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Transcend the two-state solution, create a federated state

By Dan Goldenblatt

For years now, the Israeli government has been involved in duplicity: it says it is preparing to turn over Area C to the Palestinians, as mandated by the 1993 Oslo Accords. On the other hand, Israel is making plans to expand settlements in that same area. Though a growing number of Israelis have clung to the Oslo Accords because of its promise of a sustainable Jewish demographic majority, it has become clear that Israeli government have not shared the same concern.

Though difficult, depressing and for some even tragic, the Oslo promise has been a failure. It is time to start seriously considering alternative strategies for reaching a just solution to the Jewish-Arab/Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is an urgent need for deep introspection, because in clinging to the separation paradigm of Oslo we are also maintaining the false perception of a peace process. But since that process has been failing continuously for 21 years, at this point, it mainly ensures that the occupation will not end.

The Israeli government’s strategy and actions on the ground speak louder than any of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speeches. The international community needs to come to terms with a reality of a permanent occupation regime which the Israeli government is willing to maintain indefinitely. With one path towards a peaceful resolution to this situation now all but closed, we must make room for a new one.

Those of us who believe in and care about the possibility of a just resolution of the conflict must do several things: First, we must express vocal, active and unrelenting objection to the status quo. As human beings we cannot accept a situation whereby more than two million Palestinians are permanently denied human and political rights through a military regime. Every one of our actions, activities, energies and funds must be examined through the filter of whether or not it contributes to the end of the status quo. If it does not, then such actions are acquiescing to the Israeli occupation, should be labeled as normalization and condemned as such.

Second, we need to start a deep examination of the federal or confederate solution for Eretz Israel/Falastin (I use this spelling, as a Palestinian term, in Arabic – as equivalent to “Eretz Israel” in Hebrew). By this I mean a solution that includes two political entities (two states), a Jewish one and a Palestinian one, within a single geographical space.

For true supporters and lovers of Israel, who support the right of Jews to live safely in Eretz Israel/Falastin, but who are concerned about being labeled anti-Semites, I suggest the following twofold message: the first part calls for an immediate end to the status quo/occupation; the second part involves the inalienable commitment to a safe, secure, vibrant and eternal existence of Jews in the region. The “only” thing that Israel is going to have to forgo is its exclusivity over the land. Once it does this it will have the strong commitment and backing of the international community to its safety. And Israel will not have to rely only on the international community for its safety. It is not farfetched to assume that if the Palestinians are made a just and fair offer of a federal or confederate arrangement with Israel, they would agree to Israel maintaining responsibility for external security, say for the coming century. I have even heard Palestinians saying that they would welcome the Israeli army defending their external borders as well.

With the end to the solution based on two separate states, all immediate efforts, energies and funding must be directed towards determining the best way to have two states in one geographical space. Either a federal or a confederate arrangement needs to be devised. This is no easy matter. The Israeli GDP per capita is 10 times higher than the Palestinian GDP. The two entities will have to put aside 100 years of hostilities, address the problems of resources and their division and agree on the question of Palestinian and Jewish immigration, as well as Jerusalem and other issues. However, there is also a deep mutual acquaintance of the two people and an extremely important bridging role for the Palestinian Arab Israelis.

The bottom line is that both people are too attached to the parts of the land they would have to concede in the solution based on two separate states. Jews cannot give up access to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and other places in Judea and Samaria; Palestinians cannot give up access to the holy places in Nazareth and Jerusalem, let alone the sea. Failing to account for this is, in my opinion, the one of the main flaws of the Oslo Accords. The problem can be remedied by a federal or confederate arrangement, which would allow access of each citizen to the entire geographical space. Though anything but simple, a federal or confederate solution can transcend major problems.

In the business world, failed strategies are replaced. Two decades of a failed peace process are more than enough reason for Israelis and Palestinians to replace the solution of two separate states. The new strategy is one that enables us to share Eretz Israel/Falestin for the benefit of us all. There is so much to gain.

Dan Goldenblatt is the Israeli co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information.

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    COMMENTS

    1. aristeides

      “Jews can not give up”?

      .
      No, Jews WON’T give up.

      .
      As for what Palestinians can’t give up, it’s already been taken from them by force, so the issues are hardly on the same basis.

      .
      Why does 972 post these fatuous pieces?

      Reply to Comment
    2. klang

      create a federated state…like Yugoslavia. That worked real well

      Reply to Comment
    3. As you correctly state “There is an urgent need for deep introspection”. If you keep talking about the situation as a “conflict” or “100 years of hostilities”, there is little hope that this kind of introspection will lead to a just treatment of the indigenous people.
      Occupation and ethnic cleansing is not “a conflict”.
      “I have even heard Palestinians saying that they would welcome the Israeli army defending their external borders as well.”
      Yes, and many have heard other statements of Palestinians.
      Even it that would happen, the only realistic attack on Israel would come from Arab countries, not from Europe or Russia. So how would this Palestinian political entity be treated then? Just as the US did with Germans and Japanese in WWII?
      Palestine is not an important strategical asset for the Arab countries, but it is to the US. And that is why it has to be defended with one of the most powerfull armies in the world.
      If follows from there that it would make more sense to give Arabs control over the territory, since they don’t have a need to over-militarize it, with the always present danger of an escalating “conflict”.

      Reply to Comment
    4. palestinian

      This is the funniest article in the history of 972mag so far ,the writer assumes that Palestinians and Jews have equal legitimate claim/connection to Palestine (Falasteen not Falastin ,the een is like in dean not sin).”Palestinian and Jewish immigration” what immigration , Palestinians in diaspora are the refugees and their children that Jewish Zionists expelled ,in contrary to Jews worldwide who are foreigners to the land,they have no right to immigrate to Palestine and share our land and resources.So monsieur Dan The Angel ignored and put us (Palestinian refugees,the rightful )on equal footing with Jews worldwide !I cant believe we are in the 21st century,well-educated people are building their state ,future and arguments on fairytales ,myths and ethno-religious beliefs (lol @ ethno-religious).Thats the core of the conflict ,that even the majority (more than 92%) of the so-called Israeli left pretend they wish justice prevails…but without questioning the Jewish presence in Falasteen “So yes what we (the so-called Jewish people) have been doing is wrong,lets work together (with those naive occupied human beings who cheerlead us and their eyes sparkle when the modern Tel-Avivians give them a visit once a week) to end the occpuation and live happily ever after as a one big happy family (where we keep our loot/their properties ,we compensate them with few Khaliji-American billions,allow them to work in our state /cheap labor ,continue adopting/stealing their rich culture ,that we lack and couldnt purchase/I mean is it worth it to have Yerushalyme without Palestinian antiques shops and Argeeleh cafes ? so we can keep our billion-dollar tourism industry and put an end to the whole story/aka conflict….bamboozle?

      Reply to Comment
    5. phlegmatico

      >> In the business world, failed strategies are replaced

      the strategy of Occupation is still in place and grows stronger every day as evidenced by the increasing despair, panic and running-amok of its opponents. This in itself is evidence that it is functioning very well. A well oiled machine which will outlast the memory of non-Hebrew squatterizing in the Hebrew homeland. It’s only a matter of time before Muslim-Israeli pilgrims to Har HaBeit will be reading the Arabic prayers in transliteration, the same like African-American ghetto gangbanger muslim-converts in American prisons do…..

      >As for what Palestinians can’t give up, it’s already been taken from them by force

      That which was once the Arabic-speakers’, was taken away from them by a civilization which was able to marshal more force. Exactly like the Cro-Magnons displaced the Neanderthals…. forever.

      Reply to Comment
    6. XYZ

      Worthy of consideration. I am glad to see that people are starting to look beyond the tired, old cliches of the phony “peace process”. However, such an idea would have to be implemented on an ad hoc basis, without the basis of formal agreements because the Arab side can not agree to such a thing OFFICIALLY, although if it is implement on a pragmatic, unofficial basis it does seem to be the way forward. Although Jordan seems to be trying to go out of its way to formally distance itself from the Palestinians, brining them into such a confederation would strengthen the Palestinian governmental apparatus which is still far too fragile and would also give them a stronger economic base. I hope people will pursue these ideas further.
      Sari Nusseibeh has already expressed ideas somewhat similar to this. More Palestinians need to be brought on board, but this will take courage on their part. However, since HAMAS opposes any formal peace agreement with Israel, they might quietly support an informal arrangement of this sort as a “temporary” measure, just like the temporary cease-fires they agree to.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Anonymous

      How would gay people be treated in this federated state?
      .
      Atheists?
      .
      Free thinkers?
      .
      People who criticize the government?
      .
      How about religious minorities like Christians?
      .
      Would it be governed under religious law? If not how can you ensure that it won’t?
      .
      Will everyone’s holy sites be protected? Can everyone worship when and where they want to?
      .
      I eagerly await your answers Dan.

      Reply to Comment
    8. David

      Klang points out that a federated state worked badly in Yugoslavia. S/he is right.
      .
      However, a federated state in the Middle East need not be problematic, if it is based upon common political and cultural values.
      .
      Therefore, the obvious federation for the Palestinian people to join is one which identifies as Arab and (these days) Muslim.
      .
      Accordingly, Palestine should consider federating with the two countries which it was originally part of: Egypt and Jordan. The original PLO covenant of 1964 recognised that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank were part of these countries, and claimed no sovereignty over them.
      .
      There is a problem here: that both these countries can be expected to mistreat and discriminate against the Christian Arab minority. However, that is an internal problem for Arabs and Palestinians to resolve themselves.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Andrea

      I am heartened to see there seems to be unanimity opposing this proposal. If both parties oppose it equally, then Dan may well be on to something. Let’s hope.

      Reply to Comment
    10. A state is first an foremost an army, police, courts and judiciary. You can’t have two states in one space. The only fair and stable system is one law for all, no discrimination, no favouritism. If you want one space with everyone loyal to it, you have to have equal justice, and a fully merged apparatus of law and law inforcement. There are other ways to give the different components an organised voice, full representation in law-making, and full opportunity for their cultures to flourish. This writer assumes that all Hebrews think alike, and all Fillistins think alike. But if everyone is treated as a fully formed individual, able to make their own alliances across the current main divide, you’ll find that the less ideological people on both sides will have more in common with each other than with the nutters at the far edges. But for that you need full integration and one person one vote.

      Reply to Comment
    11. human

      to Palestinian

      Jewish roots go back even farther than Palestinian roots in Palestine/Israel

      The Jewish Claim To The Land Of Israel

      A common misperception is that the Jews were forced into the diaspora by the Romans after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D. and then, 1,800 years later, suddenly returned to Palestine demanding their country back. In reality, the Jewish people have maintained ties to their historic homeland for more than 3,700 years. A national language and a distinct civilization have been maintained.

      The Jewish people base their claim to the land of Israel on at least 3 premises: 1) the Jewish people settled and developed the land; 2) the international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people and 3) the territory was captured in defensive wars.

      The term “Palestine” is believed to be derived from the Philistines, an Aegean people who, in the 12th Century B.C., settled along the Mediterranean coastal plain of what is now Israel and the Gaza Strip. In the second century A.D., after crushing the last Jewish revolt, the Romans first applied the name Palaestina to Judea (the southern portion of what is now called the West Bank) in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. The Arabic word “Filastin” is derived from this Latin name.

      The Twelve Tribes of Israel formed the first constitutional monarchy in Palestine about 1000 B.C. The second king, David, first made Jerusalem the nation’s capital. Although eventually Palestine was split into two separate kingdoms, Jewish independence there lasted for 212 years. This is almost as long as Americans have enjoyed independence in what has become known as the United States.

      Even after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the beginning of the exile, Jewish life in Palestine continued and often flourished. Large communities were reestablished in Jerusalem and Tiberias by the ninth century. In the 11th century, Jewish communities grew in Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa and Caesarea.

      Many Jews were massacred by the Crusaders during the 12th century, but the community rebounded in the next two centuries as large numbers of rabbis and Jewish pilgrims immigrated to Jerusalem and the Galilee. Prominent rabbis established communities in Safed, Jerusalem and elsewhere during the next 300 years. By the early 19th century-years before the birth of the modern Zionist movement-more than 10,000 Jews lived throughout what is today Israel.

      When Jews began to immigrate to Palestine in large numbers in 1882, fewer than 250,000 Arabs lived there, and the majority of them had arrived in recent decades. Palestine was never an exclusively Arab country, although Arabic gradually became the language of most the population after the Muslim invasions of the seventh century. No independent Arab or Palestinian state ever existed in Palestine. When the distinguished Arab-American historian, Princeton University Prof. Philip Hitti, testified against partition before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946, he said: “There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not.” In fact, Palestine is never explicitly mentioned in the Koran, rather it is called “the holy land” (al-Arad al-Muqaddash).

      Prior to partition, Palestinian Arabs did not view themselves as having a separate identity. When the First Congress of Muslim-Christian Associations met in Jerusalem in February 1919 to choose Palestinian representatives for the Paris Peace Conference, the following resolution was adopted:

      We consider Palestine as part of Arab Syria, as it has never been separated from it at any time. We are connected with it by national, religious, linguistic, natural, economic and geographical bonds.

      In 1937, a local Arab leader, Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, told the Peel Commission, which ultimately suggested the partition of Palestine: “There is no such country [as Palestine]! ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria.”

      The representative of the Arab Higher Committee to the United Nations submitted a statement to the General Assembly in May 1947 that said “Palestine was part of the Province of Syria” and that, “politically, the Arabs of Palestine were not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity.” A few years later, Ahmed Shuqeiri, later the chairman of the PLO, told the Security Council: “It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria.”

      Palestinian Arab nationalism is largely a post-World War I phenomenon that did not become a significant political movement until after the 1967 Six-Day War and Israel’s capture of the West Bank.

      Israel’s international “birth certificate” was validated by the promise of the Bible; uninterrupted Jewish settlement from the time of Joshua onward; the Balfour Declaration of 1917; the League of Nations Mandate, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration; the United Nations partition resolution of 1947; Israel’s admission to the UN in 1949; the recognition of Israel by most other states; and, most of all, the society created by Israel’s people in decades of thriving, dynamic national existence.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Tal

      “Why does 972 post these fatuous pieces?”

      Some of the audience here seems to think that Jews shouldn’t have ANY rights to this land.
      Sad.

      Reply to Comment
    13. aristeides

      Tal – some of the audience here thinks that Jews should present better arguments for better positions.

      Reply to Comment
    14. aristeides

      David – let’s say the Palestinians take your advice and get their neighbors to agree. Gaza federates with Egypt and the WB federates with Jordan. Let’s say the Golan federates with Lebanon, too, while we’re at it.

      .
      Of course the borders of the new federation with Jordan will be those of 1967, including E Jerusalem and the Mount of Contention, which is still supposed to be under some control of the Jordanian waqf. Is Israel going to withdraw its troops back to the Green Line? Because it will have to. Israeli troops can’t operate on sovereign Jordanian soil. Even more so, Israel would have to refrain from intruding on the land, air and sea space of federated Gazan Egypt.

      .
      And what about the Israeli settlers, whose presence in the West Bank is illegal according to international law, and whose title to the land is already void. The “state land” would now refer to the Jordanian federated state. This state might or might not accept the Israeli settlers as citizens, but it would undoubtedly not accept their claim to the land they have stolen.

      .
      So tell me why you think Israel is more likely to accept this solution?

      Reply to Comment
    15. Richard Witty

      There is not currently a natural single state. It is only possible by construction and the tension inherent.

      There are federations in which the component states are really the dominant governing entities, and federations in which the component states are insignificant.

      A federation with distinct governing states would be possible, if the nature of permanent haven for the Jewish people is preserved, valued by all (not just reluctantly accepted).

      “I wish there weren’t conflict”.

      As Palestinian illustrates, the exclusive claims exist prominently in both communities, the rights of present residents be damned.

      The “other” aren’t really people anyway.

      Reply to Comment
    16. AYLA

      I agree with the writer about the problems with the TSS, and admire his informed brainstorming on actual possibilities for living on the land together. Although I wouldn’t place my own bets on this solution, I would urge all of us to come up with better ones that don’t dismiss any People–more ideas that are about Yes, vs. No; acceptance vs. fear; respect vs. reactionary dismissal. Thanks to 972 for the really interesting read that can open our minds to new ideas.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Max

      It’s interesting to see this coming out of IPCRI. Is this an evolution?

      Dan, I wonder how you’d fare in a debate with Gershom Gorenberg, who has vocally opposed the arrangement you’re describing. You acknowledge some of these problems without proposing any solutions, so I’m confused.

      I do understand the desire to look for a different model in light of Oslo’s failure and I completely agree with you on that point. Just having a hard time seeing how this improves matters short of the sharing of holy sites, which is something, I suppose.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Rodrigo

      Dan, Please see the messages by Palestinian and Aresteides as to why your solution has no legs to stand on. The views they represent, even if they themselves are not Palestinians, are typical among Palestinians according to every single poll ever done. The vast majority of Palestinians just don’t recognize any Jewish attachment to Israel and reject any and all Jewish power in Israel. As such, your approach of creating a weak Jewish entity subject to the everlasting mercy of the Arabs is delusional and unworkable. I have no idea what possible benefit there is in proposing completely ridiculous solutions. Have you even bothered studying how similar ideas work in the real world? I have. They simply don’t work.

      Reply to Comment
    19. O.Selznick

      @Palestinian – No one is going anywhere and yes this is the 21st century and I hope not to many centuries will pass before people like you will realize that and work for a solution instead of fight for who is right.

      in other words, the jewish state is here to stay 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    20. Dhalgren

      Part of me would very much like to see Martin Buber’s Zionism win out in the end, and I think it eventually will. I suspect it will be a long time in coming, though. Still, it is worth fighting for. The trouble is, one has to fight both Israelis and Palestinians to get there.
       
      In the interim, it seems like the Israeli Supreme Court could be a rallying point, to defend it against attempts to undermine its authority (as written about by Dahlia Scheindlin), to call for the enforcement of its rulings that have been ignored (as written about by Mya Guarnieri), and to push it to further extend equal civil rights protections. After all, in South Africa, the independence of the judiciary had to be fully undermined before apartheid could proceed full-force.

      Reply to Comment
    21. delia ruhe

      Well, the status quo champions are all over this one, that’s for sure.

      The problem is Israel (as usual) — its belief that everything that happens to Jews is absolutely unique — absolutely — so no one can possibly know of a solution by way of precedent. South Africa made a once intractable solution work, even had a “truth and reconciliation” process to deflate the hatred, disrespect, and the outsized egos. If they could do it, so can Israel-Palestine.

      Having said that, I do agree that Israel’s present government is totally would be totally useless to a plan handed down from Mount Saini, never mind one devised by mortal man. What Israelis need is something they’ve never had: a PM who doesn’t holocaust-monger, has long resolved his Oedipus complex, and who doesn’t seek the job for self-serving reasons. Where that future PM is, nobody knows right now. But it’s high time Israelis started actively — actively — looking for him/her.

      Reply to Comment
    22. palestinian

      O.Selznick, couldnt you hasbarize a better hasbara from your hasbara book (the official mentor) ? I have to admit you are too optimistic,centuries ?really ..well I’ll give it lets say 2.5-3 decades(max),enjoy..tata

      Reply to Comment
    23. Dan Goldenblatt

      Thank you for your comments!

      I am not going to respond to those arguing that one party has all the rights to the land and the other has non and vice versa. @Rodrigo this is not the opinion of most of the people living here (I don’t know how many of those commenting here live in Eretz Israel/Falastin – I do). I meet many people, 48 and 67 Palestinians and 48 and 67 Israelis. Though extremism and absolutism exists, that is the fringe. Perhaps people, Jews and Arabs dream, at night, of a Judenrein or Arabrein land, but those are dreams and real politik prevails when they wake up.

      As i wrote above, I believe that only a just solution will solve the conflict. An unjust solution that does not deal with all issues will not last and will, undoubtedly, crumble into a Bosnian style caos.

      @Anonymous I also did not claim that I have the formula. The TSSS (Two Separate State Solution) has “enjoyed” millions of $ and tens of thousands of human hours that researched every possible aspect of this failed solution. We need now, unfortunately perhaps, spend energy and resources to examine alternatives. There are all your questions and many many more. What I am saying is that it is high time to get to work on them.

      Perhaps it is worthwhile to mention what is the prize. Millions and millions of tourists to the holy sites, transit fees, a bridge between the West and the Arab world. Two very capable, very ingenious people. Highly educated that instead of wasting their resources on struggle and strife will be able to spend it on wellbeing and sustainable growth.

      Once again, what I propose is not “easy” or “quick”. It is a huge challenge!!! It has, I believe, a transcending value (giving both parties what they need and more). It has the potential of answering all the open issues. In light of the failure of the TSSS, we are obliged to examine the promise it holds.

      Reply to Comment
    24. RichardL

      Aristeides: Just one minor question. Why would you put the Golan in with Lebanon? The remnant community that was not evicted in the 1967 ethnic cleansing regards itself as Syrian.

      I welcome the article. It has been howled down by most here, but it is looking in the right direction and is trying to pro-actively work against the tyranny of the status-quo. None of the detractors seems to have a better proposal at the present.

      Reply to Comment
    25. O.Selznick

      @Palestinian – I’m interested, tell me more about your assesment. what makes you think its going to last 2.5-3 decades?
      and ofcourse I’m optimistic in 1948 no arab leader gave Israel even a year, so 63 years, we did pretty good 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    26. Full and equal rights for all.
      Is that so hard to conceive?

      What’s with all these contortionist non-problem-solving federal/confederal solutions?

      What’s wrong with just a constitutional state?
      With a new “We the people” constitution. Clean slate for the new millennium.

      You’d think with all these Jews and our oh-so-marvelous-intellect and oh-SO-many-lawyers we couldn’t do that?

      Instead we get articles like these on 972. Some Old-Left zombie ideas intended to make us believe the old generation didn’t fuck things up royally in this country and we should let them have another go at it.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Oh and this:
      “Two decades of a failed peace process are more than enough reason…”

      C’mon!
      The Peace Process isn’t a failure. It did exactly what Israel intended it to do. It’s the process by which peace is denied us.

      We all know this nowadays. We’re not that stupid.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Ned Lazarus

      This presents a constructive way of thinking, a framework for negotiating the present impasse – a concept, not a detailed proposal – and it should be evaluated as such.

      Dr. Herbert Kelman proposed a similar way of thinking in 2008 – the “one country, two states” solution. Have a look: http://www.apa.org/international/united-nations/kelman-presentation.pdf

      I think Dr. Kelman’s phrasing – maintaining the words “two states” – is even better, because even the implication that either Israeli Jews or Palestinian Arabs would somehow give up the ideal of exclusive statehood/sovereignty seems like wishful thinking, likely to remain a non-starter with majorities of both societies.

      Words like “federation” or “federated state” immediately conjure up the specter of Yugoslavia, not a precedent that bodes well, nor one that is relevant here (there is no power that is going to impose a solution here).

      Israelis and Palestinians are established collectives with deeply rooted and separate identities, and it seems likely that each will continue to demand the expression of their collective identities and interests through a polity of their own, which in everyday language will be called a state.

      However, as Dan rightly argues, the threat of both groups losing access to sacred religious/historical parts of the country is one of the fundamental flaws of the Ehud Barak, us here, them there, “separatist” version of the two-state solution. His proposal is certainly a step up in that crucial aspect.

      One more note – while the importance of challenging the unjust and untenable status quo cannot be overemphasized – adopting the language of “anti-normalization” seems counter-productive. Why not just say “anti-status-quo,” and avoid stigmatizing the many Israelis and Palestinians who have been working to change the status quo through diverse, peaceful means for many years?

      Reply to Comment
    29. aristeides

      RichardL – Syria, Lebanon, it doesn’t seem to make much difference to those who consider all Arabs fungible, as long as the Palestinians become someone else’s problem. But you are right, Syria is more appropriate.

      .
      “Human” blathers at length – “The Jewish people base their claim to the land of Israel on at least 3 premises: 1) the Jewish people settled and developed the land; 2) the international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people and 3) the territory was captured in defensive wars.”

      .
      In that case, the Jew claim to the land is void from the beginning, since all these three premises are false. 1) So did a lot of other people, both before and after the “Jewish people.” Yet you ignore their claims. 2) The international community did no such thing. The UN foolishly recognized a sovereign state called “Israel” in a part of Palestine, which is what Zionists call the “land of Israel.” 3) The wars in which Israel captured land were aggressive, not defensive.

      Reply to Comment
    30. The objections made in the comments following address the lacunae or faults in the presentation made of the Federaton that is proposed. The term ‘Federated State’ does not mean anything, since it is a contradiction in terms, as mentioned. A Federation is an alliance of nations. Only if one confuses Nation with State does one end up with a Federated State conposed of two States. This error compounds itself with the consequent supposition of three States, in that methodology.

      Leaving aside the State one arrives at the Federation of two major Nations (Palestinian/Filasteen and Jewish-Israeli) in a social conpact based in their respective National-Cultural Autonomy and/or territorial autonomy. Autonomy not sovereignty. The Federation of Kana’an encompasing Israel and Palestine is the consequence. The members include the Palestinian refugees with the reciprocal right to return of the Jewish Sepharadim to any particular Arab country.

      dr. abraham Weizfeld

      Reply to Comment
    31. A

      The one state solution, or any of the many federated state alternatives are certainly ideal, but the road there goes via the two states. One can not just form now a constitution from scratch for a joint state of federation, it is un realistic and a recopy for disaster. This have to come out of melting together two sovereign states. The TSS is the only solution feasible on a reasonable timescale. After this is stabilized, I agree that the country here is too small, too crowded, the resources are to limited and the two nations here are too entangled to have two completely separated states.

      Reply to Comment
    32. AYLA

      @A–What I’m heard from people more involved in policy than I am is that the One State Solution would come in many steps over a long period of time. It’s actually a lot simpler logistically in some ways, since more people can remain living where they live currently.

      Reply to Comment
    33. AYLA

      p.s. I’ve been trying to post something for hours that won’t post, so I’m going to try without a certain keyword: Has anyone noticed that @Palestinian signed his/her last post with the signature “tata”? Remind you of someone else? Same person? Maybe Henry Weinstein was on to something on Yuval’s Round-Trip, post #4, when he said that Palestinian was the work of a hasbarist, reminding us that Palestinians deny our right to exist. Maybe Palestinian isn’t real after all. And Palestinian, if you are, show face (name).

      Reply to Comment
    34. Rodrigo

      Dan, thanks for replying. I lived in Israel for many years (Jerusalem specifically), studied in an Israeli university and had conversations with many Arabs. Even those that are pragmatic reject Jewish claims to the land. Many pragmatically might be willing to accept your ideas but equally pragmatically would reject them were they to have the power to overturn them to create a single Arab Palestinian state. I can point you to poll after poll that testifies that my experience is not unusual and that it reflects the majority and consensus position in Palestinian and Arab Israeli society.
      .

      Arguing on the basis of real politik only works if you are not changing the underlying situation that makes the real politik arguments credible. Arabs have no capacity to overturn Israel and so are willing to consider other solutions. Given the ability to overturn Israel most would do so and openly say they would, and that is precisely the direction that solutions like yours are driving the situation.
      .

      Additionally, your reference to Bosnia-style chaos is problematic since the Bosnian collapse was that of a federation government that had lost all its legitimacy in front of the majority of its constituent peoples. This is precisely the kind of government you are proposing in putting forward ideas for federation, confederation or a one state solution, which in practice are all calls for undermining and eliminating the existence of a strong Israeli Jewish state.

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    35. AYLA

      Rodrigo–I live here, in the Negev, and know many Palestinians in Israel and in the West Bank, and in my experience people really accept that Jews and Jewish interests on this land aren’t going anywhere. But if you start a conversation with our rights, it’s a bit dead end because at this point in time, we already have all the rights. We have to start the conversation with Palestinian rights/justice, and then how we envision the whole. then how to get there…

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    36. AYLA

      p.s. Rodrigo–are you reading Yuval’s Round Trip posts? He’s traveling around the ’48 borders, often hosted by Palestinians. In the last post, he talked to people who live in the Golan (he jumped the ’48 border) who identify as Syrian but/and have Israeli residency and feel loyal, too, to Israel. Little here is cut and dried. Though of course opinions/feelings are rougher in the occupied territories, where many younger palestinians have never met an israeli out of uniform. We have a lot of work to do. We need to keep our eye on the end vision so we don’t get too bogged down in the obstacles. http://972mag.com/the-round-trip-part-7-the-beautiful-and-damned/41405/

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    37. Dhalgren

      @Palestinian
      What odd comments you make. You are obviously not a Palestinian. It is no more accurate to say “Falasteen” than “Falastin.” You misspell words that a hardcore anti-Zionist Palestinian would be unlikely to use in the first place, e.g. Tel-Avivians(?) and Yerushalyme(??), as well as ones that are just plain weird, e.g. Khaliji (that’s the music, not the currency). You need to study more comments from real Palestinians…
       
      TATA

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    38. Rodrigo

      Ayla, I respectfully disagree. The discourse is remarkably uniform with every politicized Israeli Arab (non-Druze) that I have talked to – the Jews as foreigners with no inherent rights to the land. Either dressed up in the discourse of indigenous rights or equal rights or minority rights there is always hiding the underlying premise that Israel in its birth and continuing existence is fundamentally illegitimate and that all the methods listed above are means of correcting the situation. Leading the conversation towards the ideas of Palestinian rights/justice only contributes to this discourse and is unhelpful to peace since it fundamentally sharpens the differences over the divergent narratives while making no contribution to a potential solution. These narratives will never find any common ground.
      .

      The acceptance of Jews and Israel is pure realpolitik on the part of pragmatic Arabs. It simply can’t be trusted to continue within the context of plans for changing the status quo towards a situation where Israel becomes weaker.

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    39. AYLA

      @Rodrigo–also respectfully: I don’t believe that we actually need to find common ground in our narratives in order to live on this land together. On this side of the green line, we actually ARE living on this land together. It’s imperfect, but we are. The closest city to me is Be’er Sheva, and it’s gorgeously, if roughly (it’s no Jaffa), mixed. In my experience, even if Palestinians (living here) don’t believe that Jews have any legitimate rights on this land, they accept that we’re here to stay and have moved on to a discourse about ending the occupation and having freedom and equal rights, which is the only discussion anyone wants to have about “peace”.

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    40. palestinian

      oops it seems few people are frustrated .Anyway,its Falasteen not Falastin “een not in” so dont argue,Yerushalyme…read the sentence and use 1 brain cell to comprehend the sarcasm,Khaliji-American money = money claimed to be American but its from the Khaleej,Tel-Avivians=people who live in Tel-Aviv (suprise).Is that your new “style” in “challenging” my comments….For the sake of argument lets assume that I’m not Palestinian,that I’m a troll(as one frustrated person called me)does it make the Jewish Zionst fairytales and myths true ?does it give the Jews in Alaska the right to live in Palestine only for being Jewish (holding the holy maternal genes)?….no

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    41. AYLA

      Palestinian–Falistin IS read “een”, (for example) and everyone who writes it that way in English–most people living here–knows that. It’s all transliteration when you write in English; the only truly accurate way to spell it is in arabic. Everyone knows that, too.
      *
      Speaking of frustrated. You can hold your ground all you want. It’s so boring. It’s much more interesting to talk to people who want to talk about how to live here together. Luckily, most people already living here want that, regardless of what they *think* about things. And if you think your best shot at getting your own right of return is denying the Jewish right, that’s a shame, because your argument is exactly the argument used against you.

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    42. O.Selznick

      @Palestinian – I’m still waiting for your assesment. really. why do you think the state of israel will last only 2.5-3 decades?

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    43. O.Selznick

      Ayla – regarding you last remark, I couldn’t phrase it any better 🙂

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    44. palestinian

      The majority of non-Arabic speaking people (including pro-palestine activists) say Palestine and they dont even try to write it the way we pronounce it in Arabic.But the writer tried to be “stylish” and close to the Palestinians by writing it the way we pronounce it and I corrected him ,someone didnt hesitate to de-Palestinize me (in a lousy attempt to disqualify what I say) although obviously he doesnt even speak Arabic!And again its not Filastin or Falistin (as you wrote it) its Falasteen (colloquial) or Filasteen,so quit your losing argument,you are embarrassing yourself (both of you).Now if you find me boring then stop talking to me,simple ,you cant hold yourself from leaving me comments here and there (how boring)!I wonder whats the percentage of Israelis who support our ROR.There is nothing called the “Jewish right”,you are desperate to impose your beliefs on others,you can inject them in a New Yorker but not inside the people you (Zionists)have been massacring ,expelling,humiliating,terrorizing ,occupying ,robbing and lying to since your feet touched the sand of Yafa (not Yafo) and Haifa (Haifo/Haifakeem?)Save me your sweet coexistence poems .You want peace ,justice first ,justice = full ROR ,every single house ,piece of land , every single village and city,you have the money to compensate? compensate the colonialists,we refuse the Khaliji-American money .Clear ?

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    45. Dhalgren

      @Palestinian/Edithann
      Why did your response to my comment not include any form of what would be very justifiable moral outrage at my questioning of your identity? Instead it was filled with smug detachment, a petty interest in addressing my linguistic critiques and some very questionable insults such as “use 1 brain cell.” No confusion as to the “tata” business, either. That settles it for me. Others can determine for themselves. Here is an article from late last year with comments by Edithann:
       
      http://972mag.com/watch-alternative-jewish-interpretations-of-hebron/27979/
       
      There are plenty more comments by Edithann to be found on a number of sites by searching for that name (one word or you get some unrelated but hilarious Lily Tomlin comic routines) and the topic of Israel.
       
      Palestinian/Edithann, your overall argument is based on the premise that a complete restoration of property lost in the Nakba will lead to a better future for Palestinians. My counterargument is that such an act would lead to chaos, no matter how just it seems in theory. You cannot separate the future of Palestinians and Israelis at this point. Chaos for one is chaos for both. The solution mentioned in this article tries to address that reality. How does your scenario play out?

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    46. palestinian

      test

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    47. palestinian

      How would justice leads to chaos?If you have house X in old Yafa ,when you give it back to the rightful Palestinian owner and compensate the Jewish colonialists and/or their descendants ….thats chaos?!

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    48. palestinian

      leads :lead*

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    49. Dhalgren

      @Palestinian/Edithann
      Your argument is simplistic and exists in a contextual vacuum, one of the most important contexts being a functioning, modern economy (i.e. one that involves numerous interdependencies). What seems so simple in your phrasing would actually amount to a massive disruption of the Israeli economy. You would be giving back to the Palestinians their land while simultaneously removing any foreseeable chance of economic stability for either Palestinians or Israelis. That is what I mean by saying there are not two separate futures here. You cannot address the injustice of the current situation according to a competitive mentality. That should be obvious by now.

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    50. Rodrigo

      Ayla, discourse changes according to the circumstances. When one is weak he accepts compromises. When one is strong he seeks domination. You admit that Arabs don’t recognize Jewish rights to Israel but seem to believe that their compromising discourse will be frozen where it is in the future were they to achieve power parity or dominance with the Jews in the land of Israel. This is naive when looking at the positions of minorities throughout the Arab world – powerless, persecuted or expelled. It is also naive when looking at any country that tries to contain multiple politicized nationalist groups.
      .

      There can be peace without finding common ground in narratives, but not without understanding that the underlying narratives will drive future positions and actions given a change in the underlying power relations.
      .

      For an example of how positions change as relative power changes see Zionist discourse from the early 20th century up until 1948 or for the reverse see the Palestinian discourse from 1948 until now.

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