Rational Evaluations vs. Fundamentalist Commitments
In the lead-up to national elections in Israel, I've been noticing a stark contrast in how various parties and people approach different issues. There are those who weigh up a desired goal against its drawbacks, and there are those for whom the desired goal is so important that they pursue it regardless of its drawbacks. I would describe the latter as making fundamentalist commitments instead of rational evaluations.
While once could doubtless provide many examples of this, the one that I am thinking of is the all-important issue of territorial concessions. I heard a somewhat leftist politician, whom I admire in many ways, talk about how it is utterly unacceptable for Israel to rule over the Palestinians without giving them a vote. It endangers the democratic principles that we value so dearly. Therefore, this must come to an end.
Now, I fully agree that ruling over people without giving them a vote is a very bad situation. I fully agree that it endangers the democratic principles that we value so dearly. However, I find it disturbing that this is not weighed against the alternative. After all, we also value our lives very dearly. So if creating a Palestinian state is going to endanger our lives, well, I'd rather endanger our democratic values.
There's a lot of this going on. The Left talks as though the Right is entirely unaware, or entirely disputes, the notion that Israel's governing of the Palestinians is a terrible situation. But that's generally not the case at all. Many people on the Right fully agree that it's a terrible situation. But that doesn't mean that the alternative is necessarily better!
In some cases, one sees that people's fundamentalist commitments mean that they pursue their goal even when its consequences negate the very goal that they are trying to achieve. For example, many people talk about how we must give the Palestinians a state in order to avoid international isolation and condemnation. Now, of course it is important to avoid international isolation and condemnation. But will giving the Palestinians a state actually achieve that? In the short run, perhaps. However, in the long term, it appears that it will not significantly reduce it. As we have seen in Gaza, there is no way that Israel can defend itself against missiles launched from civilian areas without incurring international condemnation. And at least some Palestinians will certainly be launching missiles from civilian areas. Thus, even if a Palestinian state is created, Israel will still suffer from international condemnation.
It's not rational to condemn the current situation, or the current government's handling of the current situation, unless you have a better alternative.
I will wrap up this post with a video interview of Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon Abbas Zaki, revealing the Palestinian's true intentions with the Two State solution: