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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace

Op-ed: Two states still best idea

The Jewish Chronicle

January 30, 2009

By Allan Abrams

In last week’s Jewish Chronicle, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback wrote nearly a full-page op-ed (reprinted from The Jerusalem Post), "Trash the two-state ‘solution’ for a better one."

The senator’s entire argument is in the title of his article. But with all due respect, and notwithstanding his years of experience, including on the Foreign Relations Committee, the two-state "solution" is still the best option for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Brownback expends the first 70 percent of his article repeating what we all know, that the two-state solution has not yet worked, before he gets to his supposedly better idea -- that some sort of confederation with the Jordanians and/or Egyptians would better serve the Palestinians than an independent Palestinian state.

Even if "a growing number of Palestinians . . . support the idea of confederation over independence," as he states, the significant majority still would clearly prefer having their own independent state.

But his last paragraph is most telling: while it may be true that "the obstacle to pursuing (some sort of confederation with Jordan and/or Egypt) comes from ... our own foreign policy establishment" the same charge is equally applicable to the "obstacle" of pursuing the "two-state solution," which the Palestinians prefer in any event.

While over the last eight years we’ve heard numerous assurances from the very recently retired administration that it would pursue the two-state solution, it has been clear that there was no real commitment to do so.

President Obama is dramatically different. He has placed resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict near the very top of his "to-do" list. The appointment of former Sen. Mitchell as special envoy by the president the day following his inauguration is clear proof of this commitment. Mitchell has a proven track record in such matters and must be given the opportunity to show his skills.

Allan Abrams, Prairie Village, Kan.

 

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