Roger Cohen believes in two states; forgets to read background material

Posted: April 19, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Own Articles, Palestinians, Peace Process, Press and Media

NYT and HTI columnist Roger Cohen

NYT and HTI columnist Roger Cohen

In today’s NYT op-ed, Richard Cohen says he believes the two-state solution is best for Israel. At the very end of his article, we get to the ‘punch paragraph’:

That’s right. The population of Arabs in the Holy Land, at about 5.4 million, will one day overtake the number of Jews. So a two-state solution is essential to Israel’s survival as a Jewish state. Persisting in the 42-year-old occupation and the building of settlements gnaws at the very foundations of the Zionist dream.

It seems, though, that Cohen forgot to read enough news reports to back up his theory. The fact is, that Palestinians demand a Palestinian state and the right of return of Palestinian refugees from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and even Iraq – all into Israel. Yes, that means that after coming of Palestinian state, there would be another two million Palestinians inside Israel – one of 1967 or 1948 borders. This undoubtedly shows Palestinians refuse to live side-by-side with a Jewish state, and want Jewish-Arab state instead.

That is where we get to Cohen’s next point:

Netanyahu now wants Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, who have recognized Israel, to go further and recognize it as a Jewish state, even before he accepts a hypothetical Palestinian state. That is a sign of the Israeli angst occupation has institutionalized.

It appears that Cohen forgot something – many Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel altogether – no matter what borders it would have. Moreover, current Israeli Palestinians – Arabs holding Israeli passports – call for Israel to be a democratic state, instead of Jewish and democratic. Thus, we return to the point where the Arabs support two-state solution: Palestinians state, and a mixed Jewish-Arab state.

However, the subject of Cohen’s article is different: he says Israelis should stop being anxious of their neighbors, as “Israel has a “military force that is modern, highly trained and superior to the combined forces of all its potential adversaries.”” (Cohen takes the quote from former US President Jimmy Carter’s book – same Jimmy Carter who essentially blamed Israel for Israeli-Palestinian conflict in ‘Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid’).

It is very unfortunate, that Cohen does not understand the reason for the fear: yes, it is true that Israel has modern army. Yes, it is true that in case of war Israel would probably defeat its opponents. Yet, past several conflicts revealed to us that a small terror group could hold over million people hostage, hiding in bomb shelters for over a month. It is clear that bomber aircraft, taking off from Syria, would reach Tel Aviv within minutes – and could cause thousands of deaths. It is apparent, that in case of war, Jordan would be able to shell dozens of Israeli towns without even crossing the line. Finally, it is clear that although Palestinian suicide terrorism causes relatively little damage (‘only’ dozen or so killed), Israelis are tired of forcibly playing Russian roulette each time they board the bus. They are tired of having their friends and friends of friends killed and going to funerals several times a year. That is the reason for the fear – something Mr. Cohen never encountered, I guess. I assume, Mr. Cohen never had to board a Jerusalem bus in 2001 or 2002.

  1. […] Oh, you have already met him on these pages – the man who prefers Oz to facts; the man who will push for the two-state solution, even though Palestinian push for the two-states-for-one-people peace […]

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