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Israel, state of all its victims

Like the failed peace process or the policy of severing Gaza from the West Bank, the plight of the Bedouin in Israel is one more long-term problem that there is just no time to solve.

Two Israeli sisters, 10 and 13, were wounded yesterday by Hamas rocket fire in the Negev. One of them is in critical condition with stomach wounds and underwent emergency surgery in Be’er Sheva, according to Israeli news. Maram and Atir Wakili are Bedouin; their grandfather Ibrahim, interviewed on Channel 10, explained that they live in far-flung areas where they are unable to hear sirens. And if they had heard one, they had no protected area where they could take refuge.

Ibrahim heads a council that represents unrecognized Bedouin villages. These clusters of tents and shacks scattered around the region lack basic infrastructure and services, including water lines and electricity grids, because they do not formally exist. Some have been destroyed by government order dozens of times; after more than six decades of neglect, recent government attempts to formalize their status were roundly criticized by human rights organizations and some Bedouin groups. They argued that the community had not been sufficiently consulted in the process, and that the solutions were coercive and unfair as a result.

A Palestinian child plays among the ruins of buildings destroyed by Israeli air strikes in the 2008-2009 war known as Operation Cast Lead, July 4, 2012. (Photo by RyanRodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian child plays among the ruins of buildings destroyed by Israeli air strikes in the 2008-2009 war known as Operation Cast Lead, July 4, 2012. (Photo by RyanRodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

The plan has been scrapped. The villages remain unrecognized and under-serviced. “We asked the government and the Home Command to provide us protection,” said Ibrahim Wakili, speaking of the rocket attacks. “But to this day, nothing has been done.” He continued, “We don’t want wars, we are against wars. We don’t want our children to die, not in Israel and not in Gaza.”

They are not the first Israelis physically wounded in the conflict. But perhaps because there have been so few, each story stands out. One elderly woman was at home when a rocket landed in her living room, she told reporters from her hospital bed, speaking in Russian through a translator. In Ashdod,...

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Polls: Two-state solution was a casualty, even before the war

Turns out most Israelis support the establishment of a Palestinian state – until they read the fine print.

There is a natural obsession with short-term, immediate details of the situation in Israel and Palestine: where is the siren or rocket or bomb? How many bodies are piling up in Gaza? Israelis’ memory at present seems to go back only a few weeks, to the murder of three teens that they believe set off this cycle.

But for Palestinians, there was life before the Israeli kids were murdered, and it wasn’t good. Many are seething under a reality of no prospects, no citizenship or statehood, rage at their leaders, rage at their occupiers. What both sides share was a realistic lack of hope for the recent negotiations for long-term resolution.

While leaders again proved them right, public support for the two-state solution may become the long-term victim of the accelerated cycles of aggression.

Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres in Jordan, May 26, 2013 (Mark Neiman / GPO)

Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres in Jordan, May 26, 2013 (Mark Neiman / GPO)

Several new surveys paint a dismal picture for this paradigm.

A survey of Palestinians from June by the right-leaning Washington Institute for Near East Policy found that more than twice as many respondents now support “reclaiming all of historic Palestine,” than those who choose “end the occupation and reach a two state solution.” In response to +972’s query, the Institute says this is a new finding compared to similar (but not identical) questions asked in the past, when support for a two state-solution typically ranged between 40-55 percent. Here is the data (n= 1200 Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza, margin of error, +/-3%):

Please state your view about the main Palestinian goal for the next five years

- The goal should be to work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine from the river to the sea: 60%
- The goal should be to end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and achieve a two state solution: 27%
- The goal should be to work for a one state solution in all of the land, in which Arabs and Jews will have equal rights in one country, from the river to the sea: 10%

Two further questions on this topic...

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Gaza is terrible? Try daily life

Gaza is unlivable and Tel Aviv is surreal. Then there’s all the rest.

I spent today at a meeting of Israelis and Palestinians in East Jerusalem, planned well before the current escalation. Around 7:30 a.m., I was showering when sirens went off, followed by three low booms. Since the shower is about the only comfortable place in the sticky coastal area these days, I didn’t move. It no longer seemed interesting enough to post on social media. At 8:30 a.m. I picked up two colleagues and we drove 38 miles (60 kilometers) from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. With a bit of morning traffic, we arrived just after 9:30 a.m.

H, a Palestinian conflict resolution expert in her 40s from a town near Hebron, was also supposed to attend the meeting. She left home, about 23 miles (37 kilometers) from Jerusalem as the crow flies, in time to be there at 9:30. At 10:30 the organizers began getting text messages from her.

I asked for her permission to publish them here, almost unedited. She agreed on condition that I do not use her full name.

10:30am

“I am still trying to leave Hebron. Dura my home town is closed because of clashes last night after settlers kidnapping a 15 year kid beating him breaking his legs and tossing him way out of main road..Shabab got angry and it was a long night. Will do my best but please know I am trying. Writing after stopping on the side of the road too dangerous! ! Last night in gaza my family lost members of its extended clan!!crazy shit all around!!!!fuck this life I cannot take it anymore.”

Noon

“Ok. I gave up. I am back to Dura. My brother was with me and so he also decided not to continue to Bethlehem. Muhammad Dudeen, the kid who was killed in Dura two weeks ago was a cousin from my mom’s side. My 14 year nephew is talking about martyrism all the time.  My niece who speaks English, French and Arabic is not sure if she wants to leave home to do a one year study abroad. My brother tells me in an angry voice that those who call for another intifada do not know that we want to just live and hear nothing about death unless it is for natural causes! Cancer seems more human than being blown up to pieces while...

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A portrait of the enemy in Tel Aviv

The enemy in Tel Aviv is a shapeless wail in the morning. It has no point of origin, it arises from the air, a warning without warning. A noise from a void.

The enemy is a tremble in coffee number one, a soft boom over bread and butter at the restaurant last night.  It is the grinning diners who twist toward me when I turn toward them: “Keeps things interesting,” they chuckle.

“How is the atmosphere in the South tonight?” asked the anchor on the news  to reporters in the South. “They’re used to it down here,” she gushes. “They’ve gathered all together, it’s almost like a happening of sorts. Would I go so far as to say the atmosphere is nice?  Yes! It’s nice,” she says.

The enemy is a fish tank in the shelter in my neighborhood park. Don’t be so cynical! That’s terrible. It probably means a lot to frightened children. Who wouldn’t be calmed by goldfish swimming circles in cool waters in the summer?

I know about being calmed by watching fish. My first teenage love and I sat at night in the dark, watching water that bubbled and glowed and fish moving silently in the tank in his tiny room, on a kibbutz in the South, 14 kilometers from Gaza. And I never felt so safe.

Late one night we left the kibbutz to pick up someone from a bus station somewhere. He put a pistol on his belt.

“Do you really need that?” I said.

“You never know,” he said.

“It’s not New York,” I said.

It was 1990 and I had stared at the faces of angry people on the subways for years. Here there is no face.

But we know what the enemy looks like: A pistol in his pocket, a siren in the morning. The only people we remember are the frozen photos of boys with bombs, dead already when their photos were found.

What enemy do they see from Gaza?

Ruins of a Palestinian home in the Az-Zaitoun neighborhood of Gaza city, destroyed during an Israeli airstrike, November 23, 2012. (Photo by: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Ruins of a Palestinian home in the Az-Zaitoun neighborhood of Gaza city, destroyed during an Israeli airstrike, November 23, 2012. (Photo by: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Related:
Live blog: Escalation in Gaza – July...

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'Our' murderers - what would Arendt and Buber say?

There is soul-searching and there is the self-gratifying appearance of soul-searching. The deception of the latter lies within the words: ‘Tear out these wild weeds from among us.’

Confession: I held out hope, to the last minute, that the murderers of Mohammed Abu Khdeir would not be “mine” – Israeli, Jewish.

The hope that they would belong to some other group, even, god help me, Mohammed’s own people, is primitive. I must acknowledge, helplessly, that at this moment, I felt a greater sense of identification with the presumed killers due to tribal and arbitrary designation of birth: Jewish (assuming none of us are converts by choice). It feels as if their crime reflects on me more than a crime committed by the so-called “other.” As if the “other” is fundamentally different from me.

But I was not surprised. Jews, like every community in the world, contain good and evil people, and hopefully a few really good folks, like Martin Buber. Jews, like every other religious tradition in the world have a culture of goodness, schools of thought that nurture constructive, harmonious values; we also have culture, schools of thought, environments, politics and history too, that nurture violence, devalue human life, twist the straight tree of morality into the crooked timbre of humanity.

——-

On the morning after the news that six Jews have been arrested as the main suspects, descriptions are flying around. The Israeli authorities called them “Jewish extremists”; followed by immediate insistence that they are terrorists, including from security figures such as the Israeli defense minister.

Those distinctions give political insight and have legal consequences. “Jewish extremists” shows that Jewish Israelis have no trouble distinguishing regular people from fanatics when they’re our own. We don’t describe a Palestinian who kills a Jew as “Palestinian extremist.” For most Israelis “Palestinian” is sufficiently synonymous with extremism. Indeed, many Israelis hardly notice Palestinians except to point out acts of violence.

The terrorist label is important because it means the authorities can use extraordinary legal measures rather than due process. But “extraordinary” is misleading: those actions are daily fare for the many Palestinians unlucky enough to go through the military court system. There is much talk of destroying the Jewish families’ homes – from outraged rabbis to the mother of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. That’s precisely because it’s not “extraordinary”: home demolitions and other facets of non-democratic military rule have...

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There is no war of images, only occupation

The right-wing Israel crowd is on a mission to delegitimize every Palestinian activity that goes beyond silent submission to permanent foreign military rule.

Post-modern madness has Israelis very excited, for years now, about the notion that if Israel just “explains” its side of the matter, the world will come to its senses.

There is a deep and pervasive myth that Israel is hopelessly incompetent at communications. Israelis speak of Palestinian propaganda as a well-oiled machine, with tentacles in every news media, lobby groups in the halls of power and pressure groups controlling the minds of students and faculty in universities around the world. Many Israelis seem unaware that operating highly elaborate lobbies, media watchdogs and branding efforts – with generous funding and considerable sophistication – is a long-established Jewish activity. And it hasn’t saved Israel from a deteriorating global image.

Meanwhile, Israelis know that the Palestinian machine is a Svengali spinning lies into narratives that everybody believes. Palestinians’ clever use of film as a weapon exaggerates benign realities of an enlightened occupation by the most moral army into a Hollywood-produced image of hell. Right-wingers so thoroughly believe this that they have developed a nickname for the string of manipulative and manipulated video clips showing Israelis harming Palestinians: “Pallywood.” How to fight the scourge is a national obsession.

In the thick of the terrible escalation this weekend, an item on Israel’s Channel 10 claimed to explore the “stories behind” some of the most damaging videos that have made global rounds. The repulsive footage of Israeli border policemen beating a teenaged Palestinian-American while he is flattened and immobilized (a relative of the murdered youth Muhammed Abu Khdeir) is the very latest; David the “Nahlawi” is another; two weeks before that was  damning footage from Beitunia of soldiers shooting at demonstrators, some of them stone-throwers, resulting in two teenage deaths; before that the M16-whipping of a Danish activist, and the iconic Muhammed al-Dura affair, and so forth. Apparently these incidents are a purely a matter of image, with no connection to each other, only loosely tied to reality at all.

The Channel 10 story was actually about the “National-Zionist news agency” called “Tazpit” (Lookout), established to counter the images drawn from “partial, lying footage of what goes on in Judea and Samaria…” by the “enemies of Zionism,” as if Zionism is a universal value. The organization itself doesn’t say this...

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Five possible consequences of Hamas-Fatah unity

Hamas could be moderated by entering the mainstream, internationally acceptable Palestinian government. Or it could follow the Hezbollah model and slowly reverse Abbas’s legacy.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the swearing in ceremony for the new unity government, Ramallah, June 2, 2014. (Photo: Mustafa Bader/Activestills.org)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the swearing in ceremony for the new Palestinian unity government, Ramallah, June 2, 2014. (Photo: Mustafa Bader/Activestills.org)

The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation is either the end of days, or the dawn over new horizons. The deal is so confusing because it might mean one thing – or else the opposite.  Here are some of the polarized possible outcomes:

1. Fatah will become one with terrorists, OR terrorists were just co-opted by a more moderate political leadership.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Liberman look at this as Hamas spreading its terrorist stain over Palestinian politics. They probably fear the example of Hezbollah, which first took part in Lebanon’s elections in 1992, and went on to redefine the country.

The other perspective involves Sinn Fein the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, a terrorist organization. Sinn Fein became a signatory to the Good Friday peace agreement of Northern Ireland. The IRA laid down its arms for the sake of the accords.

Either option is a reality. But unlike Hezbollah, Hamas is not as directly dominated by other states. It is more accountable to its own people.

2. Hamas will get stronger, OR Hamas will get weaker.

The accord came about in part because Hamas was already weakened: opposing Assad for the slaughter in Syria angered Iran, Assad’s patron, and led to a slump in Iranian support for Hamas. Then the group lost its Egyptian patron, Mohammed Morsi, to Tahrir. Tunnels to Egypt closed, gas prices in Gaza soared and desperation grew. The political division is top priority among Palestinians. Hamas’ legitimacy was both eroded and limited.

Hamas surely thinks the move will make it more popular. But popular for what? Not for further isolation and bad alliances. Hamas seems to have concluded that it would be rewarded for political pragmatism, advancing elections, unifying Palestinians around the Fatah agenda of an independent Palestinian state within broad 1967 lines, through diplomacy not arms.

So Hamas as a political force might get stronger. But the meaning of Hamas – what it has...

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Truth, tapes and two dead Palestinians

The raging debate about the death of the Beitunia teens will become eternally self-referential as each side pumps up its own greater narratives. Herein lies perhaps the greatest victory for the stronger side.

Two Palestinian teens were killed last Thursday, Nakba Day. Until yesterday, it was also true that the Palestinian teens were shot with live ammunition by Israeli forces. There is excessive documentation – eyewitnesses, news outlets, still photos and 12 hours of video from the security cameras monitoring the shack-like structures where they were shot, owned by a private Palestinian.

Members of the Palestinian national security forces carry the bodies of Nadim Seeam Abu Kara and Muhammad Abu Da'har during their funeral procession in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 16, 2014. Abu Kara and Muhammad Abu Da'har were shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes the previous day outside the Israeli-run Ofer prison following a protest commemorating the Nakba. Foreign press published that the two died in a Ramallah hospital after being shot in the chest during a protest to demand the release of thousands of Palestinians held by Israel. (Activestills.org)

Members of the Palestinian National Security Forces carry the bodies of Nadim Seeam Abu Kara and Muhammad Abu Da’har during their funeral procession in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 16, 2014. Activestills.org)

A week later, the IDF embraced different facts. It is conducting an investigation and here are the theories that have come out so far, according to news reports: the IDF used only rubber bullets, not live ammunition. It is not clear that Israeli forces did it; the youth might have been shot by Palestinian fire.  The youth who were brought to the hospital and died might not be the same youth who were shot. The 12 hours of video that shows them being hit, says an unnamed “senior security figure” to Haaretz, is “very likely fabricated.”

WATCH: Footage shows Israeli army’s killing of two Palestinian teens

These competing theories are like the opening shots (so to speak) in a race of narratives and obsession with angles. What was the direction of the shot? What could the soldiers see from their angle? Is a hospital report saying they were killed by live bullets credible? Should the graves be opened and a body exhumed,...

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The burden, and wall, of Zionism

Zionism has come to refer not to the many ways of building Israel, but to a litmus test. Any answer other than ‘I am a Zionist,’ is akin to being un-American in the 1950s.

I didn’t join a Labor Zionist youth movement at 14 because I thought of myself as a Zionist. Actually I shied away from group identities, bouncing among social cliques at school and staying away from team sports. My parents just didn’t know what to do with me one summer and they heard about a nice Jewish camp, not too expensive.

The Habonim-Dror camp turned out to be a tiny gaggle of barely 100 kids and counselors, some of them bona fide 60s leftovers in the mid-1980s, with a fetish for socialist values and arguments we felt sure were intellectual. When heated discussions went on too long, counselors let us skip team sports. In fact they let us skip for pretty much any reason. Things were a little crazy – one day each summer, the 17-year old campers held a “revolution” and tossed out the (delighted) counselors for 24 hours. There were not a few parental lawsuits.

I was hooked, and determined not to miss the year on kibbutz after high school. My fascination with the idea of Israel was growing and the social bonds were strong. Some of those people became friends for life and a few of us even moved here.

I don’t remember anyone asking me if I was a Zionist, or caring if I had said I wasn’t. We talked about terribly important substance – the socialist ethics of pooling our money to buy cigarettes that some wanted and some (only some!) hated; the concept of tikkun olam; learning the spectrum of left and right political parties in Israel, and how some of them opposed holding “the territories”; we learned about Berl Katznelson and Ahad Ha’am – but I don’t recall any fixation on the label “Zionism.”

An American is an American. A Frenchman is a Frenchman, or woman. Israel too has a dynamic debate about what makes a person Israeli: the declaration of independence says all its citizens are equal regardless of religion, race, or gender. The Right loves to point out that other countries also restrict borders, rights and privileges to people who embody the national identity.

But the parallel to other countries is inaccurate, because Israel has two definitions...

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Dear American Jews: Time to boycott the Conference of Presidents

The Conference of Presidents, a U.S. group comprised of 51 national Jewish organizations, voted earlier this week against admitting the dovish J Street into its ranks. Now, says Dahlia Scheindlin, is the time for American Jews to walk away.

There is something that troubles me while observing current events, forming my political opinions and appropriate responses: it is so easy to judge history and see how things went wrong, but so easy to not to see what is going deeply, terribly wrong in the present. It is so hard to be clear minded and step outside what we take for granted, what seems obvious and normal but is deeply flawed and unjust.

I am easily outraged, but fundamentally anti-alarmist. I often find myself instinctively confident in the big-picture balance of good and evil among human societies.

So when leftists cry “fascism” in Israel sometimes, I never join them. I don’t wait for Holocaust Memorial Day to decry the cheapening of words that have profound and appalling historic facts behind them, which are truly not related to current reality, as horrible as the political situation here is.

But occasionally, that nagging thought returns. Am I too complacent? Would I recognize an authority that has gotten drunk on its power and violent when it feels that power crumbling – for that’s when authorities are most dangerous.  They lack confidence, but have much to preserve, so they lash out against their enemies with blunt instruments.

Thinking about the Conference of Presidents’ vote to reject J Street from its members, I was somewhat gratified to realize that the signs seem screamingly obvious, even on our teacup-sized scale, and I’m not about to miss them.

Naomi Chazan speaking at Jstreet conference (Jstreet/CC BY NC SA 2.0)

New Israel Fund President Naomi Chazan speaking at the J Street conference. (Jstreet/CC BY NC SA 2.0)

The Jewish community life of America as we know it is coming to an end. There are no common causes to rally around. Power has corrupted absolutely and the fat cat leaders of the establishment are enraged that all their money can’t buy ideological loyalty to their perverted ideas of what makes Israel healthy – in the name of which they raise millions that could be going to starving children, or for that matter, Palestinian villages where Israel has 100...

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High Court to state: Give Palestinians a say in planning

Israel’s High Court orders the government to upgrade representation of Palestinians in planning committees. But will the minor changes only serve to legitimize a system based on inequality?

A resident of the Jordan Valley village of Kirbet Makhoul inspects stores of feed for livestock kept in tents built since the village was demolished by the Israeli military, January 22, 2014. Khirbet Makhoul was demolished twice by the Israeli army in autumn of 2013. The army has also prevented humanitarian aid organizations from delivering tents and other forms of assistance to residents. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

A resident of the Jordan Valley village of Kirbet Makhoul inspects stores of feed for livestock kept in tents built since the village was demolished by the Israeli military, January 22, 2014. Khirbet Makhoul was demolished twice by the Israeli army in autumn of 2013. The army has also prevented humanitarian aid organizations from delivering tents and other forms of assistance to residents. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Israel’s High Court on Monday ordered the state to provide proposals for including Palestinian representatives in planning committees that govern development and land use in Area C (which makes up 60 percent of the territory in the West Bank). The interim decision was made following an appeal by the Palestinian village of Ad-Dirat-Al-Rfai’ya, together with human rights organizations Rabbis For Human Rights, the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), and St. Yves.

Atypically, the hearing lasted a full hour. Oren Yiftachel, a professor of political geography at Ben Gurion University and a former chairman of Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem observed that Palestinian human rights claims related to the occupied territories are commonly dismissed on the basis of “security concerns.”

During the hearing, the state mainly argued that there was no discrimination against Palestinians, since they are already allowed to submit planning requests to the administrative committees.

But grossly asymmetrical data apparently left the court little room to justify the current situation: over 90 percent of Palestinian planning requests are rejected – over 97 percent in recent years, according to a B’Tselem report. Therefore, they build without permits, and their structures often face demolition orders. According to the report, an average of over 200 structures have been destroyed annually since 2000....

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Court case challenges the building blocks of occupation

The Israel army almost automatically rejects building permits for Palestinians in 60 percent of the West Bank. One of the least sexy aspects of the conflict, a new court case aims to challenge the discriminatory regime of building permits and planning.

A member of Sariya family stands next to his family belongings in the village of Al-Mayta following a demolition in the Jordan Valley, Area C. (Photo by Activestills.org)

A member of Sariya family stands next to his family belongings in the village of Al-Mayta following a demolition in the Jordan Valley, Area C. (Photo by Activestills.org)

The Israeli High Court of Justice on Monday will hear a petition asking to restore planning rights in Area C of the West Bank to Palestinian local and district planning committees, which were abolished by the Israeli military in 1971.

The petitioners, local Palestinian leaders and Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations, hope to give Palestinians a say in the use of land and resources, redress discrimination compared to Israeli settlers, and scale back military control over their lives. They seek to turn residential planning over to civil bodies, instead of the IDF which administers the land today.

If that sounds boring, it is. Terrorism, stone throwing, tear gas, juvenile detention, weapons smuggling, hilltop youth and even the peace process are the sexy topics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Planning rights in Area C are bureaucratic and impenetrable.

The sexy parts of the conflict easily distract from the daily lives of 150,000 Palestinians (the UN says it may be double that, Naftali Bennett thinks it’s less) who live under military rule and under the shadow of IDF bulldozers. Their requests for building permits from the military planning authority are almost automatically denied – 94 percent, say the petitioners. Hence they live in permanent fear of demolition orders, have no water lines, electricity grids or roads to their villages. They are hard to visit, hard to count, and when driving through the desert, they can even be hard to see.

Where the sovereign reigns

Area C is not some tiny, faraway patch of land: it is fully 60 percent of the West Bank, which was carved up by the Oslo accords: Areas A and B are regions of partial or near-total Palestinian civil control, both formally under Israeli military sovereignty....

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Peace process: Only four options left

Resolutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be reached either by agreement or evolution.

As the peace talks stumble toward their formal end point, there are essentially four scenarios for political developments between the river and the sea, excluding resurgent violence: two states by agreement, two states by evolution, one state by agreement, or one sovereign entity by evolution.

Policymakers should acknowledge these scenarios openly to assess what each one will mean for the future of the region.

I recently proposed using basic values as a guideline to assess the desirability of such scenarios: reducing violence, realizing human and civil rights, providing for collective rights, and doing so in a sustainable way. It’s also worth considering the feasibility and consequences of each possibility.

Two states by agreement. This scenario looks increasingly unlikely, largely for political reasons. Likud essentially doesn’t want it; its other half, Israel-Beitenu, claims to want it but only under unacceptable conditions, including unilateral disenfranchisement of Israeli citizenship. Jewish Home, is steadfastly opposed. Palestinians have become so disillusioned about statehood as Israel defines it that PA President Mahmoud Abbas lacks the legitimacy to make major concessions on their behalf.

Another reason is physical: land, population and infrastructure developments over the last two decades mean that a Palestinian state will be chopped up by settlements too entrenched to be vacated. Therefore, “statehood” won’t offer much greater mobility or economic freedom for Palestinians; sovereign borders might even replace military checkpoints posing much greater bureaucratic obstacles.

However, this solution could theoretically reduce violence by establishing representative political frameworks for each society, to guarantee discrete collective and civil rights. Whether that means more human rights for Palestinians than today depends on how the Fatah and Hamas authorities rule; their current record does not bode well. An agreement over two states with borders and finalized political status is probably relatively sustainable. But the lack of feasibility makes most of this assessment moot.

Two states by evolution. The lack of a negotiated agreement could make this more attractive to Palestinians. If they are to suffer the constraints of highly circumscribed statehood, at least they will not also be forced into concessions they resent as the price.

States can be defined as entities with a people, territory, government and the ability to enter into foreign relations. The Palestinians are making strong progress on that last one. Compared to other disputed states, Palestine enjoys...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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