Quote of the Day: Jerusalem is like an AIDS Vaccine

[tweetmeme] Jeffrey Goldberg – who writes for The Atlantic – often expresses what Peter Beinart would call liberal Zionist views.  He understands the need for an independent Palestine, but wraps every event in a “existential-threat-to-Israel” kind of wrapping paper.  That being said, I usually agree with a lot of what he writes (though not all) and his most recent post strays little from the norm.

Goldberg writes that because Israeli withdrawals have historically (see: Lebanon, circa 2000; Gaza, circa 2005) been met with increased rocket fire towards Israel, the Israeli national psyche will refuse to pull out of the West Bank until Iran is neutralized (Goldberg assumes that Iran will be the main provider of weapons to the West Bank).  While there are massive differences between the situations in Lebanon and Gaza and the West Bank, Israel’s hesitation to withdraw will continue until there is a stable Palestinian unity government (preferably, for Israel, with no Hamas) and a decreased Iranian threat.  Indeed, the Israeli public has shifted considerably to the right in recent years, meaning that a third round of withdrawal is unlikely.

Thus, says Goldberg, talk of how to fix the Jerusalem problem is premature. akin to the non-existent AIDS vaccine:

Seventeen years after the inception of the Oslo peace process, the Israelis and the Palestinians — or at least the half of the Palestinian polity theoretically committed to peaceful compromise — are no longer speaking directly to each other. In other words, asking about the final disposition of Jerusalem right now is akin to asking how best to distribute the AIDS vaccine to the interior of the Congo. It’s a good and necessary question, but we should probably develop an AIDS vaccine first, and then worry about its delivery.

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