Sunday, February 13, 2011

Does The Rebirth of the Arab world = Death to Two-State Solution?

I have been refraining from posting my opinions about Egypt as well as the Palestine Papers leaks because, frankly, if I thought things were complicated before, now I feel they are beyond my ability to comprehend. I thought a few times of just posting links to articles I felt were useful. But those opinion pieces became very quickly obsolete.

One thread running through so much commentary has been particularly galling: that peace with Israel was the basis upon which Mubarak was able to rule with an iron fist for 30 years. And as our dear friend George Soros put it: Israel will be the main strumbling block in the US's ability to get Egypt right. When I pointed out that Syria's dictatorship -- without benefit of a peace treaty with Israel -- has been even more brutal than Egypt's, or that Iran, Israel's most vocal enemy, runs a regime seemingly without any accountability...well these points don't seem to gain traction in some circles.

So, let's talk about the future. In today's Washington Post, Hussein Agha and Robert Malley reprise much of what they have already written about the death of the Arab world as we know it. Although they have previously branded the Israel/Palestinian peace process bankrupt, the following passage articulates that view in an extremely troubling manner:

"Some policymakers in Western capitals have convinced themselves that seizing the moment to promote the Israeli-Palestinian peace process will placate public opinion. This is to engage in both denial and wishful thinking. It ignores that Arabs have become estranged from current peace efforts; they believe that such endeavors reflect a foreign rather than a national agenda. And it presumes that a peace agreement acceptable to the West and to Arab leaders will be acceptable to the Arab public, when in truth, it is more likely to be seen as an unjust imposition and denounced as the liquidation of a cherished cause. A peace effort intended to salvage order will accelerate its demise."

What they are really saying is that in a new Arab world order there can be no peace that accepts Israel as a state in the region. The 'cherished cause' -- and what else can it be but the removal of Israel -- was subverted by the old order and must be revived. Will the two-state solution be seen as a vestige of that old order?

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