Moshe Arens, a rightwing Israeli hawk, has joined Reuven Rivlin, speaker of the Knesset, in endorsing a one-state solution that absorbs the West Bank. At the link, Jerry Haber points out that they want to disgorge Gaza but congratulates the right for thinking outside the box. Arens wrote in Haaretz:
Adding another 1.5 million Muslims, the population of Judea and Samaria, to Israel’s Muslim population would of course make the situation considerably more difficult. Would a 30-percent Muslim minority in Israel create a challenge that would be impossible for Israeli society to meet? That is a question that Israeli politicians, and all Israelis – Jews and Arabs alike – need to ponder.
I believe the figure is closer to 2.5 million. But what is exciting about Arens’s statement, following on Rivlin’s, is that the right is thinking creatively about a dire crisis faced by Israeli society. And who else is thinking creatively? Who else is publishing this sort of idea? Certainly not liberal Zionists in the United States, who can’t even call for a return to the ’67 lines to save the Jewish state of ancient memory. The right is actually willing to take action/some risk with enfranchising Palestinians who are now under occupation and tyrannized. The Israeli right is thus far closer to Ali Abunimah’s idea that Israel/Palestine should become a… are you sitting down? …. a democracy.
The marvel here is that the Israeli right is doing harder mental work than any American liberal I can think of. And doing so in good measure out of fears of endless bloodshed, lack of progress. The matsav, the conflict, hovers over Israeli society like a black cloud. And over our political life too. How long before American conservatives and realists, who see the apartheid conditions that liberals have blinded themselves to, join this conversation in favor of democracy? I am about to call on Roger Cohen to join this conversation, Roger Cohen who ardently opposed Partition in the former Yugoslavia out of a noble hatred of ethnic division. An essential conversation for Americans, and who will push it.