Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tony Blair: There Will Be A Big Fight

I've come across this idea before:
"The alternative to a two-state solution is a one-state solution. If there is a one-state solution there is going to be a big fight," said Blair, the representative of the Quartet of international mediators in the Middle East.

The idea that "a big fight" necessarily follows from the proposition that there will not be a specifically Jewish state in Palestine.

I think this idea is wrong. I cannot envision how this "big fight" is supposed to happen. I'm also intrigues by the question of why Tony Blair would believe this, or why he would say it if he does not believe it.

I can only imagine that the idea is that there is a threat that Israel is to be forced to incorporate the territory and populations of the occupied territories, that Israel will expel the Palestinians to Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and/or Syria, which would cause a war somewhere.

I can't think of anyone anywhere that I expect to support another Israeli expulsion of Arabs now or in the future. The United States would be the most supportive, but expulsion for ethnic reasons? That violently goes against the US' claimed ideals. It is comparable to US actions with respect to the Native Americans, but those actions are universally in the US looked upon with disdain. It is doubtful that the US would support similar action today, especially overseas.

Of course, Israel's neighbors would oppose such a step. I guess this is where the war supposedly would come from. Israel would not be in a position to "win" the war, by effectively driving the Arabs out without a lot of outside support. Israel's leadership would take the level of outside support into account in the decision to make such an attempt. The question really is would Israel's decision makers believe the necessary Western support would be forthcoming. I'll repeat that I doubt it.

So does Tony Blair believe Israel's leaders would expect Western support in expelling Palestinians?

My best guess is that he hasn't thought it through. I'm sure he would never say in public that he would support an expulsion because that would be in such violent opposition to the ideals of the people he represents.

A more correct statement by Blair may have been: "If two states fails, there may be a big fight if Israel expects that it can expel Arabs with at least tacit Western support."

Could Israel expect at least tacit Western support for an expulsion? I very strongly doubt it. In which case the alternative to two states is actually a relatively peaceful transition to a negotiated one state settlement.


Ziad said...

I hope you're right about that. I'm not as sure. Keep in mind Israel wll never publicly announce a policy of outright expulsion. A more likely scenario would be the destabilization of Jordan, for example, where independent guerrillas flourish after the central government collapses. They will conduct "terror" attacks on Israel, which will trigger 'retaliation' and so on. The west has always supported such actions. In the confusion, Palestinians in the West Bank find themselves moving into Jordan. Either by force or because Israel makes life unbearable.

Such a scenario is not a guaranteed success. It has several risks from Israel's POV but I suspect they will try it before agreeing to any one state solution where they are not master.

This will not be like the end of Apartheid or the collapse of the Soviet Union.

From the Arab side, to prevent this they will simply have to have the military means to make such a program too costly for Israel. Hizbollah has demonstrated great capabilities, but Jordan has not.

Under Mubarak, the elder or younger, Egypt will be a bystander.

A truly nuclear Iran does change the equation though, which is why they oppose it tooth and nail.

Arnold Evans said...

That plan doesn't strike me that it could work at all for Israel.

Once Jordan falls, either the Saudis or Iran are going to begin organizing it into a far more effective enemy of Israel than Jordan is now.

As of right now, Israel's IDF is known not to be able to hold hostile territory, and an expanded Israeli occupation, now into Jordan would do nothing good for Israel that I can see, but would cause more international approbation for Israel.

Moving West Bank Palestinians to a hostile Jordan would be just as difficult politically as moving them to a friendly Jordan, if not more difficult. Either way, a hostile Jordan nearly renders Israel non-viable by itself.

I really don't see a way for Israel to expel millions more Palestinians because of their ethnicity without becoming a pariah nation, and Israel cannot survive as a pariah nation.

Israel's plan at this point, from what I read, seems to be to convince the West to stop supporting the Palestinians so that through starvation especially, the Arab population growth rate slows and maybe decades or centuries from now the population will have been reduced enough that there is no longer a demographic threat.

Israel's backup plan is to survive for now, and leave long-term survival to future generations. Every year Israel squeezes out as a Jewish state counts to Israel's friends as a good thing.

gc said...

Given that Israel has a large nuclear arsenal, why cannot Israel survive as a pariah nation?

lidia said...

Israel depends on the outside help. Without it, the majority of Zionist Jews simply would not stay there. They would leave.

George Carty said...

Yes, but doesn't that make it more likely that the fanatic ultra-Zionists (who'd be the ones staying behind) will actually launch their nukes at the Muslim world (and perhaps Europe too) in order to go out in a blaze of glory?

The racist White South Africans couldn't do anything similar, as their aircraft-delivered nukes could be intercepted (unlike Israel's ballistic missiles), and the Soviets didn't do it in 1991 because they didn't equate defeat with extermination.

Lysander said...

George, I think that's a legitimate point and its referred to as the "Samson Option." Israeli historian Martin Van Crevald talks about it in more detail.

And I've always wondered if Europe and the US are in a way enslaved by the monster they helped create.

That said, the first step in defeating Zionism is prevent it from growing. Regional powers need to develop the means to repel or deter Israeli attacks on their territory.

Once it is clear that Zionism is unable to grow, it will start to shrink. Once it is clear that they cannot use military means ti impose their will on their neighbors, everyone's calculations will change. This can happen even with continued US/EU support.