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Palestine: Securing a just outcome

As the hopes for some sort of Middle East conference in November recede, all signs point to the Israelis having no real intention to engage in, let alone agree to, a meaningful resolution of the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Only today Israeli PM Olmert is reported on JTA as saying:

"A final Israeli-Palestinian peace accord could be a generation away, Ehud Olmert said.

The Israeli prime minister, appearing Monday before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, reiterated his stand that a permament settlement with the Palestinians would require Israel quit much of the West Bank.

But Olmert also said he agreed with Israelis who saw such a deal being as many as 20 or 30 years away from completion."

The Christian Science Monitor puts the position - in a piece "Palestine: Democracy not Zionism" - which must be explored in the following terms:

"With some sort of "meeting" or "conference" to kick start the peace process now being touted by the Bush administration, there is at least the appearance of an understanding in Washington of the importance for the region and the world of solving the "Palestinian problem."

However, if this problem is ever to be solved, it must be redefined. Those who truly seek justice and peace in the Middle East must dare to speak openly and honestly of the "Zionism problem" – and then to draw the moral, ethical, and practical conclusions that follow."

And:

"Just as marriage is vastly less complicated than divorce, democracy is vastly less complicated than partition. A democratic post-Zionist solution would not require any borders to be agreed, any division of Jerusalem, anyone to move from his current home, or any assets to be evaluated and apportioned. Full rights of citizenship would simply be extended to all the surviving natives still living in the country, as happened in the United States in the early 20th century and in South Africa in the late 20th century.

The obstacle to such a simple – and morally unimpeachable – solution is, of course, intellectual and psychological. Traumatized by the Holocaust and perceived insecurity as a Jewish island in an Arab sea, Israelis have immense psychological problems in coming to grips with the practical impossibility of sustaining forever what most of mankind views as a racial-supremacist, settler-colonial regime founded upon the ethnic cleansing of an indigenous population."

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