More than sixty years ago the Middle East map was redrawn by world leaders to create several new Arab States - TransJordan, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Saudi Arabia - and one Jewish one, Israel, from the land previously occupied by the defeated Ottoman Empire. The states of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen were born, but the remainder of the land was then to be divided into two additional states - yet another Arab one and the only Jewish one. Two States. The Arabs rejected the idea of this subdivision because they were, they are, theologically opposed to the existence of a Jewish State. But world leaders have continued, since the original and unending Arab rejection in 1947, trying to create two states.
The world has refused to take “no” for an answer, and the Arab intransigence -- and the search for something that will change it to a “yes” -- rather than quelling the quest for two states, has instead served to become the single Middle East focus for virtually the entire international community.
Today the Arab Palestinian leadership - something that didn’t exist until fewer than 50 years ago - claims to want a separate Palestinian State, but compromise remains a foreign language. The ardently pursued coquette keeps making demands, and having many of them met, but the leadership never moves forward on the Two State offer.
Consequently, more than sixty years since Israel’s creation, we have seen much bloodshed but have yet to witness this two state model in practice. Yet world leaders continue to act as if the original idea of two states is the essential goal despite Arab rejectionism, and as if anything else is an obstacle to peace.
But what if the obstacle to peace is the insistence on the creation of two states, and the goal, instead, should be something quite different? What if the goal was instead what it perhaps should have been to begin with, and the geopolitical configuration should be determined based on how best to achieve that attainable goal?
What we do know for sure is that the two state model has failed time after time. Given that certainty, Z STREET believes it is time for everyone to stop thinking about the people in the Middle East as aberrations, and instead start focusing on the obvious commonalities.
This means Rethinking the End Game. It’s time to stop talking about geopolitical constructs and start talking about actualizing human aspirations. Time to stop rewarding flawed leadership with promises of life-tenure, and time to start fostering human potential. What do we all really want for the inhabitants of the Middle East? At the end of the day, everyone wants to live safe, productive lives. They want to have the ability to read what they want, say what they want, work where they want, and go where they want. And they want access to good medical care, cutting-edge technology, first class educational opportunities and a vibrant economy.
Our goal at Z STREET is to put forth a viable model that ensures that the greatest number of people have access to all these rights and services while internalizing the importance of tolerance, mutual acceptance, pluralism and respect for the law. We place those goals in our analysis first - they are the end game - and then search for the political constructs, whatever they may be, most likely to achieve those ultimate goals.
Note: Articles listed under this section provide information on the current discourse concerning the Israeli - Arab Palestinian End Game. The views expressed in these articles are the views of the authors' and are not included here to represent the views of Z STREET.