08 April 2009

Assymetrical Peace

8 April 2009

Assyemtrical Peace

Problems with the Land-for-Peace Formula

Without a Palestinian recognition of the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders there is reason to fear that a Palestinian state will provide a base for whoever rules it to be used in conjunction with others as a springboard for further attempts to destroy Israel. The suspicion is that any Arab/Palestinian promise of peace would be a ploy to secure a better foundation for new assaults on Israel. 

Decades of conflict and the consequences of the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 has added weight to these misgivings. As a result, the fear is that the desired win-win solution becomes instead a double loss for Israel: a loss of land and a loss of peace. That is, instead of an exchange of land-for-peace the real exchange is land-for-more-rockets.

This is reinforced by a severe imbalance in the 'land-for-peace' formulation. In reality, the proposal is not an exchange of land for peace as claimed by its advocates but an exchange of land for a promise of peace. This means that the 2-state solution is not as reasonable, equitable or as symmetrical as claimed. Instead, the terms of the deal are asymmetrical: Israel gives up the concrete asset of land in exchange for a promise rather than for a reciprocal concrete asset. In practical terms the Israeli concession could prove very difficult to reverse. By contrast, it would be relatively easy for the Arab/Palestinians to renege on their promise of peace....