The radical peace activist, Uri Avnery, indicates that he admires Prof. John Mearsheimer, the University of Chicago political scientist of fame and infamy for his “Israel Lobby” writings. I do not share Avnery’s high opinion of Mearsheimer, but I am heartened by his disagreement with the professor’s recent overly definitive pronouncement that:
… Israel is not going to allow the Palestinians to have a viable state … in Gaza and the West Bank. Regrettably, the two-state solution is now a fantasy. Instead, those territories will be incorporated into a “Greater Israel,” which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa. Nevertheless, a Jewish apartheid state is not politically viable over the long term. In the end, it will become a democratic bi-national state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens. In other words, it will cease being a Jewish state….
It’s not that Mearsheimer is wrong in outlining the danger that this will happen, but that he’s so sure of it, and that he thinks this result would be Israel’s fault alone.
This is the key passage in Avnery’s article, “A Fantasy”:
I do not accept the professor’s judgment that “most Israelis are opposed to making the sacrifices that would be necessary to create a viable Palestinian state.” As an Israeli living and fighting in Israel, I am convinced that the great majority of Israelis are ready to accept the necessary conditions, which are well-know to all: a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, the 1967 borders with minimal land swaps, a mutually acceptable solution for the refugee problem.
The real problem is that most Israelis do not believe that peace is possible. Dozens of years of propaganda have convinced them that “we have no partner for peace”. Events on the ground (as seen through Israeli eyes) have confirmed this view. If this perception is dissolved, everything is possible.
In this, President Obama could play a big role. I believe that this is his real mission: to prove that it is possible. That there is a partner out there. That there is a guarantee for the security of Israel. And – yes – that the alternative is frightening.