This modified version of unilateralism will no doubt be unsatisfying to many supporters of Israel. It places a huge burden on the state in terms of resettling tens of thousands of people without producing true peace. But Zionism has reached a point where the traditional left and right ideologies have failed to produce realistic strategic options and where continued inaction will lead to the end of Israel as we know it. A unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank—which denies the Palestinians a veto on Israel’s future—is the only realistic method of resolving the Jewish state’s strategic dilemma.
Under the suggested paradigm, the security Israelis deserve will be preserved while the threat posed by the one-state solution will be abjured. Some conflict will continue, but it will be the type of conflict that Israel knows how to manage. And without Jewish settlers confiscating land, torching mosques and carving up the West Bank with Jewish-only bypass roads, much of the justified moral consternation over Israel’s colonial enterprise there will evaporate.
One day, if and when Israelis and Palestinians both learn to truly accept each other and the fact that they are destined to share this land together in perpetuity, peace may be achieved. Until then, modified unilateralism, while not ideal, is the best course to pursue.
Rafael D. Frankel is a former Middle East correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and The Boston Globe and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Georgetown University. You can follow him on Twitter @rafaeldfrankel or on the web at www.rafaeldfrankel.com.
Image: Jamie Lynn Ross