largely manufactured conflict.  But would an independent Palestinian state end the fighting between the region’s Muslims and Jews?  Not likely.

Indeed, the Palestinian independence movement exists solely to serve as a focal point of the region’s hatred for Israel.  Those feelings will not evaporate with the formation of Palestine, though perhaps some of the steam behind the movement will be released and a temporary reprieve granted.  And perhaps such an interlude of peace could become permanent.  But I wouldn’t bet on it.

Almost exactly a decade ago a friend of mine who calls himself a Palestinian was speaking to me about the peace process that had just broken down and said, "We got close this time.  I really thought that it might happen."   Then he shrugged.  "Maybe next time."

I wondered then if a separate state would matter.  The same question still needs to be answered.

h/t memeorandum


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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