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By Dan Fleshler | May 1, 2007

BUY CAFERGOT NO PRESCRIPTION, All right, let's say you believe everything about Israel is worthy of contempt and insult, and the Jews should never have set foot in Palestine, and the whole Zionist enterprise must be halted.

So what do you want to do. Short of throwing out millions of Israeli Jews by force (which, order CAFERGOT from mexican pharmacy, of course, Where to buy CAFERGOT, is an option that has its adherents on the blogosphere), what's your plan. If you believe a two-state solution will keep intact a majority-Jewish entity that has no right to exist, buying CAFERGOT online over the counter, the only other option is a bi-national, CAFERGOT long term, unitary state. So, how do you get there, CAFERGOT schedule, my lefty friends. What would it look like, BUY CAFERGOT NO PRESCRIPTION. Buy cheap CAFERGOT no rx, If you dive in and follow the conversations between respondents to my previous post ( "The Price of Demonization,") you will find a long, fascinating, CAFERGOT pictures, impassioned exchange of ideas, Taking CAFERGOT, mostly between between "John S." (an American Jew who advocates a 1-state solution) and Richard Witty (a 2-state advocate).

John is one of the more articulate defenders of the 1-state idea that I have encountered, and the fact that he insisted that his position is an extension of his Jewish identity is worth noting, CAFERGOT gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release. I think Richard (and, Rx free CAFERGOT, sometimes, Dan Fleshler) did a good job of showing why this idea is thoroughly impractical, and that those who advocate it are doing more harm than good to the victims of occupation, CAFERGOT mg. I won't paraphrase. BUY CAFERGOT NO PRESCRIPTION, Look for yourself. Herbal CAFERGOT, One comment I made to John S, however, is worth repeating:

Leaving aside whether what you say is either right or practical, CAFERGOT street price, it is the product of an American Jewish man who is, CAFERGOT description, in no uncertain terms, telling the Palestinians what is best for them.

It is one thing to tell Israelis to renounce their core identity and give up everything except some sort of vaguely defined Jewish-Israeli culture that you seem certain –based on no evidence–will be preserved, CAFERGOT interactions, somehow. Get CAFERGOT, It is quite another to tell Palestinians that the two-state goal they have been pursuing for decades is not worth pursuing.

It is as if, in the comfort of your home, where can i find CAFERGOT online, you were reading about migrant farm workers making demands of Company X in the subtropics, CAFERGOT dosage, and telling them, “No, you should not be demanding so little, low dose CAFERGOT. You should be demanding more, BUY CAFERGOT NO PRESCRIPTION. I know what’s best for you. CAFERGOT results, I know Company X. You’ve been living in the subtropics with Company X for decades now, and I’ve been watching this struggle from far away in America, CAFERGOT duration, but I know that you should not settle for an imperfect solution. Order CAFERGOT online c.o.d, You should hold out for something more because, based on my reading of the history of the German confederation and other nation-state formations in Europe, I am confident that I have the answer…and Sari Nusseibah, my CAFERGOT experience, and Faisal Husseini (may he rest in peace), Buy generic CAFERGOT, and Yasser Abed-Rabbo and all of your other moderate leaders have not come up with it.”

...There is, as I understand it, a very tiny one-state movement that shares your views in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, buy CAFERGOT from canada, mostly among academics. BUY CAFERGOT NO PRESCRIPTION, Why do you think this movement has not caught on. Buy CAFERGOT online cod, Are the Palestinian people too short-sighted to understand that the half-loaf is worse than the full loaf.

...I am not quite sure how to characterize your attitude, but it does not seem to be taking the clear-cut wishes of the victims into account, cheap CAFERGOT no rx, due to your absolute certainty that you know their "oppressors" better than they do.

Another set of conversations about possible solutions has been happening on Leonard Fein's blog, CAFERGOT overnight, on the APN website for quite some time. His latest, "On the Anniversary of Israel's Independence" sparked comments from some very learned men on various, buy CAFERGOT online no prescription, possible, Where can i cheapest CAFERGOT online, eventual arrangements between Israelis and Palestinians. Some of them are in the camp that believes a 2-state solution should only be a temporary fix, and that eventually some other configuration will be needed if Israel wants to retain any moral compass, CAFERGOT forum.

One respondent, Tom Mitchell, was skeptical, BUY CAFERGOT NO PRESCRIPTION. He noted:

I believe that other solutions besides the two-state solution must be looked at BEFORE they can be dismissed as drivel. CAFERGOT photos, Partition as a solution to ethnic and national conflicts has gotten a bad name in the 20th century due to Ireland in 1921-22, South Asia in 1947 and Palestine in 1948. But few consider or are aware of the record of failures that has been power sharing in ethnic conflicts outside of Europe, online buying CAFERGOT.

The leading theorist of power sharing, What is CAFERGOT, Arend Lijphart (a Dutch-American political scientist who is based in San Diego) based his theory of “consociational democracy” on only four cases in Western and Central Europe: Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, CAFERGOT brand name, and Switzerland. BUY CAFERGOT NO PRESCRIPTION, Only two of these four–Belgium and Switzerland–involved an ethnic conflict. The other two involved either sectarian or ideological conflict...

...Attempts at implementing consociational power sharing have failed in Cyprus, Lebanon, Malaysia, Northern Ireland (twice), and Nigeria. Most of these Third World attempts took place after 1948 so that there were few experiences for Zionist leaders to go on other than their own experience living with Arabs in Mandatory Palestine for thirty years. That experience was not a promising one.

Similarly, in one of the comments, Fein expressed impatience with dialogue and speculation about "what might yet be in some distant future." He wrote:

. For better or for worse, the situation is what it is, BUY CAFERGOT NO PRESCRIPTION. There is no significant disposition on either side to recognize the national claims of the other within a unitary state, and the consociational model has about as much relevance, given the bloody history of the relationship, as does my bathtub.

For a fascinating and quite brilliant exposition of the Belgian case and an explicit comparison of Belgium to Israel/Palestine, see the essay by Robert Mnookin in the 2007 issue of Deadelus. Mnookin’s conclusion.

“A single state solution–with some sort of consociational federal, or confederal, regime–does not provide a model for a stable long-term solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even assuming (as I do not) that it would somehow be acceptable to the parties. BUY CAFERGOT NO PRESCRIPTION, "In circumstances where there has been a protracted history of ethnic violence between two peoples of roughly equal population, where their economic circumstances are profoundly different, where there are deep internal divisions within each community, and where there is no cadre of experienced leaders with constituents willing to accept collaborative problem solving, such a regime is unlikely to provide an arrangement for an enduring peace.”

That is why most of the world, including most people in the Balkans, thought that the only way to bring peace to that region in the 1990s was to divide it into what are essentially ethnic states. Restoring them into one polity and returning to the days of artificial Yugoslavian unity (which was made possible only by totalitarian dictat, under Tito) would have meant endless bloodshed and strife and torment. I am afraid the same thing applies to the current situation of Israelis and Palestinians in what was once Mandatory Palestine.

I have yet to hear any advocates of a unitary, bi-national state provide a good answer to the objections noted above. Even if you think it is the right thing to do, it is an impractical and dangerous thing to try to do. So, as I've written repeatedly, you are not doing Palestinians any favors by advocating it.

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Topics: American Jews, Far left, Israel, Palestinians, Zionism | 105 Comments »

105 Responses to “BUY CAFERGOT NO PRESCRIPTION”

  1. Lawrence Boxall Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    One state solution not abortive and dangerous illusions – Answer to Uri Avnery

    By: Ilan Pappe

    An importatant contribution to this debate can be found at the link below. Avnery and Pappe will be debating each other in Tel Aviv on May 8th.

    http://www.hagada.org.il/eng/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=169

  2. John S. Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    ”All right, let’s say you believe everything about Israel is worthy of contempt and insult, and the Jews should never had set foot in Palestine, and the whole Zionist enterprise must be halted.”

    For the record, though a passionate one-state supporter, this is not my position at all. In fact, quite the opposite is true; I believe that the basis of the one-state should be the existing Israeli state sans the ethnocentric and exclusivist elements. If one looks at the existing Israeli civilian state (ignoring the 1945 Emergency Regulations that should go and are almost exclusively used against Israeli Arabs – currently MK Bishara) there is a solid liberal democracy for the most part (the religious domination of personal status law isn’t ideal, but I suspect that most Palestinians would agree to maintain this notion as well) and thus a solid existing state. It simply has to be purged of its ethnocentric and exclusivist elements; just as in South Africa Apartheid was repealed not by ending the existing state, but by a direct repeal of racist legislation (see Section 243 and Schedule 7 of the 1996 Constitution: http://www.servat.unibe.ch/law/icl/sf20000_.html

    In my scheme I do not call for the destruction of Israel at all, just the removal of the ethnocentric and exclusivist ideological basis of the state in favor of an ethnicity-neutral and all inclusive state.

    ”Short of throwing out millions of Israeli Jews by force (which, of course, is an option that has its adherents on the blogosphere),”

    Ethnic cleansing isn’t an option for either side. The Palestinians simply do not have physical option even if they had the desire to do so [For the record, they do not: see the regular JMCC polls of Palestinian public opinion regarding the desirable outcome: http://www.jmcc.org/ both a Palestinian-Only state and a Islamic state only have single digit support; the two-state and bi-national options being the top two options.]. On the Israeli side, despite the respectability of “transfer” rhetoric epitomized by the welcoming of Avigdor Lieberman into the Kadima government, it really isn’t an option either. I have an article under peer review right now exploring this topic in some detail and if published will refer you to it.

    ” One comment I made to John S, however, is worth repeating: … “

    I think it is cute that you opted to highlight this comment of yours to me – including the factually incorrect notion that the one-state notion is a fringe element largely confined to academia on the Palestinian side of the equation – without also including my response. Of course it is your blog but such moves don’t exactly promote the image of balanced debate… .

    ”That is why most of the world, including most people in the Balkans, thought that the only way to bring peace to that region in the 1990s was to redivide it into what are essentially ethnic states. Restoring them into one polity and returning to the days of artificial Yugoslavian unity (which was made possible only by totalitarian dictat, under Tito) would have meant endless bloodshed and strife and torment. I am afraid the same thing applies to the current situation of Jews and Palestinians in what was once Mandatory Palestine.”

    However, what is being ignored in this argument is that the only reason these ethnic micro-states are viable is through membership in the European Union, which of course also limits their sovereignty as well. None of the European post-Cold War successor states – with the possible exceptions of the Czech Republic and Serbia Proper – would be viable as independent states for longer than a few years as stand alone entities outside of a supra-national framework like the European Union. Notice how poorly the post-Soviet ethnic micro-states in the Caucasus have faired without the support of a multi-national superstructure like the EU [the Armenia-Azerbaijani war over Nagorno-Karabakh; the domination of Turkic Fascists (Grey Wolves) in Azerbaijan, the Ossetian and Abkazian separatist movements tearing Georgia apart, and so on…].

    Anyway, I believe Israel could function as a stand alone state without the OPTs, however, there is virtually no chance of a viable functioning Palestinian state being created in the OPTs. Just as importantly, all existing “two-state” proposals are for a Palestinian Bantustan that remains under total Israeli domination (though with its own pseudo-autonomous Arab administration) and the only possible outcome of any sort of Bantustan scheme will be on par with post-Disengagement Gaza. If you believe that the two-state position is more realistic, you have to predicate that notion on a truly free and functioning Palestinian state (slight “adjustments” to the Occupation like Gaza won’t work) and this is not even on the agenda at this point.

    Even the most “liberal” ethno-separatist schemes – the Geneva Initiative & the Rand Proposals – deny a viable free Palestinian state, so let’s be honest – when you’re advocating a “two-state solution” what you’re actually advocating is a somewhat more humane (and easier for Israel to maintain) version of perpetual occupation and Israeli domination. No one on the Israeli side has seriously proposed – or barely even discussed – real Palestinian freedom, because that whole concept is incompatible with Israeli security. To date I haven’t seen a single “two-state” proposal that really calls for the creation of two-states, just a modification of the occupation to make it easier for Israel to maintain perpetually. The default is the existing status quo – as it is right now – the existing unitary state sans its racist elements.

  3. Teddy Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Well-done, Dan. I did try to wade into the conversation between Richard ansd John S. It required a lot of patience. That’s one of the problems with this whole issue: it is so complicated that only people willing to read a lot and think very hard and learn about the two, very different “narratives” can have a clue about what their ideological adversaries are saying. Dumbing one’s position down into a few slogans –e.g., ‘The Jews stole the land” or “The Arabs still want to push Israelis into the sea” just adds more clutter and noise.

  4. Richard Witty Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    Ilan Pappe’s responses are the oppossite of what it would take to avoid cruelty to all concerned.

    The one-state solution itself could be constructed to meet multiple needs. Some of the attractions of the one-state solution include freedom to travel throughout the land and prospectively the region, equal and clear law applying equally throughout the land applying modern civil law rather than a juxtaposition of two diverging legal systems, rights for Jews to purchase land and reside in the West Bank and for Arabs to purchase land and reside in now Israel.

    Lots of appealing and relieving prospects.

    The problem that I hear is in how to get there.

    Ali Abunimah offered many examples of sincere acceptance of Jewish people and life, appreciation of Jews’ experience in enduring the holocaust and aftermath, some criticism of left and Arab ideological habits and fixations.

    BUT, and it is a big but, the model sought to get there is the one of agitation, as Ilan Pappe alluded.

    South Africa, and the imagined success of solidarity boycotts and violent resistance, repeated to force Israelis to their “senses”.

    What is new?

  5. Tom Mitchell Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    Since I’ve already been quoted above I feel I can join the conversation. After watching Prof. Abunimah on CSPAN talk about a one-state solution for the conflict I emailed him and offered to do a piece for his website on the experience of power sharing solutions in native-settler conflicts. After I wrote a piece about the experiences in Northern Ireland, Rhodesia and South Africa. I concluded that a one-state solution would be a dramatic failure. He wanted me to redo it so that I would indicate under what conditions it would be possible. So I rewrote it indicating that it would be possible only when partition was impossible and the dominant settler culture was forced to surrender to the native culture out of fear of eventually losing a liberation struggle. To my knowledge the piece was never posted by Abunimah on his website. This is despite my writing from a perspective that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a native-settler conflict–hardly an orthodox pro-Israeli perspective.

    Foreign Affairs magazine in their latest issue had an article on Iraq in which the author discussed why power sharing rarely works in ethnic conflicts. In essence it is similar to why two nuclear rivals without a second-strike capacity create such a dangerous situation: neither side trusts the other and both have an incentive for cheating. My experience has been that power sharing through consociational democracy tends to freeze the state of ethnic relations when it is implemented. The disempowered trades the promise of a possible improvement of ethnic relations and integration for immediate material and employment gains. Such gains are resented by the majority particularly if they are deemed to be unfair. Look at the attitude of most whites towards continued affirmative action. This is despite the fact that whites and blacks haven’t spent decades killing one another. If Northern Ireland’s latest experiment in power sharing works at all it will be the first time that power sharing has really worked in a violent ethnic conflict. Power sharing has already failed there twice before–in 1974 and in 2002. The first time it lasted about five months and failed due to Protestant working class backlash, IRA hostility and British gov’t indifference. In 2002 it failed due to the refusal of the IRA to disarm within the two-year period called for in the agreement and continued paramilitary and criminal activity by the IRA along with spying by its political wing, Sinn Fein. This led to the collapse of the moderate unionist (pro-Br Protestant) party and of the moderate nationalist (Irish Catholic) party. Now the two extremes are in power. The IRA has finally disarmed and declared the war to be over. This has allowed the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to share power with Sinn Fein starting a week from today. If it succeeds it will be more a testimony to the effectiveness of the form of mediation used and the dedication of the Br and Irish prime ministers. Part of the Good Friday Agreement of April 1998 was the Republic of Ireland changing its constitution to end its legal claim over Northern Ireland’s territory. Thus the Republicans were recognizing a two-state solution almost 80 years after one came into effect. Israel may want to implement consociational measures to improve interethmic relations within Israel between Arabs and Jews. But this will be in addition to a two-state solution, not as a substitute for it.

  6. Dan Fleshler Says:
    May 1st, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    Tom,

    Welcome, Tom. I’m honored.

    You wrote:

    “It would be possible only when partition was impossible and the dominant settler culture was forced to surrender to the native culture out of fear of eventually losing a liberation struggle.”

    Is that how you would describe what happened in South Africa? If so, couldn’t this analysis be employed to justify a continuous “liberation struggle” that will evnetually force Israelis to relent? I obviously hope that does not happen, but it seems like a logic that rejectionists could use.

  7. Richard Witty Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 4:22 am

    Jewish community is a jewel.

    If Jewish community can be confidently preserved within a federal or one-state solution, then it is practical and even desirable.

    If it cannot to a very high level of confidence, then it is impractical and undesirable.

    I’m not married to the idea that Jewish state is permanent and necessary. I am committed to the idea that Jewish community is permanent and necessary, and that an environment in which Jewish community is safe, vibrant, respectfully and respectedly interacting.

    The question of which is the more practical path to preserve Jewish community, including its need to be a kind neighbor, is a relevant one.

    The question framed as ideology vs confident survival and health, is a bad one.

    The leftist construct of urging appropriate accountability for behavior, for policies, designed to be most effective to change them in a humane way, is relevant.

    The leftist construct of urging punitive measures, designed to be indifferent to the effect on the community, is irrelevant.

    It looks more like the oppressive punitive features of boycotts on post-GulfWar1 Iraq, than something humane and liberatory.

    It confuses me that a proposal for intimacy would ONLY be framed in the language and strategy of resistance, rather than the more practical language and strategy of reconciliation and mutual respect.

    Historically, Jews have been repeatedly asked to grovel, and there is an element of that in the way the proposal is framed.

    Also, the issue of the right of return of Palestinians to a single state is a very difficult one. It would shift the status from one of roughly equal population, to one of gross Palestinian majority.

    As the poorer refugees comprise the largest number of those prospectively offered the right of return, the anger and resentment of that community is more likely to prevail than the civil and urbane sensitivities of the wealthier elite Palestinian diaspora in US, Canada and Europe, as Abunimah suggested would be the case.

    The features of equality are better urged within Israel and within Palestine.

    (While its hard to trust the arguments of some of the Hebron settlers, they did recently describe in a Haaretz article that in Palestine, and Jordan for that matter, individuals have been imprisoned and in some “revolutionary” cases executed, for selling land or homes to Jews. For the two-state solution to be just, both states would have to have law that resembles equal due process for all.)

  8. Richard Witty Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 4:41 am

    A two-state solution, with boundaries and access defined to be “enough” rather than dominating over.

    Civil law with due process for all, with only very moderate preferences that preserve the nature of haven (both in Israel and in Palestine).

    Compensation or other mutually acceptable means of addressing all title claims of displaced Palestinians, and fewer displaced Jews formerly from the West Bank.

    A path for those with imperfect or ambiguous title to perfect that title, rather than forced dispossession (applies to Palestinians in now Israel, and to Jewish settlers in now Palestine).

    Driven by “do the right thing” rather than the nature of an exchange. (As in Abunimah’s acceptance of settlers’ residence in the West Bank, by compensation perfecting title, but only in a single state. Why not also in a two-state solution?)

    Why not start doing the right thing now, regardless of future bargaining position? (Israel removing checkpoints, not intentionally expanding expropriative settlements, removing military from the West Bank in a coordinated orderly manner, Israel restoring the right of residence to inter-married, etc.) (And Palestine establishing equal due process.)

    In some respect the Avnery article emphasized that the one-state solution would be bad for Palestinians as rather than being self-governed in a smaller geographical region, in a one-state solution (absent right of Palestinian return), they would likely be subordinated politically and economically, thereby critically losing in respects by the solution.

    And, one flip side to Abunimah’s implications, are that in a Palestinian separate state, he seems (my inference) to conclude that the Palestinians would not establish a regime of “due process for all” even to the level of current Israeli law (which is quite high in many areas, with a long way to go), that ONLY in a single state would rights be satisfactorily afforded to Jews.

    But, in ways that adds up to a demand supported by a threat. (Another peace of the brave after another decade of intifada/suppression/distrustful compromise?)

  9. Tom Mitchell Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Dan,
    Actually in South Africa the armed struggle was largely ineffective except to promote the political support of the ANC among blacks through “armed grafitti.” It was the fear of what a prolonged struggle lasting decades would due to South Africa’s eonomic position based on the experiences of Rhodesia and Namibia, that led De Klerk and his supporters to negotiate with the ANC from a position of strength, rather than waiting until they were nearly defeated as Smith did in Rhodesia. This allowed the National Party a place in the first majority rule cabinet and the retention of a capitalist economic system. Most whites have benefitted from the settlement, although a very high crime rate is a serious problem.

    Most Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah-Al Aksa Bdes. members already make this argument although they use Lebanon and Gaza as examples rather than South Africa. But in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, partition is quite possible based on modified 1967 border with territorial swaps. In Southern Africa partition wasn’t really viable because the whites were numerically a minority in all areas of any size. This is why limited power sharing was possible in South Africa. But because the Afrikaner negotiators from the National Party weren’t really conversant with consociational and federal theory and case studies, they did a much worse job of negotiating than the opposition Democratic Party probably could have done.

  10. Dan F Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Help! John S. seemed to think that I had deliberately blocked his comment (above) and said so on the following, annoyed post on “Internet Activist:”

    http://iablog.blogspot.com/2007/05/dan-fleshlers-realistic-dove-zionist.html

    As I explained to him via email, his comment (3 versions) was caught in the mysterious “Akismet” spam blocker that Word Press uses and I did not discover that until a few minutes ago.

    Sorry John S. Don’t give up on this conversation, please.

  11. Richard Witty Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    Is a single-state solution desirable, if possible?

    Is a single-state solution possible?

  12. John S. Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 12:05 am

    Hi Dan,

    I replied to your email and explained what apparently happened over on the IA blog, so assuming this is acceptable, I’ll hop back in.

    John S.

  13. Dan Fleshler Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 7:35 am

    John S:

    You wrote:

    “No one on the Israeli side has seriously proposed – or barely even discussed – real Palestinian freedom, because that whole concept is incompatible with Israeli security.”

    Israeli security need not be incompatible with Palestinian “freedom.” It is incompatible with the unchecked freedom to send suicide bombers into restaurants and markets.

    “To date I haven’t seen a single “two-state” proposal that really calls for the creation of two-states, just a modification of the occupation to make it easier for Israel to maintain perpetually.”

    You’re right (I think, although there may have been more sweeping, end-game proposals that neither of us are aware of.) But I think you are neglecting that there was an attempt to implement a process of trust-building at the outset of the Oslo process. There were no fixed, declared goals for the final settlement because the Israeli negotiators wanted to give the Palestinian Authority a chance to prove to the Israeli public that they could establish and run a polity that could live side by side with Israel and that security responsibilities could be shared. That might seem arrogant now, but given the legacy of the PLO at the time, both sides understood it was essential. It was also essential for Israel to prove to the Palestinians that they were serious about relinquishing territory.

    So, it didn’t work. Both sides are too blame. I am as frustrated as you are that no Israeli government stood up to the settlers except in isolated cases. And Israel’s political system was too dysfunctional –or its leaders were too gutless, or too greedy for political power– to stop the expansion of settlements. But it was certainly possible in the mid-1990s for both sides to build enough confidence and trust to yield a 2-state solution that would not have been a continuation of the occupation, or would have steadily weaned Israel from the occupation over a period of time. Who knows what kinds of borders and economic arrangements might have been engendered if this experiment had succeeded?

    But, under the circumstances, even the most idealistic Israeli dreamer could not seriously propose the kind of 2-state solution you referred to. Perhaps they should have, though. On that, perhaps, we could agree. Perhaps a larger political horizon would have made it easier for PA moderates to summon up the courage and the domestic support needed to clamp down on rejectionists within the territories. And perhaps a conciliatory political horizon that was clearly articulated by the PALESTINIANS would have solidified Israel’s peace camp and made it more politically palatable to clamp down on settlements.

  14. John S. Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    Hi Dan,

    ”Israeli security need not be incompatible with Palestinian “freedom.” It is incompatible with the unchecked freedom to send suicide bombers into restaurants and markets.”

    Actually in this instance – suicide bombers notwithstanding – Israel’s perceived security is completely incompatible with a sovereign Palestinian state.

    First there is the issue of borders. Israel’s argument – which is fairly legitimate – is that if a Palestinian state has control of its own borders, esp. in respect to import/export policy and immigration, the Palestinian state would be able to (or assuming the Palestinian gov’t was acting in good faith, its militants would be able to take advantage of corruption to) import all manner of advanced weaponry and/or volunteer fighters resulting in intolerable cross border security situation for Israel. Giving the legitimacy of this concern, the net result is that the borders of the Palestinian Bantustan would remain under Israeli control either directly or indirectly (via the use of international intermediaries, but with an Israeli security override along the lines of the current Gaza crossing into Egypt) thereby placing all external trade and population movement under perpetual Israeli control. This is absolutely unacceptable in any and all Palestinian-supported two-state scenarios.

    Second there is the natural resources issue, which is interpreted as a security matter (http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-29781-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html). This primarily relates to water presently, though once the natural gas deposits off the Gaza coast are tapped, this will be included as well. The key points of contention at present are access to the Jordan River and the West Bank aquifers.

    As it is, the Jordan River is already under severe threat due to its exploitation by Israel and Jordan even with the existing extreme restrictions on Palestinian water usage in the West Bank (http://www.american.edu/TED/ice/JORDAN.HTM). A sovereign Palestinian state would demand an extreme upsurge in Palestinian access to Jordan River water, a drain that would be not be workable unless Israel dropped its usage, which isn’t on the agenda. In all Israeli-backed plans for a two-state solution, Israel maintains control of the Jordan Valley in part to control the borders and in part to maintain control over the water.

    The West Bank aquifers are also being taxed to an extreme today and Israel’s answer is not to stop using the aquifers for its own purposes (most of northern Israel relies on the W. Bank aquifers) but that the Palestinian statelet is to acquire its water from a massive desalination facility in Caesaria – within Israel Proper – instead (http://www.countercurrents.org/pa-pearce210604.htm). This clearly tightens the Bantustan’s dependency on Israel allowing Israel to simply “turn off the water” should the Bantustan misbehave in some way, the same way Israel controls most of the electricity in Gaza. It is a control mechanism that again is completely and utterly incompatible with any Palestinian-supported notion of independence or acceptable vision for a Palestinian state.

    Third, there is the issue of a functioning Palestinian government that would be required to administrate the Bantustan and is plainly a requirement for security. However, as most honest observers will grant, there is no functioning Palestinian government at all and since neither the PLO nor the PA were designed to serve this function (as discussed in more detail on the other thread) there isn’t even the pretense to a starting point. In this case you end up with something of a Catch-22, an effective Palestinian governmental structure can’t be established as long as Israel maintains direct military occupation (as any such entity would either have to comply with Israeli administration, meaning it is viewed domestically as a quisling force OR it could try to function independently, meaning it would have to be established under IDF fire) and at the same time, Israeli security demands that military occupation be maintained until there is a effective Palestinian government.

    So, even excluding measures that are ostensibly practiced to prevent suicide bombers – such as closure & the Wall – Israeli security still trumps Palestinian independence.

    What has to be understood is that when Israelis and Palestinians are discussing their advocacy for a “two-state solution” they are talking about VERY different ideas of what that actually means. The Geneva Initiative was billed as an effort to bridge these very different notions and completely failed to do so. [It is true when people are given a heavily edited “summary” of the Geneva Initiative it has a reasonable degree of support, but when all the detail is provided and the actual content to the interminable appendixes is revealed, support dwindles significantly. The anti-Geneva Accord Rightists love to show the stats for this and they are correct.] So in many respects it would be more honest to stop pretending that Israelis and Palestinians are talking about the same thing at all, in favor of a “Israeli two-state plan” and a “Palestinian two-state plan” which are entirely different ideas and mutually exclusive.

    ” And Israel’s political system was too dysfunctional –or its leaders were too gutless, or too greedy for political power– to stop the expansion of settlements.”

    I personally disagree with this assessment because it portrays the settlements and settlers as some sort of self-perpetuating “organic” movement with a life of its own that the Israeli government should rein in. While such a characterization might be fair regarding the ideological settlers and their spin-offs like the “Hilltop Youth,” this isn’t true for the vast majority of settlers who there solely because the Israeli government actively promotes their settlement through financial and other incentives. That is, the bulk of the settlers are not part of some “organic” movement that exists separately from the Israeli government, but is the direct consequence of a specific Israeli government policy. Further, the refusal of the Israeli government to end its subsidized settlement policy illustrates that rhetoric notwithstanding; there is no intention to withdraw.

    As for the rest, there really is no value in “crying over spilt milk” though I do agree with your synopsis that both sides are too blame, both sides made grave mistakes and missed opportunities. However, one point that is graphically illustrated in this period leads to another – weaker – line of integrationist reasoning. This point is the grossly disproportionate influence held by the extremists in both camps.

    1994 really made the point quite clearly with al-Ibrahimi Mosque massacre and the subsequent introduction of suicide bombing as a Palestinian tactic. In February of that year Baruch Goldstein carried out his massacre in Occupied Al Khalil (Hevron) and in April Hamas responded specifically to the al-Ibrahimi massacre with the first ever Palestinian suicide bombing at Afula, killing eight people. Despite the radical upsurge in tensions and animosity, the vast majority of people on both sides were not supportive of either of these acts; nevertheless, the propagandists on both sides managed to turn these extremist actions into “representative actions” – the Israelis as a collective were responsible for the massacre, and the Palestinians as a collective for the subsequent massacre.

    This sort of propaganda that supports blaming the “other” as a collective for the actions of the extremists gives the extremists in both camps far too much influence and undermines virtually any trust building measures that are implemented from the top. The radical deterioration in relations between the PA and the Israeli government following these events really drove the point home, though there is no sound evidence whatsoever that the PA or the Israeli government were in anyway culpable for the extremist actions.

    In such a circumstance, where a small cadre of extremists can completely destroy trust between collectives, trust-building has to come from the bottom-up. Undoubtedly, despite the rhetoric that flowed after these events in 1994, those Palestinians with personal Israeli friends and vice-versa didn’t blame their friends – as part of the “enemy” collective – for the actions of the extremists and thus extremist influence on these relationships was marginal at best. Thus the logical conclusion is that trust-building can’t be done by governments representing their people collectively, but must be done by individuals and small groups directly interacting with each other. Thus any form of integration and interaction, communication and cooperation should be encouraged and obviously such interaction undermines the premise that separation is the only answer.

  15. Dan F Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    John,
    You wrote:

    “In my scheme I do not call for the destruction of Israel at all, just the removal of the ethnocentric and exclusivist ideological basis of the state in favor of an ethnicity-neutral and all inclusive state.”

    You have expressed some aspects of this vision in other posts, but for visitors who have not been keeping track, would you please sum up which current Israeli laws or practices would be removed in this bi-national state you are promoting? You seem to be indicating that much of what exists now would remain intact.

    Would Jews have the “right of return” based on the current definition or a modified version of it? If, for example, there is a new upsurge of anti-Semitic violence in France and French Jews want to find refuge in Israel, will that be possible?

    Or would only Palestinians have that right?

    Or would neither have that right?

  16. John S. Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    “It would be possible only when partition was impossible and the dominant settler culture was forced to surrender to the native culture out of fear of eventually losing a liberation struggle.”

    I did want to back track just a bit to comment on this as well.

    With respect to the first condition, most people in our camp (the one-state camp) believe that partition is already impossible assuming it was ever possible to have a viable state in the OPTs. This is not to suggest that there won’t be some separatist schemes along the lines of ghettos (current Qalqilya), reservations (current Gaza), or even a full-fledged Bantustan (the Oslo-model PA); but none of these entities would in anyway be independent or even effectively autonomous and such schemes will not be sustainable either. Most of the one-state camp today reached this conclusion not out of ideological reasoning (like the old anti-Zionist Communists) but did so as a consequence of coming to terms with the notion that effective partition isn’t a real possibility.

    With respect to the second condition, the notion of being “forced to surrender” is a rather tricky one. For example, were the Afrikaners in South Africa “forced” to compromise? By pretty much all accounts, the Apartheid regime had the physical means at its disposal to maintain its order for several more decades, though this would be accompanied by even more brutal repression and violence. I think legitimate arguments can be presented either way.

    However, this is one of the significant differences between the Afrikaner nationalists and the Zionist movement, namely the Afrikaner movement was essentially independent from 1948 on insofar as it was not dependent on a more powerful external protector to maintain its standing. In this respect, the Zionist movement has more in common with the Ulster Protestants, in that both ethnocentric regimes rely almost exclusively on a vastly more powerful external patron to maintain their position; in Ulster it was Britain, in Israel since 1967, it has been the US.

    In Ulster, peace only became an option once the British – the patron – began to lose interest in maintaining Protestant supremacy in the face of constant Catholic opposition and resistance as well as for a myriad of its own domestic reasons. Only when Britain indicated to its Protestant proxies that this situation had to be resolved did the Protestants have any incentive whatsoever to even consider a compromise with the Catholics. As Tom noted it has been a bumpy road, but even with the failure of power-sharing in 2002 there was no regression to the period of “the Troubles” nor has the still sporadic act of terrorism been able to utterly derail the peace process. I argue that this is because Britain refuses to condone – or invest the requisite time, energy, money and resources – absolute Protestant supremacy today. If the British were willing to do so, things would quickly regress as there would be no reason to compromise at all and they could go back to the good old days of preventing Catholic resistance by with ghettoization schemes. It was the British role – not the sudden emergence of a reconciliation movement among the Ulster Protestants – that resulted in the still ongoing peace process.

    I argue that in the Israel/Palestine case, the role of the patron – in this case the U.S. is also a vital component. Noting that Israel is not economically self-sufficient (see Congressional Research Service report: http://www.opencrs.com/document/IB85066 “Israel is not economically self-sufficient, and relies on foreign assistance and borrowing to maintain its economy.”) and completely relies on U.S. diplomatic protection (esp. in the Security Council) to prevent most of the world from imposing South African style economic, political and other sanctions on it, the status quo could not be maintained without US patronage. One of the serious repercussions of the Iraq debacle has been that it is being brought to Washington that the U.S. policy of “Israel – right or wrong!” is a very serious complication for advancing our interests in the region. Virtually all impartial observers recognize that if the U.S. wants to be taken seriously, if it wants active and open friendly cooperation from most of the Arab world, and if it wants to be seen as a benevolent force as opposed to an imperialist exploiter, the whole blind support for anything and everything Israel wants to do has to go. So far, the pro-Israel voices have managed to maintain the status quo, but it really is fairly obvious that this status quo is coming under critical review – and even active attack – from a myriad of different angles and perspectives. Quite simply – and I can go into this elsewhere – US absolute support for Israel is not in our, meaning the US’s, best interest. Further, this reality places a serious moral obligation on people of conscience in the U.S., but I can go into that elsewhere as well.

    The result is that I firmly believe that the patron – the US – has to make it clear that it is no longer willing to maintain its “Israel – right or wrong!” foreign policy before Israel has any incentive to allow for a real peace at all. The patron demanding compromise might be presented as ”forcing” Israeli Jews to the table in Tom’s definition, but then again, maybe not. I differ with Pappe in this respect because I do not believe that a global boycott or isolation campaign is really necessary (realistically even these efforts against South Africa only had a limited effect in direct terms), instead the entire effort should be focused on ending US support, at which time Israel will have to come up with a workable alternative. Israel has placed all its eggs in the US basket now, so there is only one basket that we have to unweave to radically change the situation.

  17. John S. Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    ”You have expressed some aspects of this vision in other posts, but for visitors who have not been keeping track, would you please sum up which current Israeli laws or practices would be removed in this bi-national state you are promoting? You seem to be indicating that much of what exists now would remain intact.”

    This is where your earlier criticism about me telling people what is best for them becomes a bit more legitimate, because of course all of these details would have to be worked out by the participants. Nevertheless, I am entitled to have an opinion, so please keep these responses in that context. These sort of details might make for a nice paper for a one-state conference or the like, but should not be read as even recommendations.

    ”Would Jews have the “right of return” based on the current definition or a modified version of it?” If, for example, there is a new upsurge of anti-Semitic violence in France and French Jews want to find refuge in Israel, will that be possible?”

    I would argue yes, this should be maintained but extended to include Palestinians. Frankly this role of Israel as the “refuge of last resort” is the most compelling case for the continuance of the Israeli state as such (at least among many people that I’ve talked to), but this does not necessarily mean that the state has to be exclusively controlled by Jews. Such a protection can be constitutionally guaranteed and even in a minority position protected by making repeal only permissible by a minority-specific referendum. That is, only the Jewish community could vote to repeal this constitutional clause (there would be similar community-specific rights for other groups as well).

    As I’m sure you know, a Jew doesn’t just land in Tel Aviv and become a citizen, instead there is a bureaucratic process that begins with obtaining an oleh certificate and then moves through a series of stages eventually resulting in full citizenship. I would suggest that this part of the existing system be maintained, but also complimented with a similar system for gradually reintegrating the Palestinian refugees and others with a clear right to residency within Israel/Palestine. One of the nightmare scenarios raised in response to the Palestinian refugees is the image of a massive uncontrolled flood of penniless refugees flooding the country. I would suggest that the Right of Return can be implemented in a controlled fashion for those that choose to return (which would not be all) that Israel is uniquely set up to handle through its experience with processing and integrating Jewish olim.

    As lots of folks like to point out – including your earlier citation of Dror – ethnicity and ties to the country is something of a norm for expedited citizenship in many countries; my primary objection is that this is true for Jews, but not for Palestinians. Either mutually extend this right, or mutually repeal it.

  18. Richard Witty Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    No country is independant from aid, debt, trade. Israel is no exception.

    MANY countries have treaties that result in either military commitment between states, or even military funding commitment. Israel is no exception.

    That Israel has been historically isolated for existing at all, is itself self-fulfilling.

    That status is potentially changing with the now relatively long-term treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and with the prospects of much wider application indicated by the Saudi proposal.

    The nature of Israel as Jewish haven is desirable, and periodically necessary.

    The traumas of most of the last century are still relevant motivation. No confidence has been offered.

  19. Peter H Says:
    May 5th, 2007 at 1:58 am

    I would say this in response to Robert Mnookin, Tom Mitchell & Leonard Fein: When you have two groups with clashing narratives & identities rooted in the same homeland, any solution is going to be accompanied by conflict. People who (rightly) point out the potential problems in a binational, consociational, or federal regime ignore the problems inherent in a 2-state solution along, say, the lines of the Geneva Accords. Some issues that would be a constant source of tension between Israelis & Palestinians:

    (1) Whether we like it or not, the demand of Palestinian refugees to exercise their right to return is not going to go away. This demand is expressed not only as an issue of individual property rights, but also as a collective right, i.e. the attachment of Palestinians to pre-1948 Palestine, or what is now Israel. The refugees (especially the ones living in third countries) will attempt to block any solution that does not include a right of return.

    Even if political circumstances changed, and something like the Geneva Accords were enacted, an independent Palestinian state would house millions of Palestinians who have countless claims in Israel that are not addressed. This can only be a source of insecurity to both peoples.

    (2) Ending the Israeli occupation and creating an independent Palestinian state would only partialy alleviate Palestine’s economic & social problems. For example, the Gaza Strip would still be tiny, isolated, & overcrowded. Most Palestinian trade routes would still go through Israel. Economically, Palestinians would continue to be dependent on Israel, which, again, would only be a source of insecurity for both groups.

    (3) A new Palestinian state surrounded by Israel would continue to be subject to intimidation by the superior Israeli army. Moreover, Israelis would not feel secure watching a Palestinian state build an army next door knowing that there are millions of Palestinians who have many claims in Israel.

    (4) A two state solution ignores the issues and concerns of “Palestinian Israelis”, i.e the Palestinian population inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

    I’m not an expert on comparative politics, but I agree that consociational democracy, as least as defined by Lijphart,is probably not a good model for resolving Israel-Palestine. A more realistic model would be for two sovereign states joined together in a federal political and economic union, as proposed by Alternative Palestinian Agenda.

    Whatever the problems of problem-sharing in Cyprus & Northern Ireland, none of the proposed solutions to these conflicts have included partition. And for those who mention Yugoslavia as an example of the perils of binationalism, I would point out that partition has been rejected a solution for multinational Bosnia. Indeed, as Meron Benvenisti has pointed out, the Dayton Accords provide one model of a “soft partition”.

  20. John S. Says:
    May 5th, 2007 at 10:24 am

    Hi Peter,

    ” When you have two groups with clashing narratives & identities rooted in the same homeland, any solution is going to be accompanied by conflict. People who (rightly) point out the potential problems in a binational, consociational, or federal regime ignore the problems inherent in a 2-state solution along, say, the lines of the Geneva Accords.”

    This is very true. There is presumption that separation would be “easier” or “more realistic,” but when if comes down to the actual details it becomes fairly clear that this isn’t really the case. The separatist agenda would only be easier and more realistic if it followed the Palestinian two-state idea, of true and total separation; but this has NEVER been part of the Israeli two-state notion and there is no reason to believe that it ever will be. Those opposed to the one-state suggestion highlight that for such a scenario to work, it will take many years and probably involve considerable extremist violence, but despite the implication to the contrary, the exact same is true for a viable two-state option as well.

    ”(1) Whether we like it or not, the demand of Palestinian refugees to exercise their right to return is not going to go away. This demand is expressed not only as an issue of individual property rights, but also as a collective right, i.e. the attachment of Palestinians to pre-1948 Palestine, or what is now Israel. The refugees (especially the ones living in third countries) will attempt to block any solution that does not include a right of return.”

    This is one element of the equation that the Zionist Left tends to “write off” as a non-issue; and despite the willingness of the PLO to betray this Palestinian population, for most Palestinians – who have direct relatives who are refugees even if they are not refugees themselves – this is a very real issue that isn’t going to just go away. Interestingly, the existing Israeli state is uniquely qualified to deal with this issue based on its experience with integrating olim from diverse backgrounds and cultures into the state. Existing Israeli absorption schemes makes the reintegration of those Palestinian refugees that would want to return completely realistic in a fashion that does not threaten to overwhelm the state, but of course this could only work in a post- or non- Zionist state, bring us back to the theme of the other thread, it’s the ideology, not the state, that has to go.

    ”Even if political circumstances changed, and something like the Geneva Accords were enacted, an independent Palestinian state would house millions of Palestinians who have countless claims in Israel that are not addressed. This can only be a source of insecurity to both peoples.”

    Personally, I do not believe that the restoration of precise properties is realistic at all, especially in view of how extensively the Israeli state modified Palestine over the last fifty-nine years. Further, the refugee resolution that enshrines their rights does not specifically require this, just return and/or compensation. On the upside, the fact that the Israeli government legally holds most of the land in the state means that the state can utilize what land is necessary for the reintroduction and integration of those refugees demanding return without having to violate the rights of private land holders for the most part. The JNF/KKL pretense that its lands are immune to state policy has been shot down in the courts, so even that objection is no longer a bar to progress. This is a compromise position, but I believe that most of the refugees in the worst situations – such as those in Lebanon – would find this an acceptable compromise if offered. The most passionate opposition to such a scheme would probably come from the scions of the old Palestinian landed gentry, the old land holders, but they represent a small enough minority and typically escaped in good enough personal circumstances that I suspect their demands for the precise restitution of all properties they once held could be acceptably ignored.

    ”(4) A two state solution ignores the issues and concerns of “Palestinian Israelis”, i.e the Palestinian population inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders.”

    I personally believe that it is this population that is the vanguard of the one state movement. They are the ones that are constantly putting pressure on and challenging the pretense to Israel being both “Jewish” and “democratic” and forcing Israelis to come down on one side or the other and highlighting the hypocrisy. The existing Israeli state – including at least some of its minority protections and judicial decisions – is the basis of the one-state notion being built upon the existing Israeli state. Getting rid of the ideology that demands ethnocentric domination and building on the existing Israeli state is, in my opinion, the most realistic way forward for the one state agenda.

    ”Whatever the problems of problem-sharing in Cyprus & Northern Ireland, none of the proposed solutions to these conflicts have included partition. And for those who mention Yugoslavia as an example of the perils of binationalism, I would point out that partition has been rejected a solution for multinational Bosnia. Indeed, as Meron Benvenisti has pointed out, the Dayton Accords provide one model of a “soft partition”.”

    In fact, it should also be kept in mind that the most egregious abuses happened as a result of separatist efforts. The ethnic cleansing in Bosnia occurred AFTER Bosnia sought to break away from Yugoslavia, and though there was violence that resulted in this move, it went to an entirely new level of magnitude once separation became the issue. The same is true in Kosovo the effort to separate led to the worst violence, though there was smaller scale violence before hand. In Israel/Palestine, there is constant conflict, but one can make the case – esp. in view of the extremist reactions from both sides in 1994 and in the face of the Gaza Disengagement – that a realistic separatist scheme would likely result in a massive escalation in violence. Conversely, integration can be done slowly and through political and legal change without a clear cut “breaking point” being hit that would stimulate a sudden escalation in violence.

  21. Richard Witty Says:
    May 6th, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    The questions articulated are resolvable within a two-state solution.

    Again, not to the level of meeting the demands set by the parties, but to the level of meeting the needs of the parties.

  22. Dan F Says:
    May 6th, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    If we are trying to measure how difficult it would be to implement either option, they are both very very long shots. Like Shlomo Ben-Ami, I don’t think it is possible for either side to take the necessary steps to compromise without some kind of international umbrella, led by the U.S.

    So, again I come back to what is politically feasible in this country. Moving the political chess pieces in this country to push hard for Israeli withdrawal from large swaths of the occupied territory will be extremely dififcult. If it happens, it will be a paradigmatic shift in the way America’s political elite deal with the conflict. But it is not impossible for me to imagine.

    It is not beyond the realm of the plausible that a new political bloc of American Jews and other Americans will emerge and call for even-handedness, for pressure on both sides as opposed to pressure on one side. It is much less likely, but still not inconceivable, that such a political bloc could call for the kind of free-standing, unbeholden Palestinian state –protected by international mandate and an international peacekeeping force–that John and Peter say is impossible.

    But it is impossible for me to imagine that a solid bloc of Americans (who have historically backed Israel through thick and thin) would ever give political permission to an American President to discard the Jewish state, and to countenance a system in which Jews are forced to be a minority group in Israel-Palestine. Mind you, I also don’t think it is fair or just to deprive Jews of the right of self-determination that is enshrined in international law, and nothing you guys have said has convinced me that this right -or, for that matter, the safety of Jews in Tel Aviv and Ashdod and Netanya– would be assured in one state. The only way to protect the rights of both peoples to self-determination is to give each a state. But even if I thought otherwise, I would not consider the one-state option to be realistic because America would never allow it.

    At a certain point, one has to rely on one’s visceral sense of what is feasible. And if this really is your dream, John and Peter, I don’t see how you could create the circumstances in which America would allow it to happen.

  23. Richard Witty Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 1:34 am

    I think it is a worthy goal to try to create the conditions of mutual acceptance that is a prerequisite of single-state.

    I wish that that was the effort that the single-state advocates were making.

    That is NOT the effort that I read from Saif, Ali Abumenah, John and others.

    The effort that I read is the one of forcing compliance. 90% of the efforts are on pressure on Israel, 10% or less on the commitments (personal and political) to demonstrate trust.

    A long shot that even the proponents are not investing in.

  24. Richard Witty Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 6:35 am

    Dan,
    I think your site has been “branded” as a Zionist site.

    Post-Zionists might feel like there is a prospect in posting and dialoging here, but anti-Zionists I expect quickly run into a brick wall.

    If things got to “what side are you on?” (which it is relative to the prospect of punitively oriented agitation), then we’d be considered enemy, regardless of our degree of sympathy for the Palestinian people and good recomendations and efforts to help, both politically and tangibly.

    I hope that its not that far along. That is what I sense from the one-state prospect, that the anger and resistance comes first and the reconciliation merely barely an afterthought.

    Kind of like Olmert feeling compelled to do something about Hezbollah, but not thinking out the subsequent steps. Or like George W feeling who knows what, but not thinking out the subsequent steps.

    Is the term “democracy” merely a slogan, or is indended to have content, even if elements conflicts with the goals and methods of militancy?

  25. John S. Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    Hi Dan,

    ”If we are trying to measure how difficult it would be to implement either option, they are both very very long shots.”

    I agree.

    ”Like Shlomo Ben-Ami, I don’t think it is possible for either side to take the necessary steps to compromise without some kind of international umbrella, led by the U.S.”

    On this score, I disagree because it is based on the two-state Madrid/Oslo paradigm; specifically the notion of bilateral agreement between the Israeli government on one side and the PLO ostensibly representing all Palestinians on the other and is only focused on the OPTs. However, this is a false representation of the actual situation.

    First you have the 1948 Palestinians, those holding Israeli citizenship, and despite the desperate measures the Israeli gov’t is taking (the Shin bet declaration that it would oppose even legal action, the current libel against Bishara, &c.), the Israeli Palestinians are not showing any signs of being cowed into their former status of quiet non-people within the “Jewish State.” However, their demand for equality in Israel is obviously the vanguard of the one state movement. In fact I personally consider their struggle for equality within Israel to be vastly more important than anything the PLO has to say as a stepping stone for peace.

    Second, you have the external refugee population that is not democratically represented by the PLO and has – as a collective – flatly rejected the PLO’s right to negotiate away their rights. So regardless of what Abbas & gang have to say about it, they cannot solve the refugee issue and whatever they say will not be effectively binding. Moreover, since most of these refugees lay claim to rights inside the Green Line, the notion of one-state co-existence is much more popular in this quarter and thus their future is more closely connected to – and represented by – the struggle of the 1948 Palestinians than anything the PLO has to say about it.

    Finally, even within the OPTs, the election of Hamas – a non-PLO group – certainly calls into question the Pas democratic credentials and at the same time the Israeli closure policy has effectively destroyed any pretense to centralized power for the PA. Since the PLO has focused exclusively on the PA since 1993, one can legitimately question the value of the PA even as a tame token “partner” to agree to Israeli demands. The PA simply can’t deliver regardless of the rhetoric coming from its corrupt little wannabe oligarchs.

    It isn’t so much that the Palestinian side can’t make the concessions that Israel demands, but more that there is no unified “Palestinian side” at all and in its absence, people like me are looking to the 1948 Palestinians and their stable representative and properly organized political formations – as well as their radical Israeli allies – to take point in defining the struggle.

    ”It is not beyond the realm of the plausible that a new political bloc of American Jews and other Americans will emerge and call for even-handedness, for pressure on both sides as opposed to pressure on one side. It is much less likely, but still not inconceivable, that such a political bloc could call for the kind of free-standing, unbeholden Palestinian state –protected by international mandate and an international peacekeeping force–that John and Peter say is impossible.”

    Not necessarily impossible in the physical sense, but it still isn’t going to happen. Like my earlier comment about the United States renouncing its claim to Manhattan Island (middle of NYC) and returning it to the Native Americans. Technically, in a physical sense, this could be done. However, there is no plan to do so, no intention to do so, and virtually no likelihood of it happening, it isn’t even on the agenda of realistic actions that anyone takes seriously. The same is true for a complete withdrawal from the OPTs. Physically it is possible, but there is absolutely no reason to believe that it will ever happen.

    ”But it is impossible for me to imagine that a solid bloc of Americans (who have historically backed Israel through thick and thin) would ever give political permission to an American President to discard the Jewish state, and to countenance a system in which Jews are forced to be a minority group in Israel-Palestine. … But even if I thought otherwise, I would not consider the one-state option to be realistic because America would never allow it.”

    Now here you raise an important point, specifically the role of the United States.

    First, as should indicate that I hold the United States directly culpable for the current situation based on the patronage argument alluded to in a previous post. Specifically, as long as the US is willing (and able) to support Israel regardless of what it does, for better or worse, Israel has no incentive – none whatsoever – to reach a mutually acceptable compromise. It took a dramatic gesture threatening to end this “Israel – Right or Wrong” position to get Israel to even agree to the Oslo redeployment (when James Baker under Papa Bush threatened to cut off aid to Israel if it didn’t stop rapid settlement expansion, a “sin” that has never been forgiven as seen with the release of the Baker Commission report about Iraq). So a big part of my advocacy is that we Americans – Jewish or otherwise – are directly responsible and have every right to play a direct role in this conflict. It is our fault that Israel has no reason to compromise and thus every death resulting from a lack of compromise is the direct responsibility of the United States.

    Second, I do not believe a Jewish counter-lobby representing a more moderate or even handed position is in the cards either. I’ve commented on this before in a different thread and frankly the more moderate Jewish community is likely to simply disengage from the whole issue than to get into what would inevitably be a monstrously acrimonious conflict with the “Israel – Right or Wrong!” crowd. The thing about being an American – even a Jewish-American – is that you really don’t have to deal with this issue at all if you’re not inclined to, and many – maybe even a majority – Jewish-Americans do just that, ignore the issue altogether. A Jewish counter-lobby would have to compete – in an extremely hostile atmosphere – for the hearts and minds of those Jews that are currently involved and concerned by the issue, a group that is already heavily dependent of on one or the other factions of the existing “Lobby” (all the elements combined into a collective). I don’t see it happening.

    Third, many of us have adopted a different strategy for dealing with the lobby, namely publicizing it and demanding total U.S. disengagement altogether. The US is coming to face a myriad of new pressures – many of which are the product of Bush & his rubber-stamp Republican Congress, but won’t actually be felt until he is out of office – and when it comes right down to it, most Americans are not very enthusiastic about foreign aid at all for allies or otherwise. Our case is that there are better uses for the billions we give Israel (as well as Egypt as part of our bribery arrangement that is a core part of the 1979 Camp David Agreement) each year. Of course most of this aid is spent – by condition – with US arms manufacturers, but even this isn’t really required now that Bush has us enmeshed in what is promising to be a state of near constant war for decades to come (Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and so on).

    The traditional argument of Israel’s geopolitical and strategic usefulness to the United States really hasn’t been accurate since the first Gulf War when we gained a permanent foothold throughout the Arab world and in fact had to literally bribe Israel not to respond to Saddam’s Scud attacks to maintain our regional coalition. (The bribe included some 10 billion in additional loan guarantees, the technology that is now Israel’s Arrow missile defense system, and so on). Since then, US support for Israel has been a geopolitical liability. There is nothing Israel can provide that our other allies and dependencies in the region cannot and unlike during the Cold War, we now have a permanent foothold throughout the region, from Djibouti in Africa, to virtually all the Gulf States, to Afghanistan and our NATO ally Turkey. Further, Israel is specifically discouraged from participating directly with US forces in the region for fear of undermining other relationships: there was a valid reason that the US built its air support base for Iraq in Jordan instead of Israel.

    On the economic front, Israel produces very little that the US needs or wants, which is why it is the EU, not the US, that serves as Israel’s primary export market. Further, in the face of constant conflict, the real basis for continue capital inflows isn’t Israel’s economy as such, but the fact that it is backed by the United States via loan guarantees, i.e. the US assures investors that they are covered if they invest in Israel. Finally Israel’s logical overemphasis on high-tech (and thus expensive) military/security products forces Israel to find markets that need their technology AND have the money to afford it, countries like China and India, which does not necessarily serve US strategic interests. The most recent major conflict – though downplayed publicly – between the US and Israel regarded Israeli technology transfers to China, and a new one is brewing since it seems that China’s new fighter aircraft is something of a reincarnation of the cancelled US-funded Lavi fighter project from Israel.
    Quite specifically, Israel no longer holds any practical importance for US interests, our support is now sentimental, not strategic.

    Further, even this sentimental support rests upon a weak foundation. Contrary to the implied relationship you mention, for the vast majority of Americans it doesn’t matter in the least. Many in the Jewish-American community care, many in the Arab/Muslim community (which is now about the same size as the Jewish community and growing much faster and much more politically active) care, and the Christian Zionists care; but that’s about it.

    However, the active element of the Jewish-American community is primarily monopolized by the right-wing “Lobby” and though there is moderate opposition (like JVP), for the most part those Jewish-Americans not involved in the right-wing effort just aren’t involved at all.

    The Arab/Muslim community is increasing in both numbers and political significance (Bush would never have won in 2000 had not the 80,000 Muslims in Florida that voted for him not done so). In many respects this community is fundamentally conservative, but has been turned away by more traditional (White Christian) elements of the existing US conservative movement. This has put them in a similar situation as the disengaged Jewish-Americans, they just aren’t participating at all.

    Nevertheless, their kids – especially the American-born Arab/Muslim Americans are coming out aggressively on the Left, they’re liberal (as opposed to their conservative parents), educated, industrious and they’re pissed at being stereotyped in the post-9/11 US. They’re Muslim, but uniquely Muslim-American. One traditional stance that hasn’t shifted at all – and is even gaining a new found popularity – is the fate of their Palestinian cousins and the role of the US in that fate. Coupled with these folks, the Palestinian narrative is finally found an audience in the US among other groups as well. The end result is that for the first time in US history – at least since 1967 – there is a strong and growing US constituency that openly questions and opposes the US “Israel – Right or Wrong” stance, something that the existing lobby has never had to deal with before.

    The third group that cares, and frankly provides the rank-and-file of Israel advocacy today, are the Christian Zionists with their enthusiastic desire to lump all of us godless Jews in Israel so Jesus can come back and cast us all into hell… Luckily for the anti-Zionist position, this initiative is being spearheaded by John Hagee and his “Christians United for Israel.” On the Jewish side, you can’t really deny he’s a open unabashed anti-Semite after going on record as publicly blaming the Jews themselves for the Holocaust, essentially arguing that the Jewish people got what it deserved for turning our backs on God. Ahem. On the Christian side, he is also written off as something of a nut because he argues that Jews get something of a “free pass” into heaven even without accepting Jesus (this is how he argues against missionary activity and is thus beloved by groups like the ADL); whereas that runs in direct contrast to virtually all Christian denominations and esp. the fundamentalists, who believe the only way to heaven is through Jesus. So, in the end, I believe Hagee is heading for a train wreck one way or the other – either losing most Jewish support, or most Christian support, or (best case scenario) virtually all support. Further the Christian Right in general is now fragmenting and redirecting their efforts toward domestic concerns (echoing the growing trend throughout the country), so it is debatable how long the Christian Zionists will play an active role.

    So the core dynamics of Israel advocacy – and opposition – are changing in the United States already, and this is a trend that will only increase as domestic pressures continue to increase and people come to understand that our foreign military adventurism isn’t going to end anytime soon despite having no purpose, no goal, and thus no chance of “success” (since this isn’t even defined). For folks like me, our job is to constantly raise awareness of US support for Israel to a population that is not all that sympathetic in the first place and demand that the US disengage altogether. In such a scenario, Israel will have no choice but to get off its imperious high horse and deal honestly for a viable solution.

    Finally, Israel has put all its faith in US support, but if you look at the history of other states and regimes that have done this one has to note that it isn’t really the wisest course of action. Manuel Noriega, Mohammad Aidid, and even Saddam Hussein were all US proxies that the US later opted to turn against. Even after most of the world had turned against the Apartheid regime (a situation that Israel is already in) it was the US & UK that almost single-handedly kept the white regime functioning arguing that it served vital strategic interests as a check to Communism. However, once there was enough domestic pressure against it, finally the US decided that it wasn’t worth the trouble, US support ended and the regime collapsed within a couple of years. This is the inspiration and model we’re following for ending US support for Israel, build up domestic pressure since Israel really doesn’t serve any useful purpose for us or our interests. Not to mention ending the “Israel – Right or Wrong!” stance would do wonders for our standing throughout the world, a public relations triumph.

    Counting on perpetual US support is a fool’s gamble.

  26. Dan F Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Richard,

    I know what you mean about the anger that always seems to well up in those proposing a 1-state solution. But that’s the context in which we all must function. Right wing Jews have their own brand of anger that also wells up. I tend to be angry at anti-Semitism on the far left.

    In the best dialogue groups, Palestinians and Israelis –or American Jews and American Muslim–go through a process in which anger gets expressed and shared, but eventually there is recognition of the presence of 2 distinct narratives, too distinct national movements.

    Eventually there is often an understanding that anger leads nowhere and accomplishes nothing. And eventually, the possibility of working together for a shared future is sometimes accepted.

    But such dialogues require talented faciliators. They require the right setting. They require face to face contact. On the Internet, all that we get are unmediated blurbs and lectures. When the anger wells up, there is nothing that can be done about it except explain why it isn’t useful and/or wait until it passes.

    That said, I have been impressed by the lack of anger and the abundance of lucidity exhibited by John S.

  27. Dan F Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    John,

    I still don’t understand how you intend to get from A to B.

    Rely entirely on “1948 Palestinians” and “Israeli radicals” and, I presume, a 1-state movement in the U.S. and Europe that you hope will be comparable in strength to the anti-apartheid movement? You seem to blithely dismiss the Palestinians in the territories as if it doesn’t matter what role they play. That might fit into the abstract schema you have in mind but it doesn’t conform to the realities on the ground.

    You seem to rely on “folks like you” to completely change the American government’s –and the American people’s- views about Israel. I presume that you are referring to –for lack of a better word– the far left in this country. What have they accomplished since, say, the 1930s? The country is moving towards the center, and it is the center that must be moved to help solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem, and the center wants no part of, say, the left wing of Moveon.org or the people who love The Nation or..(who else did you have in mind?)

    The only way to persuade elected officials in this country is with money or grassroote pressure. Do you honestly think you will be able to muster up enough of either one to change the minds of more than a few politicians? And do you honestly think that is more likely than a dovish American Jewish alternative to the current, mainstream pro-Israel lobby?

  28. Richard Witty Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    “Physically it is possible, but there is absolutely no reason to believe that it will ever happen.”

    The reason that it is possible is the combination of Palestinian unity government (if it matures), and the sincere proposal of the Arab states (if it is sincere, which I think it is).

    The combination of those two efforts give Israel a LOT, and for a lot. It represents a transition from ambiguity to clarity.

    “The traditional argument of Israel’s geopolitical and strategic usefulness to the United States really hasn’t been accurate since the first Gulf War when we gained a permanent foothold throughout the Arab world and in fact had to literally bribe Israel not to respond to Saddam’s Scud attacks to maintain our regional coalition.”

    Israel’s role would shift from regional military anchor to a regional economic anchor, as its influence has been on Jordan for example (which now actually has a growing high-technology sector).

    The regional marketplace is THE goal of US involvement in the region. Oil is temporary.

    Israel’s relationship to the US is not accurately of dependancy as much as you describe. Definitely Israel would have to adjust to changes in US relationship, but it would survive.

    The influence of Christian groups in Israeli politics is definitely confusing. Many Christians are sincere and kind. Many are highly ideological, with ends justifying means.

    Including the means of infiltration and confusion of Jewish identity, as well as the external “motivation” of furthering the apocapolyptic.

    Like all challenges, these motivate to clarify and find balance, nut and root.

  29. John S. Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    ”I still don’t understand how you intend to get from A to B.”

    Unless I’m misreading you, that’s just it, there is no “from A to B” we’re at “B” already. As you read this, the de facto reality on the ground is one state with an ethnocentric state ideology that dictates only a portion of the population has full rights. The goal is to oust this ideological block, all the rest the can stay, so there is no movement from the current reality to a new one in a physical sense, just an honest assessment of the current reality and an ideological adjustment.

    ”Rely entirely on “1948 Palestinians” and “Israeli radicals” and, I presume, a 1-state movement in the U.S. and Europe that you hope will be comparable in strength to the anti-apartheid movement?”

    No, just a comparable movement focused on the US, the rest of the world, for the most part, is already on board. The struggle of the 1948 Palestinians is the struggle for one state, the other two major Palestinian populations (those in the OPTs & external refugees) have no meaningful representation or effective political structures to advance their agenda(s) at all. Azmi Bishara honestly represents the interests of more Palestinians than Mahmoud Abbas does.

    ”You seem to blithely dismiss the Palestinians in the territories as if it doesn’t matter what role they play. That might fit into the abstract schema you have in mind but it doesn’t conform to the realities on the ground.”

    I didn’t say that, but it cannot be denied that they have no coherent voice or effective political structure to represent it, esp. since the Hamas elections ended the pretense that the PLO/Fatah represents the vast majority of Palestinians in the OPTs. There simply is no legitimate voice today representing the Palestinians of the OPTs. In the absence of a cohesive position and an effective body to present and negotiate that position, there is – to recite Kadima’s perpetual refrain – “no partner.”

    ”You seem to rely on “folks like you” to completely change the American government’s –and the American people’s- views about Israel.”

    Not at all, most Americans just don’t care, or don’t care very much. I know its hard to get through the heads of many Jewish-Americans, but the reality is that this just isn’t a key issue to your average American. There are small, vocal, and influential minorities who care, but this was discussed in detail previously. All we have to do is make it “more trouble than it is worth” for the political elites to maintain the status quo. Some people are already reaching this conclusion on their own for the reasons alluded to before (lack of geopolitical value, a strategic liability, no economic benefit, &c.) as well as others. In the end we derive inspiration from the model of grassroots organizing and making the issue “cool” used by the Anti-Apartheid movement, the Save Darfur movement, and the Free Tibet movement. It has been – and can be – done here. However, since it is done in a very decentralized fashion, it is hard to gauge progress. I am hoping that the June 10-11 mobilization will provide some clue as to how things are developing.

    ”The only way to persuade elected officials in this country is with money or grassroote pressure. Do you honestly think you will be able to muster up enough of either one to change the minds of more than a few politicians?”

    We can’t really compete with the money, but we can with the pressure. The point is, most – and there are a few exceptions – US politicians aren’t dedicated Israel supporters either. They support Israel because there is an incentive to do so (AIPAC & friends) and no incentive not to (they stand to gain nothing by taking a principled stand). That is, however, changing and I know this for a fact. Many politicians are trying to run a neutral course; just ignoring the issue altogether in public and privately doing as “recommended” by the Lobby. Even that is getting more difficult though. Quite simply, a cohesive opposition camp IS forming and this is something AIPAC & friends have never really had to deal with before and the individual politicians aren’t sure how to proceed. For right now, the majority is still siding with the Lobby, but that is changing, I’ve seen it change enormously over the last ten years and within another ten – at the current rate – I think we’ll be successful.

    ”And do you honestly think that is more likely than a dovish American Jewish alternative to the current, mainstream pro-Israel lobby?”

    Yes, frankly I do. It is the “dovish” American Jewish population that is least likely to be interested in hopping into a mud-slinging match with the right-wingers. All AIPAC & friends will have to do is launch a few well placed jabs hurling “Anti-Semite!” and “Self-Hating Traitor!” and a good portion of the “dovish” Jewish Americans will just go home and disengage from the issue altogether; no Jewish-American HAS to deal with this issue if they prefer not to.

  30. John S. Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Richard,

    A couple new topics that I haven’t already addressed…

    ”The regional marketplace is THE goal of US involvement in the region. Oil is temporary.”

    Nonsense. Beyond the oil, the region taken as a whole doesn’t provide anything that we – as in the US – need or can’t get elsewhere cheaper and easier. Further, truth be told, we only take a minority of our oil needs from the region as well if you exclude Saudi Arabia. The issue isn’t so much that we NEED the oil, but the geopolitical significance of CONTROLLING the oil and using it as leverage to advance other interests. A regional trade bloc might be of use to Europe – who does import a lot of Middle Eastern produce, Israeli and otherwise – and would be of value to the participating states, but the US has no vested interest in it.

    ”Israel’s relationship to the US is not accurately of dependancy as much as you describe. Definitely Israel would have to adjust to changes in US relationship, but it would survive.”

    It is a relationship of dependency and protection, though not completely economic/financial. If we were only talking about the economic relationship, you are correct; but this is coupled with US diplomatic protection and “influence” as well. The only reason Jordan and Egypt have entered into economic/trade relationships with Israel is because we made that a condition for economic/trade relationships with us. Further, without US diplomatic protection – esp. in the UN Security Council – the world community would have taken measures to curtail Israeli practices all the way back to the 1970’s. Without that diplomatic protection, Israel would be facing a whole new list of potential problems, esp. in respect to economics and trade. Make no mistake about it, Israel is a US dependency.

    All the other issues you’ve raised in this post have already been addressed at one point or another.

  31. Richard Witty Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    I think you misunderstand what is occurring in the region and what is desired.

    There is conflict within the Arab world. They note that there is no moving back to the quaint.

    And, I think you misunderstand the nature of the relationship between Israel and the US, and that misunderstanding would lead you to faulty, and ultimately suppressive political stance.

    The path to a two-state solution is MUCH closer than it has ever been, and is factually close.

    There are many that desire the two-state reconciliation to never occur. They include Islamicists for whom reconciliation represents a fundamental compromise of Islamic dominance, and Islamic norms.

    They also include, as you refer, some of the Palestinian refugees. (Moreso the poorer ones that have been asked to remain as refugees in “resistance”. The wealthier diaspora Palestinians love the possibility of cosmopolitan Palestine, and the free trade zone that the neo-cons propose. Most of the professional diaspora Palestinians regard Israel as closer to their model than Hamas is.)

    Even if a two-state solution is just a large island, and not a full-fledged continent of equality, it is MUCH better than being at sea.

    And, as I’ve described earlier, unless a centrist civilist majority forms up and makes strong links within Israel and Palestine to constitute a compelling majority, the strength of the fringes only leads to very violent, and minimally resolvable civil war.

    The militant approaches strengthen the fringes and diminish the voice of the civil, kind and practical middle, in favor of the raving.

    I’d be ashamed to risk encouraging that militancy.

    It is so far from ANY basis of confidence, and going farther away from it by agitation.

    Israel will face problems. Problems are part of life.

    The good effort is to solve problems, not to exacerbate them.

  32. Richard Witty Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    And, still the desire of Jews to SELF-govern continues.

    Absent the predominance of the civil middle among Palestinian voices, ethnic Israeli and diaspora Jews are much more sympathetic with civil middle that does most represent Israeli politics.

    Zionism is not nutty. It is very understandable, practical, and possible to accomplish kindly.

    Messianic urges (as in historical apolyptic prophecy) are nutty. Its nutty whether it comes from neo-orthodox Jews for whom Eretz Yisroel is the messiah, fraudulent Christian “Jews” hoping for the apocalypse, jihadists, and newbies to the prophetic.

    I don’t understand how progressives can deny a people’s self-governance, and stand by that ideologically without significant rationalization.

  33. John S. Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Hi Richard,

    ”I think you misunderstand what is occurring in the region and what is desired. …”

    LOL. I’ve made most of what is a cohesive case (there are some elements that haven’t been explored here yet) and you haven’t actually countered anything, beyond making the generalized and unsubstantiated statement that ‘it isn’t true” and moving on. If anyone has a gross misunderstanding to the situation I would argue that it is the Zionist Left, as is graphically illustrated by its diminishing significance in Israel and abroad. The one state movement is a growing one, the Zionist Left is a declining one; there is a reason for that and wishful thinking won’t change it.

    ”The path to a two-state solution is MUCH closer than it has ever been, and is factually close.”

    Well quit just saying this as though it makes it true and substantiate – argue – your case. I’ve provided a myriad of reasons why I don’t think this is in anyway true and you have neither countered my arguments nor provided your own substantiating the case. If a realistic sustainable two-state solution is “MUCH” closer, explain your perspective. Simply saying so – expressing your hopes – isn’t a sound argument at all.

    There are many that desire the two-state reconciliation to never occur. They include Islamicists for whom reconciliation represents a fundamental compromise of Islamic dominance, and Islamic norms.

    Assuming you are referring to Hamas, then this is factually incorrect. Hamas reconciled itself to a two-state solution a long time ago, even before the current intifada, but of course it serves Israeli interests to pretend otherwise, just as it served their interest to argue that Arafat was no partner and so on and so forth. There is ALWAYS an excuse to not negotiate. There are some Islamist extremists – exemplified by Palestinian Islamic Jihad – that have maintained an absolute refusal to support a two-state option, but they are tiny minority, completely on par with the Kahanist minorities in the W. Bank that also reject a two-state solution. In both cases though – as again discussed before – these small minorities have grossly disproportionate influence.

  34. John S. Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    ”And, still the desire of Jews to SELF-govern continues. … I don’t understand how progressives can deny a people’s self-governance, and stand by that ideologically without significant rationalization.”

    Blah, blah, blah. We’ve gone over this repeatedly and you STILL haven’t addressed the problem with “Jewish self-governance;” namely that they are imposing this “self-governance” on people that are not part of the defined “self”. If Israel wants to withdraw from the Palestinian Arab dominated areas – the OPTs, the Galilee, and the Negev – and exercise their “self-governance” by actually governing themselves (maybe with small minorities), fine. But we know this isn’t going to happen. “Self-governance” being imposed on a population of equal size that is not and can never be part of the “self” to be governed because their mothers belong to wrong ethnicity. This IS NOT “self-governance” but ethnocentric – racist – domination.

    Quit repeating the same empty mantra about “self-governance” and address the issue at hand, the imposition of “Jewish self-governance” on millions upon millions of non-Jews. If there is any validity to your point, please make the point already. There is no problem with Jewish “self-governance” if it is applied to Jews (or primarily to Jews), but that simply isn’t the case. I’ve made this case repeatedly and am STILL waiting for you to address it.

  35. Tom Mitchell Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    Peter,
    1) The Afrikaners were dependent on the belt of settler colonies to the north of them that provided them with a security zone that was hundreds of miles wide. That zone began to collapse in 1975 when Portugal, after insurgencies that had lasted 10 and 14 years respectively, gave independence to Mozambique and Angola. Next came Rhodesia, which under majority rule became Zimbabwe in 1980. Finally, South Africa withdrew from Namibia in 1989-90 and was soon in the process of negotiating majority rule with the ANC.

    2) The partition in Ireland took place in 1921-22 when Britain separated two-thirds of the province of Ulster and made it into Northern Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement is an attempt to deal fairly with the 45% of the population of Irish extraction in exchange for both Ireland and the Irish Republicans giving up their legal claims against Northern Ireland and the use of violence to achieve unification.

    3)De-facto partition has occurred in Bosnia. Bosniaks refused to grant independence to the Serbs and weren’t in a position to take back the territory that the Serbs had captured.

    4) The partition of Cyprus between Greece and Turkey might in fact be a good solution to the Cypriot conflict.

    You should go to the MeretzUSA website and look at today’s comment on what is taking place in Great Britain between England and Scotland.

    5) The religious community in the U.S. that is driving American support for Israel is largely the evangelical (particularly the fundamentalist) Protestant community not the Jews. Palestinians and Arabs can at best try to neutralize right-wing Jewish support for Israel in the Democratic Party; they have no influence in the Republican Party.

    6) The SDLP had considerable support within the Labor Party in Britain, the unionists didn’t have comparable support within the Tories after the mid-1980s. David Trimble, leader of the UUP, managed to neutralize support for the Irish minority within the Labor Party.

    7) While Israelis enjoy an artificially high lifestyle due to American economic aid they could easily survive without it. Israel has diversified enough trade that it could survive any serious attempt at economic sanctions. What hurt Pretoria were financial sanctions by European banks in response to widespread internal unrest in the mid-1980s rather than the limited trade sanctions from the EEC and U.S. that followed that unrest. If you don’t believe me read the book by Heribert Adam and Kogila Moodley, Seeking Mandela (2005). Moodley is an ex-pat South African and her husband/collaborator is a German-Canadian South African expert. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on internal settlements in Southern Africa so I know that trade sanctions only affected about 3% of South African trade. Rhodesia fought on for a decade after UN comprehensive trade sanctions were passed. The U.S. won’t allow similar sanctions against Israel and the Palestinian intifada doesn’t begin to compare with the guerrilla insurgency that the Smith government faced in Israel.

    8) Once western Palestine is repartitioned in a peace settlement into Israel and Palestine, Israeli Palestinians might be accommodated with some sort of cultural and possibly even territorial autonomy within Israel. Most Palestinians live in the Galilee and the Negev apart from Jews so this should be feasible.

  36. Richard Witty Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    John,
    Your dismissal of points when made doesn’t make them “not made”.

    The closeness of the two-state solution is in two steps that have evolved over an extended period, and are close to firm.

    They do not depend on the Zionist left, as it is states themselves that would be implementing.

    1. The formation of the Palestinian unity government, that will have to deal with the issues of continuity and loyalty to that continuity, that it had not previously. As you indicated, Hamas is gradually moderated from its sobering period as government head.

    An authority to make and keep its word.

    2. The reiteration of the Saudi peace proposal.

    For Israel, the logic of peace at the green line that has the teeth of pan-Arab consent knocks out the objections to the green line as border. The green line as border is MORE defensible than the maze of the wall. It pushes the issues to the end game.

    In many ways the invocation of one-state proposal is itself an attempt to delay or distract from reconciliation.

    Blah, blah, blah is less than an argument. It is the real issue for Israelis, especially given the utter absence of basis of confidence that an agitation oriented position implies.

    I’m sorry that you are not sympathetic with the concept that Zionism is a self-determination movement.

    Most Israelis are. Most diaspora Jews are.

    And similarly, most Palestinians do not want to share governance with Israelis currently.

    There is real fear of very brutal civil war (an issue you neglected), and real fear that at the end of the nearly inevitable struggle the result will either resemble a deeper oppression by Israelis (who are adept at acquiring territory as aftermath of wars, as Uri Avnery referred), or a situation that is nearly exactly the same as current (but after a brutal civil war).

    And, you also didn’t address the point about where to focus political action.

    The militant perspective targets those on the fringes, the impressionable youthful prospective left. (The repitition of invocations of Vietnam, South Africa, are informative BUT, also indicate either a political skill-lessness in seeking to repeat a familiar model, or a nostalgia, rather than addressing what is new uniquely).

    In contrast, if you are in earnest about building civil connections, reconciliation of the political center of the communities themselves are far far more promising in realizing anything consented and just.

    And that comes about by 90% of expression being recognition of the other’s needs, concerns, perspective, rather than 90% being agitation to dismiss the other’s needs, concerns and perspective.

  37. Dan Fleshler Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    John,

    You wrote:

    “Quit repeating the same empty mantra about “self-governance” and address the issue at hand, the imposition of “Jewish self-governance” on millions upon millions of non-Jews.”

    Forgive me if you have already addressed this in previous threads…but if Jews are 70-80% of the population of a Jewish state west of the Green Line, and the Palestinians have their own state east of the Green Line –and Israel’s Arab minority would have the right of return to a Palestinian state if they chose to exercise it, then how would that be an “imposition of Jewish self-governance” on millions of non-Jews?

    The only way that makes sense is if one accepts your premise that no viable Palestinian state is possible…That is something you have not proven because it cannot be proven, so your logic is circular.

    Your conviction that the 2-state solution is dead is a kind of despairing leap of faith, based on your belief that the Israelis would never be willing to make the sacrifices they need to make and the Palestinians in the OPTS will never get their act together. You may well be right. But you discount the possibility that a combination of international pressure and international carrots –a/la the Saudi plan– might help to push both Israelis and Palestinians in a different direction. If you somehow believe that international pressure could be so fiercesome and powerful that it would force Israeli Jews to accept the plight of living as a minority in a bi-national state, why couldn’t that same pressure result in something much less ambitious –like withdrawal from most of the OPTs?

  38. John S. Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    Hi Tom,

    ”1) The Afrikaners were dependent on the belt of settler colonies to the north of them that provided them with a security zone that was hundreds of miles wide. That zone began to collapse in 1975 when Portugal, after insurgencies that had lasted 10 and 14 years respectively, gave independence to Mozambique and Angola. Next came Rhodesia, which under majority rule became Zimbabwe in 1980. Finally, South Africa withdrew from Namibia in 1989-90 and was soon in the process of negotiating majority rule with the ANC.”

    I might contest that the Afrikaners were “dependent” on this reality at least insofar as their domestic policy was concerned, but as for the general observation, no objections from me. Keep in mind, the external resistance to the Apartheid state was marginal at best, a few sporadic raids, weapons smuggling, &c. Losing the “buffer belt” was certainly a complication, but not the loss of a sustaining element of the Apartheid regime as such. Perhaps you mean this observation is a context I’m missing?

    ”2) The partition in Ireland took place in 1921-22 when Britain separated two-thirds of the province of Ulster and made it into Northern Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement is an attempt to deal fairly with the 45% of the population of Irish extraction in exchange for both Ireland and the Irish Republicans giving up their legal claims against Northern Ireland and the use of violence to achieve unification.”

    Agreed. Nevertheless, this doesn’t invalidate my observations about the role of British patronage if that was the intent.

    ”3)De-facto partition has occurred in Bosnia. Bosniaks refused to grant independence to the Serbs and weren’t in a position to take back the territory that the Serbs had captured.”

    Bijeljina (a/k/a Republic of Serbska). Though on better terms, the Croat portion is relatively separate as well. Point?

    ”The partition of Cyprus between Greece and Turkey might in fact be a good solution to the Cypriot conflict.”

    Only because both Cypriot entities have relatively evenly matched – and even ostensibly allied via NATO – patrons (Greece & Turkey) who have a vested interest in not allowing the war to escalate. Despite the small size of the Turkish Cypriot entity, due to their more powerful patrons, both entities on the island are essentially evenly matched. There is no radical disparity in power & position because of the patronage, thus this is a very different situation than most of the other examples cited. A sustainable stalemate because neither Greece nor Turkey has an interest in full scale war.

    ”You should go to the MeretzUSA website and look at today’s comment on what is taking place in Great Britain between England and Scotland.”

    I’ve followed the SNP & friends for a while, but again you’re dealing with a radically different situation because of the over riding role of the EU to make separation viable. Without this supra-national framework, an independent Scotland (like an independent Slovakia or Bosnia or Slovenia) is a non-starter.

    ”5) The religious community in the U.S. that is driving American support for Israel is largely the evangelical (particularly the fundamentalist) Protestant community not the Jews. Palestinians and Arabs can at best try to neutralize right-wing Jewish support for Israel in the Democratic Party; they have no influence in the Republican Party.”

    I completely agree on all counts and have said as much here.

    ”6) The SDLP had considerable support within the Labor Party in Britain, the unionists didn’t have comparable support within the Tories after the mid-1980s. David Trimble, leader of the UUP, managed to neutralize support for the Irish minority within the Labor Party.”

    Not sure of your intended point here. Clarify?

    The next point I’m going to break down to smaller parts to reply to.

    ”7) While Israelis enjoy an artificially high lifestyle due to American economic aid they could easily survive without it.”

    Not necessarily. Here we come to a situation rather unique to Israel (though South Africa had a similar trend beginning in the late 1970’s), specifically, most secular Israelis are marketable and really do not have to stay in Israel/Palestine at all. Already as far back as 1993 there were some 760,000 Israelis that had emigrated for better opportunities and living standards (see G. Alon in Ha’aretz, 19 Nov. 2003). It has to maintain a very high First-World standard of living in order to keep its young, very well educated population at home. Failing that, most of the First World is more than happy to allow educated Israelis with marketable skills to settle in their respective countries. So, yes, theoretically Israel could survive without US support, but that supposition is predicated on the premise the most Israelis – esp. the young educated ones – would be WILLING to do so. The existing track record argues otherwise. Quite simply, most educated Israelis don’t have to “tighten their belts and tough it out,” they can simply pick up and move, as plenty already have.
    ”Israel has diversified enough trade that it could survive any serious attempt at economic sanctions.”

    Possibly true, but again that depends on whether or not most Israelis would be willing to deal with a major reduction in their living standards. Already, just a couple weeks ago, there was news report saying that emigration has now overtaken immigration for Israelis Jews and we haven’t even reached the “crunch” time yet. Your prediction depends on the assumption that Israel’s vital human capital – its marketable talent – would be willing to stay, a premise that isn’t supported by the available data.

    ”What hurt Pretoria were financial sanctions by European banks in response to widespread internal unrest in the mid-1980s rather than the limited trade sanctions from the EEC and U.S. that followed that unrest. If you don’t believe me read the book by Heribert Adam and Kogila Moodley, Seeking Mandela (2005). Moodley is an ex-pat South African and her husband/collaborator is a German-Canadian South African expert. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on internal settlements in Southern Africa so I know that trade sanctions only affected about 3% of South African trade. Rhodesia fought on for a decade after UN comprehensive trade sanctions were passed.”

    You are absolutely correct and as mentioned before, this is one point where I disagree with Ilan Pappe’s projected course of action. In fact, international sanctions as such have rarely been successful in forcing social or political change. This isn’t really necessary at all. People like George Shepherd Jr. have a bad habit of over emphasizing the international role in the South African struggle, whereas other authors like those included in Cobbett & Cohen’s “Popular Struggles in South Africa” were much more direct in giving credit where it was due – domestically.

    However, one of the principle differences here is that South Africa was effectively independent, even before the rise of the National Party in 1948. True, the official Republic didn’t come into existence until later, but pretty much from Balfour’s declaration regarding the dominions, South Africa was not dependent on external patronage to maintain itself. Such is not the case with Israel, which is a dependent of the US.
    Thus, instead of advocating a global campaign against Israel – as Pappe does – I instead believe that it should be a methodical campaign to end US patronage. In the absence of US protection and economic aid, Israel will have no choice but to deal in good faith for a workable solution. In fact I believe this is an easier fight than that faced during the Anti-Apartheid campaign because here we are not dealing with an effort to stop hundreds of corporations and dozens of countries from ending relations with the state, but instead we are focused on convincing one country to do so – the US. The Diplomatic protection is of more import than the economic support by far. Further, though many of my fellow Jewish-Americans have a hard time understanding or believing it, Israel is not a major priority for most Americans in general so here we can follow the domestic US example of the mobilization against Apartheid. Most of the rest of the world is already on board to one extent or another.

    ”The U.S. won’t allow similar sanctions against Israel and the Palestinian intifada doesn’t begin to compare with the guerrilla insurgency that the Smith government faced in Israel.

    I think you mean in Rhodesia, but yes, I get your point. Anyway, the point is to break the US patronage. As noted previously this patronage is already only sentimental – Israel and our support for it provides no tangible benefits today and is in fact a liability for the US – so we are not talking about the impossible here. The key is the United States and its patronage.

    ”Once western Palestine is repartitioned in a peace settlement into Israel and Palestine, Israeli Palestinians might be accommodated with some sort of cultural and possibly even territorial autonomy within Israel. Most Palestinians live in the Galilee and the Negev apart from Jews so this should be feasible.”

    Again – and this is a theme I’ve touched on repeatedly – this assumes that Israel would be willing to allow a real partition and surrender some real control, a notion for which there is absolutely no objective reason to believe is even on the agenda. I do believe that in time Israel will reach this conclusion, but I also suspect that this will take a decade or so; and in the meantime the Palestinian position – and demands – will be changing as well. By the time Israel is willing to consider real partition, I very seriously doubt that this will be an acceptable option from the Palestinian side. Time is on their side, all the Palestinians have to do is stay alive and stay in place; the decisions regarding the continuance of Israel’s unique Hebrew-speaking culture are in Israel’s hands.

  39. John S. Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for actually arguing your case. Now we can debate it…

    ”1. The formation of the Palestinian unity government, that will have to deal with the issues of continuity and loyalty to that continuity, that it had not previously. As you indicated, Hamas is gradually moderated from its sobering period as government head.”

    Actually, don’t misunderstand my earlier comments. Hamas has not really – or at least as far as I can tell – moderated with respect to its willingness to resist Israel; but factually speaking it has accepted a two-state solution as far back as 1998 (e.g. see Ismail Abu Shanab – founding member of Hamas, later assassinated by Israel – as interviewed in “Middle East Policy” June 1998 pp. 116-120). They in fact went to the trouble of creating an entire theological construct to reconcile this position with their founding principles even before Yassin was killed. Since coming to political power, Hamas has also expressed a willingness to work with Israeli authorities on practical matters as well, though this shouldn’t be taken as a new found “moderation” per se, just a practicality. In all honesty, Hamas has always been more pragmatic than it is usually given credit for, just remember the “rejectionist front” in Syria 1993-1995 when they sat side-by-side with radical non- / anti-Islamists like the PFLP in Damascus back when people thought the peace process was going somewhere.

    ”An authority to make and keep its word.”

    I’ve discussed this before, but just to reiterate, any such Palestinian government is caught in something of a Catch-22. On the one hand, to establish a viable unity government with popular support, it would have to either show tangible results almost immediately upon formation or would have to maintain a defiant stance toward Israel in order to avoid the position the PA found itself in 1996, being viewed as a quisling force support Israel against its own people. On the other hand, Israel won’t allow immediate results, expecting the unity gov’t to prove itself first and without immediate results, the gov’t would be forced to maintain a hostile stances, thereby discouraging any concessions from Israel. All said, I don’t see an acceptable unity government meeting your standards developing under occupation without being overtly hostile to Israel. Maybe you see some solution to this problem? If so, I really would be interested.

    ”2. The reiteration of the Saudi peace proposal.”

    I think way too much import is given to this proposal. The proposal is based upon a total Israeli withdrawal from the 1967 territories and a just resolution to the refugee issue (though not necessarily involving full return); but if Israel were willing to make these concessions it wouldn’t need Saudi intervention at all. The Saudi proposal just sweetens the incentives for a series of actions that Israel has already flatly ruled out. I’ve argued strongly – and substantiated the case, discussing borders, natural resources and “security” – that Israel isn’t willing to totally withdrawal from the OPTs and Golan (which is part of the Saudi Plan too), nor is it willing to deal with the refugees at all, so assuming my case stands, the Saudi proposal is a total non-starter.

    ”For Israel, the logic of peace at the green line that has the teeth of pan-Arab consent knocks out the objections to the green line as border. The green line as border is MORE defensible than the maze of the wall. It pushes the issues to the end game.”

    Obviously I don’t agree because this doesn’t really address the tolerability of a free Palestinian state or the natural resources/water issues; nevertheless I can see your logic and agree that it is more defensible. Your point is taken.

    ”In many ways the invocation of one-state proposal is itself an attempt to delay or distract from reconciliation.”

    Nonsense, the one-state proposal is completely and utterly based on reconciliation, but at a sub-national level.

    ”Blah, blah, blah is less than an argument. It is the real issue for Israelis, especially given the utter absence of basis of confidence that an agitation oriented position implies. I’m sorry that you are not sympathetic with the concept that Zionism is a self-determination movement. Most Israelis are. Most diaspora Jews are.”

    You’re still flatly refusing to explain or excuse the notion of “Jewish self-determination” being imposed upon millions of people who are not Jewish, which is my point. However, maybe you are predicating the demand for a “Jewish State” once the vast majority of Palestinians under Israeli control presently are separated in the scenario you describe above, in which case, fair enough. I wouldn’t be opposed IF I could be led to believe that Israel has a real intention to allow for a free and sovereign Palestinian state, however that is not the case as I’ve addressed in a myriad of different angles.

    ”And similarly, most Palestinians do not want to share governance with Israelis currently.”

    Maybe. This is certainly true for the vast majority of Palestinians in the OPTs, but not necessarily all Palestinians if you take the 1948 Palestinians and the external refugees into account. Nevertheless, I can’t honestly back that supposition objectively.

    ”There is real fear of very brutal civil war (an issue you neglected), and real fear that at the end of the nearly inevitable struggle the result will either resemble a deeper oppression by Israelis (who are adept at acquiring territory as aftermath of wars, as Uri Avnery referred), or a situation that is nearly exactly the same as current (but after a brutal civil war).”

    If the Israelis were to follow the Afrikaner model and negotiate a controlled transition while maintaining a position of strength, I don’t think a civil war would be a real possibility, though there would be extremist violence from both sides (but we have that now and will for the foreseeable future regardless of path taken). However, if the Israelis wait until their advantages are significantly reduced this becomes a much more likely possibility.

    ”And, you also didn’t address the point about where to focus political action.”

    On the ground I believe in supporting the efforts of the 1948 Palestinians, those holding Israeli citizenship and simultaneously – also as mentioned before – supporting any all efforts at interaction, communication, and cooperation between Israeli Jews, Israeli Palestinians and the Palestinians of the OPTs. This is why – despite very real political and ideological differences – I do still support and try to encourage the on-the-ground efforts of the Zionist Left because they encourage interaction, communication, and cooperation between groups.

    Outside of Israel/Palestine, all emphasis should be directed on breaking the US patronage that enables the status quo.

    ”The militant perspective targets those on the fringes, the impressionable youthful prospective left. (The repitition of invocations of Vietnam, South Africa, are informative BUT, also indicate either a political skill-lessness in seeking to repeat a familiar model, or a nostalgia, rather than addressing what is new uniquely).”

    That is one of my arguments. I know Israelis and Israel-supporters like to maintain the particularist myth that the Israel/Palestine conflict is of singular uniqueness and utterly different than anything else in human history, but really – sorry to burst your bubble – it isn’t all that special or unique. Of course every individual situation has its own unique features and dynamics – including Israel/Palestine – but the root and basis of the conflict is not all that unique and past models of how SIMILAR situations have been handled do offer valid suggestions of how the current issue can be resolved.

  40. John S. Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 12:00 am

    Hi Dan,

    ”Forgive me if you have already addressed this in previous threads…but if Jews are 70-80% of the population of a Jewish state west of the Green Line, and the Palestinians have their own state east of the Green Line –and Israel’s Arab minority would have the right of return to a Palestinian state if they chose to exercise it, then how would that be an “imposition of Jewish self-governance” on millions of non-Jews?”

    IF that were a realistic scenario, I would agree with you, but I don’t believe it is. With roughly a tenth of the Israeli population now living in full cities and towns within the OPTs, the Wall erasing the last vestiges of the geographic Green Line, Israel’s demands for control over the water supply and the international border (the Jordan Valley) and any of a number of other arguments I’ve already made; the suggestion that Israel has any intention of full withdrawal is itself an unfounded supposition based upon – as far as I can tell – nothing more than wishful thinking.

    However, if I’m totally wrong and Israel really does withdraw from the OPTs and allows a free and sovereign Palestinian state, I promise you’ll drop the objections to Jewish self-governance. But as it stands today – and next month will mark forty years – “Jewish self-governance” has effectively meant the imposition of this principle on millions upon millions of non-Jews and that is unacceptable and deserving of opposition.

    ”The only way that makes sense is if one accepts your premise that no viable Palestinian state is possible…”

    Frankly, I’m not convinced it is possible. We’ve touched on some of this already, but we can go into more detail of the problems on the Palestinian side of the equation – in part illustrated by the inter-Palestinian fighting in Gaza – a bit later.

    ”Your conviction that the 2-state solution is dead is a kind of despairing leap of faith, based on your belief that the Israelis would never be willing to make the sacrifices they need to make and the Palestinians in the OPTS will never get their act together. You may well be right.”

    Not necessarily “never” because I do believe the Israelis will reach this conclusion at some point in the future, but I also believe that by the time they make this reluctant determination it will no longer be acceptable on the other side. As for the Palestinians, again, I don’t necessarily think they’ll never get it together, but right now I think it is the 1948 Palestinians within Israel that offer the best hope for the future, not the PA/PLO, Fatah, or Hamas.

    ”But you discount the possibility that a combination of international pressure and international carrots –a/la the Saudi plan– might help to push both Israelis and Palestinians in a different direction. If you somehow believe that international pressure could be so fiercesome and powerful that it would force Israeli Jews to accept the plight of living as a minority in a bi-national state, why couldn’t that same pressure result in something much less ambitious –like withdrawal from most of the OPTs?”

    First, as noted before, I don’t really think general international pressure is all that relevant, just pressure that ends the patronage of the U.S. Maybe your suggestion would work if the US patronage factor was removed, but otherwise – as long as the US will back and protect Israel no matter what it does – Israel has no incentive to compromise and is relatively immune to most external pressure.

    However, I do grant that if Israel were forced to come to the table in good faith (i.e. due to the lack of US patronage), the scenario you outline could be a viable possibility, but it would have to happen soon and I don’t think it will. The more time passes, the less likely that separation is realistic. As you read this, new settlements and settlers are in the works: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1178198607776&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  41. Tom Mitchell Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 12:13 am

    Peter,
    Israel is an American client state–not a dependency or colony. It has its own interests that it will sacrifice the American relationship with for.

    Barak got to the point where he was willing to surrender over 90 % of the West Bank and all of Gaza. Israel accepted the Clinto Parameters of Dec. 2000 with minor reservations. The Palestinians essentially rejected them. The American government publicized this fact, which is partly why American public opinion favors Israel. Israel doesn’t target ordinary civilians as opposed to the Arabs. Terrorism is one of the prime reasons why ordinary Americans–not fundamentalist Protestants–side with Israel. For your campaign to work the Palestinians would have to change their methodology drastically.

    My proposed solution would be for the U.S. to co-sponsor a peace process with the EU modeled after the joint Anglo-Irish peace process in Northern Ireland. Using the Clinton Parameters as the basis for a framework for negotiations, Washington and Brussels would then work together to negotiate a solution. This would be slow, time-consuming and require a high degree of commitment by successive American and EU administrations. It is most likely impossible without a change in government in Palestine. It will require both Israel and Palestine being ready to negotiate seriously at the same time and Washington to mediate. But it appears to have worked in Northern Ireland and is much more realistic than attempting a solution based on an alleged correspondence with South Africa. The ANC had going for it the fact that it consistently rejected terrorism over the course of three decades of armed struggle. If black suicide bombers had been invading white neighborhoods the attitudes towards South Africa would have been very different in America and at least part of Europe.

    In an article I published two years ago I looked at six salient features of Israeli politics. I then compared these to South Africa, the U.S. and antebellum America. Northern Ireland shared five of these six features. South Africa and America only shared three to four features and South Africa exhibited these features at different time periods rather than at the same time. Thus Northern Ireland rather than South Africa should be the model.

  42. Richard Witty Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 3:46 am

    Is a one-state solution desirable?

    Is a one-state solution possible?

    John,
    Unanswered questions in spite of the 30 pages previously stated.

    Is a two-state solution desirable?

    Is a two-state solution possible?

    Who should decide, the parties themselves, or external entities and/or movements?

    Who are the parties themselves?

  43. Richard Witty Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 4:18 am

    The answer to each of the questions are relative, varying depending on person, and varying depending on the commitment of interested parties.

    There is NO clear slam-dunk that is unequivocally preferable nor easy.

    And, that the inevitable and fundamental compromises associated with picking ANY particular solution are staggering.

    Again and again, the promising prospects of a single-state or federal-state solution, are diminished when those that advocate for one-state stand in anti-Israel demonstrations with those that dismiss the appeal and reasoning of Zionism, and brutally, and racially.

    It would be necessary to distinguish ones efforts as consistently and effectively ANTI-terrorist as primary.

    Many of my earlier points were to address my reading of Ali Abunimeh’s book, and not your comments directly.

    Even the concept articulated by many on the left of total renunciation of US support for Israel’s genuine defense needs, strikes me as punitive and arbitrary.

    There is a difference between conditional support and unconditional support certainly, but that is not what I hear you proposing.

    There is an irony to your arguments about renouncing US support for Israel. That is that you state that Israel is a dependant client that would experience some real threat absent US military and other support, yet to expose Israelis (as people are those that experience the harms) is then a functional acceptable outcome.

    That is the prospect that sadly validates more rabid Zionism, that the world is willing to turn its back on Jews, and therefore Jews must defend themselves as Jews, and alone.

    It is the effort of civil states to moderate that, to convey that by the actions of international institutions (bi-lateral, multi-lateral, federal), that it is NOT a need for Zionists to pursue their own defenses entirely independantly, or entirely desparately.

    If your goal is a federal-state solution, what is the path to it?

    In Europe, the European Union is now mostly federal, even among those that were in VICIOUS and/or COLD war as little as fifteen years ago.

    It came through the formation first of fully sovereign states (even among the landlocked – say Switzerland, or Hungary), then within the context of international agreement, the federal features became possible, now real.

    Practically, safety comes before democratic ideals. With safety, there is no appeal to fascistic models. They are clearly more of a burden than any feature that anyone would want within or between communities.

    The current functional bankruptcy of the US lends it impossible to conduct a Middle East “Marshall Plan”.

  44. Richard Witty Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 9:22 am

    That last sentence was an orphan that should have been erased. It relates to another thought entirely.

  45. John S. Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Tom,

    ” Israel is an American client state–not a dependency or colony.”

    This is a matter of semantics. Either way, the status quo cannot be maintained without US patronage, so at least the current situation is dependent on the US.

    Barak got to the point where he was willing to surrender over 90 % of the West Bank and all of Gaza. Israel accepted the Clinto Parameters of Dec. 2000 with minor reservations. The Palestinians essentially rejected them.”

    No, not “essentially” rejected them, they flatly rejected them because it was nothing more than a restructuring of the occupation with every square inch remaining under Israeli control. No control of their own water, no control of their borders, just a little pseudo-independent Bantustan regime handling the day-to-day dirty work of maintaining the Israeli occupation. And of course they also had to turn against their own refugee population too. This is not – and will never be – acceptable and no Palestinian government could ever agree to such terms with the slightest pretense to legitimacy. Further, this idea – of a totally dependent Palestinian reserve under Israeli control – is all Israel has ever been willing to offer. This is a big part of my argument about why a two-state agenda – an honest one that might result in peace – is not even on the agenda. The best Israel could hope for with these schemes is something along the lines of post-Disengagement Gaza, not exactly a success story, again because Israel refuses to surrender any actual control.

    ”Israel doesn’t target ordinary civilians as opposed to the Arabs.”

    That is utter rubbish as is universally attested to by ALL human rights monitors, even those dominated by Israeli Jews like B’Tselem. Absolutely no honest observer can stand by this nonsense, and only Israeli propagandists even try to argue such brazen silliness.

    ”Terrorism is one of the prime reasons why ordinary Americans–not fundamentalist Protestants–side with Israel.”

    I disagree. Most Americans “side” with Israel because they only encounter the Israeli side of the issue, but even at that they don’t really care all that much.

    “For your campaign to work the Palestinians would have to change their methodology drastically.”

    I agree that would be helpful, but not necessary. I fully agree with the Amnesty International position that suicide bombs directed at civilians is a Crime against Humanity (as opposed to such bombs targeting combatant targets: I’ve had several articles published making this distinction, for example: http://electronicintifada.net/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/10/2684 ) and should be flatly condemned in all cases, just as IDF strikes against civilian targets – an almost weekly reality – should condemned in all cases as well. However, with respect to the effect on our advocacy here, frankly Israel has a consistent record of making the same mistake that eventually led to the vilification of Serbia, namely grossly disproportionate response. Israel’s policies of disproportionate response and collective punishment make it rather easy to contextualize the Palestinian violence.

    ”My proposed solution would be for the U.S. to co-sponsor a peace process with the EU modeled after the joint Anglo-Irish peace process in Northern Ireland. Using the Clinton Parameters as the basis for a framework for negotiations, Washington and Brussels would then work together to negotiate a solution. This would be slow, time-consuming and require a high degree of commitment by successive American and EU administrations.”

    I think this is, more or less, the general consensus vision for the two-state camp. Of course there are a few minor difficulties: Israel still hasn’t honestly offered a real Palestinian state, its extremely questionable whether or not the Palestinians in the OPTs have the ability to establish a workable government, the US remains committed to backing Israel right or wrong, and growing pressures on both the US & EU make it debatable as to how much time, energy, and resources they would be able and willing to commit to such a sustained project.
    In the interim, the Green Line continues to vanish, the settlements and other effective advancements of integration & interdependency are growing daily, and the demographics continue to change. I do believe that at some point the Israelis will reach the conclusion that a real separation is the only answer, but I also believe it won’t reach that conclusion until it is far too late.

    ”But it appears to have worked in Northern Ireland and is much more realistic than attempting a solution based on an alleged correspondence with South Africa.”

    One of the primary differences regarding Northern Ireland is that Britain was willing – and in fact did – exert direct pressure on its Protestant protégés as well as the hostile Catholics. The one time the US did this – by James Baker during the Papa Bush administration – the fallout made it impractical and since that time the US position has been essentially, Israel can do whatever it wants and Palestinians just have to take it. If Britain had used this same methodology in Northern Ireland there would be no peace process and no peace.

    ”Thus Northern Ireland rather than South Africa should be the model.”

    I don’t know what “salient features” you chose to focus on and without actually reading your piece I can’t really comment. Right now I am involved in a detailed project comparing the development and evolution of Jewish & Afrikaner nationalism, and in reality the two have far more in common than is popularly recognized. Nevertheless I can and do appreciate that in some respects – though not all – the Northern Irish experience is more relevant than the South African one. Relevant lessons can be learned from both processes.

  46. Richard Witty Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    “No, not “essentially” rejected them, they flatly rejected them because it was nothing more than a restructuring of the occupation with every square inch remaining under Israeli control. No control of their own water, no control of their borders, just a little pseudo-independent Bantustan regime handling the day-to-day dirty work of maintaining the Israeli occupation. And of course they also had to turn against their own refugee population too. This is not – and will never be – acceptable and no Palestinian government could ever agree to such terms with the slightest pretense to legitimacy. ”

    Were you in the room? I understood that Arafat did not disclose the basis of his objections.

  47. John S. Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Richard,

    I’m not really sure where you’re going here…

    Is a one-state solution desirable? I say yes, you say no

    Is a one-state solution possible? I say yes, you say no

    Is a two-state solution desirable? I say theoretically, you say yes

    Is a two-state solution possible? I say no, you say yes.

    ”Who should decide, the parties themselves, or external entities and/or movements?”

    This has already been addressed repeatedly.

    ”Who are the parties themselves?”

    Ahhh… be careful here. It isn’t just “Israelis vs. Palestinians” – but Israeli Jews, Israeli Palestinians, Occupied Palestinians, Israeli settlers, external Palestinian refugees, and external Jews that fit the requirements of the Law of Return (potential olim). … Each of these distinct groups has its own interests and demands that do not necessarily correspond to the interests and demands of other parties despite ethnicity.

    ”The answer to each of the questions are relative, varying depending on person, and varying depending on the commitment of interested parties. There is NO clear slam-dunk that is unequivocally preferable nor easy. And, that the inevitable and fundamental compromises associated with picking ANY particular solution are staggering.”

    Okay, no disagreement from me.

    ”Again and again, the promising prospects of a single-state or federal-state solution, are diminished when those that advocate for one-state stand in anti-Israel demonstrations with those that dismiss the appeal and reasoning of Zionism, and brutally, and racially.”

    I disagree. It only hurts the case with people that are already subscribers to Zionist ideology or sympathetic with it, i.e. people who aren’t going to accept the one state case anyway.

    ”Many of my earlier points were to address my reading of Ali Abunimeh’s book, and not your comments directly.”

    Don’t take Ali Abunimah’s book as the end all be all of the one state case. For the record, I enjoyed the book and felt it made its case pretty well, though in a very generalized fashion. I consider it a good compliment to Virginia Tilley’s “The One State Solution” that came out a bit before. Virginia actually focuses more on Zionist arguments, so I suspect you might find that work more relevant to many of the concerns you raise. Abunimah, as a Palestinian-American, really can’t be expected to frame his entire case around Zionist concerns; whereas Virginia gives these concerns much more weight. Further, you may want to check out Daniel Gavron’s “The Other Side of Despair” As a noted Israeli writer, Gavron’s case is certainly worth reading.

    ”Even the concept articulated by many on the left of total renunciation of US support for Israel’s genuine defense needs, strikes me as punitive and arbitrary.”

    Rubbish. Israel faces no security threats that it needs US help to handle. Israel is the regional super-power and has repeatedly shown that its military prowess is not just an idle boast.

    ”There is a difference between conditional support and unconditional support certainly, but that is not what I hear you proposing.”

    You’re right. Considering the weakness of our standing vis-à-vis the pro-Israel camp, it is easier and more effective to argue for complete disengagement as opposed to nuanced conditional reductions.

    ”There is an irony to your arguments about renouncing US support for Israel. That is that you state that Israel is a dependant client that would experience some real threat absent US military and other support, yet to expose Israelis (as people are those that experience the harms) is then a functional acceptable outcome.”

    Yes, it would face a real threat and have a real incentive to negotiate in good faith for a mutually acceptable solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. However, even without US support, Israel isn’t facing any foreign military threat. Militarily no one doubts Israel can take care of its self.

    ”That is the prospect that sadly validates more rabid Zionism, that the world is willing to turn its back on Jews, and therefore Jews must defend themselves as Jews, and alone.”

    In some ways you are right, but Israel isn’t defending itself alone. If pushed into a situation where they had to do so, they would have an incentive to actually resolve the conflict on mutually acceptable terms, an incentive that is totally lacking presently.

    ”If your goal is a federal-state solution, what is the path to it?”

    Frankly Israel is working its way toward this result on its own by constantly advancing measures that strengthen effective integration and interdependence. Of course the Palestinians are getting the sort end of the stick right now but the foundation for a struggle for equality are being laid down, esp. by the Israeli Palestinians.

    ”In Europe, the European Union is now mostly federal, even among those that were in VICIOUS and/or COLD war as little as fifteen years ago. It came through the formation first of fully sovereign states (even among the landlocked – say Switzerland, or Hungary), then within the context of international agreement, the federal features became possible, now real.”

    True, but the circumstances are VERY different. This is not an effective comparison as far as I can tell.

  48. John S. Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Richard,

    All the details of Barak’s “generous offer” have been out for years. Arafat didn’t keep any secrets about his rejection, just pro-Israeli sources chose to ignore his objections. No Palestinian government can ever accept such terms and expect to maintain any standing among those they ostensibly represent.

    There is an enormous amount of information readily available, just Google it. Here is a nifty little flash presentation by Gush Shalom detailing the territorial elements of Barak’s generous offers:
    http://gush-shalom.org/media/barak_eng.swf

    And this doesn’t even mention that upon acceptance, Arafat was also to “renounce” all further Palestinian claims (though he had no conceivable right to do so), write-off the refugees, and accept their role as placid little ghetto administrators – a Palestinian Judenrat – for the IDF.

    No bantustan or ghettoization scheme will result in peace.

  49. John S. Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    I was just looking over my responses… sorry about all the typos, just trying to keep up with everyone :)

  50. Richard Witty Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    I respect the right of the Jewish people to self-govern (those that identify as such, Zionism), and I respect the right of the Palestinian people to self-govern (those that identify as such).

    If there is another civil state that contains Jews and Palestinians and chooses that, wonderful.

    The history is a long chain of trauma, for which the only originator that I can identify is nazi Germany.

    “Why should we have to suffer the consequences of a European conflict?”

    1. We are all part of the world, good consequences and bad.
    2. Many Palestinians indirectly contributed to the suffering of the holocaust in denying refuge, even temporary to Jews.
    3. Many Palestinians contributed to the holocaust directly, in military and other advocacy.

    We have the opportunity for two people’s to have home.

    No reality meets the wishes. Cooperation meets needs, even if it is cooperation between states.

    A landlocked state is not necessarily a “Bantustan”. That is strictly a rhetorical term.

    I suggest that the parallel to apartheid is not apt. You suggest that the parallel to the European Union is not apt.

    I know that when I’ve participated in political agitation, that the movement that I participated in effected distant people occassionally severely. As, I am not willing to support military intrusions into remote people’s lives, I am also not willing to cavalierly suggest boycotts or even renunciation of aid.

    Israel is both a victim and a victimizer. Neither solely one nor the other. Israel is both threatened and threatening. Neither solely one nor the other.

    Nor predominately.

    Shortly, if the Saudi proposal is consented to and takes effect, then Israel will not be threatened materially (except by fanatics). But, currently states are still in a state of war with Israel, some very negligibly, some more actively.

  51. Tom Mitchell Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    John S.,
    The six salient features of Israeli politics:
    1) A multiparty system resulting in weak coalition governments.
    2) Powerful religious parties.
    3) A major role in electoral politics for former senior military officers.
    4) The “native question” as the decisive political issue that determines whether a party is left, center, or right.
    5) Paramilitary roots to political parties.
    6) De jure differences in status between the native and settler populations.

    The last 4 characteristics pertain to settler societies and are evidence of settler politics. Israel, in fact, has more of these features than either South Africa, 19th century America, or Northern Ireland. The only feature that NI is lacking is a major role for former senior officers, because security is handled by the British army. But Ken Maginnis of the UUP is comparable to an Israeli politician like Benyamin Netanyahu with an elite military background.

    South Africa had a dominant one-party system during the apartheid period when the armed struggle was going on. This made it easier for it to negotiate with the ANC because it didn’t have to worry about losing its majority in parliament. David Trimble, like Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak, had to constantly worry about losing his majority. When South Africa had a real multiparty system from 1910-30 it had no liberation struggle.

    South Africa also had most of its African-fighter politicians in “Kruger’s republic” in the late 19th century when it at best had a weak two-party system. It had a number of former Boer War generals serving as prominent politicians from 1910-48. During the 1980s it had only a single African-fighter politician, Defense Minister Magnus Malan, who was originally appointed to his position before being elected to parliament.

    South Africa, unlike both Israel and NI, has had no paramilitary white parties.

    South Africa is best reserved for comparing with Israel’s regional defense policy as both faced a very hostile regional environment and both had a policy of engaging in cross-border raids and invasions in response to guerrilla incursions.

    When looking at internal Israeli politics the best comparison is probably America from 1824-60 when former generals and colonels were prominent in American politics. American politics were also very corrupt. America had its own debate over occupied territories from 1846 to 1850, and its own failed peace agreement in the Compromise of 1850. American parties of the Second Party System correspond to Israeli parties much closer than do either South African parties or Ulster parties.

  52. Dan F Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    Tom,

    A South African friend has pointed out another crucial difference:

    Nelson Mandela and his colleagues spent years on Robbin Island discussing the kind of society they wanted to create and figuring out a way to reach their goal in a manner that would not toss white people out.

    I know Palestinian prisoners have invariably been more moderate than their counterparts outside of prison. They, too, have had a lot of time to discuss what they want the final settlement to look like. But none of them, including Barghouti, have anything close to the credibility of Mandela as a movement leader, let alone his moral force and his undertanding of the need for conciliation.

    John S., I suppose, would use this to argue that the Palestinian leadership in the OPTs is not equipped to run their own state. I would use it to argue that, in the absence of a Mandela as a galvanizing and organizing and healing force, attempts to achieve the one-state solution would be doomed, for reasons similar to those Richard Witty has articulated –i.e., it would only work if each side trusted the other and had a modicum of respect for the other’s narrative.

  53. John S. Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    Richard,

    Most of this post is either covering ground we’ve already exchanged views on, idle propaganda (blaming the victims of Zionist aggression for the horrors of the Nazis – how very trite, right up there with Hagee and blaming the Jews for the Holocaust), or are completely immaterial as far as I can tell.

    However, I will comment on two statements:

    ”A landlocked state is not necessarily a “Bantustan”. That is strictly a rhetorical term.”

    No. it is not a “rhetorical” term in the way you are suggesting. “Bantustan” is the general term for a series of ostensibly “independent” states that South Africa set up to isolate and contain ethnic undesirables (black Africans). These statelets had the basic trappings of independent states – their own government, administration, flags & symbols, pseudo-military security forces and so on. They even had the ability to take some minor independent actions, such as the decision in April 1978 of Transkei – the first Bantustan – to break off formal diplomatic relations with South Africa. However, despite the trappings of statehood, in reality these statelets were completely controlled by and dependent on South Africa. They did not control their own economies, their own borders, their own resources (such as they were), their own immigration/emigration policy, their own trade, or anything else. Having no actual control over most of the actual requirements for meaningful sovereignty, they were totally unsustainable as independent entities without South Africa. With the fall of Apartheid, the Bantustans fell as well. This is EXACTLY what Israel has, at least to date, offered the Palestinians – a Bantustan – so the term is completely accurate is every respect.

    As I’ve noted elsewhere, IF Israel were to offer a truly independent Palestinian state, that would significantly change the dynamics and I might change my argument. However, to date this has never happened and there is no reason to believe that it will happen in the foreseeable future. A Bantustan isn’t going to bring peace, as Gaza graphically illustrates.

    ”I know that when I’ve participated in political agitation, that the movement that I participated in effected distant people occassionally severely. As, I am not willing to support military intrusions into remote people’s lives, I am also not willing to cavalierly suggest boycotts or even renunciation of aid.”

    Cute. I’ll make you a deal. As soon as Israel stops ostensibly speaking on behalf of the “Jewish people” – thereby falsely associating me, as a Jewish person with their ethnocentric nonsense – AND as soon as Israel waives all US aid & protection – again implicating me as an American – then I’ll agree that I no longer really have a right to throw my two cents in. In the meantime, I have every right – in fact I believe I have an OBLIGATION – to actively oppose “Applied Zionism” (as discussed anon) and my government’s support for it. Sound like a plan?

  54. John S. Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    Tom,

    Fair enough. Using the criteria you’ve chosen here, I would agree that the Northern Ireland example is closer to the point. However, of course this criteria is very limited, very much as you properly describe it “salient features of Israeli politics.”

    If you expand the criteria, the Israel / South Africa comparison becomes much more appropriate, especially in respect to the formation, development and evolution of the dominate nationalist movements, ideology, and practical application. As noted anon I’m working on a project documenting just that.

    Another major difference that separates the Israeli & South African situations from the Northern Ireland scenario is the ability of the subject peoples – South African blacks & Palestinians – to establish functional independence. Northern Ireland was separated from the Republic through the strength of Britain coupled with the popular support of a major slice of the northern population, the Irish Protestants. Northern Ireland, as it exists today could not have been set up and maintained without the Loyalists and vice versa, the Loyalists couldn’t have set up the enclave without the support of Britian. This is a dynamic that is/was completely absent in both South Africa and Israel/Palestine.

    Could the South African blacks have separated – meaning was it even an option? No, not really. Despite the “government” infrastructures in the Bantustans that lacked virtually any popular support, effectively they had no basis for a real an effective government. They really had no choice but to build upon the sole existing functional state – the Republic of South Africa.

    As I’ve argued elsewhere, neither the PLO nor the PA were designed to be functional governments, and in essence they face the same dilemma that the South Africans blacks faced, no basis for a functional state or government at all. It is theoretically possible that the PA could be reformed to perform actual governmental functions, but this can’t happen under occupation; and of course Israel isn’t going to end the occupation until there is a functional government that meets its demands: the Catch-22 alluded to several times previously. I argue that the Palestinians – like the South African blacks – really have no choice but to build upon the sole existing functional state – Israel. Plus, unlike the South African situation, they already have some 1.2 million compatriots “on the inside” laying the groundwork for this transition – the Israeli Palestinians.

    We can go into more detail on this topic later if interested. Otherwise, just a couple quick comments here and there…

    ”South Africa had a dominant one-party system during the apartheid period when the armed struggle was going on. This made it easier for it to negotiate with the ANC because it didn’t have to worry about losing its majority in parliament. David Trimble, like Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak, had to constantly worry about losing his majority. When South Africa had a real multiparty system from 1910-30 it had no liberation struggle.”

    An interesting observation that I hadn’t thought about before. Thanks.

    ”South Africa, unlike both Israel and NI, has had no paramilitary white parties.”

    Assuming you meant what you said and it isn’t a typo, I’d question this. The Ossewabrandwag was certainly a paramilitary formation and many of its former leaders later came to play a significant roles in the National Party government, including of course Prime Minister Vorster. [Interesting historical footnote: despite being a “general” in the OB and interned by the British as a Nazi sympathizer, in the 1970’s he was very graciously welcomed in Israel.] Even smaller paramilitaries were represented, such as the leader of the Fascist (I use the capital “F” intentionally) “Grey Shirts” Louis Weichardt, who became a notable Senator. Take a look at Patrick J Furlong’s “Between Crown and Swastika: The Impact of the Radical Right on the Afrikaner Nationalist Movement in the Fascist Era” for a lot more. Also, for what its worth, just being a war leader in the Anglo-Boer War wasn’t enough to make one a die-hard Afrikaner nationalist, as is illustrated by the case of Gen. Smuts.

    ”South Africa is best reserved for comparing with Israel’s regional defense policy as both faced a very hostile regional environment and both had a policy of engaging in cross-border raids and invasions in response to guerrilla incursions.”

    I agree that there is a whole new range of comparison in this respect, but I haven’t worried so much about this because realistically Israel doesn’t face any viable external threats today that endanger the survival of the state. Yes, Hezbollah can lob some rockets over the border, but this is no threat to the existence of Israel and Israel can be counted on to strike back hard as they did last summer. Syria might be able to make a very serious blow, but only at the price of being totally destroyed by Israel; so it is only an issue if Syria is forced into a “nothing to lose” type situation; and realistically the same goes for Iran despite all the rhetoric. Otherwise though, Israel faces no serious external threats today.

    ”When looking at internal Israeli politics the best comparison is probably America from 1824-60 when former generals and colonels were prominent in American politics. American politics were also very corrupt. America had its own debate over occupied territories from 1846 to 1850, and its own failed peace agreement in the Compromise of 1850. American parties of the Second Party System correspond to Israeli parties much closer than do either South African parties or Ulster parties.”

    Interesting. Another angle I haven’t explored in any detail.

  55. John S. Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    Dan,

    ”I know Palestinian prisoners have invariably been more moderate than their counterparts outside of prison. They, too, have had a lot of time to discuss what they want the final settlement to look like. But none of them, including Barghouti, have anything close to the credibility of Mandela as a movement leader, let alone his moral force and his undertanding of the need for conciliation.”

    To be honest, I think in retrospect many people have somewhat “reinterpreted” Mandela to suit their own ideas of how his success came about. For the record, though important and respected, Mandela didn’t really have the “universal” appeal that he had by the time he was released when he was first imprisoned. Second, despite his “moral force” he could have been released literally years before he actually was if only he would publicly repudiate and condemn “armed struggle” (termed “terrorism” by the SA gov’t) something he flatly refused to do –ever. The issue was resolved not by Mandela giving in and publicly rebuking “armed struggle,” it was the government that just dropped this demand.

    Did you actually read Marwan Barghouti’s statement before the court – given in Hebrew, learned from Israeli prisons – during his “trial”? If so, I’m amazed that you’re not totally a pro-Barghouti person, as he very much reflects the two-state separatist agenda, the need for reconciliation between two peoples in two states; though he refuses to repudiate violence as long as the occupation is maintained (as was the case with Mandela). Further, he is the future of Fatah. There is a reason Abbas had to literally force him out of the PA elections on Arafat’s death, because the younger Fatah people and esp. those born & raised in the OPTs as opposed to the “Tunisian exiles” really like him. [Or at least did, my information is a bit dated now.]

    Assuming you are not arguing for a Bantustan, but for a real and viable two-state solution that could bring about real peace, you should be an enthusiastic support of Marwan Barghouti. Though I obviously don’t agree with his politics and believe people like Azmi Bishara and his peers inside the Green Line are the future, even I find Barghouti an engaging – and even likable – future leader. That is, of course assuming that the “old guard” doesn’t completely destroy Fatah over the next few years through their own corruption and incompetence AND Israeli prison doesn’t succeed in destroying Barghouti.

  56. Richard Witty Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 4:08 am

    “As I’ve noted elsewhere, IF Israel were to offer a truly independent Palestinian state, that would significantly change the dynamics and I might change my argument. ”

    The argument that we are having is where is the most effective and just place to put our energy, our actions, our stand.

    For me, the commitment to mutually healthy self-governing societies is that place. The key word is mutually, not just mine, not excluding mine.

    I sincerely believe that shifting the focus now from the conditions that lead to healthy two communities, is a disaster.

    I’m convinced that a healthy neighbor is a better neighbor than an unhealthy one, and a neighbor that is sincerely helped is likely to be a friendly one, if there aren’t other primary sources of hatred or dogmatism. (There is the risk that that is the case with Palestine, as there are cruel flavors of Islamicism that do play there.)

    So, how does one get to a healthy Palestine, and to Israel truly helping Palestine be healthy?

    First by convincing that a healthy neighbor is in fact a better neighbor than a desparate one.

    Second, by noting that the communities are inevitably related, will always be neighbors in some critical respect, both as neighboring states and as containing significant minorities from the others’ communities within each state.

    Third, by committing eliminate intentional terror on civilians, making it functionally and consistently illegal to direct aggression against civilians.

    You made a distinction between Barghouti’s clarification of emphasis on armed struggle ONLY on the direct features of the occupation, and not on attacks on civilians.

    The advantage of that clarification is that the range of aggression is selective, and never universally intimate, like a civil struggle for a single-state would necessarily be.

    If every home, every public space, is the site of occupation (of Zionism or Islamicism or other ism) over civil one-statism, then every home, every park, every school becomes the justifiable focus of armed struggle, and the absence of ethical concern that war/duty engender.

    It is the consequence of that focus of agitated political change for a single-state solution.

    I don’t buy it as good.

    I don’t know Bishara’s views accurately enough to judge them. I would hope that he did not adopt the political version of one-state, but the social. The social being invested in social integration and mutual upliftment (including the acceptance of those that desire to live separately socially – the Haredim for example).

  57. Richard Witty Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 4:18 am

    Its likely that Barghouti will be released in the prisoner swap for Shalit that Hamas clients are holding.

    I expect that more accurately Hamas is more reluctant for Barghouti to be released than Abbas is, as Barghouti will become a political rival.

    He will either remain in Fatah, and if he and his colleagues run in elections, will likely lose Hamas its majority, or he will form his own party, and lose Hamas its majority.

    He seems to be a disciplined political figure, and understands the importance of clear and controlled political expression, that actually informs rather than just rages.

    I find his participation helpful.

    The facilitation of the prisoners’ document had an impressive result, even as Meshal “successfully” dismissed it by intentionally timed distractions the day that it was to be publicly released last year.

  58. Richard Witty Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 4:30 am

    In looking for parallels, I would also consider other partition experiences of the time, including Pakistan/India and the later division of Pakistan from Bengladesh.

    They are also fundamentally different from Israel/Palestine, but are similar relative to the problems associated with Pakistan being divided and dependant on India to permit transportation and communication between the two.

    The Gaza Palestinians and the West Bank Palestinians are one nationality though, whereas the Pakistanis and Bengladeshis were different.

    I spent some time in Calcutta and other parts of Bengal in 1986, but didn’t get to visit Bengladesh. I met Bengladeshis who described an affinity to Bengal, almost moreso than to the separate Bengladesh.

    That national tension exists there constantly.

    Also, in India there are a large number of Muslims, and in Pakistan there are a large number of Hindus. In some settings there is acceptance, and in others violently held rejection (if not actual physical violence.)

    In India, the state governments have practically more influence than the federal government, though that has shifted at times to more federal predominance. I don’t know Pakistan or Bengladesh, but I suspect similarly.

    There is much to criticize about Indian politics, including much that are parallel angers. On the other hand, India is comprised of many more distinct nationalities (languages, religion, culture) and has at least partially successfully federalized the community relations.

  59. Tom Mitchell Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 9:56 am

    John S.,
    I looked at the OB and though it and other groups like the New Order fit the definition of paramilitaries, they don’t have any corresponding paramilitary parties. I define a paramilitary party as 1) the political wing of a paramilitary movement as Sinn Fein used to be and the PUP still is; 2) the continuation of a paramilitary movement in party form as with the Herut and Ahdut Ha’Avoda parties in Israel.

    Neither the Afrikaner Party nor the National Party fit this definition. The Afrikaner Party came into existence in 1939-40 following Barry Hertzog’s ouster as PM and retirement from politics. This was just as the OB was getting off the ground and the two, to the best of my knowledge had no links during the war. John Vorster and other OB members ran as Afrikaner Party candidates in 1948, but they were a minority of the candidates, not the leadership of the party, and the party was preexisting. The Afrikaner Party merged with the National Party in 1950 and it inherited Vorster et al. Daniel Malan, the NP leader, never supported the sabotage campaign by the paramilitaries against the Smuts government.

    So this shows that paramilitary parties are an optional characteristic of settler politics, but South Africa still lacked a real paramilitary party.

    I did have an article published on native-fighter politicians in America, South Africa, and Israel that I could send you if it might be of some assistance. Send me an email address and I’ll email it to you.

    By the way, bantustan is a pejorative term–the South African government term was homeland.

  60. John S. Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 11:38 am

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to everyone, yesterday we hosted a presentation by Norman Finkelstein (who, by the way, happens to be an avid two-state supporter) in Boulder.

  61. John S. Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Richard,

    ”The argument that we are having is where is the most effective and just place to put our energy, our actions, our stand.”

    True, and plainly we have reached very different conclusions.

    ”Third, by committing eliminate intentional terror on civilians, making it functionally and consistently illegal to direct aggression against civilians.”

    From a purely legal standpoint, this is already case. However, realistically you can’t expect – and this goes both ways – for any government to control each and every one of its extremists. Like it or not, both sides have dedicated extremists that know through experience that all it takes is one major atrocity and the whole process is derailed. As discussed before, due to the trend of blaming the entire opposing community for the actions of their extremists (blaming all Palestinians for the actions of suicide bombers; blaming all Israelis for the actions of settlers), both sides freely give the extremists an effective veto on peace.

    Like it or not – and this is true regardless of whether you’re aiming at a one state or two state option – extremist violence is going to continue. Any effort towards peace has to accept this reality and move forward despite it. To argue that there can be no peace as long as there is any violence is effectively a rejection of peace altogether.

    ”You made a distinction between Barghouti’s clarification of emphasis on armed struggle ONLY on the direct features of the occupation, and not on attacks on civilians.”

    True, but also keep in mind that general secular resistance considers the settlers – whether they are ostensibly “civilian” or otherwise – legitimate targets as aggressors and integral elements of the occupation. It is something of a grey area with very good legal arguments both for and against this notion. However, so far as I know, Barghouti has never advocated or defended strikes on civilian targets in Israel.

    ”He seems to be a disciplined political figure, and understands the importance of clear and controlled political expression, that actually informs rather than just rages.”

    I agree it seems that way, or at least did prior to his current imprisonment. Unlike Abbas – who does not have and has never really had much public support – Barghouti seems like the best hope for a secular Palestinian two-state partner who actually has – or at least had – real popular support. However, in some ways it is good that he is removed from the current mess in the OPTs, wherein he would likely just get mired down in the same infighting that has dominated the PA and be reduced to just another factional leader. Hi current imprisonment might just turn out to be a good thing for his political standing & future.

    ”In looking for parallels, I would also consider other partition experiences of the time, including Pakistan/India and the later division of Pakistan from Bengladesh.”

    I would hardly consider this an example of a desirable outcome. Beyond the human rights nightmare that the exchange of populations resulted in, India & Pakistan have fought three wars (1947-48; 1965; 1971), Kashmir & other border raids have been constantly plagued by terrorist attacks as well as cross-border raids, and now of course both states have nuclear weapons aimed at each other. Bangledesh would be more like Gaza (geographically separated from the main body of the state, grossly overpopulated, extremely impoverished, barely functional governmental institutions, &c.).

    Anyway, I agree, some parallels can be drawn, but not ones likely to support the separatist two-state case.

    ”Also, in India there are a large number of Muslims, and in Pakistan there are a large number of Hindus.”

    Only half true. India has an enormous Muslim population which has been allegedly deliberately undercounted by Hindu authorities. Its even been argued that India has the largest Muslim population of any state in the world, even more than Indonesia, but that is debated. Whereas, in Pakistan, after it was declared an “Islamic” state, most of the Hindus left. By the 1980’s the remaining Hindu population was something like 1% – 2%. Similarly, in Bangladesh there were major anti-Hindu pogroms in the early 1990’s that drove many to move (just as in India, Gujarat & other areas were the scene of anti-Muslim pogroms by Hindus, but these didn’t lead to a lot of displacement because the Muslims are too poor to afford to leave).

    ”There is much to criticize about Indian politics, including much that are parallel angers. On the other hand, India is comprised of many more distinct nationalities (languages, religion, culture) and has at least partially successfully federalized the community relations.”

    True, especially if you look outside the Muslim-Hindu conflicts. Looking at other ethnic and religious minorities, but this is more or less on par with the existing Israeli state’s treatment of its smaller minorities (Circassians, Druze, Lebanese SLA refugees, American Christians, &c.). Again the sole existing functional state in Israel/Palestine already has some good ideas toward minority protections, a sound foundation upon which to build.

  62. Richard Witty Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    “The advantage of that clarification is that the range of aggression is selective, and never universally intimate, like a civil struggle for a single-state would necessarily be.

    If every home, every public space, is the site of occupation (of Zionism or Islamicism or other ism) over civil one-statism, then every home, every park, every school becomes the justifiable focus of armed struggle, and the absence of ethical concern that war/duty engender.”

    No comment on this point? This is a critical one, that of the prospect of civil war as nearly inevitable in the proposal for an intimate single-state solution, fought in villages, homes, parks, schools; anything goes.

    With the worst left standing, rather than the most civil.

  63. John S. Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Tom,

    ” I define a paramilitary party as 1) the political wing of a paramilitary movement as Sinn Fein used to be and the PUP still is; 2) the continuation of a paramilitary movement in party form as with the Herut and Ahdut Ha’Avoda parties in Israel.”

    I still seem to be missing something here. The case you make with Herut as successor to the paramilitary Betar (and smaller Revisionist paramilitaries, e.g. IZL) make sense within your definition; but I don’t see how Ahdut Ha’Avoda fits this model. During its existence (c. 1920-1930) it was a political party, successor to Poalei Zion & succeeded by Mapai. While they did have their own paramilitary formation – the Haganah – the paramilitary was a product of the party, not the other way around and the actual fighters were always a minority among Labour Zionist advocates (unlike the Revisionists most of whose supporters were direct heirs of the paramilitaries, but they didn’t actually come to power until 1977, almost 30 years after the founding of the state).

    However, using your definition I do agree that the SA National Party doesn’t fit the bill.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t mind reading your article, but I don’t want to post my email on this forum to avoid the spammers & hate mail. Can you go to: http://www.jewishfriendspalestine.org and send a note via the contact form? If you do so I can respond directly.

  64. John S. Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    Richard,

    ” No comment on this point? This is a critical one, that of the prospect of civil war as nearly inevitable in the proposal for an intimate single-state solution, fought in villages, homes, parks, schools; anything goes.”

    No, no real comment on this one because it is predicated on the notion that the vast majority of people on both sides are insane hate-mongers lusting after the blood of the others; a premise I do not think is founded in reality on either side. As noted anon, there will be some violence committed by extremists on both sides, but that is the current reality and is going to remain so regardless of the goal sought (one-state, two-state, &c.); otherwise however, I do believe that the vast majority of people on both sides of the conflict are willing to get along with each other even if they’re not exactly enthusiastic about it. The very nightmare scenario you paint of rampant civil war would be enough to convince most people to not act on it.

  65. Richard Witty Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Thats a cavalier response to a real prospect.

    I’m always surprised by what people are willing to let motivate them. But, having seen some history and read some more, I know that MANY are willing to do things that I consider unconscionable.

    It is unrealistic to pursue a South Africa-like pressure campaign and assume that either side will just comply.

    The prospect of consented boundaries are that there are alternative methods to define and resolve conflicts.

    A much better goal currently.

  66. Tom Mitchell Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    John S.,
    You’re referring to the mandatory Ahdut Ha’Avoda; I’m referring to the Israeli one that existed from 1954-1968 and was a continuation of the high command of the Palmach/Hagana.

    I’ll go to the site and contact you.

  67. Tom Mitchell Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    John S.,
    I went to the site but couldn’t find any contact form and I looked for your name and couldn’t find it. Are you sure you referred me to the correct site?

  68. John S. Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Hi Tom,

    Sorry for the confusion. Yes, the website is correct, just click on the “General Contact” form and it will be fowarded to me. Then when I respond we’ll have each other’s email.

    Sorry for the hassle, but in view of this discussion thread to toss my email out here is to just invite a lot of spam & hate-mail.

    John S.

  69. John S. Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Richard,
    Richard,

    ”Thats a cavalier response to a real prospect.”

    No, it’s an accurate one. If you honestly believe that the vast majority of either Israelis or Palestinians are spending their lives slavishly lusting after the blood of the other, then you have a very warped understanding of the situation. IF that were the case, the violence would be much more dramatic and unrelenting than it is or has ever been. Your question is – by necessity – based on this premise (and perhaps based in part of the Zionist position that Jews are by definition freakish pseudo-humans that cannot under any circumstances co-exist with non-Jewish members of humanity) and I do not believe this is the case for either population. The vast majority on both sides want to live in peace & security, to raise their families, to securely live in their homes and participate in a functioning state and society.

    Of course there are the extremists – on both sides – that really are blood-thirsty psychopaths, but they are there now and will remain there regardless of what happens or what path is chosen. Further, regardless of the desired outcome, the overriding veto that both sides extend to the extremists has to be curtailed for any settlement to work.

    ”It is unrealistic to pursue a South Africa-like pressure campaign and assume that either side will just comply.”

    Go back and carefully re-read what I’ve written and you’ll notice I do not call for this at all, though others do.

  70. Richard Witty Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    “If you honestly believe that the vast majority of either Israelis or Palestinians are spending their lives slavishly lusting after the blood of the other, then you have a very warped understanding of the situation. ”

    An irresponsible dismissal. Why would you so fraudulently put misrepresentative words in my mouth?

    In the past 100 years, how many people have been killed in wars, by simple well-meaning people?

    Mostly not from prejudicial hatred, but by circumstances. This situation is not different.

    The forced intimacy has a down-side, and that is the prospect of intimate and ruthless violence (as happens in civil war).

    You won’t get to control people to the extent that you would need to to implement the one-state policy humanely.

    The world won’t limit its focus of dissent to issues of conditional US military support. It will seek to isolate Israel, baby and bathwater, punitively, invoking anti-racist terminology that the vast majority have no desire to face in themselves (including MANY on the left).

    Only few that urge agitation do so from a tested commitment to universal justice. Most have an agenda.

    You will find yourself in common cause with more fascists than liberators.

    Again, rather than stand in a demonstration with those that willingly abuse, (which you will in any anti-Zionist demonstration) I’ll choose to stand only with those that urge mutual respect. Pro-Israel/Pro-Palestine.

    If 5 million Jews (of the 13 million on the planet) desired to self-govern nearly separately, would that be an example of a liberation or of oppression in your mind?

  71. John S. Says:
    May 11th, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    “Why would you so fraudulently put misrepresentative words in my mouth?”

    I don’t believe I’ve done any such thing, instead I am responding to the basic premise of your question: how could Israelis and Palestinians possibly exist within the same space without devolving into mass orgy of ethnic slaughter? I don’t buy the premise to your question, namely that most Israelis and Palestinians are blood-thirsty psychopaths dreaming of nothing more than mass murder and willing to destroy everything in their path – including their own lives – in order to kill the other. That is the only premise that allows for your scenario and question, and knowing plenty of both people on both sides, this just doesn’t have a basis in reality. There will be extremist violence – from both sides – but that is the current reality anyway and will remain so regardless of your goal. Extremist violence has to but in its proper context: violent political crime (terrorism) as opposed to being used as the defining characteristic of the entire opposing camp.

    ”The forced intimacy has a down-side, and that is the prospect of intimate and ruthless violence (as happens in civil war).”

    Too late. When Israel decided to set up a “Jewish State” in a land thoroughly populated by non-Jews, it brought this “forced intimacy” upon itself and that is a reflection of the current reality. The two-state proposal is based upon the premise of radically changing the existing status quo, the existing “forced intimacy,” in favor of ethnic separatism and as discussed in plenty of detail and from a myriad of angles, I don’t think this is going to happen. So we have to deal with the existing reality, the existing “forced intimacy,” and turn it into something tolerable, one democratic secular state.

    ”The world won’t limit its focus of dissent to issues of conditional US military support.”

    Nor should it as long as Palestinians are denied full equality based on their ethnicity.

    Everything else is either ground we’ve already covered or has nothing to do with anything as far as I can tell.

  72. Richard Witty Says:
    May 11th, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    I can’t force you to address the concerns.

    Nor, to adopt a more experimental process in addressing them.

    You failed to answer the primary questions:

    1. Is a single state desirable?

    2. Is a single state possible?

    and, the flipsides

    1. Is a two-state solution desirable?

    2. Is a two-state solution possible?

    From my math, as I’ve articulated earlier, the two-state solution is more just than the one-state.

    And, it is close.

    By that math, the one-state solution as currently and imaginatively constructed is remote, has odd and less than benevolent bedfellows, denies the will of the majorities in each community (so therefore must impose on one or the other to realize), and risks unleashing brutality in a nearly inevitable land grab.

    It saddens me that you would divest in the progress that is close.

  73. John S. Says:
    May 11th, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Richard,

    You failed to answer the primary questions:

    Go back to post #47 – I answered each of these four questions. That is the nature of our disagreement. I can’t force you to actually read what has already been addressed…

    ”And, it is close.”

    This is what you have completely and utterly failed to address. HOW is it “close”? It isn’t even on the table, no one is even discussing it (except the Saudis, but their plan is predicated on terms Israel won’t even discuss, so its all much ado about nothing). No free Palestinian state is even under consideration, no withdraw is even on the table, no preparations have even been discussed, much less implemented. In fact the EXACT opposite is true, in today’s news they’re laying the groundwork for 20,000 new “Jews Only” housing units in the OPTs. http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6624304,00.html

    So just how is it “close”? It’s only close IF you think some completely controlled little series of Palestinian ghettos will solve the problem despite the overwhelming evidence of post-Disengagement Gaza that imprisoning the Palestinian population in ethnic ghettos will not bring peace.

    As for a real two-state option (the premise of the Saudi initiative) there is no reason whatsoever for any sane person to believe it is even under consideration, much less “close.”

    You disagree? Then explain yourself.

    In the meantime, we have the existing status quo – the de facto one state with every square inch under the unilateral control of the only functioning state and government in Israel/Palestine: the Israeli government.

    We’re not “close” to the one state option, it is already here, it is the de facto reality on the ground right this second as you read this. No physical changes required. What you’re proposing is radical change on the ground – a physical change – and one that Israel has evinced absolutely no interest in even considering.

    Am I wrong? How so? Explain. Otherwise, get your head out of the imaginary fantasy land that suggests that some sort of mutually agreed separation is “close” and deal with the reality as it exists – one state.

  74. Richard Witty Says:
    May 11th, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    John,
    I read your posts thoroughly.

    Well, yesterday we were close, but today with Fatah and Hamas shooting at each other, we’re much farther.

    Close, as in the Arab world actually sending a delegation to Israel for the first time in history. Close, as in Peres insisting that Olmert accept the Saudi proposal.

    Close perhaps is too strong a word, but FAR FAR closer than any single-state or federal proposal. The conditions that make it possible.

    1. A unity government in Palestine forming with the prospect of actually speaking with one voice, and therefore able to make commitments and keep them.

    2. A consented Israeli government with the prospect of actually speaking with one voice, and therefore able to make commitments and keep them.

    3. The consent of the neighbors and ALL of the outside world. (Read today’s NY Times op-ed by Siniora, or Peres’ statement in response. The Arab world consenting. The European world consenting. The Americans.

    The only ones that don’t consent are the Islamicists that insist on all of the land being part of Islamic Waqf, the left for their multiple angers, and the rabid Zionists that insist on all of the land being part of greater Israel.

    The weight is on two-state reconciliation at the green line with guaranteed rights of way between West Bank and Gaza.

    Its a solution that makes sense.

    For Israel, until the Arab League reiterated their commitment to the proposal, it didn’t make sense, as there was the likelihood that the proposal was only propaganda.

    But, their bold concensus on the proposal, to actually follow through on it, makes that very real.

    Its true that many events could derail the process, but it is also true that there actually is a prospect of a process now.

    One of the events that could derail it is well-meaning (or opportunistic) efforts by the left to distract from the second-best but real choice, in favor of the “best” but unreal one.

    Your assertion “no physical changes” necessary, sound to me like my read of Looking Backward, by Edward Bellamy (I produced an audiobook of it) or some interpretations of Lenin, in which they assert that the nature of capitalism is towards monopoly and that monopoly capitalism is close to a social commonwealth, and therefore a simply articulated nudge and then universal acceptance.

    Noone can force Palestine to unify, and its an open question whether Hamas is sincere in its expression that it would accept Israel long-term, and accept the green line as border.

    For some that is hope. For others, acceptance of Israel at all is fundamental treachery.

  75. John S. Says:
    May 11th, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    Richard,

    ”I read your posts thoroughly.”

    If this is true, then why ask the same questions repeatedly?

    ”Well, yesterday we were close, but today with Fatah and Hamas shooting at each other, we’re much farther. Close, as in the Arab world actually sending a delegation to Israel for the first time in history. Close, as in Peres insisting that Olmert accept the Saudi proposal.”

    This is not “close,” just more of the same old pointless “negotiation” that never results in anything because Israel has no intention of giving up any control. Israel – and the entire rest of the world – knows exactly what it needs to do to make a two-state solution viable and has flatly refused to do so. As far as I’m concerned, that’s that and to prove the point they’re getting ready to build 20,000 new settler apartments right now.

    ”Close perhaps is too strong a word, but FAR FAR closer than any single-state or federal proposal.”

    Rubbish. As I’ve noted repeatedly, you have a one state right now; a grossly discriminatory one, but a single effective state nevertheless. That is the existing current reality, and since serious separatism isn’t even on the agenda, it is going to remain the current reality for the foreseeable future. This is what we have to deal with. You can prattle on and on about whether it is “fair” or not, but this is the decision the Israeli government freely took, so now the struggle is for equality within the existing reality. The separatist scheme is total pie-in-the-sky fantasy based apparently on nothing more than the blind optimism of its advocates. In the real world there is no substantiation for the idea at all.

    As for your conditions, we’ve explored all of them already in some detail. I’ve explained, for each one of them, why I don’t think they will happen (and you haven’t actually contested most of this) and essentially you’ve countered by saying that you disagree without actually substantiating your argument. Fair enough. However, while you wait around hoping for something I don’t believe is going to happen, people of conscience should move forward with the reality as it exists: the single state. Otherwise you’re talk is meaningless because you aren’t doing anything.

    ”The only ones that don’t consent are the Islamicists that insist on all of the land being part of Islamic Waqf, the left for their multiple angers, and the rabid Zionists that insist on all of the land being part of greater Israel.”

    Assuming you’re not including Hamas in this characterization (as discussed previously), then I would agree. The problem is that when the two camps separate, then the actions of these extremists are mischaracterized as being legitimately representative of the entire opposing camp, which isn’t accurate in either case. Also as noted before, this trend is only reinforced when there are two “official” sides, and the only effective counter-measure is up close and personal interaction, communication and cooperation. The requisite pre-condition for separation is a close and personal knowledge and respect for the “other” which can only come about through what amounts to effective integration. In such a scenario, separatism becomes superfluous.

    ”The weight is on two-state reconciliation at the green line with guaranteed rights of way between West Bank and Gaza. Its a solution that makes sense.”

    Yet again, as repeatedly expressed, theoretically I agree, but the fact of the matter is there is no reason to believe that this is on Israel’s agenda at all. I notice you specifically refuse to comment on the daily reports of new settlements, new expansion of the Wall, new measures that make separation even less likely every single day. So while I agree if separation was realistically on the agenda, there might be something to this theoretical argument; but that just isn’t the case.

    As for the Saudi proposal, it is very clear what the conditions are and they are conditions that Israel will not accept. Here is the official document translated into English:

    http://www.al-bab.com/arab/docs/league/peace02.htm

    Israel is not leaving the OPTs in full, Israel is not leaving East Al Quds (Jerusalem), Israel is not leaving the Syrian Golan Heights, and Israel would rather not talk about the external refugees at all. Everyone here knows this. This is, as I said before, much ado about nothing, an empty and meaningless diversion that allows Israel to say its “negotiating” while further tightening its hold over the OPTs.

    Right now, in the real world, there is one existing functional state in Israel/Palestine, it alone controls every square inch of Israel/Palestine and the lives of every person in Israel/Palestine and has made it clear – in both words and actions – that it has no intention of giving up any of this control (ghettos and the like notwithstanding). This is the point of departure, the real situation, and from this premise, fighting for equality within the existing reality is much more viable than attempting – against the obvious intention of the existing one state – to totally recreate the existing reality through whatever ethnic separatism scheme you want to daydream about.

  76. Richard Witty Says:
    May 11th, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    “”The weight is on two-state reconciliation at the green line with guaranteed rights of way between West Bank and Gaza. Its a solution that makes sense.”

    Yet again, as repeatedly expressed, theoretically I agree, but the fact of the matter is there is no reason to believe that this is on Israel’s agenda at all. ”

    It is and it isn’t. The Saudi proposal puts it on the table for discussion, whereas it was never as realistically possible before.

    Its up to us with any conscience, however we articulate it, to keep it on the table to become part of the Israeli agenda.

    The abandonment of that for a different idea, removes the reminder in favor of what is far more widely perceived as a threat.

  77. Ibraham Av Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 5:45 am

    As there is an overwhelming distrust of the Palestinian Mass (As individuals, we are all rather likable) and the constant barrage of propaganda coming from Palestinian TV, is there any realistic hope of anything but complete separation?

  78. John S. Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Ibraham,

    No need to be biased, the “constant barrage of propaganda” from Palestinian TV is quite matched by ethnocentric – essentially racist – attitudes in Israeli culture as well: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3379317,00.html

    Undoubtedly there is much work to be done, but the groundwork is already being laid for the single state, which is more than can be said for the separatist fantasies. On the one side you have “post-Zionist” Israeli Jews who would rather move forward in the world as part of humanity as opposed to staying myopically focused on being the consumate exiles of the species. On the other hand by the Israeli Palestinians that are “calling Israel’s bluff” and forcing it to choose either liberal democracy (an absolutely vital feature of the state in order to attract & maintain Jewish residents from other liberal democracies) and the ethnocentric exclusivist concept of the “Jewish State” (in a land where half the population is not Jewish).

    Anyway, the point is – and explore this comment thread in detail for more – the argument that separation is a realistic option is dubious at best if not outright impossible. Quite simply, from 1967 on – forty years now – all Israeli governments have continued with a policy of erasing the Green Line and ensuring Israeli control over the West Bank and they have been successful in this endeavor. Israel has created this situation and now has to do with it.

  79. Richard Witty Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 11:49 am

    The last fourty years have been a tension, with a growing consensus that Palestinians have a right to self-govern.

    The only questions have been in what boundaries, and with what limitations.

    The assertion/compromise of the Saudi proposal changes that to clarity that peace at the green line is possible (the shift from international rejection to international consent is a BIG shift).

    And, that there is near consent that it is desirable.

    As Uri Avnery described, the prospect of either removal or regarding the settlers in the West Bank as Palestinian (with obligations to perfect their title under Palestinian law), is much more plausible and just than to cavalierly urge the dissolution of Israel, or Palestine for that matter.

  80. Richard Witty Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 11:54 am

    I’m sorry that you don’t regard the Saudi proposal as the very clear leaning point.

    The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza will end, not due to external agitation, but due to the consent of the parties themselves.

    And, that will be a compromise. Purists from any perspective will see it as a loss. Realists from almost any perspective will see it as a great accomplishment, with subsequent accomplishments needed and possible.

  81. John S. Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Richard,

    Your last two posts are at least honest in that they are expressions of blind optimism despite the lack of any empirical basis. I can’t – and have no interest in trying to – argue against your wishful thinking, but as explain in some detail, I don’t believe it is grounded in the real world. In the meantime, I sincerely hope you stick to your guns in encouraging increased communication, cooperation, and collaboration among Israelis and Palestinians at the sub-national personal level, as this works toward peace and – at least in my opinion – further undermines separatism and contributes to the groundwork for the one state.

    Like you, I too am an optimist. The interesting thing about the one state case is that most people (there are exceptions, like doctrinaire Marxists) that have adopted the one state perspective have not done so through ideology or at the behest of organizations and movements or leaders; but have done so independently by taking a realistic look at the current reality and the possible outcomes. In my optimism, I honestly believe that we – as in existing one state supporters – do not have to preach or make “converts,” instead as time moves on more and more people will reach the conclusion that we have on their own. We can help, by discussing the issue and showing that it is possible, i.e. we can contribute to the trend, but the trend itself will continue regardless.

    This is the future Israel freely and voluntarily chose for itself and in the end the reality speaks for itself.

  82. Richard Witty Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Well, at least you attribute “optimism” to my perspective, although in calling it “blind optimism”, you demean rather than respect.

    All future-oriented efforts (as all efforts are) are somewhat speculative.

    In business, I’ve recently encountered two illusions among leaders, that has really done some damage.

    The first is in a negligence. In not doing what is necessary to get a job done, somehow many believe that magic will occur and the job will get done anyway. (Maybe someone else will come along and fill in the cracks. Maybe the hole didn’t need to be done anyway.)

    The second is in over-optimism. In just getting a job done, but not communicating that the job is done and available to be acted on, somehow many believe that the better idea need not be communicated clearly and respectfully, to actually reach and convince.

    Both add up to a lack of conscientiousness that result in fraud to an end user.

    There is a parallel to politics, especially in the contention of negligence and the resulting fraud in making a promise that one cannot keep.

    In politics there are many more factors that are beyond one’s control, and it is more difficult to distinguish between negligence and accident.

    “This is the future Israel freely and voluntarily chose for itself and in the end the reality speaks for itself.”

    There were many bad and immoral choices that Israel and Israelis have made, certainly, but to inflate that to “they got it coming to them”, is a bit exagerated and cruel, no?

    One reason that I am spending this much time on the issue, rather than letting the “reality speak for itself”, is that a component of making peace is people investing in the work committed to.

    In the case of the one-state proposal, I consider it a distraction from work that I perceive is close to success, and therefore I interpret the distraction as somewhat of a betrayal.

    I know you’ve heard “give it a chance” often, and are impatient with it. In many respects not much has changed.

    I personally interpret the Saudi proposal and the Israeli responses to it as a qualitative change.

    Maybe you think of the Saudi proposal as a betrayal of justice, a compromise that is over the line. I can’t tell from your comments.

  83. John S. Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    “Maybe you think of the Saudi proposal as a betrayal of justice, a compromise that is over the line. I can’t tell from your comments.”

    I think made my opinion quite clear – repeatedly. Quite simply, it is a non-starter because Israel will never agree to its terms thus it is much ado about nothing. I posted a copy of the proposal to this forum and commented on it. You know and I know that Israel will not agree to those terms under any circumstances, so it really is nothing more than a waste of everyone’s time. Apparently Livni’s argument is that the Arab states should go ahead and give Israel all the benefits and then maybe Israeli might consider carrying out its side of the deal, but after Oslo, no one with a lick of sense is going to just trust in Israel’s “good faith.”

    So it is nothing, totally immaterial to anything. It will go nowhere. If I’m proven wrong and Israel really does totally leave the territories occupied in 1967 – including the Golan and East Al Quds – and the refugee issue is resolved on reasonable terms, then everything would be changed and I’d have to go back and totally reassess every aspect of my position. But we all know this isn’t going to happen so it doesn’t matter in the least.

    The Saudi proposal is only serious to people like you who are simply refusing to deal with reality, preferring some magical fantasy world where a two-state solution is “close.”

  84. Richard Witty Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    What if your voice were the teeter between it happening and it not happening?

  85. Richard Witty Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    John,
    Have you read every single word that I’ve read, over the last month, say?

    I assume that you haven’t, and therefore I willingly repeat comments that I’ve made before, with the risk that they are incrementally different than posted before, and then subject to accusations of inconsistency.

    Can you do me the favor of not stating “I’ve said that before already”, so as to actually clarify.

    I really don’t know what you think about whether the Saudi proposal is a betrayal of justice.

    Although the single-state proposal is stated as “new, bold”, it is not new, and resembles three positions that each negate liberal Zionism (self-determination).

    1. All of the land is rightfully Israel, by God’s word
    2. All of the land is rightfully Palestine, as sovereign within the Islamic Waqf
    3. All of the land is rightfully Israel/Palestine, as sovereign by one person-one vote (with the Palestinian right of return unconditionally guaranteed, but variably Jewish)

    Each of these are old proposals. The second and third have the prospect of morphing into each other, with civil war over whether the goal is Islamic or civil.

    From each of these perspectives, one would conclude that the Saudi proposal is a betrayal as it affirms that Zionism is accepted rather than rejected.

  86. Richard Witty Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    For Jews that desire to self-govern rather than to be governed by others with the risk of dhimmi status or current terror (widespread in periods of civil war), the two-state solution is the only option.

    I prefer to make that an option for those for whom it is important.

    For those that are not concerned to live in a Zionist state, then so be it.

    We can live in Canada, or the United States, or Great Britain, or South Africa.

    Or, we can live in Israel, and contest the balance of Zionist application, to be almost perfectly democratic (perhaps with haven of return, but then we shift to the sphere of nationalism at all).

  87. John S. Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    Richard,

    Plainly you have just run out of relevant things to say. This is reflected by your constant return to matters that have already been discussed and your delving into abstract polemics that have no connection to the actual reality on the ground.

    For the record, my argument is part of a cohesive position. I have not been randomly answering questions “off the cuff” but answering them within the context of that cohesive position. If you ask the same question every other day, every other week, or every other month, you’re going to get essentially the same answer every time in the absence of any major fundamental changes to the situation. Apparently you’re just working on the hope if you ask the exact same question enough times you’ll get an answer you want and frankly that is very annoying.

    As for the abstract polemics, they have no connection to the actual reality on the ground and therefore are nothing more than meaningless sophistry. Frankly, I am good at that too, I can have abstract arguments all day, but it is nothing more than intellectual masturbation. My understanding was that people wanted to have a meaningful discussion of the two cases (one state vs. two state) that are reality based. I’ve made much of my argument and actually went to the trouble of backing it up, explaining it, and even providing sources where applicable. Further, I’ve made it clear that I’m more than willing to discuss any aspect of the question or answer questions as they are provided assuming they actually have some relevance to the situation as it empirically exists.

    However, it would appear that this thread has wound down now. You flatly refuse to deal with the issues I’ve raised regarding the actual reality on the ground instead opting for this incredibly annoying habit of just repeating the repeatedly answered questions over and over again and drifting off into abstract questions that have no relevance to a real-world solution to the issue at all.

  88. Richard Witty Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    I’m sorry that it is annoying to you.

    I’m trying to determine if the proposal is in fact new, and of merit, or is merely repitition of old rhetorical constructions that have limited merit practically.

    Perhaps there is no common ground possible, that the two positions are genuinely either/or.

    As it stands now, it is a mystery whether the one-state proposal is trustable to result in safety and real equality that is functionally equivalent to the confidence of the status of self-determination.

    You’ve stated that you don’t believe that a two-state solution is possible, and definitely not close.

    I contest that. I believe that a two-state solution at the green line is practical for Israel if accepted by Palestine and affirmed by the rest of the world. And, I believe that Palestine would accept it if were earnest.

    So, I invest in attempting to create the conditions by which that would be possible.

    Is there anything else that you feel that I’ve missed?

    Was the summary of your conclusions innaccurate?

  89. Richard Witty Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    You do understand how I and others that advocate for a two-state solution at the green line (or mutually consented revision) may feel some betrayal at the promotion of a one-state proposal?

    And, particularly a betrayal of the hope that the Saudi proposal represents?

  90. Richard Witty Says:
    May 12th, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    Dan,
    Perhaps you or others could summarize what you understand John’s position to be.

    To give an opportunity to clarify if there is misunderstanding.

  91. John S. Says:
    May 13th, 2007 at 1:21 am

    Richard,

    ”I’m trying to determine if the proposal is in fact new, and of merit, or is merely repitition of old rhetorical constructions that have limited merit practically.”

    Obviously the basic idea is not new – we both know the notion of a bi-national state has been around from the outset – however, there are new twists and turns (at least in my model) in that instead of demanding a radical revolutionary deconstruction and reconstruction of the status quo (the old Marxist position), instead I argue for building upon the sole existing functional state in Israel/Palestine – Israel.

    ”Perhaps there is no common ground possible, that the two positions are genuinely either/or.”

    For practical purposes, there is plenty of common ground: both positions consider it vital to encourage and support efforts at increased communication, cooperation and collaboration between Israelis & Palestinians – building personal relationships and encouraging a personal understanding of the other – and assuming Dan’s view is representative, we all agree that there needs to be a major shift in US policy as well. So for practical purposes, we’re still more or less on the same side, we just envision different overall outcomes as being realistic and desirable. Echoing the JVP position – as well as points of agreements on these comment threads – either permanent solution is very far off, so it is silly to utterly divide our camp on what is, essentially, an academic discussion of desirable and possible outcomes.

    We can agree to disagree without becoming archenemies. As indicated elsewhere, I still have plenty of friends and associates who are two-state supporters and we disagree on this point, but it doesn’t exclude friendly association, cooperation, and advancement of common practical goals.

    ”As it stands now, it is a mystery whether the one-state proposal is trustable to result in safety and real equality that is functionally equivalent to the confidence of the status of self-determination.”

    Fair enough. Believe it or not, I do see why many people have very serious – and legitimate – concerns regarding personal safety in a single state scenario. Shockingly enough, many Palestinians have the same concerns. My argument is that this is the result of the extremists – on both sides – and reflects the current reality and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future regardless of which path is chosen. I do not consider this a legitimate counter-point to one state advocacy because it is the existing reality and will remain so regardless of whether you advocate a one state scenario, a two state solution or the status quo.

    However, I will say that 1993-1996 illustrated – I think conclusively – that if the vast majority of Palestinians and Israelis sincerely believe that things are getting better and that there is light at the end of the tunnel – there is hope – most will reject the extremists, their groups, and their actions. 1993-1996 saw the Palestinians flatly rejecting their anti-Oslo factions, literally forcing them out of the OPTs into the “Rejectionist Front” based in Damascus. Similarly, in the wake of settler violence, the al-Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre (Baruch Goldstein), and the assassination of Rabin, the vast majority of Israelis turned against their extremists as well.

    It was just the de facto coordinated actions of the extremists in both camps – esp. Baruch Goldstein & the subsequent Hamas introduction of the tactic of suicide bombing – coupled with extreme over reaction by the authorities (both the PA who became known for their torture techniques in this period & the Israeli gov’t efforts at collective punishment via the closure policy, which had no effect on security) that “rehabilitated” and “validated” the extremists in both camps.

    I believe the same mass rejection of extremism will result if ANY real peace process begins to advance, regardless of whether it is one of separation or integration. The general acceptance that the extremist elements represent the other side collectively has to be eliminated for any peace to progress.

    ”You’ve stated that you don’t believe that a two-state solution is possible, and definitely not close. I contest that. I believe that a two-state solution at the green line is practical for Israel if accepted by Palestine and affirmed by the rest of the world. And, I believe that Palestine would accept it if were earnest.”

    Fair enough, however as I’ve made clear, I don’t agree with this assessment at all and I believe the facts on the ground justify my position. However, we’re all entitled to our opinions.
    ”So, I invest in attempting to create the conditions by which that would be possible.”

    And as I disagree, I invest in attempting to lay the groundwork for what I believe is almost inevitable today, an undivided state throughout Israel/Palestine.

    On this point, I think it is rather fair to say we’ve reached an impasse and will simply have to agree to disagree. Your arguments aren’t convincing me and apparently mine are not convincing you.

    ”You do understand how I and others that advocate for a two-state solution at the green line (or mutually consented revision) may feel some betrayal at the promotion of a one-state proposal?”

    Actually, I do. Although I do not believe that most two-state advocates – and you may be an exception to this, I don’t know you well enough to make a determination – are honest about their passionate opposition to one state advocacy. I believe Ehud Olmert summed up the real problem for Zionists with one state advocacy quite well in 2004:

    ”More and more Palestinians are uninterested in a negotiated, two-state solution, because they want to change the essence of the conflict from an Algerian paradigm to a South African one. From a struggle against ‘occupation,’ in their parlance, to a struggle for one-man-one-vote. That is, of course, a much cleaner struggle, a much more popular struggle – and ultimately a much more powerful one. For us, it would mean the end of the Jewish state.”http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=383879&contrassID=2&subContrassID=1&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y

    This is the threat and thus the loud and shrill attacks on those of us advocating for one state. It isn’t the security issues, the assumption that imposing a “Jewish State” on millions of non-Jews is justified, or anything else; it is just that it is a much cleaner and much more powerful argument to make against the status quo. It ends Israel’s special status and puts the demand for the ethnocentric exclusivist “Jewish State” on an equal footing with other exclusivist notions like a “White State,” a “Serbian State,” an “Islamic State,” and so on.

    This is the real issue: it is a better and more popular argument. And for the record, Olmert was right.

  92. Richard Witty Says:
    May 13th, 2007 at 5:16 am

    Is it a description of fact or just a description of presentation that “one person’s liberation is another’s occupation”.

    (A play on the more commonly quoted “one man’s terrorism is another’s freedom fighter”.)

    It might be that all we are talking about at all is the question of whether “Zionism is racism” or “Zionism is the self-determination movement of the Jewish people”.

    In ANY real solution, the concerns that construct that divide must be bridged.

    So, if the one-state solution does not give Israelis GREATER confidence of permanent safety and self-determination than the best two-state solution, AND similarly gives Palestinians similar confidence, then it is at most propaganda.

    It may be a help, a motivator, or it may be a threat to derail.

  93. John S. Says:
    May 13th, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    Richard,

    It might be that all we are talking about at all is the question of whether “Zionism is racism” or “Zionism is the self-determination movement of the Jewish people”.

    Yes, in the final analysis, it does boil down to this, and on this score we’ve reached a total impasse. On this count it really “either/or” – either you support Zionism (you) or you do not (me). Yet another point on which we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  94. Richard Witty Says:
    May 13th, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    I think we can agree to disagree so long as the result of the conclusion doesn’t end up resulting in harms.

    In the case of the prospect of the Saudi proposal, publicly advocating for a single-state does harm, as it derails what might otherwise be possible and good.

  95. John S. Says:
    May 13th, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Or I could just as easily say that by refusing to face the reality on the ground (as I see it, that separation isn’t possible) advocating for a two-state solution is a rejection of peace altogether and an implicit demand that Israelis and Palestinians continue killing each other perpetually.

    Like I said we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  96. Richard Witty Says:
    May 13th, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Again the questions:

    Is a one-state solution desirable?

    Is a one-state solution possible?

    Its not just a rhetorical comeback.

  97. Ibraham Av Says:
    May 13th, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    One state is desirable. One state is not possible.

  98. John S. Says:
    May 14th, 2007 at 1:04 am

    Sorry Richard, I just won’t play ball with the “let’s repeat the same questions over and over again” strategem.

    To answer your questions – go to post #47.

  99. Richard Witty Says:
    May 14th, 2007 at 5:35 am

    Your post 47 only said that you won’t address the questions fully.

  100. Richard Witty Says:
    May 14th, 2007 at 7:04 am

    “I’ve discussed this before, but just to reiterate, any such Palestinian government is caught in something of a Catch-22. On the one hand, to establish a viable unity government with popular support, it would have to either show tangible results almost immediately upon formation or would have to maintain a defiant stance toward Israel in order to avoid the position the PA found itself in 1996, being viewed as a quisling force support Israel against its own people. On the other hand, Israel won’t allow immediate results, expecting the unity gov’t to prove itself first and without immediate results, the gov’t would be forced to maintain a hostile stances, thereby discouraging any concessions from Israel. All said, I don’t see an acceptable unity government meeting your standards developing under occupation without being overtly hostile to Israel. Maybe you see some solution to this problem? If so, I really would be interested.”

    The Catch-22 is around internal politics among people’s that distrust. Some of the distrust is ideological in origination (independant of experience), some based on experience.

    The internal political fighting in Palestine, seems to be a combination of three things:

    1. Islamicism vs civilism
    2. Resistance approach vs conciliation approach to Israel
    3. Internal squabbles at the clan level rather than at the factional

    These three construct a setting of no unified law, and then criminality (theft, etc) and mischievousness (kids shooting off rockets) predominate.

    I don’t have a clue as to how to effect the application of law determined by Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

    While Israel’s policies and actions certainly effect that status, it is NOT of Israeli cause.

    In South Africa, the ANC did command a near-concensus of both domestic and international support. (There was opposition both to the left of ANC, more moderate and ethnically oriented.)

    The Palestinians however are in a state of deferred civil war.

    Binary civil wars are tough enough. When there are four or five forces fighting, as would occur in a single-state, the situation would likely devolve from the current state of “order”.

    I think the shortest and most plausible path is still through Palestinian unity, then the Saudi proposal, then an EU type evolution regionally.

    If the EU type regionalization occurs, then there would be a context for Palestine to be viable.

    The Saudis, Jordanians, Egyptians, and Israelis have it right. Regional stability and gradual integration.

  101. Richard Witty Says:
    May 14th, 2007 at 7:09 am

    With a firm unity Palestinian government, the Saudi proposal would get the light of day in Israel (especially if the unity government clearly endorsed the Saudi proposal, not abstained as Hamas did), and a peace movement would revive.

    The peace movement in Israel dissolved largely because it felt burned by both Likud and by Hamas, both rejectionist.

    They shifted not to the right, but to despondency.

    Hamas is sadly accountable to Palestinians but also to the pan-Islamic movements. Consider the response of Hamas to Al-Quaida’s condemnation of their even abstention at the Arab League vote last month.

  102. What? Says:
    May 19th, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    John S, it is interesting that you support the continuation of the right of return (while extending it to Palestinians) as that would get you branded as a Zionist by many of the anti-Zionists I have spoken to. Definitions, definitions. That certainly makes me reconsider my previous remark to you.

    The right of refuge is a key issue, and also one where your Britain-Ulster USA-Israel comparison falls down: in the worst case scenario, Irish Protestants could always move to Britain as the UK considers them citizens. (Even ignoring E.U. laws). But I doubt America would ever offer similar refuge to Jewish refugees. They didn’t during the Holocaust.

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