One vision for one state in Israel/Palestine

As a proponent of the one-state solution for Palestine/Israel, I feel a responsibility for describing my vision of that state. It’s not enough to tell other Palestinians that they will never see their ethnically pure Palestinian state, and to explain to Israelis that their state is a racist apartheid one whose exclusivist existence is unjustified. Both sides deserve a practical – if not positive – vision of the future. The assumption that the two-state solution is unworkable serves a bedrock function here, but I’m not going to try to prove my assumption. Instead, I’ll reverse the burden of proof; show me how to remove 500,000 settlers, partition the land, provide mutual security and we’ll about the two-state solution. Then try to get me to agree to relinquish my right of return. No, there won’t ever be a ‘Palestinian state’ – and the ‘Jewish state’ will cease to exist, as such. But I believe that there will be a state for Palestinians and Jewish Israelis in Palestine/Israel. I outline one possible federal structure for that state here. For the record, I do think the one-state solution is positive, despite its being the default one. Given the choice, I’d still choose to live in a multiethnic state; New York is one of my favorite places in the world.

Federalism is the idea that discrete political units can unite to cede some rule-making authority to a representative central governing body. They do this for different reasons but facilitating trade is usually an important one. For the purpose of this essay, confederations don’t exist – federations have either stronger or weaker central governments. Federalism provides an elegant solution to a tough problem; how to provide ethnically dissimilar, but inextricably linked peoples a political structure that permits full realization of their communitarian and individual potential. It’s worth reviewing the current situation in Palestine/Israel before I launch into how it might look sometime in the future as a federal state.

Israel proper, that is, Israel along the 1949 armistice lines, has a population of about 7 million. 75% of Israelis are Jewish and 20% or 1.5 million are Palestinians. The remaining 5% are assorted others like Southeast Asian workers and non-Palestinian Christians. The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is home to about 500,000 Jews and 2.5 million Palestinians. There are approximately 1.5 Palestinians living in Gaza. Practically, that means that Benjamin Netanyahu makes decisions about the lives of 5.5 million Palestinians and 5.75 million Jews in Palestine/Israel. Needless to say, most of the Palestinians are not allowed to vote for the government that collects their taxes and governs most aspects of their lives – the Israeli government.

For Jews, Israel is a representative parliamentary democracy. Jews in Israel enjoy many of the same freedoms enjoyed by normal people in normal liberal democracies, although the military censor significantly inhibits freedom of the press. Palestinian-Israelis are second class citizens of the state who have the right to vote for their representatives, but are discriminated against by state institutions as a matter of law and fact. The Knesset is the unicameral legislative house in the Israeli government. Its 120 members are elected through a proportionally representative party-list system. The Palestinians in the West Bank are governed by several different, but coordinated, control systems. The first layer of control is the Israeli army. It governs through force and is undemocratic. Second is the Palestinian Authority, which is functionally a subcontractor for the Israeli government – although it does exercise some independence. For example, decisions about color choice for curbsides in Ramallah are the sole purview of the Palestinian Authority. But like the Israeli army, the Palestinian Authority also governs through force and is undemocratic. Finally, the Palestinians in Gaza are also subjected to multiple layers of control. The Israeli and Egyptian armies exercise indirect undemocratic control, while the elected Hamas government exercises what effective government it can under siege. It should be noted that the Hamas government is Islamic and has acted restrictively – something I strongly oppose.

The biggest problem associated with the one-state solution is not unique to Palestine/Israel. That problem is one of potential incongruence between different community preferences – ranging from state religion to nudity on television – in a shared polity. Those incongruities can result in violence and the dissolution of the state. Dividing a country into discrete federal units can help to alleviate some of the effects of the incongruence problem I just described. In America, these units, or states, make decisions about emissions standards, gay marriage, the drinking age, etc…. My thought is that Palestine/Israel ought to be divided into four federal units. Each will have a governor and state legislature or governing committee. The federal government will consist of a legislative parliament, executive authority, and independent judiciary.

Secessionist currents exist in many federal states. For instance, some Quebecoise would like to cede from Canada. And secessionism is one impediment to a federal one-state in Palestine/Israel. That issue was in my mind when I was trying to develop a structural plan for the one-state. Paradoxically, the most attractive feature of federalism, allowing distinct groups to more or less self-govern, is also a force for the state’s dissolution. The imperfect solution for Palestine/Israel is to create mildly heterogeneous federal units. Heterogeneous federal units are less likely to secede, but they may also restrict the full expression of a community’s cultural rights. I’ll address that issue shortly. First I want to describe the four units and the logic governing their number.

Gaza

This one was easy. The Gaza federal unit will have exactly the same boundaries as the Gaza Strip does today. This makes sense because Gaza is developmentally so far behind both the West Bank and Israel and it will need special attention from the federal government. Although the decision to designate Gaza as a federal unit violates the heterogeneity principle – Gaza is basically all Sunni Muslim Palestinians – I think the risk of secession is low. That’s because Gaza will rely on an uneven allocation of federal tax dollars – tax dollars collected from other citizens of Palestine/Israel – for much development. I should note that development monies for schools, infrastructure, etc., will not be allocated on a racial basis, although that will be the de facto case. The distinction is important however. If a Jewish citizen of the state decides to move to Gaza, she will also benefit from the same unequal allocation of development dollars.

West Bank

The second federal unit will be comprised of the entire West Bank along the 1949 armistice lines. It will hew to the heterogeneity principle because Jewish settlers will remain where they are. I don’t want to discuss just compensation for lands right now; it’s enough to say that no one can or will remove 500,000 people from their homes. The settlers in ‘greater Jerusalem’ will also be residents of the West Bank federal unit. I’ll talk about Jerusalem itself below.

The North and West

The third federal unit will begin at the northern border with Gaza, bounded on the West by the Mediterranean Sea. It will run along the contours of the West Bank to the east and will encompass the entire northern part of the country. This federal unit will include all the major Jewish population centers except Jerusalem. For those concerned about the expression of Hebrew culture in a one-state, this federal unit will likely contain a Hebrew core and retain a Hebrew character. But a significant portion of the population will be Palestinian. This is the state that most of today’s Palestinian-Israelis will call home. Hebrew nationalists may not like their inclusion, but this unit is the one at greatest risk of secession and its heterogeneity will help protect against that.

The Southern District

The rest of the country will comprise the fourth federal unit. The extant Southern District is mostly desert, is the largest federal unit territorially, and the most sparsely populated. Only about a million people live there, 85% of them Jewish. Once again, the heterogeneity condition is satisfied.
Jerusalem

Jerusalem will exist independently of the federal system. As the state’s capital and seat of federal government, it should stand independently of any state governor’s influence. Jerusalem’s income will be derived from both municipal taxes, like any ordinary city, and from federal monies for the maintenance of the central government.

——

Those are the structural features of the federal state I envisage. I chose the number four for two reasons. First, the country lends itself to this division. Gaza and the West Bank are already territorially distinct, and what remains is to draw a line between the north and south. Second, to the extent that all the states are constitutionally equal (something I haven’t discussed at all), it makes sense to have parity between the number of Palestinian and Jewish majority states. The issue posed by the heterogeneity principle – whether having a distinct minority in a democratic federal unit will restrict full expression of the majority culture – is a difficult one to address. To the extent that the minority is met by full recognition of its difference by state institutions, it can be accommodated within the culture of the majority. For instance, Hindus in Pennsylvania celebrate Diwali without protesting Christmas trees in Harrisburg’s city hall. Sometimes they will drive to New Jersey where there is a proportionally much larger Indian community to celebrate with family. My answer to this question is unsatisfactory even to me; I don’t think tension can be avoided completely.

Palestine/Israel’s special history means that no plan is complete without a formula for mutual protection. Jewish Israelis are worried that we Palestinians are going to slaughter them en masse at the first opportunity. Unlike some of my friends on the left, I’m not so dismissive of their fears. The Palestinian experience in Lebanon itself should serve as a reminder of what can happen when a civilian community with a long history of antagonism is left defenseless. The Lebanese Forces perpetrated the Sabra and Shatila massacres only after the PLO militia was evacuated in 1982. The Shi’ite Amal militia attacked the camps in 1987 – the so-called War of the Camps – when they were similarly prone. I have every reason to believe that there will be elements of the emancipated Palestinian population in Palestine/Israel who will likewise seek redress through violence against civilians; the Israelis have not been benevolent colonists and occupiers. Just today, three Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy, were murdered by the Zionist war machine. The attendant rage and grief does not dissipate overnight, nor should it. I hope to tackle the justice question sometime in the future in another essay, but right now I want to focus on the protection issue.

It is with some reluctance that I suggest the following, but the best way to protect civilians from one another is through institutionalized militias. Right now I’m thinking of the Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraq. American history is also instructive on this question. Many people today don’t realize that the state National Guards, consisting of 50 state militias, exist in part to protect against invasion by other states and domestic rebellion; the United States hasn’t always been a stable liberal democracy with a single currency. Anyway, the idea is that citizens of the Gaza federal unit can organize a branch of the federal army explicitly to protect that federal unit, and likewise for the other states. But what’s going to prevent the Gaza federal unit from waging war against the North and West federal unit? If the militias are proportionally representative, then their heterogeneity should offer some protection. Furthermore, if militia regulars are cycled into the federal state army, their interaction with members of other militias increase, reducing intercommunity tensions. That’s the Lebanese experience; the army is perhaps the only non-sectarian institution in the country. Also, the chance of conflict decreases with increased economic interdependence between the states, but that happens over time. It’s not a perfect plan, but the question must be addressed in a way that permits every community to feel self-reliant on security issues.

This is a limited essay with limited goals. I avoided any talk of refugees and their right of return, justice for the victims of war criminals, division of competencies between the central government and state governments, currency, national languages, state religion and religious freedoms, immigration, state constitution, human protections, the normalization of marriage and divorce, symbols of the state, and so on. I’d like to address those questions in other essays in the future. And while I’m sure there’s a lot to disagree with, my goal was to begin the realistic conversation on how Palestine/Israel will look as a single state. It’s good to believe deeply in high-minded principles and to build our institutions with those principles as a foundation. But practical implementation often requires a focus on the lowest common denominator. That’s why I suggested a federal solution for a country of fewer than twelve million people who are bitterly divided. That’s also why I suggested that institutionalized militias be created to protect those civilians from one another. The reality of the situation is that we may never see the day where many Palestinians and Jewish Israelis don’t fear and hate one another. But we can put structures in place so that our children may one day only dislike one another. And in another generation or two, maybe develop a cohesive national identity. The American civil war ended in 1865 – and some people still cling to the Confederate flag and sing confederate songs. 145 years later, and America still has very serious problems with racism.

Ahmed Moor is a Gaza born Palestinian-American freelance journalist living in Beirut.

About Ahmed Moor

Ahmed Moor is a Palestinian-American who was born in the Gaza Strip. He is a PD Soros Fellow, co-editor of After Zionism and co-founder and CEO of liwwa.com. Twitter: @ahmedmoor
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 117 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Ahmed Moor- A good starting point. I think the militia idea sounds impractical, but still this is a good starting point.

    One quibble or query: The military censor significantly inhibits freedom of the press.
    Could you provide some articles (links) on this subject. From what Gideon Levy said recently, most of the censoring is self censoring and he did not say that military censorship was much of a problem.

    • Citizen says:

      Nothing has changed; actually it’s even more applicable, since Orwell wrote Animal Farm and 1984, which visions both derived from Orwell’s realization of the Spanish Civil War in in the 1930′s cum 1940′s. By and large both boiled down to human weakness and propaganda communication manipulation by the “pigs.” Just add
      Bernays, cum Goebbels, cum Rowe; the USA MSM is the most direct enemy of those who seek justice in this world. In this era, nobody uses state propaganda and its vehicle, e.g., those German radios given away for each German family, or the former
      USSR control of communication; here in the USA, we are more subtle–the Jewish American Bernays gave us our tactics; and the German Nazi Goering gave us our
      philosophy; Israel does it all, paid for by you and me.

      • zamaaz says:

        The intent and ideas of Ahmed Moor is noble indeed but on the other hand even given stronger reasons while the two-state solution is a must:

        *It’s not enough to tell other Palestinians that they will never see their ethnically pure Palestinian state, and to explain to Israelis that their state is a racist apartheid one whose exclusivist existence is unjustified. (The Israelis are already aware of this ‘ethnocentrism’ for centuries; and this is the only country in the world based on scriptural knowledge, where secular governance concepts of non-Jewish cannot be applied)

        *For the record, I do think the one-state solution is positive, despite its being the default one. (Any deviation from the intent of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 would default the existence of Israel a Jewish State; ‘the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…’)

        *Then try to get me to agree to relinquish my right of return. (The provisions of Balfour – ‘prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,…’ was already politically prejudiced as the result of series of Arab-Israeli Wars, as the new areas occupied became ‘spoils of war…’ and said struggle for ‘right to return’ become a contentious source of the on-going conflict.)

        The political, social, and cultural immiscibility of two distinct societal systems realities indicate and proves likewise that even Federalization is also a non viable solution:

        *”It’s worth reviewing the current situation in Palestine/Israel before I launch into how it might look sometime in the future as a federal state.”

        *”For Jews, Israel is a representative parliamentary democracy. Jews in Israel enjoy many of the same freedoms enjoyed by normal people in normal liberal democracies, although the military censor significantly inhibits freedom of the press. Palestinian-Israelis are second class citizens of the state who have the right to vote for their representatives, but are discriminated against by state institutions as a matter of law and fact. The Knesset is the unicameral legislative house in the Israeli government. Its 120 members are elected through a proportionally representative party-list system.”

        *“The biggest problem associated with the one-state solution is not unique to Palestine/Israel. That problem is one of potential incongruence between different community preferences – ranging from state religion to nudity on television – in a shared polity. Those incongruities can result in violence and the dissolution of the state.”

        *”Heterogeneous federal units are less likely to secede, but they may also restrict the full expression of a community’s cultural rights.”

        The issue of mutual protection is basically is a messy and fragile situation. Indeed, any system that has two opposing distinct forces, never survived as a unified state for the problem of security is not external, but internal as there always be divisive uprisings, renegade attacks, or struggle for predominance and control. One of classis example is the virtually eternal conflict between the Moro Islamic Liberation Force (MILF) and the government armed forces (AFP) in Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Philippines. Attacks made by ‘renegade’ MILF forces against civilian communities occurred now and then. The chaotic and fragile security case of Lebanon cannot be applied in Israel because the former is a secular state, the latter is not.

        *”Palestine/Israel’s special history means that no plan is complete without a formula for mutual protection.”

        *”But what’s going to prevent the Gaza federal unit from waging war against the North and West federal unit? If the militias are proportionally representative, then their heterogeneity should offer some protection. Furthermore, if militia regulars are cycled into the federal state army, their interaction with members of other militias increase, reducing intercommunity tensions.”

        Mutual protection is not even an issue when two states exist separately and distinctively.

      • zamaaz says:

        The ‘Animal Farm’ provides a classic learning that those liberators with noble and good intents, after killing the democratic mechanisms (suppressing the voice of opposition or destroying opposing parties in the case of present day Iranian government at present) once become controlling power, become the enslavers themselves… In the case of Israel, being a participatory democracy, there is no virtual suppression of opposition inthe Knesset, or such suppression in the press media.

  2. Thanks for a very interesting and well-thought out article.

    I’m not so sure though that the concept of individual federal-state militias is a good idea in a nation where the character of those states is mostly ethnically based. I suspect they would become the focus of ethnic/patriotic identity–far moreso than the national, federal military. Protection from crimes against civilians would seem more proper coming from normal law enforcement. One problem with Israel is that the army functions primarily as a police force.

    While I generally oppose the concept of military conscription, I think there would be some advantages to it in the new nation. Have universal conscription into the new army–demographics would indicate it would be about 50-50 Palestinian/Jewish. And have those ethnically balanced units serving in all states throughout the nation.

    • Citizen says:

      Yeah, if the Arabs in Israel were also invested in the IDF simply by birth and conscription law, it would change Israel’s lop-sided equal rights; this has always been so in world history–the key way to become citizens with equal rights has always been
      via military service in the regime/state/land power at issue. Ancient history is the witness. As is common sense about humans born in any time and place. OTH, the very idea of military conscription goes against the idea of individualism Don’t you think
      this conflict has been, and is mostly now, a matter of angst only for white people originating
      in the lands known for “western civilization?”

      And btw, What does Israel, in its historical or contemporary manifestation, have to do with western civilization? I especially ask, what does the state of Israel and its policies as implemented , have to do with basic
      universal human values that were made principles for world use at Nuremberg?

      • zamaaz says:

        Yes, during the ages of empires (particularly recruits, mercenaries, slaves soldiers, etc)…but in a Jewish Israel, only its citizens may serve the armed forces.
        The western civilization (monarchy, capitalist, or popular democracy) were virtually borne out of the Jewish governance system (Bible influenced) except its sectarian character…I have not seen yet in history a western nation established out of atheist ideals.

      • Mooser says:

        “Yeah, if the Arabs in Israel were also invested in the IDF simply by birth and conscription law, it would change Israel’s lop-sided equal rights; this has always been so in world history–the key way to become citizens with equal rights has always been
        via military service in the regime/state/land power at issue”

        Thanks, Citizen, I thought I was the only one in the world who understood the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.
        That is exactly the reason why no person or citizen can be prevented from bearing arms.

  3. potsherd says:

    Very thoughtful proposal. It has a great deal of merit, but I, too, am unhappy with the idea of the militias. Essentially, this is the condition of the armed settlers, and we can see that their activities are anything but defensive.

    I also think the problem of returning stolen land and homes will not be so easily put aside – that it will in fact be a more intransigent problem than the return of the exiled population. Israel has made a big mistake in opening this box in E Jurusalem.

    • zamaaz says:

      The issues of stolen lands are much easier to be politically resolve categorically, but the question of occupied land as ‘spoils of war’…as in principle of attrition, almost impossible! For this was the principle imperial, and national borders were redefined after wars of conquest, world wars, decades or centuries of colonization, etc. Like the British Empire, only wars of liberation, revolution, or the current ‘controlling government power’ can unmesh, or decide on it.

  4. Ael says:

    I agree. You need a national identity to keep the federation going.

    The government and particularly the military needs to be a national institution.
    Otherwise you are just organizing yourself for a subsequent civil war.

    Thus, a truly integrated military is key.

    • Citizen says:

      Is it also the key in the USA? Think about it. I merely point you to the US Congress, full of draft dodgers and beneficiaries of the current “voluntary” US military.

      • Ael says:

        Actually, the american military has done more to foster racial integration than any other institution I can think of. Furthermore, I point you to the civil war and suggest that there is good reason why the National Guard is firmly under the thumb of the federal government.

        • Citizen says:

          Ael, what I implied is not negated by what you say; I agree regarding what you say about the US military (easier to integrate if under authoritarian military control); but I was thinking of the fact that those who control our country have mostly never even been in the US military, so how “integrated” is the power structure so as as to represent all Americans?

    • zamaaz says:

      Military integration among racial or tribal diversity is very much viable and historically proven. But on moral , cultural, or religious foundation? No way, it is a wide road towards national self-destruction. You cannot expect the Palestinians fight effectively shoulder to shoulder with the Israelis against the Iranians…

      • Ael says:

        I would not expect there to be a need for Palestinian Israelis and Jewish Israelis to fight shoulder to shoulder against Iran. After all, Iran is far away and tends not to be militarily agressive. Still, if by some strange quirk of history, Iran really did threaten a single state Palestine-Israel, then I would *certainly* expect all citizens to shoulder part of the burden.

        • yonira says:

          Peace between Israel and Palestinians would open up a whole new world of Sunni, Shia infighting. Hatred of Israel is the only thing which is stopping a full out war against the two factions of Islam.

          Even within the Sunni community of Palestine there are several factions fighting each other. This is just another thing to consider when talking about a peaceful resolution. Would Hamas, Fatah, the PRCs, PFLP, Islamic Jihad, all just put down their arms after a unified state was created? Fucking doubtful……

        • Shingo says:

          That’s just Zionist BS that’s long been used to justify Israeli crimes. 22 Arab states have signed a peace inititive, offering to recognize Israel and normalize relations with Israel. Even Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah have agreed to accept this offer.

          Of coure, Israel has rejected it.

          If Sunni/Shia infighting was such a certainty, then the leaders of those 22 Arab states would have abstained. So no Yonira, the Muslim world’s rasino d’ etre is not based on any obsession with Israel, though Israel and it’s shills lie to pretend the world revolves around you.

          The infighting in Sunni factions is nothing more that power struggles.

          “‘Would Hamas, Fatah, the PRCs, PFLP, Islamic Jihad, all just put down their arms after a unified state was created? Fucking doubtful…… “‘

          Hamas tried that for 4 months in 2008, and it was Isrsel that cracked, not Hamas. It was Israel that rejected a long ceasfire on the grounds that, as Tzipi Livni told us, a long ceasfire would not serve Israel’s strategic interests.

          Chew on that for a while you biggot.

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  6. Thank you for thinking practically about the question.

    I think your point about the prospect of militias as somehow a basis of security indicates the still implausibility of the single-state proposal.

    A state that has contesting militias, is NOT a single state, but multiple states.

    Israelis will never consent to include Gazans, dominated by Hamas, into an integrated state. As much as you repel at “giving up right of return”, Israelis are far far more reticent to co-govern with Hamas in any form.

    Further, although you tried to “respectfully” represent Israeli’s fears about co-governing with Palestinians as fear of a bloodbath, that is only a minor portion of their fear. The primary fear is that they will end up “other-governed”, again a minority in a foreign and antagonistic world. They also fear that what is currently inflicted on Palestinians as a population will be inflicted on them, not so much the isolation, but the contempt and harrassment in deed and word. Further, Israelis don’t fear a quick bloodbath as primary, but a long civil war bloodbath.

    And, in some ways the expansionist Israelis don’t fear that, as they feel confident that they will simply acquire more territory and with more international assent if acquired during a genuine civil war, similar to 1947, or similar to 1948 if international entities join the fight.

    Maybe your vision is a plausible 100 year plan, but it is not a method to accomplish a change in current status for Palestinians.

    You might have to accept a two-state solution even as a tentative one in your mind, and accept the absence of any considerable right of return (beyond a token right of living former residents to return). Or, commit to a millenial war, which I consider a stupid anti-humanist approach.

    On the two-state solution, I consider the prospect not as difficult as you. First, with the proposal that the settlers (civilians) be allowed to stay if they chose as Palestinian citizens, 2/3 would likely leave voluntarily, the remainder would live as a moderate sized minority in an Arab/Palestinian state, with the burden of proof on subsequent federalism on the degree that they be afforded equal civil rights, even to the abridged extent that Israeli Palestinians do. Unless you actually do seek a “Jew-free” Palestine as part of your objection to a two-state solution, they should be permitted to remain and provide compensation to perfect the title to their property.

    The next question relative to your proposal would be how to get there? Not tactically or strategically, but whether to seek to get there by mutual consent, even to conduct a plebiscite that has any authority, or by some external force.

    I don’t see it happening voluntarily initiated by either party.

    The way to start it would be to create parallel civil, non-nationalist political parties in both Israel and Palestine, and work to form alliances with other parties that are more civil and democratic than nationalist. That in itself is a 50-year project.

    You are young, so you can start doing the practical work of it. But, you will find that to accomplish a federal state (with full right of residence to minorities presumably, and full right of travel), you will have to create a “new man”, requiring elements of the death of the Palestinian/Arab identity and elements of the death of the Israeli/Jewish identity. I think that is a more daunting and confusing prospect. Intellectuals can make that bridge, they have largely already. Others may find it much more difficult.

    Similar dynamics apply among Israelis/Jews.

    • I think your point about the prospect of militias as somehow a basis of security indicates the still implausibility of the single-state proposal.

      Moore himself made it clear that this was the most contentious part of his proposal. I also don’t think there should be militias mainly because they could work to cement divisions in society and be abused by the Israelis to maintain their ethnic domination.

      Israelis will never consent to include Gazans, dominated by Hamas, into an integrated state. As much as you repel at “giving up right of return”, Israelis are far far more reticent to co-govern with Hamas in any form.

      Why not? The Palestinians already have to endure living under racist ethno-supremacist Israeli mainstream parties that implicititly state that Palestine is in Jordan and that there will NEVER be a Palestinian state West of the Jordan river. Why can’t Israelis bear to live with Hamas, a group that has removed its call for the destruction of Israel, and has agreed to the 2 state solution based on the 1967 borders? I’m sorry but the “Israelis won’t like it!” argument doesn’t hold any ground here.

      I don’t see it happening voluntarily initiated by either party.

      I don’t see it voluntarily being initiated by the Israeli side who at the moment is in a dominant position. However, there are large groups of people on the Palestinian side who would be more than happy to accept the ONE state solution, especially considering the alternative “legalization of the occupation” solution that the Israelis are trying to shove down the Palestinian collective.

      Unless you actually do seek a “Jew-free” Palestine as part of your objection to a two-state solution, they should be permitted to remain and provide compensation to perfect the title to their property.

      The land the settlers are on, in fact virtually all the land the Israelis currently live on is stolen land. The Palestinians don’t have to compensate anyone for anything.

      The primary fear is that they will end up “other-governed”, again a minority in a foreign and antagonistic world. They also fear that what is currently inflicted on Palestinians as a population will be inflicted on them, not so much the isolation, but the contempt and harrassment in deed and word.

      This is the same moot arguement that the proponents of Apartheid in South Africa made. That the “Blacks” would rise up and get revenge blah blah blah. It never happened, and there are ways to ensure that it doesn’t happen in Palestine either.

      The way to start it would be to create parallel civil, non-nationalist political parties in both Israel and Palestine, and work to form alliances with other parties that are more civil and democratic than nationalist. That in itself is a 50-year project.

      Basically, keep stalling, allow Israel to steal more land, ethnically cleanse more Palestinians, and solidify its control over the occupied territories.

      Look at what happened when we allowed Israel to allow a peace process to last only 7 years during the Oslo Peace Accords. Instead of allowing for the development of a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, Israel instead began building more settlements, bombing the Palestinians harder, and destroying their infrastructure, while murdering thousands more.

      Imagine what Israel could do with a “50″ year time window.

      I’m sorry Richard, but all your arguments basically fall into two categories.

      1) The Israelis wouldn’t like that! (when it shouldn’t matter what the Israelis care or want when it comes to occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing; Justice always comes first).

      And

      2) Sounding like an apologist for apartheid. All your arguments are the same bullshit arguements that proponents of apartheid have made and continue to make.

      • It was the Jewish settler residents that would have to compensate.

        James,
        There is no change happening now. And there is no change resulting from BDS for at least a decade of organizing, and then nowhere near a certainty of change that you would find appealing.

        Everything I or anyone that isn’t anti-Israeli says sounds to you like “advocacy for apartheid”. You don’t really have much of a clue.

        • Ael says:

          Actually, simply giving “one man, one vote” would launch the whole single state processs. When the election results came in and people started vying to set up a government you would see a lot of horse trading.

          Of course, many of the fringe groups would be marginalized as they would no longer hold the balance of power.

        • zamaaz says:

          Talking of balance of power? It would be much better for a computer to make the voting by random selection, than for Palestinians and Jewish community, for a single government… At this state of religious education in madrassas, or in religious centers such as in many Islamic countries? (Please forgive me. I have no ill-will against Muslims, my cousins are Muslims too, but I only refer to the religious centers of terrorist militants, and the Fort Hood incident) There will always be a ethnic, and religious flavors to be anticipated… this is the big problem of a single -state system.

        • Ael says:

          Turkey is an excellent example of how a mainly muslim country can also be a democracy. I am confident that a “one man, one vote” system in Israel would work itself out.

      • zamaaz says:

        We always complain against Jewish ‘apartheid’ mentality, but we kept ignoring the reality that we non-Jewish look at the issue through a non-sectarian mind, and the Jews look a their problems of ethnic distinction with a sectarian mind.
        How can our and their ideas meet? This is impossible!

        • Ael says:

          I think that you will find that there is great variability within the jewish ethnic group inside Israel. They are by no means a monolithic ethnic bloc.

    • Citizen says:

      Interesting. In the USA, the only ethnocentricity in political reality that is consigned to the PC scrap heap is derived form Europe, and most especially, Western Europe.
      I’d be interested in what you have to say about that, especially considering the
      tremendous influence of the USA as to enabling the current I-P situation which you are
      writing about.

    • Citizen says:

      Yep, Dick Witty. There’s no curing racism or ethnocentric politics, especially outside of the USA, where you live comfortably with the benefits of the best accomplished so far. Light to the gentiles? The USA has been, at least up to fairly recently, the light to both the jews and gentiles. This mission and reality, is now knifed by Israel, in the name of Never Again, and with US blood and financial sweat–to paint the USA as
      what it was never meant to be, judging by the documents assembled by the USA founding fathers–grounded in Christian principles but touted to all as Deist ethical principles.

    • lyn117 says:

      Israelis will never consent to include Gazans, dominated by Hamas, into an integrated state.

      Hamas was elected only because of the incredible failure of the Fatah-lead PA to bring about meaningful end to the occupation. If you’re afraid of Hamas more than you’re afraid of living with Palestinians as equals (or afraid to have Israelis living with Palestinians as equals), the answer is simple, allow Palestinians equal rights. The hard-core Islamists are a tiny minority, made more attractive by Israeli policies of deliberate impoverishment and isolation of Palestinians especially those in Gaza, and their more disciplined resistance to it. This proposal, which pretty much reverses the isolation of Gaza, would turn Hamas, at least the hard-core Islamist aspect of it, back into the minority, of less influence than the fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. The part about more federal dollars going to Gaza will help along those lines enormously.

      Richard Witty, and other objecters, I respectfully submit that your problem with the proposal is that you’re afraid of living with Palestinians as equals.

    • Donald says:

      Credit where credit is due–that was a good post, Richard, though I agree with some of the responses others have made. In particular, it seems likely that Hamas influence would decline in this scenario or in any scenario where Palestinians see their lives greatly improved and treated as equals. You’d still have a hard core group of fundamentalists, but you also have that on the Israeli side and we have some like this in America (mostly Christian). Any democracy is in trouble if there is too high a percentage of intolerant fanatics.

      My own response–I don’t know if it would work but it seems as likely to work as the two state solution. It is hard to picture how we’d get to something like what was discussed at Taba. Like several others, I don’t like the idea of militias which are predominantly sectarian–that, if anything, seems like it would make a Lebanon/Iraq style civil war more likely. A unified integrated military/police force would be better, I think.

      • zamaaz says:

        Yes, Donald I too agree with your views…and there is no question of security integration with both peoples are citizens of Israel. However, with Palestine/Israel State it is a ticking bomb. Even the Gospels strongly forewarned against mixing two material of different fundamental characteristics – ‘mending altogether two old and new garments’.

  7. David Samel says:

    Hopefully the future of this area will be decided by people like Ahmed Moor: thoughtful, energetic people who wish to proceed carefully but purposefully, constructing a new political reality while implementing safeguards against any potential outbreak of barbarity. There are plenty like him on both sides of the divide, but unfortunately they are outnumbered. There remains a great deal to do to convince the majorities that a one-state solution is workable and can provide self-determination, equality, freedom and justice for all, regardless of all of those tribal differences which so many prefer to cling to.

    It is not premature for Ahmed Moor to begin presenting his view for that state, and for him and others to continue in that effort. The peaceful transformation from the present nightmare (an intolerable situation for the Palestinians, much less so for Israelis) to a viable single state will require a great deal of work and careful planning. Even in the best of circumstances, it will be a long process to propose details, have them debated and criticized and modified.

    But Moor’s eloquent and convincing call for a one-state solution has not yet carried the day. The best path toward any solution is to stress that it must be based on broad principles that are considered inviolable in the US and other advanced countries: equality for all in the political process as well as access to resources; personal safety and security; freedom to make the individual choice to practice religion in its innumerable variations, or not to practice at all. Israeli Jews, of course, enjoying an immense imbalance in power, will be much less likely to cede their position of domination, but if these broad principles are explicitly put forth as a basis for settlement, it will be difficult for Israel to voice reasonable objections. No Israeli spokesperson will ever say: “We are opposed to equality and justice and insist on exercising our right to perpetually dominate others based on ethnic and national heritage,” but once the veneer of rhetoric is stripped away, it will be revealed that this is precisely the nature of Israel’s position.

    It is encouraging to see people like Ahmed Moor exploring the finer points of getting to what appears to be the only viable permanent solution. I hope this discourse becomes more and more common.

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  10. Eva Smagacz says:

    In Wales, where I studied, all government documents were bilingual, all road signs were bilingual, and all government employees had to be able to speak both languages. Children in predominantly English districts have lessons in English with Welsh as a second language. Children in predominantly Welsh districts have lessons in Welsh with English as a second language. Local radio and television had Welsh and English channels.

    • yonira says:

      In Wales, where I studied, all government documents were bilingual, all road signs were bilingual, and all government employees had to be able to speak both languages.

      sounds like Israel…..

      • Citizen says:

        Except that in Wales, there has been no accepted chosen people.

      • Shingo says:

        “Except that in Wales, there has been no accepted chosen people.”

        Nor are teh roads and neighborhoods where ethnic goups are banned from using or entering.

      • zamaaz says:

        ‘sounds like Israel…..’
        Yonira, your a smart girl (?) indeed! You have really seen quickly but without losing sense of humour the shadow of wisdom…

        • Mooser says:

          “Yonira, your a smart girl (?) indeed! “

          Intelligence, coupled with feminine charm, and good housekeeping skills, is irresistible! Don’t worry, Yonira, he’s out there somewhere. I suggest making Aliyah and marriage.

  11. Eva Smagacz says:

    Lots of tension in Northern Ireland dissipated when police and local authority recruitment opened up to republican applicants, and businesses have been told not to discriminate on the basis of religion in job applications. The aim was to have employees representing local populations.

  12. Shmuel says:

    Thank you, Ahmed, for another thought-provoking article. The vision of peace is so far removed from current reality, that we sometimes forget that even visions will die without some meat on their bones.

    I feel that territorial federalism would reinforce economic inequality (despite preferential allocation) and resentment, as well as ethnic-cultural-religious isolation. I think that a system of linguistic/religious autonomy would stand a better chance of creating shared institutions in all other areas of life and, eventually, even a common identity. Switzerland can afford separate cantons. I don’t think that “EY-Palestina” can. I believe that the Lebanese model should also be avoided, for the most part, and apart from positions specifically requiring some sort of community affiliation, there should be no quotas or power-sharing arrangements (except where reasonable representation for various population groups needs to be maintained – eg. the supreme court)

    For shared institutions to work, bilingualism will have to be a priority, and preference for all public positions should be given to those fluent in both languages. Initially, these conditions will favour Jews of Arab culture and Palestinian citizens of Israel – two groups that are currently marginalised to one extent or another.

    The road to this admittedly utopian vision necessarily passes through respect for international law and human rights and, perhaps more fundamentally, respect for one another. Not coincidentally, this is also the path to reducing violence and oppression in the present. Thanks again Ahmed, for showing the way.

  13. AreaMan says:

    the ‘Jewish state’ will cease to exist, as such

    No.

  14. Taxi says:

    Ahmed Moor,
    I spent the last summer on the beaches of Beirut listening to many, many people there discussing the ‘federalization’ of the holy land. And yes, many were using the French/Belgian systems of governance as examples.

    But more often than not, these discussions always ended with people throwing their hands up in the air in despair: it would never work!

    Why?

    Well the fundamental structure of Zionism does not include a single universal tenet. It is all about tribalism. It cannot be married to today’s practice of democracy and rights of minorities – impossible! It is also specifically conceived to protect and promote only a single religion: Judaism (its shield and cover). There is no soulful love or sacred haven under Zionism for Christians, Moslems, Buddhists, Atheists, Hindus, Pagan, Satanists, etc., only a temporary one. The more land Zionism gains, the lower the levels of tolerance-of-the-other its society observes.

    So long as the Israelis and other Jews of the world remain duped by Zionism and its exclusionary ideology, so long as they falsely equate it with the ‘Judaism-of-the-holocaust’ and not the ancient Judaism of the desert Bedouins – there will only ever be one solution: armed conflict till the end of time, or as most in the region perceive, till the end of Zionism.

    Zionism must be weakened/degraded into the realms of absurdity, like the flat-earth society people, before any kind of successful federalization can occur. The Jews themselves have to soundly reject it before any kind of equitable peace can take hold and remain so.

    In other words, Jews have to willingly give up Zionism if they want to live in peace in the middle east. And they should give it up – it’s brought them nothing but misery, paranoia, delusion, dependency, death and the walls of hatred closing-in.

    Turn and twist it whichever way you want, but fact is: war and peace in the middle east is about Zionism (land possession), not religion. Impossible therefore to make peace, under any kind of ‘peace plan’, with Zionism in the picture. People of the region will never allow it. But they will allow the Jews to live amongst them as equal citizens. All three Abrahamic religions can live together in relative peace, we know this from history. Despite extremist elements in all three religions, they can in fact co-exist as indeed they did before the arrival of imported Zionism.

    Zionism ‘pushed’ people off their lands and homes. Zionism has no room for compromising with the ‘other’. Therefore Zionism must be ‘pushed’ till the end. That’s what the majority of the people of the region have determined is the solution.

    Anything else in between will cost them more loss of land, not peace.

    History has shown them this.

    My money is on the majority-people getting what they want in the end.

    • potsherd says:

      Very well said, Taxi

      • But falsely said.

        My wife lived in a yoga ashram in Jerusalem for three years. The Bahai world center is in Haifa, happily. There are more Sufi centers in Israel than in any Islamic state other than Turkey (at least in the 90′s).

        Israel is a relatively open society in the environment of confident acceptance. In the environment of active agitation for its forced, boycotted, or assimilated removal, its not so open.

        The condition that would open it up is acceptance. And, the condition that would open acceptance is renouncing settlement expansion permanently.

        That seems to be the first order of business, that sadly, dissent is utterly distracted from.

        • Citizen says:

          “Hitler’s Germany is a relatively open society in the post great world war environment of confident acceptance. In the environment of active agitation for its forced, boycotted (by World Jewry), or assimilated (by USA ethos) removal, it’s not open. The condition that would open it is acceptance; lebensraum, and natural expansion is the first order of business berift of old tribal irons that should have been cast off long ago. Dissent is an utter distraction, a knee-jerk reaction from old-fashioned ideas ( so called “modern ideas”) that do not account for the reality of life on this earth. We should not cast aside the biblical
          history of man, and the biblical God; we should follow his example, and the example of his chosen people.”
          human life

        • Donald says:

          “Israel is a relatively open society in the environment of confident acceptance. In the environment of active agitation for its forced, boycotted, or assimilated removal, its not so open.”

          Rubbish. Israel is relatively open towards people it didn’t have to drive out to achieve the goal of an overwhelmingly Jewish state. It’s not an open state for the Palestinians who live there. That’s what the problem is, you know.

    • David Samel says:

      Taxi, I’m quite confused about your position. A few days ago, you said that all Jews of European and Arab descent who live in Israel should go back to the countries they, or their ancestors, emigrated from. When I protested this call for expulsion of millions, you somewhat angrily answered that I was rewarding the children of land thieves. You said: “Israel ‘pushed’ millions of Palestinians out. That was ‘allowed.’ Well then the same can be done right back to them, mate.” Now you say that Palestinians should live with these same people as equals: “But they will allow the Jews to live amongst them as equal citizens.” Would your call for the end of Zionism be satisfied by one state with equal rights for all, as Ahmed Moor and many others suggest? Or must there be a reversal of the last six decades or more of history, and only Jews with lineage dating back to 1948 or 1900 or whatever be allowed to remain? Do you still think it necessary to send millions of Jews back to countries most have never been to? Or would it be all right with you if they stayed in Israel as equals rather than a ruling elite? I’m not trying to bait you, but simply don’t know what you’re thinking.

      • Taxi says:

        David,
        Today I posted what I personally gleaned from talking to people from the region about the issue. It is what they believe and want. They can accept Judaism, indeed they already do – but they outright reject everything to do with Zionism. They will fight it today and their children will fight it in their millions tomorrow.

        Me, personally, I still think the Euro Jews should go back to Europe – and if they want to live in the holy lands and make positive contributions to the historic multi-cultures there, then they should, like everyone else on the planet, apply for a residency/citizenship. Ingratiating yourself into a society instead of invading it, will guarantee you friends. With many friends your trade increases. With increased trade, mutual securities are assured. With mutual securities assured, peace reigns.

        Apologies if I occasionally seem a little out of sorts, but years of watching child after Palestinian child bleed to death from the same wound while the world watches idly, can sometimes bring out the frustrated and bitter in me.

        My point to Mr. Moor is that federalism in the holy land can only work if Zionism is discarded out of the equation. Until this happens, federalism, 1SS and the 2SS will all fail. If the Jews insist on Zionism, which frankly they don’t need, then there will be war after war after war till it is broken into bankruptcy, both financial and moral .

        I can’t see why Jews need Zionism, a political ideology, to remain or be recognized as Jews. Jews survived off the back of Judaism and not Zionism for two thousand years (as they themselves claim). So what’s the big deal about dropping it? They won’t lose anything except the turgid albatross flown in all the way from Europe.

        • zamaaz says:

          I can’t see why Jews need Zionism, a political ideology, to remain or be recognized as Jews. Jews survived off the back of Judaism and not Zionism for two thousand years (as they themselves claim). So what’s the big deal about dropping it? They won’t lose anything except the turgid albatross flown in all the way from Europe.

          One of simple reasons why the American Christians understand the Jewish political ideology is the fact they are reading their Bibles always; every Sunday, birthday celebrations, memorial services, personal devotions, or in every prayer gatherings; and every time they study the Old Testaments, they are actually studying the ancient Jewish political history… Do non-Christians, agnostics, and Muslims generally do that?

        • zamaaz says:

          Ironically, these very influential traditionalist Americans Christians, since time immemorial are always given by some sort of ‘divine privilege’ (read about the Founding Fathers, and the Divine providence in the American Constitution) to reach the pinnacle of American political power…

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Do non-Christians, agnostics, and Muslims generally do that?

          Well, “non-Christians” would include Jews, so. Agnostics really aren’t relevant to the discussion.

          As far as Muslims go? They’re an Abrahamic religion, and they also consider Jesus Christ to have been a prophet (they don’t profess him as being the embodiment of God but they do take his teachings seriously), and from what I understand, Christ is the most often quoted personage in the Qur’an, apparently (not a religious scholar here, but I know he’s in the Qu’ran a lot.

          So the answer to your question (barring agnostics) would be “yes.”

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Incidentally, Zamaaz, do you care about the Arab Christians (and Christians of other nationalities) who live in the Middle East? Because it seems like you have a blind spot with regards to the extant Christian population that lives (and has been living) in Muslim-dominant countries and whose population can range from 14% to 30%.

      • zamaaz says:

        David Samel, that is a good, sound thinking reflecting equitable or balanced, and broad sense of justice…that is the quality of responsible thinking we do need very much in this forum.

      • zamaaz says:

        And this deep sense critical logical reflective thinking is quiet rare…

    • zamaaz says:

      ‘Zionism ‘pushed’ people off their lands and homes. Zionism has no room for compromising with the ‘other’. Therefore Zionism must be ‘pushed’ till the end. That’s what the majority of the people of the region have determined is the solution.’

      Correctly said. Sadly, but an accepted eventuality. For many fundamental Christians, this, amazingly, is supposedly the exact thinking of the Great Adversary, and these words are the context of the prophesy in Book of Revelation…

  15. Shmuel says:

    In other words, Jews have to willingly give up Zionism if they want to live in peace in the middle east. And they should give it up – it’s brought them nothing but misery, paranoia, delusion, dependency, death and the walls of hatred closing-in.

    Exactly, Taxi. To put it a different way, Zionists must realise that they can and must find another way in which to realise their Jewish national-cultural-religious identities (intentionally plural, because there are many such identities). As I wrote above, the road to any kind of reasonable solution passes through mutual respect and equality. Anything else – no matter how many states it envisions – is a waste of time.

    • “As I wrote above, the road to any kind of reasonable solution passes through mutual respect and equality. Anything else – no matter how many states it envisions – is a waste of time. ”

      Hear, hear.!!!

      What does that look like in practice for Israelis? What does that look like in practice for Palestinians? What does that look like in practice for dissent?

      I contest that demonization of Israel and Israelis is NOT mutual respect and equality.

      The single-state does not need to get to Oz by that route.

      • Citizen says:

        And your consistent thinly masked (by classic western humanistic verbiage and rhetoric) and painted demonization of Hamas and the Palestinian people is NOT what will sell in the real world, once the US MSM is itself unmasked for what it really is every time it enters the realm of “all the trut’ gud 4 yuze.”

      • Donald says:

        “I contest that demonization of Israel and Israelis is NOT mutual respect and equality.”

        True. But the whitewashing of Israeli crimes, accompanied by the denunciation of Palestinian atrocities, is not mutual respect either and that’s something you do. If you were consistent in your condemnation of atrocities you’d have a better argument, but you apparently can’t be.

      • Ael says:

        I believe that one man, one vote accomplishes the goal of mutual respect and equality. Everything else can be argued out in the Knesset (or whatever they decide to rename it)

  16. In venues where the exageration of reality goes toward Zionist myth or denial of the other, you would characterize me very differently.

    Here, the exageration is towards the demonization of Israelis and of Zionism, and in that I use the same term as Dershowitz, somehow you equate us.

    But, that is equating two people that are quite different (not entirely) each stating, “Its raining outside”.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      So, if one brings up the Holocaust, is that demonization of Nazi Germany? Or even brings up war crimes committed by the US — torture, rendition, “collateral damage” or as it is known much more colorfully on the inside of the war machine, “bug splat” — is that demonization of the United States?

      When did talking about facts constitute demonization?

      And where do you get off calling the kettle black? You demonize the Palestinians all the time.

    • Donald says:

      “In venues where the exageration of reality goes toward Zionist myth or denial of the other, you would characterize me very differently.

      Here, the exageration is towards the demonization of Israelis and of Zionism, and in that I use the same term as Dershowitz, somehow you equate us.”

      I’ve seen you in both venues. You take the same stand everywhere–you argue against the Israeli far right and Israeli expansionism, but your criticism of Israeli crimes doesn’t go very deep because of your own emotional commitments. Any criticism of Israel is considered too much by the Israeli far right, so this gives you the comforting illusion that you are in the rational middle. And you are–midway between human rights groups like B’Tselem, HRW, and Amnesty International on the one hand, and Israeli far right racists on the other.

      Being in the middle between those who are consistent on human rights and those who fervently advocate violating them is not a good place to be.

  17. Shingo says:

    “‘Here, the exageration is towards the demonization of Israelis and of Zionism, and in that I use the same term as Dershowitz, somehow you equate us.

    But, that is equating two people that are quite different (not entirely) each stating, “Its raining outside”.”‘

    More like, its raining outside, bu Israel has the right to defenf itself.

  18. I don’t get it, why would you want to share a state with us? After all, as you say, we are an apartheid racist people, according to your imams and hamas, we are the sons of apes and pigs. We are accused by you and your fellow travellers of being evil incarnate. One would think you gentle Palestinians would not want to mix with scum like us. I mean, you have already shown us how well you get along with each other, Hamas and Fatah, and how well your peace treaties with each other work, even one signed in the Holy city of Mecca.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Zionism isn’t racism, huh. You know, if I search and replace all of the proper nouns in that statement, we could probably make it look like it came from the KKK instead of an Israeli.

  19. Shingo says:

    Because a shard state is better than no state and you’re beloved country has been so isatinable in it’s greed for other people’s land that you have made a 2 state solution impossible.

    “‘After all, as you say, we are an apartheid racist people, according to your imams and hamas, we are the sons of apes and pigs.’

    And according to your own former Prime Minister, you are the master race and all other races are but human excrement.

    ” We are accused by you and your fellow travellers of being evil incarnate. ”

    Yes, but there is always reconciliation. Gemrnay was reagarded as evil incarnate in 1939, but it cleaned up it’s act.

    ” I mean, you have already shown us how well you get along with each other, Hamas and Fatah, and how well your peace treaties with each other work, even one signed in the Holy city of Mecca.”

    Had you not teisted Fatah’s arms and ordered them to carry out a coup top remove Hamas from power, Fatah and Hamas may well have engaged in unity talk, which they were scheduled to hold.

  20. Shingo says:

    One more thing, longliveisrael

    Paelstinians and Jews got along very well until the Euroean immigrants started arriving and creating trouble. Why should that not be possible again? I’m sure teh Zionists can be reformed and become civilized.

    • A false assumption. And, further, Israel/Palestine is a Mediterranean country. There is natural migration from and to Europe.

      • Shingo says:

        Not a false assumption, it is factual. Jews and Muslims got alone peacfully until the Jewish immigrant began arriving. In fact, in 1906, the majority of the Jewish population was anti Zionist.

        Furthermore, Palestine is a Middle Eastern territory on the Mediterranean , just like Turkey Egypt is.

        Stop your rediculous flailing Richard. It only makes you look like an idiot.

        • I’m confused by your responses and asking questions and noting where your assertions differ from my reading.

          Palestinian society was in a state of flux internally and partially due to general changes occurring in the world WAY beyond Zionist immigration, as extremely limited as it was in “1906″.

          Specifically, Turkey was partially becoming Europeanized, including changing its land title requirements, so that former fellahin had gradually less rights, and less ability to defend the rights that they did have. That was entirely independant of European immigration, though it did make it easier for European immigration with slightly more similar title laws.

          The period that you innaccurately refer to as perfectly peaceful between Jews and Palestinians was a uniquely quaint time. That period is long long past, and no evidence of relations currently or recently.

          It seems that for you the meaning of Zionism as a word is “Jews take over”. For me the meaning of Zionism as a word is “Jews reside, self-govern where they reside”.

          Did I capture your definition accurately?

        • Shingo says:

          Don’t be confused Richard, it’s very simple.

          There is no record of Palestinian society being in a staet of flux. They were holding elections and had in fact written a consitution by 1914, whchi Israle is unable to do it seems.

          The period of peace between Jews and Palestinians was not uniquely quaint. Muslism and Jews had always goten along fine and Muslism had protected Jews in Spain. They are the only people to have ever protected Jews from persecution.

          That period is not long long past. It ended at the turn of the century.

          I don’t care what you think Zionism means. Most Jews in Palestine were not Zionists, so your warm and fuzzy definition is bogus.

          Yes, the meanign of Zionismwas entirely about conquest. From the minute Zionism was born, it adopted a policy of stealing the land from the inhabitants of Palestine. Zionism perpetuated the notion that Jews were different from humanity and should distance themselves form human contact.

          There was no other way to create a Jewish state. Even Ben Gurion stated he had no problem with the transfer of Palestinains.

          For me the meaning of Zionism as a word is “Jews reside, self-govern where they reside”.

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  22. sydnestel says:

    Certainly a federation of some sort is the only way that a one state solution could work.

    But why make the federal units territorial. Let citizens choose to join one of four communities: Hebrew Secular, Jewish, Arabic Secular, Muslim. These communities would have jurisdiction over education, culture, family law, civil law among community members, and some social services. The federal government would control defense, criminal law, civil law between members of different communities, and physical infrastructure. (roads etc.)

    • Shmuel says:

      Sydnestel: But why make the federal units territorial. Let citizens choose to join one of four communities: Hebrew Secular, Jewish, Arabic Secular, Muslim.

      I agree, and I believe that such a proposal is an appropriate response to those who reject a one-state solution on the grounds that it would preclude Jewish self-determination, on a cultural-spiritual level. This idea also points the way to alleviating secular-religious tensions within Jewish Israeli society – a “chronic crisis” that should not be underestimated.

    • RoHa says:

      And what of the citizen who doesn’t want to be classed with any of those four groups? (Perhaps Arab Christians or Baha’is who are converts from Judaism, etc.)

      It is precisely those sort of ethnic/religious divisions that need to be overcome, not strengthened by institutionalising them.

      “These communities would have jurisdiction over education, culture, family law, civil law among community members, and some social services”

      All citizens should have equal treatment in respect of all these matters. They will not get equal treatment if some are subjected to Jewish family law, and others to Muslim family law.

  23. You’ll never realize a single-state solution, federal or otherwise, so long as there is any plausible doubt that civility will reign.

    If there is literaly ANY plausibility that terror or harrassment would occur more than a very rare exception, Israelis and Palestinians will choose nations.

    And, further, the only way that a single or federal state will emerge is if civil values (western ones really) predominate over national or religious. That was, and still is to an extent in Israel, especially coming from socialist roots (now abandoned as far as kibbutzim and socialist state). In Israel the trend is towards larger demographic predominance of religious, some nationalist some not.

    The religious right in Israel mirrors the religious right in Palestine. The original impression is that religious ethical values would tend to moderate fanaticism, in favor of self-restraint. But, in sectors, that turns out not to be the case, that in fact fanaticism has cover. That was the early impression of the social service efforts of Hamas (that Israel encouraged), and the expectation of religioius settlements in the West Bank (though now the Kahanist ideology has interfered).

    Civilism in Israel takes two forms, socialism (ala the founding labor and kibbutz movements) and commercialism. What forms does it take in Palestine?

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Lack of civility doesn’t prevent Israel from being a state.

      Or is this another case where you’re applying different rules to Jews than you are to everyone else?

  24. Mooser says:

    “Little Richard Witty
    Shut up!
    Please don’t talk; please don’t talk
    Little Richard Witty
    learn first,
    Then you’ll talk!”

    To paraphrase the great Allan Sherman

  25. Mooser says:

    So this is what it’s come to; every thread consists of Witty presenting the same hasbara, and the beleagured commenters playing a desparate game of catch-up, like herding cats, to corral and brand all of Witty’s prevarications.
    Once again, I recommend the JSF comment standards: No bigots, liars, or timewasters.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      I know it’s frustrating but if we do that, Mooser, there will be no Zionist input on this blog to challenge. Like, at all. Or name me a Zionist here who doesn’t break the first two standards (the third is subjective and I won’t deny that until I recently policed my own responses, my own posts could have fallen in that category on occassion).

      • Mooser says:

        Opening the comment section, unlimited, to Richard Witty was the cruelest thing Phil Weiss could have done to him. I thought they knew each other? You would think a little tact, a little persuasion could have done the jobs…”But Richard, it’ll just tire you out, all those paskudnyaks and Litvaks and Cossacks who post there, you’ll ruin your digestion” “But Israel needs me, Phil! Zionism needs me, since you have deserted us!”

        You know, like taking the driving license away from Grandma.

    • Donald says:

      One could also impose a limit on the number of Richard W posts per day–Richard Silverstein did that. It was 2 per day. Richard W hasn’t been posting there lately.

      • Mooser says:

        “One could also impose a limit on the number of Richard W posts per day–Richard Silverstein did that. It was 2 per day. Richard W hasn’t been posting there lately.”

        That is funny.

        • potsherd says:

          I suggested that Witty attempt to post without using any form of the pronoun “I” “me” “my”, but he never took up the challenge.

      • That was a form of censorship when it occurred, and where it was applied.

        I abided by his request, even as he did not hold others to the same standard.

        • Cliff says:

          He limited your post count because you’re a clown. At this point, people have here have suggested that when replying to your lies, they focus on educating viewers of the blog and not really deal w/ you and your persona specifically.

          I don’t have the patience for that, but I applaud those who take the initiative. It’s a good way to counter your propaganda and disinformation.

        • Donald says:

          He got tired of the way you threadjacked practically everything, as I recall–that was the reason for the limit. You don’t have a right to post at another person’s blog. It’s like a bulletin board in their own home, like it or not. I’ve seen Richard S get angry with others and either ban them or threaten to moderate their posts–he just did this with a far lefty the other day. (I sympathized with Richard S in that case, though Richard S was critical of this guy on one point where the guy knew something Richard didn’t–the brutality of the Israelis in Lebanon in 1996. Operation Grapes of Wrath.)

  26. Mooser says:

    “I know it’s frustrating but if we do that, Mooser, there will be no Zionist input on this blog to challenge.”

    I know, but I still hate to see a slaughter. Where does respect for the aged, a little forbearance for senility, and the understanding of inadequacies come in? But I do agree, he is more to be pitied than censored.

  27. I’m getting bored with the same editorial slant, the same one-dimensional (varying from left to left-right) of dissent on this.

    I find the content of articles informative often, and some commentary (the comments that actually address questions rather than seek to compel unanimity relative to Zionism)..

    Those that seek that people that have different views don’t read or post, are in fact insisting that the content of the dissent stay within a very very small tent.

    • You should take in deeply, that your failure here to document fully (with enough balance to convince that the issues have been addressed comprehensively) and to actually convince, is reflective of the prospects for your “movement”.

      That you don’t my feedback to heart (and others, not just mine), indicates that you do intend to fail. Or, that you seek only the fascistic flavors of mass social movements.

      • Donald says:

        Some of us have taken your feedback to heart, so to speak–I think it’s an interesting case study of the limits of honesty in a person who wants peace, but only on his own ideological grounds. Someone who is so committed to a given ideology he will adopt double standards on human rights violations in order to preserve his commitment to his brand of Zionism. People with opinions like yours have been a major obstacle to peace–people with your bias dominate the supposedly liberal side of the discussion of the I/P conflict in the US (you are our very own Tom Friedman) and it’s almost impossible for the US to be an honest broker when the only atrocities that count are those inflicted on Israelis.

        What’s the solution? Interesting question. I’m not sure you have much to contribute to the answer to that one.

    • Cliff says:

      Poor poor Witty.

      There is not news source that caters to everyone.

      The meat of the blog should be in the discussion section where different viewpoints clash. And they surely do here.

      If you want a superficial, racist and right-wing Zionist perspective, then check out the usual hasbara sites – I’m sure you have them bookmarked.

      This blog will probably go as far as those lame post-Zionist Zionist interviews (except for Mehalger[sp]). That’s about it for ‘your’ side.

      You don’t dissent. You misdirect and distract. You don’t make substantiated arguments, your clutter our screens with your trite, inane, claptrap. No one here buys into your point of view. We recognize you for the buffoon and mental midget that you are.

      Who here has ever represented the Zionist perspective respectively? We usually get morons like Julian, who can’t formulate an argument of their own, so they instead quote from some fascist right-wing website or blog.

      WJ is decent. yonira isn’t a bad guy I suspect, but he’s schizo. The rest are liars and hasbaraniks (you, the religious clown, zamaaz, etc.).

      The occasional newbie MondoZio drops in like AreaMan to rehearse their World Union of Jewish Students, Hasbara Handbook bullshit and then disappear after they figure out it doesn’t work here.

      Mondoweiss has a good group of regulars and the right amount of activity (not 400+ comments which is basically people talking over one another).

      You’re not upset about ‘editorial slant’ (which implies principle on your part, when in fact you are immoral and a shameless defender of war crimes) but rather about the effective dissent of this blog in and of itself w/ your world-view.

      This blog is not mainstream. Phonies like Rachel Maddow are mainstream. People in the mainstream either don’t talk about Palestine or regurgitate Israeli government POV.

      Palestinian voices are not heard in the MSM, whereas we always have a Zionist Jew to tell us both sides of the story.

      Studies have been done on the MSM. Entire books written about how the media serve power. That there is collusion of interests. This isn’t new, it’s typical. Manufacturing Consent lays it out in detail.

      But what would you know? You’re a fake, and not well-read. You haven’t even read the Goldstone Report – yet, as with everything else, you think you have the credibility to comment on it’s validity.

      Why don’t you go join the rest of your cult in the Haaretz comment section? Anytime a crime is carried out against the Palestinians, the Zios there blame the Palestinians. Anytime a Jew OR a Zionist commits a crime (like for example, recently a Rabbi was caught on tape offering a gentile woman conversion to Judaism for sexual favors) – the commentators say ‘well it’s not as bad as when a Muslim [etc.]‘ – just look at a random article there and you’ll feel at home with the other crazies.

      • Danaa says:

        Cliff – does witty really bother you that much? I liked the sum total of your comment but to me witty is like a blog nemesis – an anti-macscot. To me witty seems stuck in a proto-zionst phase, something out of the 70′s, like warmed over beetles song, rearranged with plaintive sitras and old style sinatra crooners. witty gets people riled up some, but not much harm is done since he does not offer himself up for debate, not really (as many found out to ever-lasting irritation). I know we’d all like a proper zionist to take on, a true blue idealist from the good old fire-spitting days of guns and exodus with the zest of a ben gurion and the bloody mindedness of zabotinsky. Someone we can all take apart with relish and nary a guilt. Alas, these are not easy to come by and mondoweiss is not likely to get one straight from israel. I do know a few wonderfully exasperating leftist Israelis who can, in fact, argue their way out of a paper bag, annoy the hell out of any and all in attendance. For such to come on an english speaking blog however they’d have to be fluent speakers (those who are not get scared away rather quickly), which means they are likely to be people who moved to israel as young adults out of idealist zionism. Such people populate forums like shalom-saalam.net, goodneighbours etc. at least till they get run off by the racuousness of the discourse. Whatever turns some into somewhat naive idealists in the first place also makes them a bit too soft for the rough and tumble of real open discourse on I/P. Their feelings tend to be hurt so easily that the discourse degenerates into gooey group hugs (and I sure hate those….).

        I am not sure though why we don’t have more J street types – US or anglo – the yearners for the elusive 2 states, no matter how fast it is receding. witty tries to thread that needle but he is too shortsighted for the task and lacks proper analytic reasoning skills. What I call level 2. WJ is probably the best we can get but no bar brawl for you there, cliff. I keep asking for a level 3 and now and then someone with potential seems to wander in for a moment but you guys scare them off in no time. may be we need honey to catch us some bees. or we can just set Mooser free on the range, see if it catches us a proper tiger?

        • yonira says:

          Or maybe you could try to make some real world difference instead of patting each other on the back for bullying people around on a fucking blog.

          I mean seriously, you and cliff probably wasted at a minimum 5 minutes each critiquing the less than 5 people who are opposed to you on this blog, that is fucking ridiculous in my book.

          Danaa was really hoping for an ‘honorable mention’ but i suppose if I work hard enough maybe you can call me a schitzo in your ‘who is who of the Mondoweiss Zionazis for 2010″ (fingers crossed)

          Or maybe I could just quit wasting my time on here and spend it supporting a 2 state solution in my community…..

        • MRW says:

          I would suggest the latter, Yonira. I would MUCH RATHER read and listen to Cliff and Danaa.

        • Cliff says:

          I’m not bullying him. It took me a very long time to get this frustrated with the guy.

          It’s not like the things I say about him are false. He IS a liar and propagandist.

          He is mostly intellectual dishonest. His style is to stay away from substantiated arguments and focus on superficial rhetorical. When someone responds to him w/ an articulated opinion with evidence and clear/practical language – he’ll just disappear.

          He issues challenges and then vanishes. What he’s really doing is saving face, and buying himself time til he can do his song and dance again.

          I’d call him symbolic of the ‘peace industry’.

          The only reason you are making your post, yonira, is because he’s generally on your end of the political spectrum.

          Skepticism itself can become a logical fallacy – and Witty is only skeptical (and to such a ridiculous extent) when it involves something negative a Jew or Zionist does (mostly Zionist).

          @Danaa

          Yea he does bother me. He reminds me of the Zionists who interrupted this peaceful, low-key vigil for the children of Gaza by holding their own ‘counter-vigil’ :

          link to youtube.com

          I mean, how dishonest AND shameless can you get? They (Zionists) read off names of Israeli who died since the beginning of the 2nd intifada. Whereas the Palestinian vigil was listing names of Palestinian children who died in Gaza.

          How do you equate a composite list, going back 8 years, to a list of people who died in a matter of weeks?

          As I said – it takes a tremendous amount of both shamelessness AND intellectually dishonesty. They are intertwined components of Zionism.

          That’s Witty to me.

        • Danaa,

          Feeling kind of superior, aren’t you? I thought all you lefties were for equality and tolerance. Jamie Glazov in his excellent book United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror describes you all perfectly.

          Here is what he says in the beginning: “Throughout the twentieth century, the Western Left supported one totalitarian killing machine after another. Prominent intellectuals from George Bernard Shaw to Bertolt Brecht to Susan Sontag venerated mass murderers such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro and Ho Chi Minh.

          After 9/11, when the Islamist Death Cult made itself the West’s new adversary, history repeated itself. The Left once again gave its affection to mass murderers and heaped its scorn on America and the West.”

          To me, and most Israelis you are like pigeons. Make a lot of noise and shit everywhere, but just a minor nuisance.

          Witty, you are wasting your time and energy with these people. They could give a rats ass about the Palestinians, its Jews they hate and nothing anyone says will change that. For the ghetto jews here, they hate the new Jew, the one who doesn’t whimper to the anti-semite. Its why Weiss can post about his visit to Israel that seeing Jews who are tall and fit, he can only think of Ubermensch. No, he would rather see Ghetto Jews. These ghetto jews will do anything to find favor with them. There were many like that in Germany who were contemptuous of their fellow Jews till they were loaded onto the cattle cars with them. Then there are what I call Jews who are Kapos, who knowingly demonize Israel for various reasons. Some of them hate the fact that Israel has become a Capitalist State (well documented in another book by The Israel Test by George Gilder). Some of them do so for political or monetary gain. Some of them are nebbishes that got beat up in school and now want revenge. However, Kapos they are. Of course, you also get the “run-of-the-mill” anti-semite who finds this blog a safe place to vent. They often slip and demonize Jews in general as they forget the memo saying its the Zionists who are the problem.

          I much prefer to focus on the fact that we have the means to defend ourselves and if it pisses off those who hate us regardless, then I’m happy, we are obviously doing the right thing. Like this: link to ynetnews.com

        • Danaa says:

          Yonira, in case you wonder (and sorry I hurt your feelings by failing to mention) – you are still Level 1 but well on your way to level 2 (maybe 200 articles and 500 posts later? god save us all**). Not to worry, it takes time. There’s a danger however, that on your way to everlasting zionist heaven (jewish majority state and all that) you may get diverted either by a pack of ravenous anti-wolves (led by cliff, chaos, potsherd et al) or by a wittiesque sirene song. perilous journey, yonira, but don’t lose heart – there’s a sanctuary somewhere for everyone, even if it’s in a special asylum for the spiritually damaged.

          __
          ** see? now you made me appeal to higher authorities! yes,and the ones with listening issues at that!

        • Danaa says:

          LLI – the good thing about you is that you can single handedly restore anyone’s self-esteem, no matter how young, how old or how lacking to start with. ‘nough said

        • Taxi says:

          LongliveIsrael,

          The systematic killing of Semitic Palestinians in the holy land by the convert Euro Jews/Isrealis, is the ULTIMATE act of anti-antisemitism.

          Long Live Falastine!

        • Shingo says:

          Longliveisrael,

          Right wing beliefs, like yours, are based on selective omissions of history and largely baseless arguments. Glazov’s book is a superb demonstration of the imperviousness of the right to facts and explain just how 3 right wing pundits were recently able to state that no terrorist attack took place under George Bush, and keep a straight face.

          John Dean, former member of the Nixon administration, wrote a boo, “’Conservatives without Conscience” that describes you all perfectly.

          After all, only on the right will you still find the dead enders that believe Saddam was behind 9/11 and that WMD were fond in Iraq.

          Do explain where in Glazov’s book you will find that it was Ronald Reagan that embraces Saddam Hussein.

          Do explain where in Glazov’s book you will find that it was Ronald Reagan embraced the Mujahabdeen (ie. Al Qaeda) and described them as a freedom fighters who shared the same values as our founding fathers, even while they were throwing acid in the faces of women.

          Do explain where in Glazov’s book you will find that after 9/11, the Bush Administration (via the CIA) has given support to the Al Qaeda affiliated group, the Jundulla (Kaleid Sheik Mohammed’s old gang) as they carried out suicide bombings in Tehran.

          Do explain where in Glazov’s book you will find that after invading Iraq, the Bush Administration gave support to the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), which is listed as a terrorist organization under by the State Department.

          And when you’re done realising that none of these clandestine activities are mentioned in Glazov’s piece of fiction, come back to us and have a real debate.

          Good luck.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Then, by all means, Witty, go away.

  28. Citizen says:

    Any way you look at this blog, it discusses critical issues daily that never surface in the USA mainstream media. This is no thanks to Witty and his supporters. Witty especially
    functions to attempt to divert new and occasional readers from this blog’s samizdat focus.

  29. Some thoughts: When reading a one state proposal it is extraneous to say that Israel won’t agree to it, because it is self evident that an army does not demilitarize on its own.

    And no incentive would ever be strong enough to induce Israel into this deal unless it would be a feeling of certainty about its safety and there is no such certainty.

    The strategy is to pressure Israel, not to induce Israel.

    How strong was the one man one vote movement among white South Africans in 1990 when Mandela was released from prison?

    • Chaos4700 says:

      When reading a one state proposal it is extraneous to say that Israel won’t agree to it, because it is self evident that an army does not demilitarize on its own.

      And yet people like you keep trumpeting that Palestinians must demilitarize completely. Israel even wants to put a cap on how many police officers the Palestinians maintain.

      Hypocrisy much?

  30. RoHa says:

    “It’s not enough to tell other Palestinians that they will never see their ethnically pure Palestinian state,”

    I didn’t know they wanted an “ethnically pure” state. I thought they just wanted a state in which everyone would be equal regardless of ethnicity.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Yeah, really. I’ve never heard any Palestinians asking for an ethnically pure state. That would be absurd — as a matter of ethnicity, Palestinian includes Arab and Samaritan. I’ve seen Palestinians who range in skin tone from nearly Caucasian to North African.

      Before European Zionists came along, none of this mattered. Before them, there were Muslims, Christians and Jews living in one state (everyone called it Palestine, you see it on UN documents and even in quotes from pre-Israel Zionists).

      Before 1948, there was no ongoing, active ethnic cleansing, on either side, for quite some time. This all started rather definitively with the founding of Israel, which has been one continuous war (and war crime).