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Palestine, Contiguity and the Absolute Truth

I previously wrote of the manifestly false claims made by world leaders, and parroted as fact by the New York Times, that Israel’s permitting Jewish civilians to live in the area of Maaleh Admumim closest to Jerusalem cuts a potential Palestinian state in half. Some commentators went to far as to suggest I apologize to the New York Times. Instead, it is they who apologized – or rather corrected – their news pieces on the subject. Twice in three days.

Here is part of it: “the proposed development would not, technically, make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible.” I love the “technically,” as if people reading the Times do not think they are getting the “technical” truth but rather the “absolute truth,” as executive editor Jill Abramson memorably put it.

Of course, the putative Palestinian State would have odd borders. But so would Israel. If you make two states between the river and the sea, it is likely no one will be driving straight for long, but that has been clear since the General Assembly’s proposed partiton plan in 1947, which manifestly contemplated massive discontiguities all around. Indeed, lots of states are not contiguous, sometimes massively so, and get along fine. The U.S. is one, Israel 1949-67 was another. Belgium and Holland have a truly amazing number of extraterritorial enclaves and exclaves. It seems if nations have peaceable relations, some kinks in contiguity can be dealt with. If they are at each other’s throats, they could exacerbate tensions, and not be discontiguous for long (can anyone spell Nagorno-Karabakh? No seriously, can anyone spell it?). But since we are told that Israeli withdrawals from territory will create Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace, we can assume we are dealing with the former case. [...]

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