Rachel Grenadier

Shovel Diplomacy

I think I have finally found the “two-state solution” concerning our relationship with the Palestinians. It involves no shuttling back and forth between the two groups with messages which are then quickly denied or rejected outright in the media. It will not lead to angry recriminations by the several political parties of these two groups and it will not lead to the break-up of the existing governments involved. It does not require the participants to commit anything in writing, nor will it take years to realize the dream of peace between the two adversaries. More importantly, it will not lead to further hostilities with changing demographics or administrations. One might say this is the perfect solution to all our travails on the long slog toward peaceful co-existence with our neighbors.

The only implement that will be required is not a pen; but rather, a shovel. Why a shovel, you might ask? The answer is directly under our feet. We will take this shovel and then dig down several layers of earth. Any artifacts, antiquities or physical evidence of any kind which indicates the historical linkage between the two parties in conflict and whatever is uncovered will mean that that particular group may lay legal claim to the ground above. No more waving around antiquated keys which allegedly belong to one’s domicile before 1948. No more claiming pastoral lands of other previously acknowledged nomadic peoples. No more bloodshed over who owns what hill. And no more renaming cities from antiquity with new names designed to pervert the shovel system. All parties will abide by the contents of the materials unearthed. Any rejection of such findings will be grounds for war. This also means that whichever party prevails in that war will become the sole and legitimate owner of the land in question. No more of the concept of “land for peace” and no retreat from lands taken once the hostilities end.

This shovel approach will mean that anyone caught stealing or altering or damaging or destroying artifacts dug out of the earth which prove ancient heritage will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This will also apply to anyone throwing another group’s proof of ancient existence down hills into valleys with the intention of hiding evidence of ownership. Likewise, the removal of ancient materials from the ground that leads to any form of subsidence or damage to the earth beneath any structures regarded as “holy” by whichever religion controls the land above will be treated the same as if artifacts from the location in question were stolen or destroyed. As for the surface of the land in dispute? If there are structures existing on it that pre-date other more recent structures, the historically correct approach to take is to acknowledge that those people are not the original inhabitants and either they pay appropriate compensation or they quit the land in question.

This brings us to the question of the oft-excavated eternal city of Jerusalem. The recent Supreme Court decision in Zivotofsky v. Kerry, (citations omitted) does not state that Jerusalem belongs to one group or another. This decision deals solely with the American President’s authority to control and regulate international affairs which is not relegated to the Congress. Once you get past the absurdity of having a leader in one country tell another country what they can and cannot do within their own borders, especially when one of those countries has been around since antiquity in one form or another and the other one hasn’t, you can see that this political football cannot be legitimately kicked around any longer. Forcing Israelis and Palestinians into final-status negotiations by holding the heads of the Israeli government hostage only, makes this entire practice suspect, if not downright illegal. Even Solomon wouldn’t divide his beloved city and give half of it away for “peace.” The absurdity of “peace at any price” has never been applied to Israeli with any modicum of success. In fact, every time land concessions are made by successive negotiating Israeli governments, terror groups have moved in to fill the void before the ink is even dry. It is well-meaning groups like the UN who had begun the stampede to corner Israel into doing what she cannot logically or legally do. No one ever mentions “two states for two peoples” without smirking. There are few Arab government representatives who do not admit to their own people that they have no interest in living side-by-side in peace with Jews. The road to hell is surely paved with good intentions.

Finally, a new RAND report tries to nudge Israelis and Palestinians into peace talks by highlighting the financial gains and losses of having peace vis-a-vis having no peace. This report in no way includes the impact of boycott, sanctions and divestment (BDS) practices which makes it a meaningless exercise in wishful thinking (like most attempts at wishful thinking). Here is a hypothetical scenario which is not all that far-fetched: suppose the EU bans all goods or produce from the State of Israel, not only that which emanates from the West Bank or “occupied territories?” But then the EU permits the import of goods and produce grown by Palestinians which used Israeli water and electricity and infrastructure in order to be created or grown. This makes the EU complicit in engaging in anti-Israel commerce. Who will step forward and remove the sanctions after this occurs? It is hard to put the genie back in the bottle once he has escaped.

About the Author
Rachel Grenadier was an olah from the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2003 who returned to the United States in 2015. She really wanted to stay in Israel, but decided that having family members nearby was better for her health than a bunch of devoted, but crazed, Israeli friends who kept telling her hummous would cure her terminal heart condition. She has her B.A. and M.A. from George Mason University in Virginia and is the author of two books: the autobiographical "Israeli Men and Other Disasters" and "Kishon: The Story of Israel's Naval Commandoes and their Fight for Justice". She is now living in Virginia with her three Israeli psychologically-challenged cats and yet, denies being a "hoarder".