Benny Morris is not optimistic

Sunday’s Washington Post contains a long article by Scott Wilson about “new historian” Benny Morris. Morris gained fame (or notoriety) by arguing that many Palestinians were deliberately expelled by Israel in the 1948 war. The article argues that Morris has moved to the right, and indeed includes remarks critical of Morris by extreme left-wing anti-Zionists Avi Shlaim and Ilan Pappé.

The article does a fair job of presenting Morris’ point of view, although I suggest that little weight should be given to the comments of Shlaim and Pappé. Indeed, I think that Morris’ basic outlook hasn’t changed much over the years, but rather he has become aware of some inescapable facts.

You should read the whole article, but here is how it ends:

“Two states is the only solution with an element of justice,” Morris says. “But there are two other realistic solutions — one is that the Jews will kick out all the Arabs across the river, and the other is that the Arabs will throw the Jews into the sea. I’m not sure one of them won’t happen.

“The problem that existed here in 1947 remains today — the Arabs don’t accept Israel’s presence,” Morris says. “A major switch in mind-set must occur for peace to come. That is the sine qua non of any peace agreement. All the rest — the road map, the peace process — is just footwork.” [my emphasis]

I couldn’t agree more.

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