I have a scenario for you: imagine it if you can.
There are crowds celebrating in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, a historic handshake, and a treaty or two. A new state has come into existence: it is called Palestine. Its neighbour Israel supported the establishment of the world's youngest nation, and all is rosy and nice. This is, of course, fantasy, but I believe that Israel should sanction and authorise the creation of an independent Palestine, and that it would bring peace and prosperity to the whole region.
Here's why: just like that, the biggest argument against the existence of Israel vanishes. There would be no more anguished editorials, no more self-righteous columnists resorting to the Jewish Question as the deadline approaches. This action would also fly in the face of conspiratorial dogma, freeing Israel once and for all from the suspicious, paranoid looks of neurotic outsiders. In promoting self-determination for a people without a state; Israel could present itself as a champion of freedom and liberty: not only for its own citizens, but also across the region and the world.
It has been argued that Israel is not being true to the spirit of its foundation in opposing Palestinian independence. Any nation which knows the fear of persecution and isolation ought to stick up for the rights of other prospective countries. Israel should be the first to acclaim the rights of new states, especially small ones - which are attempting to build a new nation on decades of partisanship and difficulty.
I would also expect that the terrorist elements of Hezbollah would lose out enormously if there was a Palestinian state. They are currently fighting an aggressive campaign against the forces of democracy in Syria, in tandem with a repressive, and heavily armed, regime. If Israel were to consent to the two-state solution, they would be deprived of their very reason for being: to oppose Israel. Not only that, but the myriad hypocrisy of militant Palestinian leaders will be exposed: they want freedom for themselves, but are happy to conspire with the oppressors and the murderers and the tyrants of other nations when it suits them.
In a democratic election, war-like parties would not emerge victorious. After a great national struggle, there is a desire to return to peace: the electorate will always reject those whom they associate with violence and death. Even heroes are not immune to this political callousness: see (if proof be needed) the democratic deposition of Churchill after victory in Europe in 1945. Excessive and unhelpful statements - which might have been useful propaganda in a time of national crisis - are not going to be valued in a newly freed country, especially if it wants lucrative trade deals and a good diplomatic relationship with its neighbour.
There is also a case that actions of terrorism would diminish immensely if this was to occur. Not only would would-be terrorists be constrained by a newly democratic government, but there would be no perverse justification for such attacks in the first place: if Israel is not the enemy, after all, then why bomb it?
But beyond national interest, Israel should just do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. I subscribe to an idea of common humanitarian internationalism - which holds that extending freedoms and liberties to others is a good thing in itself. Self-determination is not an abstract concept, and the application of this most sacred doctrine to such a contentious issue would be a great shot in the arm for all of those who value national sovereignty and stable, democratic, peace.
And this peace has been promised in various forms since in 1948, when both Israel and Palestine were created out of the ashes of the old British Mandate. But the plan for a two-state region from the outset never came off, and we have been lost in a limbo of violence, mutual recrimination and hatred. The only way to begin to reverse this disaster is to reinstate the second state.
There is also another interesting angle to all of this: if Israel did accept the need for the State of Palestine, then it would be following the views of Israeli citizens. Recent polling suggests that Israelis are generally in favour of a Palestinian state, one survey even suggests that they are more pro-Palestine than Americans!
It just makes sense. Israel would be rid of the oppressive weight of worldwide expectation and condemnation, Palestine would be free: the definition of a win-win situation. The creation of a Palestinian state would be a great milestone on the road to peace in the Middle East, a road which has been long and winding, and claimed many lives. The end is in sight, and the options are open. It only remains to be seen: will Israel fulfil the wishes of its citizens, aid the forces of democracy and self-determination across the world - and establish a Palestinian state of their very own?
This article originally appeared onTrending Central