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One- or two-state solution? The answer is both (or neither)

The two-state solution is not a progressive cause and neither is a single-state solution — they are just possible means to an end. The only possible goal for progressive politics in Israel/Palestine can be full human, civil and political rights for everyone living on this land. 

[Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.com]

[Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.com]

Every now and then a comment on this blog attributes a position to me — one I thought I had been very careful to avoid taking. A misunderstood writer should blame only himself and not the readers. However, there is a specific point I always have trouble getting across, maybe because of the way it diverges from the way people tend to frame the political debate — and not just in Israel.

The issue at hand is a so-called final-status agreement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I often get comments that assume I am preaching for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and for the evacuation of settlements. Other comments take for granted that I am calling on Israel to annex the West Bank and give citizenship to all of the Palestinians.

The truth is that I am not a follower of either of these ideas – or if you prefer, I accept both of them under certain circumstances.

My principal political position is opposition to the occupation. By “occupation” I don’t mean the legal status of the land administrated by Israel. I am referring to the existence of a regime that separates the two populations on ethnic lines and grants them different rights, and to all the policies that are part and parcel of that regime: the military court system, the extra juridical assassinations of people living under Israeli sovereignty, the lack of freedom of movement, the limits on freedom of speech, and many more such measures.

I support equal rights for all people living in this land, between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. Theoretically this can happen as part of a two-state solution, a single-state solution and in various hybrids of the two. All these solutions could just the same preserve a situation where there are no equal rights and Jews continue to rule over the Palestinians but through different measures, much like what happened in Gaza following the withdrawal of IDF forces and 9,000 settlers in 2005. A person can state that he or she is in favor of the two-state solution or that he or she supports applying Israeli civilian law – instead of a military regime – in the West Bank, but such making such statements guarantees nothing.

Even when such final status plans are presented in their ideal form they all have considerable flaws. The game in which progressives bring up ideas for resolving the conflict and the Right finds holes in them is a lost cause. In fact, the entire debate on solutions might be intellectually intriguing but its only importance is as counterweight to the claim that the conflict is some type of given state of affairs or a natural disaster that cannot be solved. One needs to put alternatives on the table, but they shouldn’t be turned into a cult.

One of the major problems in Israel is that the two-state solution was transformed from a means — to ending the occupation and its evils — into a goal. This is a disastrous development. There is no “peace camp” in Israel and no major political force seeking justice; there is only a “two-state camp,” which is something completely different. If a peace camp is having trouble implementing the two-state solution, it looks for just alternatives which will end the occupation and diminish its evils. But when a two-state camp has trouble implementing a two-state solution, it stops looking for any sort of solution and instead becomes a supporter of the status quo with all its inherent policies, such as the need to kill 2,000 people in Gaza in order to maintain the current state of affairs.

This is why progressives need to go back to opposing the occupation, and they need to do it actively — not just through lip service about “a diplomatic process” or two states or peace and all the newspeak Shimon Peres trademarked.

One must be very wary not to delve too deeply into the debate about solutions. More often than not, this conversation is a waste of time and political capital. Solutions are not the result of debate clubs but of political interests at a given moment in time. In other words, once Israeli society decides to end the occupation irrespective of the political circumstances, the power relations and various interests will determine the nature of the arrangements on the ground.

That is the moment in time where we, Israelis, will need to conduct an honest conversation about the kind of arrangement we would rather negotiate (Palestinians would do the same probably). Such a debate cannot exist now because the one thing we can all agree on is prolonging the status quo. This is what happens every day in the Israeli political system: Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Liberman, Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni (or Labor’s Yitzhak Herzog, for that matter) can be part of the same coalition despite their contradictory options because they can live with the status quo. That is the common denominator that defines the entire system.

One final note: even when the final status agreement presents itself, it will be neither final nor static and we will need to continue working so that relations between Jews and Palestinians are conducted within an egalitarian and accountable political system and not through though exploitation or military force. There are no endgames in politics, certainly not here.

Related:
Who gets to vote in Israel’s democracy?
War is the new system of governance (and five other Gaza takeaways)
This is Netanyahu’s final status solution

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    COMMENTS

    1. Amir

      First let Israel end the occupation and the illegal tyranny in the West Bank, afterwards let’s talk about solutions.

      Reply to Comment
      • Whiplash

        Are you suggesting that Israel should expel the Arab colonists? Shudder the thought. I think there is room in Judea and Samaria so that no Jew or Arab should have to leave his/her home. Israel has 1.7 million Arab Israelis living in it. Certainly there is room for 500,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria and many other hundred of thousands in Jerusalem.

        A timed solution of decades is needed first before Israel can end its armed presence in Arab areas of the West Bank. If the Arabs had accepted Israeli offers in 1967 or 1978 and lived in peace, there would be no armed Israeli presence in the West Bank today. If the Palestinians had accepted Barak’s or Olmert’s offers instead of waging the second intifada and three Gaza wars, we would have seen at least a significant withdrawal of the armed Israeli presence and most likely a joint Israeli-Palestinian force guarding the Jordan Valley and border with Jordan. The Palestinian missed those opportunities and we are further behind in the search for a solution than we were in 1993.

        Reply to Comment
    2. bor

      I would love there to be full political rights in Jordan and in Egypt, in China and Tibet, in Northern Cyprus and in Chechnya, and many other places.

      But, first and foremost, I want to ensure that I preserve equality and full legal rights in my home and protect my community from those who would take them away. That is what Israel does for its citizens presently and since its creation. It also provides a refuge for Jewish communities under challenging circumstances, a solution to a long history of persecution against Jews.

      The problem with pursuing an “end to the occupation” is that it presents a serious challenge for Israel in terms of maintaining its security and potentially its freedoms and political system.

      Let’s not be naive about this. For 60+ years, Arabs have been pressing the narrative that Israel shouldn’t exist and if it should, it has to exist with a population that includes as many descendants of Palestinian refugees as possible.

      Since Oslo began, when Palestinian pollsters ask what is meant by a two-state solution, the Palestinian public typically answers that peace is a Palestinian state next door to an Israeli state that has implemented the so-called, non-existent “right of return.”

      And this is all happening at a time in history when the Middle East is in severe turmoil, with sections of that turmoil demonstrating precisely what could happen to an unprotected Jewish population if it would lose a single war or the ability to defend its population. This, at a time when Israel’s departure from Gaza – and it doesn’t matter that they don’t have control over their airspace – has left it having to fight wars every two years despite there being no occupation and despite the fact Gazans share a border with an Arab country. The residents of a large section of Israel’s land are terrified that at any moment a rocket or a Hamas crew from a tunnel will kill their children.

      All of this is to say that we all want peace! We all want fairness and the right for all people to live as equals in fair systems! However, we need to be honest and realistic because this isn’t even happening presently in Palestinian-controlled territories where they seem to believe that democracy means one person, one vote, one time.

      Sheizaf and those who agree with him are dancing around the golden calf of “ending the occupation” as if the reality we see daily in the Middle East doesn’t exist or would magically affect Israel differently if Israel were to ignore its security concerns. This is simply naivete, and there is no room to conduct an experiment to see whether they are right or wrong.

      Finally, the other problem of pursuing this mirage is that in pursuing it Sheizaf and his friends are often manipulating or distorting facts and the truth in many of the articles we see on this site. They do it in English, knowing that they are influencing outsiders (and probably because they know it will be hard to convince Israelis) and they often do it unfairly.

      I write the above as someone who thought Olmert’s peace offer was crazy, but who would have supported it if it would have meant the Palestinians agreeing to “end of conflict.” I no longer believe this would be a secure outcome for Israel. Take a look at the Palestinian poll that came out today, after the recent war in Gaza. It proves that there is a very strong likelihood that a Hamas government or Hamas-like government would be supported by a majority of Palestinians in taking over any Palestinian state or fully controlled territory, with the regime’s supporters supporting continued attacks on Israel.

      I truly and sincerely wish there were a different possibility here to resolve this complex situation, but dreams are not the same as hard and objective facts

      Reply to Comment
      • Ray

        Alas, you can’t control those countries, as you are not a citizen of them, and neither does your government have any influence over their policies. Neither do we Americans. We do, however, have clout with governments within our sphere of influence, which we are more than willing to use as we see fit.

        You’re view of the outside world mirrors that of the North Koreans. Both parties have been hoodwinked by a bunch of con artists, posing as nationalists, into thinking that the next Holocaust/imperialist war of aggression is right around the corner, and the only option is holing up in a little corner of the world and pursuing cultural self-interest, no matter the cost to others.

        Why should Palestinians who have done nothing to deserve it (apart from holding certain opinions, which you view as evidence of guilt in and of itself) have to sacrifice their sovereignty, or their dignity in one-sided “negotiations,” just so that you can live without risks or worries?

        And as for right of return, the Palestinian’s ambassador to the world offered to defang it for all intents and purposes (rendering it “symbolic”). Why should Israel get to escape have to account for throwing anyone out of their homes, or not allowing them to return, just because it was “a long time ago,” or because other people are there now. I don’t know how anyone plans to solve the problem, but you’re gonna have to think of something. You condemned innocents to effective limbo, out of “patriotism,” and you owe them. Don’t sit back and expect the other Arab countries to do anything about it: you know they won’t.

        Nobody ever has discussed “taking away” Israel’s military or “right to self defense.” That’s a red herring, a way of making us think it is wrong to oppose any of Israel’s unfair actions towards the Palestinians, because your “right to self-defense” is too important. You want us to overlook your sins, and try to tell us that your safety is compromised if we don’t. This isn’t the age of uncritical sheep supporting whatever their government and allies do, anymore. This is the age where everyone expects democracies to be democratic, not just at home but to everyone else. And not to childishly demand that “they be democratic to us first,” but to set the precedent. This goes especially for the Middle East, where people are finally getting tired of the rotten status-quo, and have decided to demand their rights. As it is, religious politics are the only venue history has left them to express their discontenment, so you will have to accept and accommodate it as best you can.

        And yes, Gaza’s lack of control over its’ airspace, and inability for foreign trade is important, despite your protestations. Your “security interests,” in every instance, serve only to give the Palestinians one more reason to resent you; the fact that, not only do you control their territory outright, but that you de-legitimize their right to even express anger or frustration about it as “irrational” or “pro-terror.” Their dignity is too important for them to essentially capitulate to you by accepting a rotten deal on your terms. Hypocritically from a position of power, you castigate them for not being “realistic.” The same arrogant attitude every colonizer has had towards his subject peoples. They don’t “understand,” they’re “irrational” and backwards. I have explained before, in the comments section of another article, why ending the siege in Gaza, and the occupation in general, could conceivably create conditions in which terrorism as a tactic would rapidly lose popularity (even if Hamas as a political party would remain popular). It was ignored. You’re going to have to decide whether you want to settle this once and for all (which entails not trying to “win”), or if you just want to maintain the status quo, and continue this cycle for the rest of eternity in the name of not displaying “weakness.”

        Self-determination of peoples is not conditional, it means you don’t get to deny a people anything, because you think they’re “not ready for it.” Palestinians have an flawed democracy, because they are not a sovereign nation, and thus do not have the necessary civil society. Only once they are independent, and out of the context of the occupation will they be able to build one up.

        As to your view of the polls, you and most of your countrymen have learned the completely wrong lesson, once again. Killing 2000 civilians, and destroying homes doesn’t make you safer, and it doesn’t just make the people you do it to hate you all the more; it gives them a legitimate reason to hate you.

        Sooner or later, Israel is going to have to decide whether they really want this occupation, and there’s no escape route more overused and counter-intuitive than “realism.” Most of the greatest crimes and biggest betrayals of others’ rights and dignity committed by superpowers were done in the name of “realism” or “realpolitik.”

        Reply to Comment
        • bor

          I don’t have the patience, so I simply cut and pasted all of the sections of your comment that are provably false, make wrong assertions or predictions or that demonstrate a lack of understanding of a situation, society, history, etc.

          “You’re view of the outside world mirrors that of the North Koreans.”

          “Both parties have been hoodwinked by a bunch of con artists, posing as nationalists, into thinking that the next Holocaust/imperialist war of aggression is right around the corner, and the only option is holing up in a little corner of the world and pursuing cultural self-interest, no matter the cost to others.”

          “Why should Palestinians who have done nothing to deserve it” “have to sacrifice their sovereignty,” “one-sided “negotiations,””

          “And as for right of return, the Palestinian’s ambassador to the world offered to defang it for all intents and purposes”

          “Why should Israel get to escape have to account for throwing anyone out of their homes, or not allowing them to return, just because it was “a long time ago,” or because other people are there now.”

          “You condemned innocents to effective limbo”

          “out of “patriotism,””

          “and you owe them.”

          “”Nobody ever has discussed “taking away” Israel’s military or “right to self defense.” That’s a red herring,”

          “a way of making us think it is wrong to oppose any of Israel’s unfair actions towards the Palestinians, because your “right to self-defense” is too important.”

          “You want us to overlook your sins,”

          “and try to tell us that your safety is compromised if we don’t.”

          “This isn’t the age of uncritical sheep supporting whatever their government and allies do, anymore. This is the age where everyone expects democracies to be democratic, not just at home but to everyone else.”

          “And not to childishly demand that “they be democratic to us first,” but to set the precedent.”

          “This goes especially for the Middle East, where people are finally getting tired of the rotten status-quo, and have decided to demand their rights.”

          “As it is, religious politics are the only venue history has left them to express their discontenment, so you will have to accept and accommodate it as best you can.”

          “And yes, Gaza’s lack of control over its’ airspace, and inability for foreign trade is important, despite your protestations.”

          “Your “security interests,” in every instance, serve only to give the Palestinians one more reason to resent you;”

          “the fact that, not only do you control their territory outright, but that you de-legitimize their right to even express anger or frustration about it as “irrational” or “pro-terror.””

          “Their dignity is too important for them to essentially capitulate to you by accepting a rotten deal on your terms.”

          “Hypocritically from a position of power, you castigate them for not being “realistic.””

          “The same arrogant attitude every colonizer has had towards his subject peoples.”

          “They don’t “understand,” they’re “irrational” and backwards.”

          “ending the siege in Gaza, and the occupation in general, could conceivably create conditions in which terrorism as a tactic would rapidly lose popularity (even if Hamas as a political party would remain popular).”

          “You’re going to have to decide whether you want to settle this once and for all (which entails not trying to “win”),”

          “or if you just want to maintain the status quo, and continue this cycle for the rest of eternity in the name of not displaying “weakness.””

          “Self-determination of peoples is not conditional, it means you don’t get to deny a people anything, because you think they’re “not ready for it.””

          “Palestinians have an flawed democracy, because they are not a sovereign nation, and thus do not have the necessary civil society.”

          “Only once they are independent, and out of the context of the occupation will they be able to build one up.”

          “As to your view of the polls, you and most of your countrymen have learned the completely wrong lesson,”

          “once again. Killing 2000 civilians,”

          “and destroying homes doesn’t make you safer,”

          “and it doesn’t just make the people you do it to hate you all the more; it gives them a legitimate reason to hate you.””

          “there’s no escape route more overused and counter-intuitive than “realism.””

          “Most of the greatest crimes and biggest betrayals of others’ rights and dignity committed by superpowers were done in the name of “realism” or “realpolitik.””

          Reply to Comment
          • Ray

            Why didn’t you just save time and say “this is all wrong?”

            I look forward to reading your rebuttal, if you plan on ever providing one. Otherwise, don’t act uppity by telling people they’re wrong, and not explaining why.

            Reply to Comment
          • bor

            I didn’t save time because I wanted to see if there was anything to which I should respond. It was all so ridiculous that I found nothing, but having done the work of slogging through it, I thought you should at least see that I went through it. You don’t need to thank me.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ray

            That is the most slapdash, pompous, hastily-BS’ed reason not to respond to a point that I’ve ever read. What are you, some kind of hotshot professor or public intellectual, that you can decline arguing with whippersnappers?

            You could have written, “I read your entire comment, and think it’s all wrong,” if you wanted just us to know you read my comment.

            Again, I await wait your rebuttal.

            Reply to Comment
          • bor

            I’ve given you my rebuttal. I pointed out that about 90% of your comment had errors or was flawed. Sheesh.

            Reply to Comment
          • David T.

            Yes Bor, it’s obvious that you don’t have any arguments. It’s also obvious that you believe that nobody notices it.

            Reply to Comment
          • bor

            Hey David, you may not like my comments but I’m fairly certain that while Sheizaf is probably ignoring (and rightly so) most of the comments here, there are a couple by more serious commenters that he has read and mine is probably among them (my first one, not my response to Ray’s fantasies). This article, in fact, is to some degree a response to a comment that I made in his last article.

            Reply to Comment
          • Eliza

            But Bar, you didn’t offer any reason why you think that 90% of Ray’s comment was flawed or contained errors. That’s the point.

            How about you enlighten us as to the remaining 10% which presumably is neither flawed or contains errors.

            Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            I understood Bor. The errors in Ray’s comments are self evident. Let me show you.

            “Why should Palestinians who have done nothing to deserve it” “have to sacrifice their sovereignty,”

            Palestinian Arabs in 1947 chose war over sovereignty by rejecting the partition plan. 66 years of rejection of peace and terrorism against the Jewish state strongly suggest that they have done nothing to deserve sovereignty.

            “Killing 2000 civilians” Half those killed were fighters as was the case in 2008-09.

            “And as for right of return, the Palestinian’s ambassador to the world offered to defang it for all intents and purposes”

            Abbas has stated that he will not surrender the right of return for anyone but himself. There has never been a Palestinian offer in writing to give up the alleged right. In addition the Palestinians reject that a peace agreement would be a conflict ending agreement, because the books on the conflict can not be closed until every refugee and his descendants have been resettled and paid compensation.

            “ending the siege in Gaza, and the occupation in general, could conceivably create conditions in which terrorism as a tactic would rapidly lose popularity (even if Hamas as a political party would remain popular).”

            This is funny. Ending the legal blockade would be an act of suicide allowing Hamas or any other jihahi group import massive amounts of weaponry into Gaza, thereby increasing the number and intensity of the attacks. Hamas’ ideology is to annihilate Israel, which ideology is based on their interpretation of Islamic religious duty as much as ISIS’ or A-Qaeda’s are.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ray

            1. Palestinian Arabs started nothing. Foreign Arab armies invaded to prevent in the name of defending Palestinian-designated territory, for the ulterior motive of assuring they wouldn’t be swamped by Palestinian refugees. You fragged the Palestinians, for collaborating in the interest of not having to give up land, with Versailles Treaty-esque collective punishment. Arabs rejected the partition in the first place because the Zionists were greedily invested in trying to wheedle even more land out of the bargain. As always, you expect the Palestinians to eat sh** and call it caviar, or to adopt the “half a loaf is better than no loaf” mentality you yourselves are too proud to adopt as well.

            2. It is the Israeli government’s opinion that 40-50% of the casualties were combatants. The UN, and other NGOs on the ground there, say it was closer to 25%. Obviously we all know who you’re going to believe.

            3. Yes Abbas did, in discussions with American officials.

            http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4515821,00.html

            Never mind what was in writing. For the record, he has recently been very keen on compromise about ROR. Of course he’ll tell his countrymen he wants it, because he’s cynical that way. Like most politicians. But he wouldn’t have dared break a deal made in the presence of the US, and risk losing the international goodwill he’s built up.

            3. The next time I hear somebody mention Hamas in the same breath as ISIS, I’m ending the discussion. The two organizations are nothing alike, and ISIS (and al-Qaeda) has zero interest in Palestinian nationalism, or fighting Israel.

            Remember that Hamas is a political party as well. If they don’t have popular backing for violence, their position is untenable, and they know it. It’s a given that most Palestinians, including members of Hamas (who have said their charter no longer applies, and have been willing to negotiate for truces and ceasefires), have accepted that Israel is here to stay. If they launched a war, without provocation (or with obviously blown up out of proportion provocation, like Israel does), they would lose credibility vindicate their enemy’s propaganda.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “1. Palestinian Arabs started nothing.”

            This is plain old revisionist history. Within a day of UNGA Resolution 181 in 1947, the Palestinians rioted and went on a murder spree of Palestinian Jews.

            “Foreign Arab armies invaded to prevent in the name of defending Palestinian-designated territory,”

            This is more revisionist history. They themselves bragged that the aim of their invasion was to drive the Jews into the sea. In other words they wanted the land allocated to the Jewish state for themselves.

            “for the ulterior motive of assuring they wouldn’t be swamped by Palestinian refugees.”

            More Ray type BS, we are getting used to it. So tell me this: how come Egypt and Jordan didn’t establish a state for the “poor Palestinians” in Gaza and the West Bank after 1948? After all, they ended up controlling those territories at the end of the war till 1967? They didn’t have enough time to do it? Hmmmmm?

            “You fragged the Palestinians, for collaborating in the interest of not having to give up land, with Versailles Treaty-esque collective punishment. Arabs rejected the partition in the first place because the Zionists were greedily invested in trying to wheedle even more land out of the bargain. As always, you expect the Palestinians to eat sh** and call it caviar, or to adopt the “half a loaf is better than no loaf” mentality you yourselves are too proud to adopt as well.”

            Why thank you Ray, with the above BS you managed to contradict yourself. You said “the Palestinian Arabs started nothing”. And now you admit that they “rejected partition in the first place”. That fits in with what I said. The Palestinians rioted and murdered Jews because they insisted that ALL of Palestine was Arab Muslim land. I call that greed and historical revisionism. Jews always lived in Palestine and in 1947, the Jewish population was 33% of Palestine. How on earth can anyone side with the Arabs and their claim that the Jews had no right to anything is beyond reason.

            “2. It is the Israeli government’s opinion that 40-50% of the casualties were combatants. The UN, and other NGOs on the ground there, say it was closer to 25%. Obviously we all know who you’re going to believe.”

            OK, for the sake of argument and only for the sake of argument Ray, let’s go along with your claim. Now, are you going to answer my question which I asked you on another thread? Or are you going to dodge it again?

            NATO forces too are responsible for tens of thousands of civilian deaths in places like Afghanistan, Serbia and Iraq. Can you please tell them and us, Ray, you military genius you, what methods would YOU use to eliminate or even just significantly reduce civilian deaths when fighting the likes of Hamas and other assorted Jihadis? Waiting … waiting … waiting …

            “3. Yes Abbas did, in discussions with American officials.

            http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4515821,00.html

            Never mind what was in writing. For the record, he has recently been very keen on compromise about ROR. Of course he’ll tell his countrymen he wants it, because he’s cynical that way. Like most politicians. But he wouldn’t have dared break a deal made in the presence of the US, and risk losing the international goodwill he’s built up.”

            No, not much (sarcasm). But in any case, there was no deal so there was nothing for him to break. And your link clearly said that part of the reason why there was no deal was because Abbas vehemently refused to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Why exactly is that so difficult for him? Could it be because by agreeing to that, he would have to kiss his so called Right of Return claim goodbye forever?

            “3. The next time I hear somebody mention Hamas in the same breath as ISIS, I’m ending the discussion.”

            Promise? Ok then, here: Hamas and ISIS have more in common than the small number of differences which they may have.

            “The two organizations are nothing alike, and ISIS (and al-Qaeda) has zero interest in Palestinian nationalism, or fighting Israel.”

            Yes, ISIS have even bigger ambitions than conquering Israel.

            “Remember that Hamas is a political party as well. If they don’t have popular backing for violence, their position is untenable,”

            So you admit that Hamas has popular backing for violence against Israel. Good. ISIS too would not baulk at using violence against Israel and the rest of the world.

            “It’s a given that most Palestinians, including members of Hamas (who have said their charter no longer applies,”

            Who said it? When? Give us a link to prove your claim. I bet your interpretation wildly exaggerates what they may or may not have said if one of them said it to some western journalist as an off handed comment. But I am all ears and eager to be proven wrong. Link please, Ray.

            “and have been willing to negotiate for truces and ceasefires),”

            Ceasefires Which they constantly break. And they want Israel to lift the blockade so that they would be able to arm themselves to their proverbial teeth and attack Israel with advanced weapons at the end or their proposed truce, if not before.

            Why not propose peace negotiations to resolve the conflict once and for all instead of a temporary halt to the fighting? Their unwillingness to even sit down and talk at the same table, to Israelis, about a peace deal, says it all.

            “have accepted that Israel is here to stay.”

            Are you halucinating again Ray? Or are you just lying?

            “If they launched a war, without provocation (or with obviously blown up out of proportion provocation, like Israel does), they would lose credibility vindicate their enemy’s propaganda.”

            No, Ray, they know full well that their faithful band of followers, people like you would always come up with a spin to support them and blame Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • David T.

            “This is plain old revisionist history. Within a day of UNGA Resolution 181 in 1947, the Palestinians rioted and went on a murder spree of Palestinian Jews.”

            Since when did Jewish seperatists go on systematic murder spree for Palestinian Arabs or Brits? Since their dream of a state seemed to have collapsed after the White Book of 1939 proposing the indepentence of the mandated state Palestine within 10 years?

            “This is more revisionist history. They themselves bragged that the aim of their invasion was to drive the Jews into the sea.”

            Oh that was, was they (the Arab states) bragged about in their declaration on 15 May 1948?

            “In other words they wanted the land allocated to the Jewish state for themselves.”

            The Arab states? ROFL. Please explain why the Jewish sepearatists didn’t except an US brokered truce at the end of April 1948, but the Arab states did?

            Is it how the US Robert McClintock put it?

            “The Jewish Agency refusal [of the truce] exposes its aim to set up its separate state by force of arms – the military action after May 15 will be conducted by the Haganah with the help of the terrorist organizations, the Irgun and LEHI, [and] the UN will face a distorted situation. The [u]Jews will be the real aggressors against the Arabs, but will claim they are only defending the borders of the state,[/u] decided upon … by the General Assembly.”
            books.google.de/books?id=6T_Ff6Ra57sC&pg=PA69

            Reply to Comment
          • Bor: No, you haven’t.

            You can’t [rebut]. Ray’s POV is basically spot on.

            Reply to Comment
          • bor

            Gert, I thought we were done talking, you and I.

            Anyway, the 90% of the comments is full of errors and flaws. I pointed them out. You disagree? Fine.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ray

            Why should we just take your word for it? If you have no explanation as to why they’re wrong, we won’t take you seriously. That simple.

            Reply to Comment
          • bor

            Good. Now go bother someone else.

            Reply to Comment
          • Farah

            It has been interesting reading the article and comments with some one sided and some utopian and I would like I see more on taking the situation from what it is to active progression. Of course there are lunatics all over who want war and endless fighting and I can see that the negative tensions need to allow the bickering to stop. This region has rarely seen harmony and it makes me ashamed to be part of any religion when I see people calling for hatred in the name of The Lord. I do believe other Arab States need to step up and positively support the Palestinian with trade / education and new home in current Muslim lands. I also see that outside supporters of Israel don’t always seem to have her best interest at heart and encourage war without thinking that the average Israeli wants to get on with their life and not be in a position of flexing it’s muscles at an instant. Calling the Israeli’s the enemy of the Palestinians is too simplistic and naive and will lose the sympathy of anyone who wants to support Palestianians in their troubles as a consequence of the attacks.
            I feel the more Israel attacks the more hatred it creates but it only grows more fear for the Israelis and the Palestinians seem to wash over any part they play in the conflict. Slogans such as free Palestine does not make sense. Where is the future with a free Palestine? Who is responsible for maintaining and re-building Gaza- the communities financially cover the cost but it does not seem to change the mind set of the Palestinians that they have to start taking responsibilities for their own communities and create its strength on respect and not on who owes them. The Israelis also have to step up their objections to instant propaganda as do the Palestinians and let its government to not react to extremists in its own communities and political system.
            The Palestinians cannot assume that progression is a direct result of Israel opening itself up to them. Their improvement also needs to show support to those Israelis who openly condem troubles and not tar all with the same brush

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        • Margot Dunne

          Very well said,Ray. Cheers!!

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        • Lee

          Ray’s analysis and factual statements are spot on. I think that’s pretty clear.

          I’m hopeful that common sense kicks in for Zionists one day. The idea of ensuring and ethnic majority for one group in an alleged democracy that has ethnic diversity is an oxymoron. And attempting to do so on stolen land while expelling and terrorizing people simply won’t work. A militarized state is absent of culture and growth. This was an idea that was poorly thought out.

          Occupying land indefinitely was never the intention, and that is becoming clear after nearly 70 years. It’s time the colonizers live in peace like the other 50% of them do around the planet.

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          • Whiplash

            “The idea of ensuring and ethnic majority for one group in an alleged democracy that has ethnic diversity is an oxymoron.

            I guess you have never heard of Quebec or other democracies which ensure the majority does not become a minority in their own land. Israel was re-established by Jews on Jewish land for Jews as the state of the Jews. Get used to it.

            No apology need be made for Jews living on Jewish Land whether it be in Netanya, Tel Aviv, Shiloh, Ariel or the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. The international community in 1922 and 1945 guaranteed these rights to a Jewish people to re-establish their home.

            If the Palestinians ever want to make a serious proposal to end the conflict, providing appropriate security arrangements for both sides,and which ends all claims of other side (no right or wrong of return) and divides the West Bank from Judea and Samaria without expelling people from their homes, Israel would be willing and ready to negotiate an end to the conflict.

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      • Philos

        A long winded apologia for war crimes

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        • Whiplash

          Long winded or not, defense of Israeli citizens is not a war crime, but the first obligation of the state. Can there be any defense of Hamas’ actions in the war? Even by Palestinian laws, Hamas has no authority to field its own army or involve Palestinians in a war. Under their laws these things are the prerogative of the elected President of the Palestinian people, Abu Mazen also known as Mahmoud Abbas.

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    3. Kolumn8

      Dear Noam, FYI, we, Israeli Jews, had a discussion and the kind of arrangement we want is one in which Israel is a Jewish State with a strong IDF defending it within secure borders. You seem to have missed the memo.

      Some additional points from our discussion:
      – Israeli Arabs are welcome to participate as full citizens, or, if they choose to be hostile to us they are welcome to get the f*?# out.

      – Palestinians can either accepting having their own state with the limitations imposed by our need for a strong IDF defending a Jewish State within secure borders, or they can continue living in shit. Should they look for other options, such as violence against us, they will just wind up in more shit.

      – We have no particular problem with the principles of equal rights and a functioning non-coercive political system for Israeli citizens.

      – Israeli Jews shall not now or ever be willing to accept a situation where ridiculous definitions of “human rights” or “equal rights” is used to destroy our ability to have our own country. We have gotten to the point where the Palestinians were awarded by some the “human right” to kill Israeli civilians (yep, by some writers on 972mag). And when people like Noam pretend that Palestinian nationalists like Haneen Zoabi insist on “equal rights”, such as the right to kidnap and murder Israeli teens, we know that both of these concepts have been hopelessly poisoned by those that claim them and they have become meaningless tools used in attempts to legitimize any and all actions against Israel.

      – Israeli Jews would welcome peaceful and friendly relations with the State of Palestine. That peace will be based on, as mentioned previously, the principle of Israel ensuring its ability to defend itself against all threats, and will be based not at all on any wishful belief in magical political arrangements whereby Israeli Jews give up their ability to defend themselves while continuing to be secure thanks to pieces of paper and empty guarantees from the West.

      – The Israeli “peace camp” is a camp that believes that the two state solution was the best means of ensuring the continued survival of the Jewish State of Israel. “Peace”, whatever that means in this region, is a wonderful potential side benefit.

      – The camp that bases its principles on the interests of the Palestinians (ie – ending the “occupation”) and is ambivalent about the continued existence of Israel is not the Israeli “peace camp”. It places Palestinian interests above Israeli ones and does so in return for foreign compensation. There is a name for that, but I can’t put my finger on it.

      – Those that prefer not to talk about solutions while rejecting the status quo because it is too favorable to Israel belong to the camp whose name continues to escape me.

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      • David T.

        Who are you trying to fool,
        Kolumn8? You can’t even accept the official definitions of human or equal rights, because they threaten the “Jewish democracy” which means Jewish majority through expulsion of Nonjews and their descendants. Oddly enough you claim the right of return, but only for Jews.

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        • Kolumn8

          There are official definitions and then there are the definitions as applied to this conflict. If one goes by what is a human rights organization in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Hamas almost satisfies the criteria.

          The threat is not to Jewish democracy. The threat is to the Jewish collective in Israel that most Palestinians and most 972mag writers wish to deprive of any ability to defend itself while ignoring that the likely outcome is the same one that the Christians and Yezidis met in Iraq and Syria.

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    4. Ben Zakkai

      Noam, I don’t think I agree. Saying you want to end the Occupation without proposing a clear alternative is problematic for at least two reasons: (1) if you’re not careful, you may find that once you’ve toppled the old regime, the new regime is even worse (cf. Bolshevism and the Tsar), so you need to be prepared for the day after; and (2) it helps to have a positive vision motivating people and making them think.

      I personally think the one-state solution is crazy. Heck, even the Belgians and Canadians have trouble making bi-lingual states work, so how will Israelis and Palestinians, with all their linguistic-religious-cultural differences plus a ton of mutual fear and hatred, live together under one roof? Unfortunately one state is becoming the default solution, supported by starry-eyed Western idealists, maximalist Palestinians who think it’ll let them eventually demographically dominate and maybe even kick out the Jews, and right-wing Israelis who don’t want to give up stolen real estate in the Territories and think they can keep the Palestinians down while pretending to give them rights. Hello Lebanese Civil War, we’d like you to come to Israel.

      Noam, is your goal really equal rights for everyone from the river to the sea? You, like me, are a Jewish Israeli. What will you do if some day a newly-born Palestinian state turns out to be ruled by a government that respects neither freedom nor equality? Will you move to Palestine and become a political activist there? If so, what standing would you have there? No, I think the answer is for Israel to give the Palestinians a fair deal and a state of their own (too bad Israel, like Pharaoh, is unwilling), and then people like you and me can work to build a better Israel. The Palestinians will find their own way.

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    5. Margot Dunne

      Israel is a tragic state thriving on Jewish need & Arab dispossession. The latest land grab in the West Bank tolls the bell for a two state solution. Goodbye, Palestine. As for one state – will Zionists accept that? Looks like Israel has set itself up to rule as colonial power over a native people until the coming of the Messiah. And that might mean the end of the world.

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      • Kiwi

        Boring. Really boring.

        Wherever there are problems, if there are Jews involved, then it is always 100% the fault of the Jews. Others are totally fault free.

        For some people, that is the type of medieval thinking involved when the topic is Israel.

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        • David T.

          Yeah Kiwi,

          conflate Jews with Zionists/Israel like antisemites do. And never stop projecting your thoughts.

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          • Kiwi

            Most Jews are either Zionists or are sympathetic to Zionism.

            Don’t believe me? Then ask the anti Israel demonstrators who were clamoring to lynch Jews in Berlin and Paris. Or the Arabs who attacked Jews in the streets of Los Angeles and Melbourne and the one who shot 4 Jews at the Jewish Muzeum in Belgium.

            Want me to go on?

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          • David T.

            “Most Jews are either Zionists or are sympathetic to Zionism. Don’t believe me?”

            Trying to produce strawman arguments with rhetorical questions, Kiwi?

            So you admit, that it can’t be antisemitism, because your are not talking about Jews as such, but about “most Jews” and them being only “sympathetic to Zionism” which means that it’s an individual preference, but not essential for them as being Jews.

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          • Kiwi

            Are you saying that most Jews are not sympathetic to Israel?

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          • What will you say when that’s no longer the case?

            Even among American Jews support for Israel is rapidly fading. Give it another 25 years of Israel’s barbarism and there won’t be much left except for some octogenarian diehards…

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          • JohnW

            “What will you say when that’s no longer the case?

            Even among American Jews support for Israel is rapidly fading.”

            That is just a wishful thinking fantasy on your part. A wet dream of yours.

            But if it would happen, we Jews would deserve to disappear.

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          • David T.

            Do you need me to explain what I’m saying or what the issue of this debate is, Kiwi?

            I will gladly help you.

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        • ***Wherever there are problems, if there are Jews involved, then it is always 100% the fault of the Jews. Others are totally fault free.***

          Fake victimhood, imbibed from birth onwards with a 100 % Zionist diet.

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          • Kiwi

            “Fake victimhood, imbibed from birth onwards with a 100 % Zionist diet.”

            I am not Jewish but I am a Zionist.

            I am not a victim but I am not a revisionist historian about the historical plight of the Jewish people both at our hands and at the hands of the people.

            You can deny it all you want but your denial does not change facts.

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          • Shannon Hall

            “I am not Jewish but I am a Zionist.”

            Well, all clear, you’re just an average white rascist nationalist philosemite. Thanks for clarification

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          • Kiwi

            Why yeeeeeeees, you got it in one. I am a philosemite.

            What are you then? An anti-Semite?

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    6. Andy

      Noam, if Israel withdrew completely from the West Bank and Gaza and a new Palestinian State was declared. And that state had open borders and an army and was set up in every conceivable way to be independent and have all of the powers that independent states usually enjoy. What would you encourage Israel to do if Israel was then subject to rocket fire or some other kind of aggression? What would you encourage Israel to do if the Palestinian state were to make all sorts of statements about seeking the destruction of Israel, and then seek the means to follow through? What if there are those who don’t accept whatever arrangement is made about Jerusalem, 1948 refugees, or Israel’s existence in general – and THEY come to be the rulers?

      I agree with you that the occupation is a terrible injustice. But it does not seem credible to me that Israel would enjoy peace and security even with a complete return to the pre-1967 status quo.

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      • Eliza

        Andy

        What would Israel do if the sovereign state of Palestine fired rockets into Israel?

        Hopefully, it would first seek a diplomatic solution to the aggression. If this failed, one would expect that Israel would then respond in kind.

        All nation states have to deal diplomatically with their neighbours and try and resolve differences. Just because you can’t imagine Palestine (the sovereign state with its own army and foreign policy) as ever having any other goal than the destruction of Israel and all the Jews etc, you think it is OK to maintain the occupation as the lesser of two evils.

        The occupation is becoming very messy and will drag Israel down. Maybe you really have more to fear from maintaining the occupation than from living next door to independent and free Palestinians.

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    7. FMR

      “My principle political position is opposition to the occupation. By “occupation” I don’t mean the legal status of the land administrated by Israel….”

      You see, the “occupation” is not about the “occupation”. It’s about the “occupation”!

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      • Kolumn8

        That’s right. He is not against the “occupation” as understood by most Westerners. He is against the “occupation” as Palestinians define it – the existence of Israel.

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    8. Only one state for both Jews, Muslims, Christians, and the other minorities can be the solution. A two State solution says to the world, people of different religions, cultures, ethnicity etc, can not live together. This is apartheid. I’m not saying it will be easy. I will hate the sound of the faithful being called to prayer 5 times a day. There are aspects of Jewish life that the those who are of other faiths, will dislike. Well that’s just too bad. Because the other alternative is more conflict, like the one that has just ended (for the meantime).

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      • Kolumn8

        A “one state solution” is not at all a solution. It will predictably collapse into civil war with the Jews being in a weaker position than they are right now. If they win they would reestablish Israel. If they lose they will be massacred and thrown out. It seems like a rather pointless exercise if Israel already exists.

        The painful truth is that in this region all evidence points to the fact that people of different religions, cultures, ethnicities can not live in peace unless one is vastly more powerful than the rest. The world may not want to hear this but that is the way it is.

        So, the choice you propose is between continued conflict where Israel/Jews have a functioning state and a strong army or continued conflict where the Jews are a minority with whatever militia they manage to scrape together for the civil war. Good luck convincing Israeli Jews that the latter is preferable.

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    9. Gustav

      Most of us are for motherhood and apple pie.

      What a noble thought. We should all (Jews and Arabs) live peacefully together in a secular democratic state in brotherly love and mutual respect in an earthly paradise forever and ever …

      Reality Check:

      1. Show me one Arab state which is even nearly 100% Muslim, where such utopia exists? And I won’t even talk about the lot of minorities in most Arab Muslim lands.

      2. Heck, can even we Jews live together as a people without friction amongst ourselves? Sometimes major friction with lots of feathers flying? Although we are nowhere near as bad as the frictions amongst Arabs in Arab lands, lets face it, we can’t.

      But Noam wants to implement utopia involving a population which is roughly 50% Jewish and 50% Arab Muslim? Did I get that right? Or have I got comprehension problems? If it’s the latter, I would like some patient soul in here to explain to me what did I miss?

      My problem with all this talk, is that I don’t believe in utopias much as I would like to believe. I do however believe in practical solutions which minimize problems and maximize the chances for RELATIVE harmony. And to me, the only game in town which has a chance of achieving that is a peace deal involving two states, one Jewish, one Arab, living side by side maybe with some tension but in relative peace because both sides have grown thoroughly sick of war (that’s how Europe became peaceful after the end of WW2 which was the last war over there after centuries of destructive wars in that continent).

      We too in here need to get exhausted from wars but that is some time away yet unfortunately. So in the meanwhile, we just need to try and make the most of it …

      Sorry folks, there are no shortcuts. I wish I could be more optimistic and positive but then, I would be just telling lies. And I don’t believe in lying, either to others or to myself. I believe in facing reality.

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    10. Average American

      One or two states, or neither?
      Neither. Because “state” is not the right word for Zionist goals. More like “empire”. Israel was created to control all of Eretz Israel for The Jews. How much bigger is Eretz Israel than the State of Israel? Add Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, half of Iraq (to the Euphrates), quarter of western Saudi Arabia, Sinai (to the River of Egypt). Side note: If there is debate on whether Jews are indigenous to Israel, there should be no doubt they are not indigenous to the rest of Eretz Israel.

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