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Israel/Palestine: One state or two?

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 10:34:11 AM EST

President Bush has made the achievement of a "two state" solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the key objective of the remainder of his regime.  The two state solution is also the consensus position of most of the international community.  Apparently no one wants to deny Palestinians their place in the sun as a member of the international community of nations, but is that really what is on offer?

I want to present an alternative thesis - one that has gotten me into more trouble as a blogger than any other subject that I have ever commented on.  Perhaps I have gotten this all wrong, but in my view it is far, far, too late for ANY sustainable or viable Palestinian state to be created.  Creating a separate state for Palestinians now would be far more akin to creating a homeland in the old Apartheid state of South Africa - a series of disconnected, disjointed territories, pock marked by Israeli only settlements, criss-crossed by "Israeli secured" roads, surrounded by security walls and fences, with few resources or industries of their own, many essential resources like water controlled by Israel,  and with no hope of any sustainable autonomous economic viability, social harmony, or political stability.  

Worse, the creation of an "independent Palestine" out of the remaining non-Israeli controlled scraps of Palestine, will enable Israel and surrounding states to expel Palestinians out of their refugee camps and societies and dump them in what have already been described as the largest open air prison camps in the world.

So what is the alternative?  Please read on, and please don't shoot the messenger...


My heresy has been to suggest that the original UN mandated partition of Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian homelands has been irreparably broken by the wars, occupations, settlements, and Intifada which have taken place since.  Instead, I have proposed a single state for all Israeli and Palestinian citizens, taking in the entire land area currently making up Israel and Palestine, and incorporating it into a pluralist multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-party, secular democratic state and with constitutional human rights guarantees for all citizens and minorities within.  

The obvious model for this solution is post-Apartheid South Africa, where an attempt to create a racially segregated multi-state solution has been successfully replaced by a single state for all races and religions within.  Indeed almost any modern multi-cultural democracy can be taken as a model:  It is the attempt to create a state structure demarcated on almost purely racial/religious grounds which is unique and anomalous amongst modern advanced democracies.

Some have accused me of blatant anti-Semitism and an attempt to destroy the Jewish homeland and only "functioning democracy" in the Middle East.  Many more have accused me of an almost complete lack of political realism.  The hatred between Moslems and Jews is said to be ancient and absolute.  Jews have been almost completely "ethnically cleansed" from all Islamic states.  Any attempt to "force" Jews and Palestinians to live side by side in the same state is simply a recipe for ongoing political instability, economic decline, terrorism, and most probably, civil war:  Best to keep the two peoples apart in their own states is the conventional wisdom.

That would be all very well if that was actually what was being proposed.  However the UN mandated borders between the two have long been breached, and there is no possibility of the extensive Jewish settlements throughout the West Bank being dismantled or handed over to Palestinians moving in from refugee camps in Lebanon or Jordan.  Neither is Israel likely to hand back East Jerusalem (Making Jerusalem an international city, as per the UN Mandate) or the Golan Heights to Syria unless there is a comprehensive settlement in the region.

I do not want to get into the long history of the larger middle- eastern and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts here, because those conflicts have been so bitter and sustained, and it is unlikely that any lasting solution can be arrived at from any blame games or "allocation of guilt" arising out of those conflicts.  Palestinians and their supporters will always argue that they were in the vast majority in the whole of Palestine since time immemorial, and that British and UN attempts to partition the territory in order to provide a homeland for Jews post World War II was a blatant piece of imperialistic geo-engineering.  Certainly, they have a case:  Jews made up less that 10% of the total population of Palestine as recently as 1920, and only made up c. 33% of the population at the time of Israeli independence in 1948.  

Israelis, and especially Zionists, will argue that the selection of 1920 or 1948 is entirely arbitrary and is in any case partly a consequence of previous wars and civil conflicts, that there has always been a significant Jewish presence in the region going back to biblical times, and that Jews have as much an entitlement to have their own Homeland as anyone else.  They further argue that many Palestinians are no more native to the region than they are, and that there had been significant Palestinian migration into the region as well.  In this Israeli view (and there are many!) any prospect of Jewish/Palestinian rapprochement was destroyed by poor communal relations prior to 1948, the 1948, 1967, and 1973 wars, and by the Intifadas since.

The neutrals amongst us might argue, that going back on the "Two Sate solution" mandated by the UN in 1948 would be to legitimise the spoils of war that Israel has gained and the occupations and settlements that has taken place ever since.  I cannot refute that argument, in any moral sense, except to note that national boundaries have often been a consequence of the outcome of war.  The critical issue is the treatment of the defeated within the context of those outcomes.

Israel now lives in relative peace and harmony with a significant 20% Palestinian minority in its midst who have done nothing to suggest subversive tendencies, despite being economically and political disadvantaged by their minority position.  Formally incorporating East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza into a greater "Israeli-Palestinian state" would create a c. 50:50 split in the ethnic mix and might obviously be much more difficult to manage in a stable way.  However both Israeli and Palestinian political cultures are fractured on many lines, and it is very unlikely than any exclusively Jewish or Palestinian party would achieve political hegemony.  

Far more likely would be a series of coalition governments made up of more moderate elements and parties with predominantly Jewish or Palestinian bases.  In due course, genuinely multi-racial, secular and politically moderate political parties could well achieve dominance.  The chances of an exclusively Zionist or Islamist Government taking office could in any case be constitutionally barred by a Northern Ireland type power sharing arrangement where both communities have to be represented in Government.

Whatever about the problems of managing a polity with an approximately 50:50 ethnic split, there is no doubt that the economy would continue to be dominated by Israeli interests, much as the South African economy is still dominated by white interests even many years after the ending of Apartheid.  Palestinians have very little economic muscle at present despite many years of significant EU and Arab support and the costs of entry, skill deficits, and lack of critical mass for Palestinian enterprises would ensure that continues to be the case for many years regardless of the political settlement reached.  In due course, many businesses would become genuinely non-racial in any case.

What of the larger context of the Middle East?  Why would the Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, |Saudi Arabia and Egypt go along with such a settlement?  In the first place, the Arab league have often made conciliatory proposals including the recognition of Israel as part of any settlement.  Secondly the presence of Palestinian refugee camps in the Lebanon and Jordan are destabilising for those polities as well.  Israeli fears of being swamped by such refugees could be addressed by Lebanon, Jordan and Syria agreeing to settle most of those refugees permanently within their societies in return for the return of the Golan Heights and Sheba Farms areas to Syria and the Lebanon as part of the settlement.

So who gains and who loses by a single state as opposed to a two state resolution of the conflict?  Firstly both Zionist and Islamic extremists lose out on their dreams of an exclusively Jewish Homeland, and of "Israel being driven into the sea" respectively.  Palestinians will trade the poverty and non-sustainability of a largely illusory independent state in return for inclusion, as equals, in a larger multi-ethnic and secular entity with much greater prospects for economic prosperity and political stability.  Israelis will gain much more defensible borders, greater security, much reduced security costs, greater opportunities for industry and trade and full recognition by the entire "community of nations" including the Arab league.  Perhaps even inclusion into the EU.

So if it is in almost everyone's interest, why isn't it happening?  20 years ago, before the release of Mandela from prison, I wrote a Masters thesis predicting the imminent demise of Apartheid on largely economic grounds.  Modern industrial capitalism and service industries, I wrote, were becoming much more important in the South African economy, replacing mining and agriculture as the dominant activities.  Mining and agriculture had depended crucially on the cheap labour enabled by Apartheid policies.  The mechanisation of those activities, combined with the growth of industrial and service industries made the South African economy much more dependent on access to external markets, growth in internal markets, more higher skilled labour forces, and much less dependent on cheap labour.  

From a purely capitalist point of view, I argued that Apartheid was becoming hugely counter-productive, restricting access to external markets, creating huge security costs, artificially inflating the cost of (often very unskilled) white labour, and preventing the development of a skilled black labour force and a larger consumer market.  Apartheid was being maintained, I argued, purely by the success of those who benefited from it - chiefly farmers, lower skilled white workers, and the security apparatus - in maintaining their hegemony of the political system.  If another way could be found to address their interests and fears, I argued, Apartheid was toast,  because it would then no longer serve anyone interests.  

My thesis argued that this would probably have to be done through external intervention providing security and economic guarantees to those vested interests, in order for their opposition to be overcome.  As it turned out large scale external intervention proved unnecessary.  The visionary leadership of De Klerk and Mandela managed to achieve the destruction of Apartheid whilst at the same time mollifying those economic and security interests which had been tied to it.  It was a major political achievement and happened more peacefully than I had dared to hope.

Equally, I dare to hope, that what seem to be intractable fears and hatreds between Palestinians and Israelis now can be overcome, precisely because both peoples could benefit hugely from a peaceful resolution.  What needs to happen is that those who benefit from the current impasse and ongoing conflict need to be "bought off" or outmaneuvered by those who don't.  Chiefly that means that those extreme Islamic and Zionist elements who seek outright victory of one over the other in Israeli/Palestine and beyond need to be brought to heal by the more moderate majorities in both communities.  

But above all, we need the outsiders to the conflict - Chiefly Iran and the AIPAC/Zionist/Christian evangelist nexus in the US to be taken out of the equation.  That is why we need a really strong and visionary next POTUS who can stand up to the AIPAC/Zionist/Christian evangelist nexus, leaders of the DeKlerk's and Mandela's stature to emerge in Israel/Palestine, and for the Arab league to tell  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to shut up.  

It is all quite possible.  Apartheid is no more.  The Cold War is no more.  The Iron Curtain is gone.  The interests of the vast majority of the people of the Middle East are not being served by the present conflict.  It is time for real leaders to emerge and for all of us to tell the racial/religious extremists to get off the stage.

Display:
Let me remind those who would accuse me of anti-Semitism that Palestinians are a Semitic people as well.  Those who would accuse me of anti-Palestinian sentiment (in doubting their ability to fashion a stable and successful state out of what remains of their territories) have much greater grounds for complaint.  Israel has been extraordinarily successful in many ways.  Its greatest failing has been an inability to accommodate those it has displaced on equal terms.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 10:54:08 AM EST
I agree. A democratic one-state solution is the way to go.

But reading your SA analysis, I guess the question becomes: which groups gain economically from the present situation? Settlers are the first who come to my mind. But they are a really minor (in terms of population) group, right?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 06:41:50 PM EST
YEH, a comment!  I was beginning to think I was writing into a vacuum or had the communication powers of a worm.  Maybe people are just tired of the whole topic.  Perhaps my mention of President Bush in the first 2 words of the piece was a very bad marketing ploy!

Very good question, and a difficult one to answer.  I think on the Israeli side there is the extreme Zionist dream of taking over the whole of Palestine and expelling all of the Palestinians altogether.  It becomes the Promised Land for the Chosen people.  

If you read any Zionist discourse you notice that Palestinians aren't treated as real people at all.  Their existence, other than as terrorists, is barely acknowledged.  They are regarded as imposters and interlopers who migrated to ISRAEL very much like anyone else and have no natural or prior rights there.  Very much like the Apartheid myth that South Africa was basically empty (bar a few bushmen) until the Afrikaners came along and built it up from scratch.

Israel does have the military power to expel all Palestinians and coral them into open air prisons on desert land that nobody wants, and some are obviously tempted to use it. Land, water, and natural resources are scare in the region and so it is obviously in the interests of some to grab as much of iy as they can.

On the Palestinian side it seems very much like desperation - if your business, is destroyed, your home is destroyed, and family members are killed or imprisoned, what have you got to lose?  However we also shouldn't underestimate the pettiness of power.  If I am a militia leader I can control my turf and be a big fish in a small pond - never mind the fact that most people are asphyxiating for lack of water.

When business opportunities so scarce survival depends on political power and the EU subsidies etc. that go with it.  What we learned in Northern Ireland is that a prolonged conflict brings more and desperate and violent men to power - on both sides - and their survival in power depends on a maintenance of that conflict.  If it looks like the moderates are gaining the upper hand it is easy to re-polarise the situation by letting off a few bombs thus provoking the inevitable Israeli over-reaction.  And the cycle goes on.

So the answer to your question is: remarkably few benefit from the conflict directly, and the most radical voices (willing to fight to the last drop of other people's blood) are often to be found thousands of miles away in Tehran and Washington DC.  It suits despotic Islamic regimes to have an external bogey figure in "The Jews" on which to deflect popular disaffection and discontent with their own regimes and limited economic opportunities and political freedoms.

The worst thing that happened to Palestinians is that their effectively local grievances got caught up in the larger Islamic disaffection with the West and the Western "War on Terror" in response to it.  For all of its many faults, the PLO was an essential secular organisation which sought a Political resolution  (involving copious amounts of money and power for itself).  Now with Hamas, extreme Zionists, and extreme evangelicals you have religious zealots all pursuing their particular brand of Armageddon and the End of Days.   I think a psycho-social rather tan an economic analysis is needed to explain that lot!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 07:30:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Take in this documentary for more insight into the propaganda basis of this notion:

Peace, Propaganda, & The Promised Land (with Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, Arik Ackerman, founder of Rabbis for Human Rights, and many others)

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6604775898578139565&q=peace%2C+propaganda%2C+%26+the+pr omised+land&hl=en

Some comments from some of the participants:

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Founder & Executive Director, Tikkun Magazine: "When you have a population that is being occupied, when their fundamental human rights are systematically being denied, when they are not allowed to move from city to city and place to place, without a huge amount of harassment, when they are being subject to torture, when people are essentially in desperate conditions, it is not a surprise that they are going to be very, very angry. There is no understand by the public media, or the American media, what creates this circumstance. Israel occupies, people strike at Israel against that occupation. They use means I think are wrong means, namely, the terror, and then Israel imposes punishment on the entire people, which creates a climate which makes it easier to recruit."

Major Stav Adivi, reserves, Israeli Defense Forces, Israel: "we have to understand that these (suicide bombings) are the effects of the occupation."

Robert Jensen, Professor of Journalism, University of Texas-Austin: "In contrast to the international press, in American media, there is a reversal of cause and effect in that the occupation is framed as a response to the suicide bombings. All of the Palestinian actions are attacks and Israel actions retaliation, is meaningful. Retaliation suggests a defensive stance against violence initiated by someone else. It places a responsibility for the violence on the party provoking the retaliation. In other words, Palestinian violence like suicide bombings is seen as cause and the origin of the conflict. Since the September 11 attack on the US, Israel's PR strategy has been to frame all Palestinian actions, violent or not, as terrorism. To the extent that they can do that they have repackaged the illegal occupation as part of the war on terrorism."

News headlines: "This is Israel's war on terrorism. F16s hit a Palestinian in the Gaza Strip this morning....The case the Israelis are trying to make: this is no different than what the US is doing in Afganistan (air attacks in the West Bank)...Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared on television tonight, that he was determined to root out what he called `the terrorist infrastructure.'"

So here you have the myth of the Palestinian terrorist, who just happens to be fighting a long and incessant military occupation that the UN has called illegal.

Summary of the documentary:

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites--oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others--work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported.

Through the voices of scholars, media critics, peace activists, religious figures, and Middle East experts, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land carefully analyzes and explains how--through the use of language, framing and context--the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza remains hidden in the news media, and Israeli colonization of the occupied territories appears to be a defensive move rather than an offensive one. The documentary also explores the ways that U.S. journalists, for reasons ranging from intimidation to a lack of thorough investigation, have become complicit in carrying out Israel's PR campaign. At its core, the documentary raises questions about the ethics and role of journalism, and the relationship between media and politics.

Biographical Summary:

Seth Ackerman Media Analyst and Contributing Writer, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
Mjr. Stav Adivi, IDF (Reserves) Courage to Refuse | Board Member, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Israel
Rabbi Arik Ascherman Executive Director, Rabbis for Human Rights
Hanan Ashrawi Founder & Secretary General, The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH), Palestine
Noam Chomsky Professor of Linguistics, MIT | Author, Hegemony of Survival
Robert Fisk Journalist, The Independent, UK
Neve Gordon Ta'ayush: Jewish-Arab Partnership | Professor of Political Science, Ben Gurion University, Israel
Toufic Haddad Co-editor, Between the Lines, West Bank
Sam Husseini Communications Director, Institute for Public Accuracy
Hussein Ibish Communications Director, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Robert Jensen Professor of Journalism, University of Texas-Austin | Board of Directors, Third Coast Activist
Rabbi Michael Lerner Founder & Executive Director, Tikkun Magazine
Karen Pfeifer Professor or Economics, Smith College | Contributing Editor, Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP)
Alisa Solomon Journalist, The Village Voice
Gila Svirsky Co-founder, Women in Black | Coalition of Women for Peace, Israel




by shergald on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 08:14:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the current situation?

That is definitely small splinter groups within Israel that under the current political system often wield the balance of power.

The problem with the two state solution is that Israel refuses to allow Palestinians sovereignty within their mini-state, and show no sign of allowing even the West Bank to exist as a contiguous territory, instead of as a collection of micro-provinces divided by lines of transport and ubiquitous checkpoints.

And under the principle of self-determination, which is the basis for Israel to claim a right to exist, the two alternatives are a sovereign Palestinian state, with border control, no colonial occupying force and Palestinian control of all transportation routes, or a single state.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 10:04:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Frank. I certainly won't call you anti-semitic.  But I think it's fair to say you are anti Israeli.  Perhaps, anti-Jewish as well. Certainly, you are smart enough to know that the Palestinians will vote the Israeli's out of government and, then, out of existence.  The palestinians, and the rest of the middle east, would accomplish what 50 years of war couldnt.  Very clever. But then again, you think Cuba is a democracy.

As to a one-state solution, my not make the West Bank part of Jordan? Most of Jordan is palestinian anyway.  If Jordan were a democracy, the palestinians would be in power anyway.  This would seem much more logical.

Terry

by Terry (Terry@pollackzuckerman.com) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 08:59:34 PM EST
This would seem much more logical.

Why is that any more logical than any other solution? I can think of several other solutions that would be equally logical.

  1. return to the 1948 borders.
  2. return to the 1967 borders.
  3. a single state solution,  with a right of veto for both communities explicitly written into the constitution to stop the  situation you suggest.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 09:22:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Return to the 1957 borders is a step in the right direction.
by The3rdColumn on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 07:36:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
why not make the West Bank part of Jordan?

If the settlements were dismantled a two-state solution or a union between the West Bank and Jordan would be much more viable as possible solutions. Back to the borders of 1967.

But I think that would fall on the issue of the settlements, in particular eastern Jerusalem. Same as a two state solution.

Certainly, you are smart enough to know that the Palestinians will vote the Israeli's out of government and, then, out of existence.

What does voting out of existence mean? Do you mean that the palestinians would elect a party on a genocidal platform?

Lets check that scenario. First, even if such a party won the elections it takes a long time to penetrate a states mechanisms. To take an example, the military would not obey such an order. Replacing the military without provoking a coup would take a long time. Would not other issues take precendence during this time?

Second, you ignore Franks suggestion of North Ireland style constitutional checks to make sure that neither side tramples the other.

Third, the assumption that given the chance the palestinians would kill the israelis is very similar to the assumption that given the chance the black population of South Africa would kill the white. In the end, it did not happen.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 09:54:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Given that many of the comments here have disappeared because of troll rating perhaps I could refocus the discussion on what is actually the question posed by the Diary - One State or two.

The most compelling argument for a one state solution, in my view, is that extensive Israeli settlements within the Occupied territories has made a two state solution unviable.  Obviously if these settlements were abandoned, then the two sate solution could become viable again.  So ironically it is the the actions of Israel in making the two state solution unviable which is forcing us to consider a one state solution at all.

Terry and Zionists in general arguing that a one state solution would result in the destruction of the only Jewish state in the world, and in one sense he is correct|:  A single Israeli/Palestinian state  would be c. 50:50 Jewish/Palestinian and would therefore no linger be exclusively Jewish in character.  It would be a secular state like any other modern western democracy.

There are also a lot of other sub-options which could help to manage, contain and diffuse any conflict that might ensue - e.g. Federal, confederal, cantonal, and N.Ireland style constitutional arrangements which can safeguard the human rights of all and give some recognition to the distinct ethnic identities within.

There would be real problems of transition from where we are now towards a more stable state structure regardless of its precise configuration. Perhaps a more fruitful discussion might centre on what these constitutional and transitional arrangements might be - building on the experience of managing ethnic, religious, and regional conflicts in other advanced democracies elsewhere.

Critical would have to be constitutional and security guarantees to all, and economic measures to help revitalise devastated areas.  The economic potential of the area as a whole could increase dramatically with greater access to land, labour forces, consumer markets, and less expenditure on the current huge security apparatus. But what are the transitional arrangements that could best reduce the understandable fears of both communities that they might be dominated by the other?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 13th, 2008 at 12:30:36 PM EST
Frank:

First, you are calling for the end of the Jewish State. What right do you have to eliminate the self-determination of Israelis?  Why are you against a Jewish State Frank.

Second, you are dreaming. Israel would never agree to it.

Third, Hamas is suddenly going to respect democratic institutions? Yeah, okay.

Fourth, making the west bank part of Jordan is still the most viable solution.  You are trying to fit a square hole in a round peg.

Fifth, palestinians have not shown any ability to run their own affairs. Mr. Arafat stole all the money Europe gave him. THe new leadership is no better. Hamas are terrorists.

Terry

by Terry (Terry@pollackzuckerman.com) on Sun Jan 13th, 2008 at 05:28:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First, you are calling for the end of the Jewish State.

If Israel does not like the idea of a unified state with equal democratic rights extended to all its citizens, all it has to do is dismantle its illegal pseudo-annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Heck, personally I believe that arms should be twisted on the Palestinian side to make them give up East Jerusalem, but that's just me being silly.

What right do you have to eliminate the self-determination of Israelis?

Huh? What has that got to do with self-determination? They'd have the right to vote. Which is more than can be said for the millions in Gaza City Open Air Prison.

Why are you against a Jewish State Frank.

Oh, I wouldn't know... Maybe for the same reason most sane people are opposed to Christian states, Islamic states, Hindu states and Atheist states.

Second, you are dreaming. Israel would never agree to it.

Quite frankly, you're the one who's dreaming. Israel will agree to anything that the US dictates. It's not like Israel has any other friends it can appeal to for help.

Third, Hamas is suddenly going to respect democratic institutions? Yeah, okay.

You mean like running in - and winning - elections?

Fourth, making the west bank part of Jordan is still the most viable solution.  You are trying to fit a square hole in a round peg.

Only if the illegal occupation is ended. Attempting to turn the current patchwork into a workable society - in Jordan or out - is doomed to dismal failure.

Fifth, palestinians have not shown any ability to run their own affairs.

I'm speechless. Well, not quite. But all the things I can think of would result in friendly little moderation notices showing up in comments.

Before you go on with your revisionist history, I would like to remind you that it has been deliberate, official Israeli policy since before I was born to disrupt the function of the Palestinian government. This is not a wild-eyed conspiracy theory, it's a matter of public record. If you'd bother to abstain from the kool-aid long enough to find the BBC news archive, you'd be able to view hours of video of Israeli tanks driving around on the ruins of various Palestinian government institutions.

Mr. Arafat stole all the money Europe gave him. THe new leadership is no better. Hamas are terrorists.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Feb 3rd, 2008 at 02:19:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the considered response, Jake S.  I stopped responding to Terry when he just became abusive at every turn.  He never concedes a point even when he is shown to be factually wrong.  He just moves onto his next prejudice.  He also systematically misrepresents what you say at which point arguing with him becomes pointless.  

I was rather sad, however, that we never really got to debate how either a one state or a viable two state solution might be achieved - which was the whole point of my posting the diary.  Most Zionists seem to want neither, but a continuation of the present war and a gradual expansion of Israel and elimination of any viable Palestinian claim to statehood - probably by their absorption into Jordan and Egypt.  

Palestinians are simply a non-people as far as most Zionists are concerned - I would be tempted to say Untermenschen except that would be to evoke the emotive rhetoric I am trying to steer the conversation away from.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Feb 3rd, 2008 at 02:45:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I cut my internet teeth on creationists, so you might say that I'm used to the tactics that Terry employs. I really just wanted to drive home the point that the only thing forcing a one-state solution is the illegal settlements, and then the rest of the comment kinda grew from there. Also, new users who drop by wouldn't see the thread above because it was troll-rated into oblivion (for a number of extremely good reasons, I might add), so there kinda had to be a counter-post to Terry's ramblings.

Getting back on topic, I don't know how a resolution is going to happen either, but I think it will. Whether it'll be a one-state or a two-state solution is going to be entirely up to Israel, but in the long term they cannot afford to maintain a permanent state of low-grade civil war. Eventually, Israeli mainstream opinion is going to realise this, or have it dictated to them by the outside world, and tell the extremists to take a long walk off a short pier.

Personally, I think that it'll end up with a two-state solution, because most of the settlements will have to go away in order to make the West Bank a viable society, no matter whose jurisdiction it's in. And with the settlements gone, there's no reason whatsoever that Israel should annex the West Bank. I think, however, that Israel will get to keep East Jerusalem, and I think that there will be some minor border revisions in which Israeli lands are surrendered in exchange for some of the major settlements close to Israel proper. Even Hamas have said that they're willing to accept such a resolution, almost in so many words.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 04:24:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
Whether it'll be a one-state or a two-state solution is going to be entirely up to Israel, but in the long term they cannot afford to maintain a permanent state of low-grade civil war. Eventually, Israeli mainstream opinion is going to realise this, or have it dictated to them by the outside world, and tell the extremists to take a long walk off a short pier.

I wish I could be quite so optimistic.  I think the civil war option is precisely what "mainstream" opinion has adopted because it allows them to grind the Palestinians into dust and gradually realise the dream of a Greater Israel.  Everything less that that is tactics and gameplaying for the optics to be seen as being "reasonable".  The risks and costs of the conflict, for Israel, are currently less than the potential gains because of Israel's overwhelming military superiority which is the one thing that will never be ceded - even if Iran has to be nuked into the dust to ensure its continuance.

There isn't really a civil war going on here.  Its a slow policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide.  The Palestinian people will be extinguished and a deal made for Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt to absorb the leftovers.  Israel will have succeeded with the Palestinian people where Hitler failed - one of the cruelest ironies of history.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 05:23:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the civil war option is precisely what "mainstream" opinion has adopted because it allows them to grind the Palestinians into dust and gradually realise the dream of a Greater Israel.

Except that it's not working: More Palestinians are born than get killed. As genocides go, it's one of the least effective ones on record. And various Israeli governments have been trying various tactics and strategies to break Palestinian will for more than half a century by now. So far without success.

And I disagree with you about the costs of the conflict for Israel. Even leaving aside the human cost to entire generations of conscripted Israeli youths - which are substantial - it has made them universally despised in their entire region. And I believe that we are entering an age in which regional institutions will become increasingly important, and the US will become correspondingly less so.

Which regional power bloc will Israel turn to? The EU? Not a chance, unless the Union is going to play even more fast and loose with the whole human rights shtick than we're doing now. Russia? Why should Russia support them? They have lots of friends in the region left over from the Cold War that they could re-activate. China? Again, I fail to see that happening; they'd have to start from scratch in any case, and both geographically, politically and resource-wise, Iran makes a lot more sense as a starting point. The African Union? If they think so, then they're smoking crack. UnaSur? They're a long way away, and I don't really see them having any serious interests in the region in the foreseeable future. The US? Maybe, but talk about putting all your eggs in one basket. And not a particularly solid one at that.

No, Israel will find some accommodation with her neighbours, or Israel will cease to exist. It's their choice, and I just hope they're going to realise that that's the choice they have before it's too late.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 09:41:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree with the mainstream analysis and agree with yours - except perhaps the last paragraph bit about Israel ceasing to exist,  I can't see any scenario short of WW3 under which Israel would disappear.  That is the canard extremists use to scare the moderates with to prevent rather than encourage any accommodation with Palestinians.  The reality is Israel is overwhelmingly dominant, militarily, with a seriously large nuclear arsenal.  Their problem is the low level suicide bomber stuff.  All the Arab states (with the exception of safely distant Iran) know and accept this.  The argument is no longer about Israel, but about what kind of Israel...

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 10:29:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're wrong about that. If Israel insists that the conflict will only be resolved when one of the sides is no more, then that side will be Israel. They can't round Palestinians up and murder them by the millions, for obvious historical reasons if nothing else. And as long as the Palestinians are kept in a third-world economy they'll have third-world demographics, which in turn means that Israel can't outbreed them either. They can't turn to their neighbours for support, because their neighbours only support them because of the Big Neighbour in the West, and the Big Neighbour is not going to last forever. When their only present ally is gone, where are they going to turn?

They may or may not be able to fend for themselves in purely military terms, but they are not able to maintain the current level of militarisation of the economy without outside help, and all the shiny military hardware in the world matters not a jot if your economy collapses. As the Americans are learning. Painfully.

In short, their long-term strategic situation is as tenuous as the DDR's: They exist only because they are protected by powerful outside interests. Those interests will eventually cease to protect them, and when that happens, they had better already have found an accommodation with their neighbours.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 12:21:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
I think you're wrong about that. If Israel insists that the conflict will only be resolved when one of the sides is no more, then that side will be Israel.

I don't agree that Israel's very existence is in play because it has independent nuclear capabilities, but the Zionist answer to the Palestinians is to persuade Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Egypt etc. to absorb them perhaps in exchange for Sheeba farms, Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and other "incentives" which an increasingly prosperous Israel can provide together with its remaining friends.

The sad fact is that the Saudis etc. care no more for the Palestinians than the Israelis do and might be persuaded by the US to help fund such a deal.  As part of a final settlement Israel may agree to absorb the west bank population but with no right of return for Gaza and all the other Palestinians in neighbouring countries and refugee camps.  

That should keep Israelis in the majority overall especially with continuing immigration of Jews.  They have already successfully absorbed a c. 20% Palestinian population and they have been quite docile despite being a disadvantaged minority.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 12:56:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're thinking in the short-run rather than the long-run. What happens in 50 years?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 12:58:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're all dead as our leader tirelessly reminds us.

5 years is very long term in politics.!

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 01:03:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry - I was being snarky!

I am articulating what I understand the "moderate" Zionist position to be.  The extremists don't want any Palestinians in Israel whatsoever but don't articulate what they will do with them - buy them out as many previous settlers have been?  I really don't know.  Extreme Zionists never seem to refer to Palestinians as a people at all - they are simply Arabs who wandered into Palestine, or Terrorists, and either way don't seem to warrant much consideration.  When you have God on your side its not really your problem. He shall smite them as he smote the philistines before them....

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 01:15:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, if it weren't for our friend Mordecai I'd have thought that the last sentence was hyperbole. I wonder if he realises how counterproductive it is to try to beat people over the head with a religion they don't recognise as authoritative... From my experience with creationists, I'd say he doesn't.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 02:14:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Israel can't nuke Gaza. Even leaving aside the obvious historical and political reasons for this, the simple fact that the fallout would contaminate pretty much everything south of Jerusalem if the wind was in an unlucky direction puts the kibosh on that idea. So in terms of the Palestinian problem, Israel's nuclear deterrent might as well not exist.

And if the Zionists believe that they can just expel what? five million people? into the surrounding countries, then they're smoking something unhealthy.

For Israel to annex the West Bank and all countries agreeing to assimilate the people currently residing within their borders could be A Good Thing or A Very, Very Bad Thing, depending on whether there is actually any political will to genuinely assimilate the Palestinians into those societies. If not, then the conflict will only metastatise, not resolve.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 02:10:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Egypt can have Gaza if they promise to take the people and Hamas as well and stop the Katyusha rockets at the same time.  Why do you think the settlements there were withdrawn and destroyed?   So technically you're not expelling anyone, you are offering them a new home in a new (friendly) state which has shown it is on the right side of the war on Terror.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 03:09:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Egypt. Doesn't. Want. Gaza.

Honestly, I don't know why I need to keep saying this.  Sadat turned it down 30 years ago, there is no Earthly reason why Mubarak would want it now.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 03:42:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
with the Zionist argument.  They want to offload most of the Palestinians on someone else and are very bitter that their "Arab" cousins won't take them for love nor money or even land.  They argue that Jews have been ethically cleansed from Islamic countries so they are only doing the same. They've integrated their Jewish "refugees" but Arab countries won't accept/integrate the Palestinian refugess.  Off course there is no equivalence in reality, but that is the mindset which is driving Zionist policy.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 03:55:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But... But... But... If Israel is prepared to give up Gaza to Egypt, then why aren't they prepared to give up Gaza to, well, Gaza? I mean, if they gave up Gaza to Egypt (assuming that Egypt would be insane enough to accept it), they'd have to lift the blockade anyway? And there's no way in Hell that the Egyptians can stop the Qassam attacks - if they think so, then they're smoking something unhealthy. But I guess we already established that they are...

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 5th, 2008 at 02:08:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I really don't know, but I'm guessing the thinking is that Egypt is a major power, firmly on the right side of the war on terror, utterly ruthless in dealing with internal dissent, and that it would then become their problem to deal with the border security etc.  Perhaps many Gazains would migrate to jobs in Cairo etc. and the  beach area could be cleared to become a tourist resort - who knows?  Terry was arguing that Jordan should take it over - something which makes no sense to me whatsoever even from a Zionist perspective.  The one thing they don't want is for Hamas to stay in control and gain more access to weaponry.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 5th, 2008 at 05:07:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
jobs in Cairo

Ha ha.  You're a real comedian.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Feb 5th, 2008 at 05:16:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey - I'm trying to articulate a Zionist mindset here.  No need to give me personal grief!  Part of the Zionist mindset is that many Palestinians only came to Palestine because Jews provided work for them!

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 5th, 2008 at 06:06:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps you should concentrate on articulating your own beliefs instead of what you think others believe.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Feb 5th, 2008 at 06:10:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because we cannot understand the conflict if we do not understand the mindsets of the main protagonists

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 5th, 2008 at 06:36:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am afraid that the most probable outcome is one state but not democratic. this is, israel will become a de facto one state with no right to vote for the palestinians...

I have had long discussions about the stability of such system.. and frankly they are metastable... it could stay for long... but inthe end Israel would no longer exist.

This is why keeping the sttlements is one of th emost self-destructive ideas I have seen a country made... well this and elect G.W. Bush.

In any case.. it is up to the isrealis to decide....
Palestinians will just wait.. if the palestinian state is created.. good, if not.. well at some point ask for the right to vote (probably around 2015 given demographic trends)

Oh.. and by the way-.. you rposition is the same that some jewish intelectuals living in Israel...some of them respected but most of them called self-hating jews... a term I used to read and listen a lot.

But make no mistake... Israelis could not care less about palestiinians.. and palesitnians could not care less about israelis...and one of my friends used to tell me.. can you really blame them?

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 07:30:15 AM EST
Yikes - its alive!  I thought this thread was long dead.  How did it move back into the rec list?

kcurie:

Oh.. and by the way-.. you rposition is the same that some jewish intelectuals living in Israel...some of them respected but most of them called self-hating jews... a term I used to read and listen a lot.

I'm aware there is a huge diversity of views in Israel itself, and amongst Jews world-wide, and even within the Israeli parliament, but somehow the AIPAC/hardline Zionist line always seems to be represented in MSM as THE Israeli view.

If you disagree with that line you are an anti-Semite or a self-hating Jew" one of the most remarkably twists of victim psychology.

Its a pity ET doesn't seem to have more representation from progressive Israelis...

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 09:34:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My guess is because you linked to it and mentioned that the thread contained troll-rated comments, on a slow Sunday. And because it was a slow Sunday, people took a look for the entertainment value of seeing a troll being publicly smacked down. But that's just a guess.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 09:48:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hadn't realised that page hits, as well as recs were used to rank the rec list.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 10:31:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AFAIK, they aren't. But it is entirely possible that some of the people who came here rec'ed it. And if some of those people hadn't rec'ed it before, then it could conceivably bump it to the rec list on a slow day, because recs decay based on the date of the rec not the date of the diary.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 12:04:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Israel theya re minority of a minority of a minority.... a couple of hundreds at the most.

Luckily .. the biggest minority has realized that either they give up settlement or the israeli democracy is at stake...

The people in th emiddle have stillnot realized about how dangerous they are... at the moment the majority just does not care... thye do not see t as dangerous.... they see Hamas as dangerous.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 11:05:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you are referring to a 2 state solution along 1967 borders with a shared Jerusalem.

Is the territory allocated to the Palestinians enough for a viable country?

The land is semi-aired. Water has always been a high priority item. Would a Palestinian state actually have enough? It is possible, for example, that a first world country would have enough while a third world country would not.

I suspect that part of what has driven Israel to expand its borders at every available opportunity is that what was allocated to Israel in 1948 was not really a viable country. Even Palestine in its entirety has viability problems - especially around water. Expansion into Lebanon to gain control of water resources would definitely make things easier.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 11:26:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, there is not enough water in the non-occupied parts of the West Bank for the current population.

Yes, one of consistent tactics of the settlement expansions has been to capture groundwater - although whether that's done on purpose or simply as a side-effect of grabbing the richest land first I don't know.

No, there is not enough water for everyone as it is. The water level in the Dead Sea is dropping fast.

No, there is not going to be more water in the future - if anything, the region is going to become more arid.

Yes, water consumption is greater in industrialised states due to mechanised agricultural irrigation.

Yes, the region is screwed. Badly.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 12:32:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While industrial states use more water - they also have access to technology like desalinization plants that may be out of reach for a 3rd world country.

Yes, the region is screwed. Badly.

Yup.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 04:25:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only if they have access to energy. Are they gonna have that?

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 5th, 2008 at 02:08:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think so. They already have a nuke plant - and courtesy of apartheid s. Africa they have a certain amount of U - probably enough for 200 nukes.

Probably solar would work out ok in the region as well.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Tue Feb 5th, 2008 at 09:46:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't be too sure about demographic trends. The Palestinian birthrate seems to be going down, as in many other Muslim countries, while the Jewish birthrate is slowly going up.

But it's not going up uniformly. Rather, the increase is limited to the religious part of the population, above all the Ultra-Orthodox, or Haredim - the Ashkenazi Hardim seem to have a fertility rate over 8 (see Appendix 2 for the decline in the Arab birthrate, and Appendix 7 for the figures for the religious Jewish population. I'd appreciate more up to date figures; all I've found is some very partial data in Ha'aretz, which only has data for a few specific cities, with on indication how representative they are.)

I've no idea what the implication of this is as far as relations with the Palestinians are concerned, as I've no idea what the views of the Haredim on such matters are. One should, however, not automatically assume that they are the same as the settlers. It does suggest that in several generations Israel may resemble a theocracy more than a democracy, and should warn against making any easy predictions based on demography.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 11:45:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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