The Prospects for Peace in the Middle East

Neve Gordon at CCCC is "very pessimistic" about peace
Crowd forces talk to be moved to larger hall on campus

By Mary Wentworth for capecodtoday.com

On Wednesday, August 12th, an Israeli educator,author and political activist told an audience at Cape Cod Community Collegethat he is "very pessimistic" about peace coming to that area of the world anytime soon.

NeveGordon, a professor in the Department of Politics and Government at Ben GurionUniversity in Tel Aviv, outlined for an unexpectedly large audience (thelecture had to be moved to a larger hall) several options that could bringpeace if implemented, but concluded that the most likely scenario iscontinuation of the "status quo."

Predicts more Israeli settlements that already makes the West Bank may end with expulsion of Arabs

Thismeans the construction of more and more Israeli settlements that already makesthe West Bank look like a slice of Swiss cheese as Gordon demonstrated in hispower-point presentation. Since withdrawal of the settlers would be extremelyproblematic, it makes a two-state solution increasingly impossible. This"status quo" scenario may well end with the expulsion by force, or by means ofpowerful incentives, of the Palestinians from both Gaza and the West Bank.

Areporter might well ask, "Hasn't this been the objective of the Israelis allalong?"

Palestinian birthrate a major factor

Animportant factor in Israel's decision-making is the demographics. Since thegrowth of the Palestinian population both within Israel itself and in theterritories outnumbers the Israelis, the one state solution via a treaty seemselusive. It would offer to the Israelis two unpalatable choices - a democraticstate that does not have a Jewish majority or a Jewish state that is anapartheid one. Thus, the need for a state without Palestinians.

Why,Gordon asked rhetorically, would the Palestinians accept this? Gordon liststhree reasons: Palestinian men are unable to develop a viable economy, unableto grow food for their children, and cannot provide an education for them.

Palestinian men are unable to develop a viable economy, unable to grow food for their children, and cannot provide an education for them.

Time isclearly on the side of the Israelis unless Obama acts - which Gordon believesto be unlikely since conditions for the Palestinians have not improved underhis administration. The United States could make it clear to the veryconservative Israeli government that an agreement with the Palestinians wouldbe followed by rewards that would benefit the Israeli economy.

Butwithout coordinated international pressure led by the United States and Europeto force Israel to change course, the Palestinian people may well loseeverything in spite of their steadfast attachment to their land, theirresistance to the occupation, to having morality on their side, and to therebeing opposition in Israel to such an outcome.

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