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Mitchell’s challenge

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asiatimes2Mitchell’s challenge

By Sandy Tolan

The deep irony of the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” first struck me in 1996 as I was driving through the West Bank from Hebron to Jerusalem. I had turned off the potholed main road that passed through Palestinian villages and refugee camps and headed west into Kiryat Arba.

In that Israeli settlement, admirers had erected a graveside monument to Baruch Goldstein, the settler from Brooklyn who, in 1994, gunned down 29 Palestinians in Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs. From the settlement’s creepy candlelit shrine I cut north, and soon found myself on a quiet, smooth-as-glass “bypass” road. The road, I would learn, was one of many under construction by Israel, alongside new and expanding settlements, that would allow settlers to travel easily from their West Bank islands to the “mainland” of the Jewish state.  […]

Five questions for an Israeli-Palestinian future […]

1. What does the unending march of Israeli construction actually mean for a “viable, contiguous” Palestine? …

2. How can a viable Palestinian state exist when a city of 20,000 Israelis sits in the middle of it? …

3. What kind of Palestinian state would have its capital in a village far from Jerusalem’s Old City and virtually sealed off from huge portions of the West Bank? …

4. How can you build a viable state by negotiating only with the weakened representative of one Palestinian faction? …

5. Given these immense obstacles, is a viable, contiguous, sovereign Palestinian state even possible anymore? And, if not…


For many, the two-state solution remains, in the words of former US Middle East negotiator Aaron Miller, author of The Much Too Promised Land, “the least bad alternative”. But should Mitchell take an honest look at the immense obstacles now involved in a two-state solution and determine that they are insurmountable, he would do well to remain open to other possibilities, and bear in mind the words of Albert Einstein.

“No problem”, said Einstein, “can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”


Written by morris

January 27, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Posted in israel, Palestine

Tagged with ,

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