Norman Geras has responded to my recent post wondering about the consequences of a unilateral Israeli pullout from the West Bank and Gaza. I take his point about a withdrawal putting Israel in a stronger moral position (at least among those concerned about morality). And I agree with him about the disastrous decision to build settlements in the territories captured in 1967. But what I fear is that Palestinians would see a withdrawal as a victory of the intifada– as a sign of Israeli weakness to be exploited. (This, after all, is how many of them saw Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon– as necessary as that was.) On top of this add unresolved grievances– like the “right of return”– and potentially you’ve got an even more combustible situation than exists now.
For Israel there’s a depressing lack of good options.