Caroline B. Glick, The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East, New York: Crown Forum, 2014, 324 pp.
The Israeli Solution does not simply present another plan for ending the intractable conflict in the Middle East. It is a solid defense of Zionism that provides Israelis and Israel’s friends who, over the years, may have forgotten the basic goals of Zionism and the major facts of twentieth-century history. Moreover, the book by Caroline B. Glick, the well-known senior contributing editor of the Jerusalem Post, has a didactic structure which makes it a convincing and concise guide to the history of the Arab-Israel conflict.
The book is divided into three parts: The first consists of an analysis of the idea of the two-state solution. It presents a record of the continued attempts to leave the Jews with as little land as possible. In her historical account of the evolution of the conflict, Glick carefully introduces the major protagonists and follows the events that have led to the current impasse. She refrains from any contrived political correctness and raises issues such as the origins of Arab terrorism; the Nazi affiliation of Palestinian leaders; the absence of any Palestinian national claims even decades after the consolidation of the Zionist movements; and more recently, the corrupt and anti-democratic character of the Palestinian Authority. Glick also describes the Islamic world that basically denies any future possibility for true peace either with Israel or with the United States.
The second part of the book introduces the one-state solution. Glick points out that after the Six-Day War in 1967 Israelis preferred this option. Looking toward the future, she recalls life under the Israeli military government in Judea and Samaria. Indeed, several decades of Palestinian propaganda may have caused readers to forget that
Everyday life under Israeli military government undoubtedly provides more freedom and more economic opportunities, to Palestinians and Israelis alike. Israeli military control facilitates the terror-free environment that attracts investments and enables Palestinians to move freely between Israeli population centers and their homes…(116)
Likewise, Glick also notes pro-Israel integrationist trends among Israeli Arabs. She cites testimonies and introduces evidence of how some Arabs wish to serve in the Israel Defense Forces and to openly express their loyalty to Israel.1
This section also discusses the difficulties and the possible flaws of the one-state plan and the methods of overcoming objections. The latter include the so-called demographic threat, which is behind the desire of Israel’s leaders to divide the land. Glick argues that it is a part of Palestinian political warfare, which has met with success. Moreover, she exposes the demographic threat as a psychological campaign based upon fraud, which its initiators apply as a form of terror— statistical terror—against Israel. Noting the historical precedents of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, Glick points out how non-Jewish populations actually have preferred Israel’s governance and how, contrary to predictions and warnings, those areas are stable and secure because of Israel’s presence.
The third part of The Israeli Solution reviews possible reactions to the one-state plan on the part of the international community. Glick’s analysis of past events and present interests attempts to show how the international community eventually will accept the concept of Israel’s control over the historic Land of Israel.
The Israeli Solution is exceptional because, for several decades, a resolution discourse has developed in Israel, which may be described as follows: A retired general or colonel who may have participated in some of the negotiations with the Palestinians, perhaps as a coordinator of a particular committee, serves as the major discussant. His military experience imbues him with authority and he advocates dividing the land, placing sophisticated intelligence equipment on certain hilltops and allocating international peace-keeping forces in a given strategic area.
He does not serve in the Knesset, but he is confident that his ideas are correct because he has spent many years giving orders and reading maps. Therefore, such conflict resolution discourse contains sketches of new borders and technological equipment. His plans may include the future of the entire region. These retired generals divide the land into “theirs” and “ours,” according to the words of a popular Hebrew song.2 Eventually, the emerging political consensus supports the two-state solution.
Caroline Glick does not fit the stereotype of the conflict resolution discussant mentioned above. She convincingly argues that the Middle East peace process has led to increased violence and terrorism and has undermined Israel’s standing. Rather than adopting a military viewpoint, Glick refers to classical Zionist thinkers, such as Theodor Herzl, Ahad Ha’am, Chaim Weizmann and others. She debunks the hypothetical discussant’s formula for conflict resolution and courageously dismisses the two-state solution. This position is exceptional in an era when repartition of the Land of Israel is the common denominator for both American and Israeli politicians who do not wish to be condemned for sabotaging the chance for peace. While those with professional military background have been repeating the same, stale two-state mantra, Glick boldly proposes a new paradigm (or, in her words, an old/new paradigm).
The Israeli Solution has several drawbacks. Caroline Glick writes for an American audience. In the preface, she declares: “My objective is … to provide a reasonable starting point for a conversation … in America ….” (xxvi) Consequently, she seems to ignore the Israeli public. Likewise, the author concentrates on American political failures. For example, when she notes reality rejection syndrome as a bipartisan failure of both the Bush and the Obama administrations (249), she actually should have mentioned that, since the beginning of the 1993 Oslo process, some Israeli leaders also suffer from the same syndrome. Glick accurately describes the Palestinian legal jungle and the dire consequences of the corruption of the Palestinian Authority (144–154). The details in her description, however, have been known to the governments of Israel for some time. Like the Americans, Israeli leaders have preferred to ignore reality. Glick bravely brings that reality into focus. Perhaps, by writing about Israeli leaders, she may be endangering her status in some Israeli elite circles. Hence, she generally spares them from her critique, but blames their American counterparts.3 While she expresses what many others fear to acknowledge, and despite her meticulous scholarship, she humbly states that her objective is simply to present a framework for further discussion: “… to provide a reasoned starting point for a conversation that can lead to a rational and relevant debate…” (xxvi). In fact, such issues constituted part of the intense debates on Zionist strategies of an earlier era. The current situation in the Middle East would benefit by the renewal of such discussion in books such as The Israeli Solution.
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1 These testimonies certainly correspond with the statistical results of various longitudinal surveys. See, for example: Gabi Ben-Dor, Daphna Canetti, and Eyal Lewin, “The Social Component in National Resilience,” in: The Annual Herzliya Conference on National Resilience Impact (Haifa: Haifa University, 2009; 2010; 2011; 2012; 2013; 2014).
2 Yehonatan Geffen and David Broza, “It Will Be Good [Yihye Tov],” is a popular song written and sung during the 1978 peace talks with Egypt.
3 For reality rejection syndrome in Israel, see: Efraim Karsh, The Oslo War: An Anatomy of Self-Delusion (Ramat-Gan: BESA Center for Strategic Studies, 2003). For another analysis that counts cultural and ideological factors that distorted perceptions of reality of the Oslo peace process proponents, see: Efraim Karsh and Joel Fishman, La Guerre D’Oslo (Paris: Les Editions de Passy, 2005), 107–254. See also: Kenneth Levin, The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People under Siege (Manchester: Smith & Kraus, 2005). Levin presents the entire course of the peace process and Israel’s dogged adherence to its obligations as the greatest self-inflicted wound of political history, arguing that Israeli leaders hallucinated that there was moderation in a murderous enemy. For another analysis in the same spirit, see: Ofira Seliktar, Doomed to Failure? The Politics and Intelligence of the Oslo Peace Process (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2009). Seliktar questions the ability of Israeli leaders on all levels to assess the motives of the Palestinian negotiators correctly. The phenomenon of reality rejection is also discussed in the context of an entire civil religion of war-denial, in: Eyal Lewin, “The Clash of Civil Religions: A Paradigm for Understanding Israeli Politics,” Jewish Political Studies Review, 25, 1 & 2 (Spring, 2013), 72–92.