There are some serious people in this government, people whom I consider to be relatively intelligent. People like Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who, no matter what one thinks of their politics, one cannot get away from the fact that they are, in fact, intelligent, rational people.
And this is what worries me: that these clever people have recently articulated what has for a very long time been only whispered in the circles of the religious, irrational right in Israel:
There is no solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and we should stop looking for one. Not everything in this world can be solved, and what is necessary from the Jews is patience. We’ve done pretty well so far; think of where we were a hundred years ago and where we are now. We need patience.
Patience for what exactly? I’m not sure, and neither are they. Perhaps for the world [and the Arabs] to come to terms with the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland. How long will that take? A few more generations? Who knows?
Patience, perhaps, for the Middle East to become undone [undo the Sykes-Picot borders formulation] and then, maybe, a new geographical dispensation will present itself. How long will that take? Probably not that long, it is already happening in Iraq, Syria, and between Gaza and Ramallah. Patience.
Patience, perhaps, for the natural growth of Jews in Judea and Samaria to become irreversible; a fact on all of the ground.
There are no good solutions, only painful ones; everyone knows that, right?
People like Ya’alon, and others in the government have recently started to rail against what they call Solutionism – trying to find a solution to problems that have no solution.
Moshe Ya’alon referred to this kind of thinking as “the disease of solutionism,” a sort of delusion that if we repeated the word “solution” without ceasing, we would come to believe it.
I’ll give you an example:
When you tell them that the creation of a Palestinian state is a “two state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they point out that this is not a solution because the Palestinians will never truly accept the presence and sovereignty of a Jewish state here. Also, we left Gaza and got terror, so we can’t leave the West Bank because a terror state will arise there.
So then you say to them: OK then, that just leaves the “one-state, binational solution.” And they say that’s no real solution either because the Jews might be a demographic minority there and anyway, the world won’t let that kind of state stand for very long. So that’s not a solution either.
So, what’s the solution then, you ask them?
And that’s when it comes: There is no solution. Why do you keep on saying that we need a solution? And what’s the problem with not having a solution? Why does everything have to have a solution?
No solution applies? Not one state, two states, three states, no states?
No, those are all solutions. Only non-solutions apply.
And I just stare at them and don’t know what to say. I go back to my Kafka books.