Fair go for all

Reuters reports an important development in Israel’s understanding of the conflict:

“Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Monday acceptance within the international community of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state would erode with time as conflict with the Palestinians dragged on.

“Unless progress was made towards establishing a Palestinian state as mandated by a U.S.-backed peace road map, Livni said in a speech, pressure could grow to turn Israel into a bi-national state in which Israelis and Palestinians would share power.

“With a higher Palestinian birth rate, that could mean the end of a Jewish majority in what is now Israel, she said, giving voice to an argument interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has raised for trading occupied land for peace.

“‘I say that time works to our disadvantage, not only from the standpoint of demographic numbers…but also from the standpoint of the legitimacy of a state for the Jewish people in the eyes of the international community,'” Livni told a policymakers’ forum near Tel Aviv.”

I’ve long believed that a bi-national state is the ideal way to resolve the conflict, but it must be reached in stages. Therefore, a two-state solution is the best way forward for the foreseeable future. A full and frank appreciation of suffering on both sides, reparations for Palestinian losses in 1948 onwards, the eradication of the occupation, a shared Jerusalem and joint environmental policy will, at some point in the future, be the only solution.

Livni – Jews Sans Frontieres rightly asks: “Where else on the world would a politician so obsessed with ‘demographics’ be described as ‘centrist’ and by Reuters too? – has merely articulated the fear within many Jews. Can you imagine the outcry if George Bush publicly stated he wanted a white majority to remain in the US? When Israel talks about “demographics”, however, it’s labelled “pragmatism.”

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