Critique of Israel/Palestinian reunification

Porphyrogenitus has a thoughtful, if somewhat harsh, assessment of my response to Den Beste and subsequent post on the reunification of Israel and Palestine.

I'd like to point out that he emailed me about this weeks ago and I have been dreadfully remiss in putting the link up. Also, I'd like to note that my post referenced above was written as a quick reply to the traffic sent my way from USS Clueless, so my ideas on the topic are not robust yet. But I am working on it. I'll try to post a point-by-point reply to Porph. later but I just need to acknowledge his (her?) comments first, especially since his critique essentially implies a degree of racism/anti-Semitism on my part.

Porphyrogenitus was kind enough to write to me and offerred some additional comments on the issue of reunification, focusing mainly on the issue of trust between the two peoples (which I have acknowledged will be a major obstacle):

: In addition to the current - well, dislike - there's going to be the question of who's institutional traditions will predominate (even in a federation, there's going to be a over-arching federal structure that sets a certain tone). Take the EU as an example, too; beyond the past-European-conflict thing (which I mentioned), it has taken a *long* time to settle "commonality" standards, gradual integration has progressed which hasn't finished yet even, almost fifty years later. And most of the European population's attitudes towards these things are still, well, mixed at best). The political, governmental, and economic traditions here are, if anything, even more different.

Also, one of the main reasons IMO an idea like this won't gain much traction even in the third-or-so of Israel's population that would dearly love anything that would create peace now is that; well, lets face it - with this plan, if it doesn't work, the Palestinians don't risk anything (the worst that would happen is they're back to the status quo, which is bad, but it doesn't represent a loss in political position for them - and does buy time, which
many think is on their side); if it doesn't work out, though, then from the point of view of Israeli Jews, they'll likely have given up a lot and rendered their position untenable - military and policing forces will have been shared (or, even worse, if the country is made into a demilitarized country, well they'll be disarmed in a region surrounded by Arabs who will take the side of the Palestinians - again, if it doesn't work out and conflict renews); the chance of it working, IMO, even an optimistic percentage, is at best 60-40. The downside risk for one side is very disproportionate, IMO.

(emphasis mine). His main point comes down to two things, essentially: how do you stitch two such separate things together, and why shoudl the Israeilis have all the burden? My answer to question 1 is that its been done before - look at South Africa. But thats not my only response, I'll post more in response to athat later. The other issue of question 2 is in my opinion missing the point. I don't see this as one-sided at all, in fact I think that the Palestinians stand to lose the most. I will have to explain my opinion on that later also, though.

Interestingly, Muamar Kadafy (spelling?) of Libyan-dictator-turned-African-visionary fame, has proposed a similar reunification plan (as noted by Porphyrogenitus). Porph. wryly questions "advantage, Blogsphere?" which would be cool, admittedly, but the idea of reunification has been floating out there as far back as 1948. So I can't take credit for inspiring any Libyans recently :)

UPDATE 071802

Dan Hartung comments on the spelling.

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