Last updated on: 9/23/2015 | Author:

Robert Silverberg Biography

Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Is a Two-State Solution (Israel and Palestine) an Acceptable Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?"

“More enlightened planning in 1918 could have brought forth a binational Palestine capable of sustaining several million Zionists in the midst of the Arabs. But the conflicting imperialisms of Great Britain and France doomed that hope. It might yet have been possible to evolve some kind of shared Palestine, or else some peaceful and equitable partition, but for the alternating and sometimes simultaneous intransigencies of the Arabs and the Zionists. Eventually a point was reached where emotions prevailed over logic, and the Palestinian problem was settled by force of arms. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled their homes and could not return.

Even after 1948 a kind of peace was available. The Arab leaders could have swallowed their bitterness, accepted Israel’s existence as a fait accompli, and come to terms of some sort with the Zionist state. (The 8,000 square miles occupied by the state of Israel are not at all vital to Arab interests, and the Arab refugees from Palestine--now numbering more than a million--could easily have been absorbed into the neighboring lands.) Despite its oil, the Arab world is not so wealthy that it can afford to squander resources on perpetual warfare; with Israel’s aid, the whole Near East might now be enjoying an economic renaissance.

But the Arab nations, themselves emerging from colonial subjection, could not make peace with Israel. For political reasons of their own, they needed an external enemy. Loathing for Israel serves to distract the Arabs from their own poverty and from the incompetence, corruption, and pettiness of their leaders. Israel is a convenient symbol by which the Arab rulers hold the support of the masses; anti-Zionism is an abstract crusade in the Arab world, kept alive for political purposes.”

If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem: American Jews and the State of Israel, 1970

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Robert Silverberg spent two years researching a book in Israel and the United States where he interviewed many of the participants. A professional writer since 1955, Mr. Silverberg is the author of a number of books on scientific and historical subjects.
  • BA, Comparative Literature, Columbia University, 1956
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