A few days ago Obama gave a little speech where, among other things, he told Israel that a good starting point for talking peace is returning to their legal, pre-1967 borders with land swaps to address both sides’ security issues and Hamas recognizing Israel. Naturally the right wing went apeshit because… I’m not sure why, actually. I mean, it wasn’t a departure from what Clinton and at least the previous Bush said. It’s just that it was Obama saying it. For a very good analysis, check this from Sully.
For the record, I fully agree with this stance. Israel has, for too long, gotten whatever they wanted to get because… I’m not really sure why, actually. Yes, it’s a democracy, but so what? We support, have supported and will continue to support nasty dictatorships in the region, so clearly that’s not why. I think it all dates back to the Cold War, actually. But anyhow, Israel has been far from a great ally and has seemingly gone out of their way in the last few years to avoid any chances of peace. Yes, Hamas and other groups don’t help, but we expect them to behave badly. We don’t expect that of Israel.
For there to be a permanent, fair peace in the area, Israel is going to have to make compromises. They need to stop building settlements everywhere. They need to stop treating Palestinians the way the Nazis treated Jews. They need to stop retaliating to every provocation in massively out-of-proportion ways. They need to let Palestine go their own way. They need to do a lot of land-swapping with the 1967 borders as a starting point. Ideally they should return their capital to the legally mandated location of Tel Aviv, but I don’t expect that to happen.
On the other side, Hamas needs to recognize Israel’s right to exist. The various extremist groups need to stop attacking Israeli settlements.They also need to be willing to make compromises on land and accept that they won’t get everything they want. On the other hand, at the end of the day they could end up with their own country again, and that’s pretty important.
Ultimately both sides need to grow the fuck up. They both need to stop acting like they’re the only ones entitled to that land. It’s stupid and wrong and doesn’t do anything to solve the problem. Extremists on both sides need to be ignored and then hopefully progress can be made.