Fondly waving goodbye to two-states

Israel Policy Forum gives one reason why there seems to be such a recent flurry of Obama administration-led rhetoric over the Middle East conflict:

According to Peace Now, in 2008 Jews represented 51.8 percent, and Palestinians 48.2 percent of those living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. By 2015, Peace Now says these figures will be reversed. Do the math–a few months into 2011, they will be equal in size.

These demographic concerns are what led former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to carry out the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, despite his long-time staunch support for the right-wing settlement movement.

It is not yet clear whether the current Israeli government–with the urging of the Obama administration–might undergo a similar transformation.

Writing in the conservative online magazine Commentary in May, Michael Oren, who was subsequently named Israel’s new Ambassador to the United States, wrote that the demographics issue represented an existential threat to the State of Israel:

“Israel, the Jewish State, is predicated on a decisive and stable Jewish majority of at least 70 percent. Any lower than that and Israel will have to decide between being a Jewish state and a democratic state. If it chooses democracy, then Israel as a Jewish state will cease to exist. If it remains officially Jewish, then the state will face an unprecedented level of international isolation, including sanctions, that might prove fatal.”

Analysts project that the end of efforts to reach a negotiated two-state solution as it has widely been understood would give rise to the concept of a bi-national state, which would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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