A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more remote than ever, with the risk of generations of violence and radicalism unless leaders act, the United Nations' most senior official in the region said on Wednesday.Is there any other place in the world where the granting of statehood to a group is considered critical to reduce "violence and radicalism" for generations to come?
In his first public comments since the publication on July 1 of a report by the Quartet of Middle East mediators, the U.N.'s special coordinator for the region, Nickolay Mladenov, said the situation was approaching a point of no return.
"(The two-state solution) is perhaps the furthest away it's ever been, and in fact it is really worse than that -- it is slipping away as we speak," he told Reuters in an interview, citing Israeli settlement building and Palestinian violence and incitement as among the most troubling obstacles.
"It's time for the international community and the leadership on both sides to wake up."
"The only alternative (to a two-state solution) that I see is perpetual violence here in Israel and Palestine and entangling this conflict into the broader problems of the region," he said, adding it would be akin to "writing a blank cheque to violence and radicalism" for generations to come.
There are many people who want their own states, from Inner Mongolia to the Basque region to Papua, from the Kurds to the Flemish. But no one is saying that their demands for independence is necessary to stop violence and terrorism for generations.
Palestinian Arab nationalism, alone among all the independence and freedom movements of the world, is linked closely to the existence of regional terrorism in the minds of EU and UN officials.
That seems to be what Mladenov is saying. Not to pick on him specifically: compared to other UN officials, he seems far more fair and reasonable. But the theme that violence will be reduced or eliminated if a Palestinian state is established creates the linkage between Palestinians not getting what they want and terrorism, a linkage that simply does not exist (or is much more muted) with every single other movement of national liberation.
There are only two possibilities if you accept this linkage: Either Palestinians are naturally prone to violence, or violent groups (like ISIS) will use Palestinian nationalism as an excuse for their terror.
If the first is true, then the entire world that accepts this reasoning is bigoted against Palestinians. The Arab League, Western Europe, the UN, the US - all of them either embrace this linkage or tacitly accept as obvious that violence is a natural reaction to lack of a full Palestinian state beyond the autonomy that they have been enjoying for two decades.
If the second is true, then the world is amazingly naive to think that terrorists can be succored by the existence of a Palestinian state side by side with Israel. And if this is true then one would expect that the logical reaction to ISIS terrorism would be to give them a state directly, not to make the bizarre assumption that they would stop their terrorism in Iraq and Syria because Palestine gets recognition hundreds of miles away.
Wouldn't that be rewarding terror? Well, of course, but how is creating an ISIS state different than creating a Palestinian state under the assumption that it will reduce terror in the region? Either way, the logic goes that terror will continue until a state gets created.
The linkage argument can only be described as bigoted, or stupid and inconsistent.
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.