Peace . . . and Quietly

Israeli Pol Tests U.S. Waters for a New 'Geneva Accord'

In sum, the accord makes precisely the proposal that the Israeli historian Yaacov Lozowick calls for in Right to Exist, his recent book defending his country's military policies. Like the vast majority of the Israeli public, he favors a land-for-peace, two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. "True peace without the [Jewish] settlements [in the Occupied Territories] would be preferable to almost any alternative," he writes, "if only someone would offer it to us." The question now is whether Israel will take the offer.

Sharon and the Israeli far right that shores up his coalition government reject the accord as treasonous—as does Palestine's fundamentalist opposition, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, invoking similar language in their condemnations. But the framers are currently distributing copies to their respective populations—sending them to every single residential mailbox and, in Palestinian towns without functioning postal systems, distributing them by hand—hoping to build a groundswell of support in the coming weeks before the official launch in Geneva on December 1. "After three years of bloodshed, people understand that military power and terrorism are not the way to win goals," Mitzna asserted. "As long as people thought we could win with power, they were not willing to make concessions. But that way has failed." By some accounts, it has even backfired. Last week the prime minister's own army chief of staff, Moshe Yaalon, called the Israeli press to attack Sharon's strategy of trying to beat Palestinians into submission, charging that the relentless pressure provokes, rather than suppresses, Palestinian violence.

Amram Mitzna: "Time is not in our favor."
photo: Jay Muhlin
Amram Mitzna: "Time is not in our favor."

For those committed to the survival of a Jewish state, there's another, even more deeply threatening issue that gives the proposed agreement urgency: The Geneva Accord may represent Israel's last best chance for a two-state solution. The ever-more-permanent seizure of Palestinian land in the West Bank for ongoing settlement expansion and for the "security fence" makes the possibility of eventually dividing the territory less and less viable. Calls for a single, binational state have re-entered the discourse in Palestine and Israel, as analysts realize that the only internationally and morally acceptable option as the years of occupation wear on will be a one-person, one-vote democracy in all of historic Palestine. "Time is not in our favor," said Mitzna. "The Zionist movement is in more danger than ever." Applying to the Israeli right wing a rebuke that was once hurled at Palestinians, he said, "Preaching to have everything, we will end up having nothing."

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