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June 15, 2009 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2009-06-15

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Monday, June 15, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


A kosher solution



When it comes to the
conflict, commen-
tary abounds on
the subject of
who is for and
against the idea
of a son-called
"two-state solu-
tion." President
Barack Obama -
is famously in MATTHEW
support of such GREEN
an agreement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu is almost as famously
opposed to it. Talking heads and
ideologues in both the western
and Muslim worlds argue the
point ad nauseum. They get caught
up in the argument and lose sight
of what really matters - how Pal-
estinians and Israelis actually feel
about it.
As reported by the Israeli news-
paper Haaretz, a recent study
conducted by the joint Israeli-Pal-
estinian pro-peace organization,
The OneVoice Movement, found
that 74 percent of Palestinians and
78 percent of Israelis favor a two-
state solution. By my rough calcu-
lation, this means that upward of
8.5 million people in the region
favor the idea of peace through
such means.
So what might happen if there
were a new sort of two-state solu-
tion, instead of a Jewish state and a
Palestinian state? What if one state
was for the 8.5 million people who
are optimistic about peace, while
the second was for the other guys to
duke it out amongthemselves. That
would throw the world for a loop.
The obviously bigger, more
forward-thinking state could call
itself "HolyLand" to cater to both
groups, while the other state could
call itself "SlowlyLand" - a tribute
to the mentality of its denizens.
HolyLand would attract millions
of tourists each year and invest in
the continued education and pro-
gressivism of its citizens, doing its
part to advance humanity. Slowly-
Land, however, mired in unending
civil war, would probably self-de-
struct. Or perhaps in close quar-
ters, SlowlyLanders might finally
realize that Israeli and Arab falafel
taste exactly the same.
Either way, after some amount of
time with this newstructure, those
who currently oppose a two-state
solution would no longer obstruct
the peace process. And at that time,
Arabs and Jews will have been liv-
ing side by side in HolyLand long
enough to know that the former

conflict was silly. Amen.
Call it infantile, trivial or
meshuggenah, but even this plan
makes a lot more sense than what-
ever Netanyahu has percolating in
his mind for the peace process.
Admittedly, just because people
like the way a two-state solution
sounds, they may be uncomfort-
able with letting their guard down
in the face of what they perceive as
terrorism or occupation. Moreover,
the OneVoice Movement's poll
didn't ask, "Would you mind living
next door to your historical ene-
mies or limiting the power of your
own cultural group in order to try
a new experiment for peace?" If it
had, the results probably wouldn't
bolster the partition of HolyLand
and SlowlyLand. Further, even
if there were two states in place,
immediate and unequivocal peace
wouldn't be expected.
Tired of war in
Israel? Avoid
But even if two-state supporters
on both sides don't ever aggregate
in a new sort of fantastical country,
they ought to try harder to make
their voices heard. If Netanyahu
is strategically holding out before
accepting two states at some point
in the future, he may accept the
solution sooner if there's enough
pressure from within Israel.
It's apparent that the first step
in attaining peace involves Jew-
ish and Arab acceptance of each
other's existence. Israel isn't
going anywhere, and neither are
the West Bank and Gaza. The only
logical thing to do is to make both
places kosher, so to speak, in the
minds of both Jews and Arabs by
creating two separate, acknowl-
edged states.
An accord seems timelier now
than ever before. Israelis and Pal-
estinians favor a two-state solu-
tion in unprecedented numbers,
and the international excitement
of the Obama presidency, particu-
larly in the Muslim world, could
be a launching pad for meaningful
negotiation. Hawks on both sides
need to realize the importance of
the two-state solution and under-
stand that now is the time to strike
the penultimate lasting deal.
- Matthew Green can be
reached at greenmat@umich.edu.

Have you baesn noticing al k
the orientation kids walking Why is it so easy to make fun Anyone who wears an
around? rf them? I mean, that was you M-Card lanyard around their
A and ejust a few years ago. neck deserves whatevtr
crumb-crunchuers! tsi 0Ltstihest
* b
{tat'C a D a1
'~j ~ :Q

Addicted to aid

n Friday and Saturday,
the Detroit Free Press
published two conflict-
ing articles
about Michi-
gan's future.
Saturday's arti-
cle discussed
the $2 billion
in capital the
federal govern-
ment recently PATRICK
announced ZABAWA
it will give to
Michigan com-
munities (Biden announces $2B
bond program for Michigan public,
private sectors, 06/13/2009). But
Friday's was concerned with quite
the opposite - the lack of capital
available to Michigan businesses
(Michigan venture capital is in
short supply, 06/12/2009). These
articles paint a good picture of the
state of Michigan's economy: fail-
ing to attract growth while keep-
ing afloat on government lifelines.
But this kind of economy can't be
sustained. Relying on government
aid will keep our state's economy
stagnant, destroying job opportu-
nities for all of the state's residents
- including its college graduates.
The Saturday article discussed
a new federal program announced
by Vice PresidentJoe Biden in Kal-
amazoo on Friday. It would back
$2 billion in bonds for local com-
munities in Michigan, adding to
the billions in federal financial aid
the state has already received since
the economic crisis began. Michi-
gan received $7 billion in federal
stimulus money this year. Two
of its biggest companies - Gen-
eral Motors and Chrysler - were
recently bailed out by the feds.
pouring into the state, firms are
somehow still having trouble get-
ting venture-capital money. The
Friday article quotes the Michi-
gan Venture Capital Association

as saying that over 300 companies
in the state are short on their ven-
ture-capital needs - by about $L3
billion in all.
The state's focus is clearly in the
wrong place.
There are many Michigan
residents who have realized this
and attempted to make the state
more attractive to businesses.
After at least 10 years of effort,
Michigan's Single Business Tax
was finally repealed by the state
legislature in 2007 - only to be
replaced by another business tax
that same year. Later in 2007, the
legislature added an additional
22-percent surcharge to this new
business tax.
Michigan's leaders haven't yet
gotten the message that business-
es are failing to invest in Michi-
gan. They continue to be obsessed
with the very aid that is preventing
business investment and growth
in the state.
Government aid isn't helping
Michigan residents in the first
place. Yes, many residents rely
on government aid for income
through unemployment benefits.
But they can only last so long. And
though the government increased
the length of the benefits, this
requires more taxes, creating an
even worse business climate in
the state.
Keeping the unemployed on
government aid so they'll be able
to feed themselves is a noble goal.
But it's also one that breeds more
unemployment. The unemployed
do not make any significant invest-
ments. They do not buy newhouses
or cars. Meanwhile, Detroit's auto-
makers' sales have nearly dropped
in half - resulting in more layoffs
in Michigan. And unemployment
aid doesn't do anything for recent
college graduates. Without having
ever had a full-time job, college
graduates are unable to receive a
temporary unemployment income

or join a health insurance plan for
laid-off workers.
Michigan needs a more busi-
ness-friendly environment so
those people can get jobs, not more
government aid. And the best way
to create this is to reduce the taxa-
tion businesses face.
depends on the
feds too much.
Without such a tax burden,
Michigan would be better able to
keep its businesses from moving
out of state and would look more
attractive to businesses that may
want to move here. It would allow
businesses here to keep more of
their own money and invest it in
their own expansion - contrib-
uting to Michigan's economy and
job growth.
Michiganworkers whoseunem-
ployment benefits have run out
and those who never held a full-
time job would all benefit from
policies that encourage Michigan
businesses to grow. And with the
new job opportunities, many of
the unemployed wouldn't need the
government aid provided to them.
As the economy continues to
weaken, Michigan lawmakers will
continue to facetough decisions on
the state's budget. Michigan vot-
ers, too, will have to make tough
decisions as they choose public
policies to endorse. Hopefully
they'll choose the path that leads
to economic growth in the state,
instead of one thatkeeps Michigan
residents out of work.
- Patrick Zabawa is the summer
associate editorial page editor. He can
be reached at pzabawa@umich.edu.

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