The New York Times Magazine has afforded Bernard Avishai a number of pages in its forthcoming issue to try and resuscitate two-state solution ideas of three years ago (“A Plan for Peace That Could Still Be”). It includes this throwaway line:
[Then-Israeli PM Ehud] Olmert produced a map of 6.3 percent [of the West Bank colonized by Israel], suggesting that for the percentage of Palestine Israel would annex, it would compensate Palestine with 5.8 percent, plus a 25-mile tunnel that would run under Israel from the South Hebron Hills to Gaza.
My mind reeled when I read this. Can a person really offer such an idea in good conscience as a concession to the Palestinians? I’m not phobic, but the idea of traveling 25 miles under the desert to see my grandmother– wow! And let us be clear, this is all a form of gerrymandering; so that privileged people get to hold on to their Jewish democracy while the fragmented parts of Palestine are somehow unified.
Notice that the tunnel is put forward as a form of “compensation” for the land Israel is stealing from the Palestinians. Would you take a basement as compensation for a mansion? Now and then I drive the Holland Tunnel. I look forward to it ending, after 3 miles or so.
According to Google, a couple of tunnels in the world are longer than the proposed Gaza tunnel. They cost huge amounts of money and lives. And those tunnels at least have an excuse; they’re going under seas and mountains. The longest one took 60 years to build. The New York Times tunnel would be a huge expenditure of civil engineering, and a massive contribution to global warming, too, and huge waste of water too, think of all the concrete involved– to escape what?
For segregation purposes, so that Israelis don’t even see the Palestinian cars. How sad that the Times puts this forward as an ameliorative proposal for a people denied rights for 44 years.