One possible framework for a single state in Israel/Palestine

on 131 Comments

The Occupation has so far dragged on for 43 years, but I don’t think it can possibly last another 43 years, or even another decade. The world (like Mondoweiss) is increasingly focused on the injustice of Israel’s domination of the Palestinians. Living in Israel, it feels like the country is entering a crisis/breakdown phase and will soon have to reconstruct itself.

Readers of Mondoweiss are familiar with the seminal books and articles advocating a one-state solution written by Tony Judt, Ali Abunimah, Virginia Tilley and others. The idea of a one-state solution is inspiring to those of us who would prefer to live in a country founded on universal concepts of human freedom and dignity rather than one held captive by religious doctrine and tribal loyalty. Even though a one-state solution faces discouraging obstacles, it is important to begin to imagine what a single state could look like.

First, the obstacles:

The vast majority of Israelis don’t want a bi-national state, nor do most Palestinians. Indeed, it seems like all the high-profile one-state advocates (except Meron Benvenisti) reside overseas, mostly in ivory towers. Assuming that one couldn’t or shouldn’t force a one-state solution down Israeli and Palestinian throats, how does one convince them to adopt it willingly? And how does one even begin to campaign for such a solution without being cut off at the knees by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities?

Second, it’s doubtful whether two peoples with so much horrendous conflict and resulting bad blood between them could join together and function as citizens of the same country. Might it not be a recipe for endless revenge and civil war? Perhaps the Israelis and Palestinians need fifty or a hundred years to cool off before we can talk about living in the same country.

Third, Uri Avnery may be correct in his claim that the vast socio-economic gaps between Israelis and Palestinians would make co-existence in one state impossible.

Fourth, even under better circumstances, multi-ethnic states face exceptional challenges. The history of Quebec separatism is instructive, and even Belgium, which was supposed to serve as an example of bi-cultural brotherhood, suffers from collapsing governments, secession threats, and officially-sanctioned efforts to prevent French-speakers from buying houses in the Flemish-speaking suburbs of Brussels.

Belgium has peace, freedom, prosperity, democracy, and perhaps the best beer and chocolate in the world, but none of that is enough to keep Flemings and Walloons from squabbling eternally over trifles. The problem is that human beings like to fight, so if we haven’t got anything big to fight about, we’ll fight about little things. Therefore, political solutions ought to moderate our aggressive impulses and channel them in more positive directions. Regarding which, the Belgian experience highlights the difficulty of linguistic divisions, which may be even more challenging than religious or ethnic divides, for the simple reason that people can’t possibly cooperate if they can’t talk to each other.

Fifth, in Israel, the scope of democracy, equality and human rights is tragically limited by religious fanaticism and ethnic tribalism, and that’s even more true of the Arab states. While Jews and Arabs are individually quite capable of assimilating successfully into multi-cultural liberal democracies, it may be that on the group level, we’re simply too tribal in our thinking to create one of our own.

In short, although a secular democratic state is in theory greatly preferable to an ethnocracy, I’m not convinced that a one-state solution is possible or even desirable here, given the circumstances. Perhaps the sensible solution is two states, more or less along the ’67 lines, and any settlers who want to remain in Palestine are welcome to do so, for as long as they can.

Right now, my bottom line is ambivalence. Insofar as I think that a one state solution would strengthen democracy, outlaw discrimination and enshrine religious (and secular) freedom, I’m for it; but insofar as I think that it would ultimately foster dictatorship and civil war, I’m against it. That’s why I’d like to encourage wider discussion of how, concretely, a one-state solution might be implemented.

If the idea of a one-state solution is to be more than an idealistic fantasy (or alternatively a threat designed to scare Israel into ending the Occupation), the details deserve serious consideration. Here, at any rate, is one Israeli’s first attempt at conceptualizing the transformation of Israel and the Occupied Territories into a single, unified state. Comments are welcome.

A Plan for a New State in Israel-Palestine

Article One – The State

The State shall supersede the present State of Israel and build on its existing legal and governmental structures, with the modifications outlined below.

The State shall be named Israel-Palestine, Palestine-Israel, Jerusalem, Canaan, or another name ultimately approved by a simple majority of its citizens voting in a national referendum.

The territory of the State shall encompass the territory of the former British Mandate of Palestine plus the Golan Heights, the latter pending the conclusion of a peace agreement with the Syrian Arab Republic.

The official languages of the State shall be Hebrew, Arabic and English.

The national anthem and flag of the State shall embody positive themes that unify its people. A representative body shall solicit compositions and submit the best of them for ultimate approval by a simple majority of citizens voting in a national referendum.

Article Two – Citizenship and Immigration

Citizenship in the State shall be granted to (1) all citizens of the State of Israel, (2) all legal permanent residents of the West Bank (which includes East Jerusalem), the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights, and (3) all persons born within the territory of the State (excluding the Golan Heights), along with their spouses and minor children.

There shall be a twenty-year moratorium on immigration.

Note: One reason to limit immigration is that the State is small and densely populated, with a relatively high birth rate. More important, an immigration moratorium would prevent religious and ethnic groups from attempting to use immigration policy to augment their numbers and relative strength. It is expected that at the time of the State’s founding, no religious or ethnic group will constitute an absolute majority, which, it is hoped, will necessitate and facilitate negotiation, compromise and cooperation in matters of public policy.

In other words, there shall be no collective right of return for the Jewish or Palestinian people, at least for a generation. I realize that’s an enormously controversial proposition, one which I plan to address at greater length in a subsequent post.

With respect to refugees from the territory of the State, and their descendants, the State will work with the international community to (1) require other states where such persons reside to grant them citizenship and equal rights under the law, and (2) provide financial and other assistance to those in need of it. With respect to citizens of the State who are refugees from other states, and their descendants, the State shall forgo all claims.

Article Three – Government

The government of the State shall be democratic. All citizens residing within the State shall have the right to vote in national elections.

No political office shall be allocated to, or reserved for, members of a particular religious, ethnic or other group. All offices shall be open to all candidates.

Note: To prevent Lebanese-style factionalism.

At least half of the members of the State’s legislature shall be elected on the basis of geographic constituencies.

Note: The current, exclusively party-list system does not provide effective representation to most voters.

All segments of the populace shall be fairly represented within all branches and at all levels of the civil service and the military.

Article Four – Human Rights

The State shall protect human rights as defined by international law. The generality of this provision shall not be construed as being limited by more specific provisions within this document.

No religious organization shall be an organ of the State or funded by the State.

Civil marriage and divorce shall be available to all citizens of the State.

The State shall prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and the provision of goods and services based on religion, ethnicity, race or gender, except insofar as discrimination in employment is necessary to ensure (1) a representative civil service and military as described above, (2) an integrated national service as described below, and (3) the employment of economically disadvantaged workers on public works projects as described below.

Article Five – Social Rights and Obligations

The workweek shall run from Sunday to Thursday. Workers shall not be required to work, except to provide vital services, on the following national holidays: the two days of Rosh Hashanah; Yom Kippur; the first day of Sukkot; Shemini Atzeret; the first and last days of Pesach; the three days of Eid Al-Fitr; the four days of Eid Al-Adha; the four days of Nabi Shu’ayb; and Christmas Day and Easter Sunday, according to both the Catholic and Orthodox calendars.

The State shall provide social insurance and health care to all of its citizens, legal permanent residents and foreign workers.

The State shall provide free compulsory education to the children of all its citizens, legal permanent residents, and foreign workers. Such education shall include, at a minimum, (1) development of a high level of literacy and numeracy, (2) intensive training in all three official languages of the State, and (3) imparting the fundamentals of history, geography, political science, economics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, literature and the arts. All private education must include the previously-described core curriculum.

The State shall not provide child allowances for the third and subsequent children in each family.

Note: Israeli government subsidies of large families facilitate non-participation in the work force and the growth of religious extremism.

All citizens of the State shall be required to perform national service upon reaching the age of eighteen. National service shall be devoted to assisting vulnerable members of the community, protecting the environment, assisting law enforcement, serving in the military, or other appropriate endeavors. To build social cohesion, all national service units shall be integrated to contain members from different religious and ethnic backgrounds.

Article Six – Infrastructure and Environment

The State shall devote substantial resources to the construction and improvement of infrastructure – including roads, water, electricity, mail service, telecommunications, government offices, schools, medical facilities, and public parks – in underserved areas, until substantial equality is achieved.

The State shall build water desalination and purification plants to alleviate the threat of water shortages.

The State shall grant priority in employment on public works projects to economically disadvantaged sectors of the populace.

The State shall encourage and facilitate the use of public transportation and non-motorized transportation rather than private automobiles.

The State shall discourage the building of individual private dwellings on large plots of land and encourage the preservation and development of open public spaces.

Article Seven – Means of Establishing the State

Proponents of the establishment of the State shall initially focus their efforts on a sustained legal, political, and diplomatic campaign to win voting rights for legal permanent residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the national elections of the State of Israel. Once voting rights are won, the other reforms outlined in this plan shall be implemented.

Note: Much pro-Palestinian activism in Israel and the Occupied Territories, including the noble protests in Bil’in and Sheikh Jarrah, may unfortunately be used to characterize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as being primarily a struggle between two tribes over land. A campaign for Palestinian voting rights would elevate the discourse to the level of basic equality and human rights.

Ben Zakkai is a pseudonym, the author prefers to remain anonymous.

131 Responses

  1. Oren
    June 15, 2010, 2:19 pm

    KOL HAKAVOD!! May our dreams swiftly precipitate to reality!!

  2. David Samel
    June 15, 2010, 2:34 pm

    Odd of me to comment without having read this entire article. Don’t have time yet, but I look forward to it. It most definitely is not too early to start thinking about this, and I’m glad Ben Z has done so. This is not an alternative that can be realized at the drop of a hat but I think it is the only alternative that promises a permanent solution that is reasonably fair. Ben’s may only be a very rough draft, but hopefully a valuable one.

  3. hayate
    June 15, 2010, 2:37 pm

    Israel is already a bi-national state, albeit one based upon a bigoted apartheid type of caste system. The situation is similar to the pre-civil rights american southeast. Ole bubba didn’t want to live equally with his darker skinned neighbours and killed and brutalised them incessantly. But bubba was eventually forced to accept his neighbours. There’s still a lot of bubbas actively and inactively resisting, but their children are getting along and are showing that change is possible.

    As long as Palestinians and Jewish israelis are kept separate, they’ll never learn to get along. The key to destroying prejudice is integration. The hardliners will not in all likelihood change much, but some will, and most of their children will. “Separate, but equal” don’t work. Even if they are really of equal status, something I doubt that has ever happened.

  4. decentjew
    June 15, 2010, 3:14 pm

    ..and the Israelis are going to grant citizenship and voting rights to the people they are busy killing and ethnically cleansing because why again?

    • lysias
      June 15, 2010, 3:37 pm

      For much the same reasons the white South Africans did?

      • David Samel
        June 15, 2010, 4:10 pm

        Bingo, lysias. Israelis will not give up undeserved power and privilege unless they are compelled to do so; bds is a start. It does upset me when some people on this site claim that Israeli Jews are unique in this respect, rather than simply exhibiting age-old human nature. How many human rights movements have there been worldwide? This is just another one that is made necessary by greed, callousness, bigotry and a lot of other human traits.

        Tomorrow marks the 34th anniversary of the 1976 police riot that killed scores of protesting South African youth. If they can get their act together and live in one person-one vote harmony, so can Israel.

      • decentjew
        June 15, 2010, 4:52 pm

        I don’t buy it. The idea of Israelis living in peace and harmony with anyone is simply too far-fetched to seriously entertain. I also think that the similarities to the South African case have blinded many to the substantial differences, in terms of demographics, relations with the US, propaganda apparatus, economic realities and so many other features.

        Finally, the temptation to believe that history repeats should also be approached with great caution. Nothing ever repeats itself, save in a very superficial manner. Israel is a separate case and must be analyzed on its own terms.

      • hayate
        June 15, 2010, 9:13 pm

        According to israeli polling data, over 90% of israelis happily supported the mass slaughter in Gaza last year and nearly an identical percentage supported the slaughter on the Gaza aide convoy. What can be done with people like that?

        I agree, israelis are too messed up to get along with Palestinians (and probably any other non-israelis, as well), but what can be done about that? Mass deportations? To where? Who in their right mind would want them? Throw them in their own Gaza type ghetto, or worse? Then those throwing them in there would becme the same barbaric creatures, most likely.

      • wondering jew
        June 15, 2010, 10:01 pm

        Please provide links to accurate polling of Israelis regarding the flotilla attack.

      • Chaos4700
        June 15, 2010, 10:03 pm

        When’s the last time you provided anything credible, WJ? I seem to recall you saying that the celebration of pizza parlor and bus bombings was integral to Palestinian society and that’s supposed to be what’s really to blame for the Israeli left being weak-willed and ineffectual (rather then, you know, the Israeli left being to blame themselves for being weak-willed and ineffectual). As if the Palestinians answering Israeli violence with violence of their own was what killed the two-state solution (instead of, you know, Israeli violence in the first place).

      • wondering jew
        June 16, 2010, 4:22 am

        For the record- I am unsure of the exact words I used originally. I was struck by the cold heartedness when the group who was organizing an antiZionist conference spoke glowingly at the advance achieved by the second intifadeh (breaking the logjam of the Oslo accords was their phrase, if I recall.) I asserted that the second intifadeh was a great leap backward and not forward and because I am aware of Jewish Israeli public opinion that was/is influenced by the second intifadeh, I wrote of the negative impact of the bombs placed in pizza parlors and restaurants and buses and of the negative impression that was created by the joyful reaction to those heinous murders.

        In fact there was more Palestinian blood shed in the second intifadeh than Jewish or Israeli blood and the negative impact went both ways. The rejoicing that took place by certain Palestinians at the deaths of Jews should not be taken to represent Palestinian society on the whole as rejoicing by certain Jewish Israelis at the deaths of Palestinians should not be taken to represent Jewish Israeli society as a whole. In fact the eruption of the second intifadeh can be blamed on a multiplicity of factors including Ehud Barak’s poor leadership and the fact that the intifadeh lasted as long as it did can be blamed on a multiplicity of factors as well.

        I believe the second intifadeh was a great leap backward in the Israeli public’s willingness to see the Palestinians as partners for peace and to speak glowingly of the second intifadeh is truly a cold hearted line of thought.

      • Chu
        June 16, 2010, 8:09 am

        Second Intifada? It’s a long ways away from Cast Lead, WJ. Israel had 700 casualties by Palestinians and Palestinians had 4800 casualties by Israelis. Sound like a win for Israel.
        WJ: did you ever live in Israel and for how long?

      • wondering jew
        June 16, 2010, 8:22 am

        Chu- There were over 1000 Israeli deaths, including military and Israelis present in occupied territories. If you consider that a win for Israel because of the greater number of Palestinians killed, you are sorely mistaken. The question is not winner or loser. Both sides lost. And any trust regarding the future also lost.

        Regarding my biography, why do you ask?

      • Chu
        June 16, 2010, 9:13 am

        You may have said you lived in Israel before on this site.
        I asked because I was curious and wanted some sense of history from you, because I have a difficult time understanding your positions.
        I think that saying a win for Israel is wrong. I meant that the second intifada may have been worse in overall results for the Palestinians.

      • wondering jew
        June 16, 2010, 2:04 pm

        Chu- I don’t know whether my positions will be more understandable if you know my bio, but since you asked nicely: I currently have been living in Jerusalem for the last 3 and a half years. I also attended yeshiva in the West Bank a long time ago for 2 and a half years.

  5. Jim Holstun
    June 15, 2010, 4:17 pm

    Ah, let’s see: a proposal by a pseudonymous Israeli Jew to gobble up the Golan Heights (“pending” Syria’s agreement), and to deny the Palestinian right of return, “balancing” that by denying a Jewish right of “return,” as if an American Jew living in Brooklyn and a stateless Palestinian living in Yarmouk refugee camp were pretty much living the same life.

    Ben Gurion Lite.

    God save us from such “visionaries.”

    • Avi
      June 15, 2010, 5:45 pm


      The greatest flaw of this proposal is that it seeks to treat Palestinians and Jews equally, while at the same time ignoring the last 62 years of injustice and inequality.

      The other problem is that the proposal does not take into account factors such as ideology, religion, and economics. Using “human nature” to explain away differences is a lazy attempt at explaining the underlying causes and how those can be addressed.

      While the author does mention the economic gap between Jews and non-Jews in today’s Israel, and a would-be future state, he/she does not explain how that gap came about and how to reverse it. The assumption is that the non-Jewish sector became economically disadvantaged due to external factors, unrelated to the conflict.

      One of the significant flaws of this proposal is – as you’ve mentioned – the absence of the Right of Return – in addition to reparations for lands and property lost to Zionist ethnic cleansing during the Nakba, as well as compensation for the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza which has resulted in the destruction of many a human life and infrastructure.

      The other issue, one of no less significance, is the willingness of both Palestinians and Israelis to live in one state as indicated by this article’s author. In other words, the claim that the majority of Palestinians prefer the two state solution seems to be based on polls conducted in 2007 and early 2008. It would be interesting to see what Palestinian public opinion is like today, after the Gaza massacre and the continued expansion of the separation wall onto Palestinian land.

      Furthermore, the proposal does not take into account the demographics of the one state. Should such a bi-national state come to pass, there will be more Palestinians than Jews living in it. What impact that may have on the internal political structure of the state is hard to predict.

    • Citizen
      June 16, 2010, 6:44 am

      I too saw the equation between a Brooklyn Jew and a Yarmouk refugee
      as severely unimaginative to say the least.

  6. sam
    June 15, 2010, 4:19 pm

    Noble attempt but without addressing the refugee issue I don’t think you have much of a solution yet. Most of what you said is characteristic of many states and not very new. Not sure why English should be an official language? It can be a business language or unspokenly official but to enshrine that seems odd.
    The basis of the solution should hold that it is one state for one people, rather than two people. That for me is the principle. There are differences within the palestinian and Israeli communities just as there are differences across them. The more they live together as one the more intra-ethnic differences will arise and you’ll see more Israelis-Palestinians joining up against other israeli-palestinians.
    But the refugee issue as you described it makes it all collapse. Palestine-Israel is much larger than Lebanon – why would Lebanese have to shoulder the burden of 300-400 thousand refugees just because you feel you have a demographic problem? Incidentally, the demographic problem is similar to the racist excuse the Israeli gov’t gives now. So you haven’t departed much. I would urge you to look at Salman Abu Sitta’s research as a starting point for repatriation. I would suggest that all Jews and palestinians would have a right to return to their countries. So Jews should be allowed to return to Arab countries if they so choose – repatriation on the Arab side should account for the fact that Jews who moved to Israel received large subsidies, but there should be a scheme regardless. Palestinians should all be allowed back along some scheme as well and repatriated heavily – a la Holocaust victims.
    Anyway, I’m just throwing things out real quick but any serious proposal has to address the toughest issue first and be in principle with the principles of a one-state. All the other issues get taken care of, like Jerusalem, roads, water, land, governance. Those become easy once you think of one-state. Security of this state becomes more of an issue – how do you guarantee the rights of the minority in this state while also guaranteeing the prosperity of the poor majority (South Africa style – which has not bode well for blacks thus far).

    • hophmi
      June 15, 2010, 7:22 pm

      No Jew in Israel is going back to an Arab country. Come on. There’s no comparison here. Israel is a modern democracy with a per capita of 30K. The Arab countries are dictatorships with fragile economies.

      • sam
        June 16, 2010, 9:16 am

        thats fine. But they could be compensated as a good faith effort on the part of the Arabs. The compensation would not be equal of course. But this should solve the issue that Jews had to leave their countries. We can argue about the reasons they left but I think they could be compensated so long as it does not detract from the compensation of Palestinians.

      • Bandolero
        June 16, 2010, 12:44 pm

        “But they could be compensated as a good faith effort on the part of the Arabs.”

        Myth to meet reality – it was Mossad false flag bombs in Baghdad 1950 making most jews leave Iraq:

        link to

        So Iraq should pay compensation for Mossad bombs?

      • sam
        June 16, 2010, 4:00 pm

        i know about the myths. hence I said, “we can argue about the reasons they left.” The existence of Israel put the Jews in danger in Arab countries, with or without the Mossad. The Israelis are at fault for it. I know that. But that doesn’t negate the fact that Jews felt safer in Israel and did leave their homes in many countries – Iraq is just one example. This argument is moot. I don’t disagree, but I do think a just solution should take into account Jews who want to go back to their homes elsewhere. it at least shuts up the Israelis who say “we have refugees too and we took care of our refugees.” I’m not even saying the compensation should be equal. It may only need to be symbolic since they have been more than fairly reimbursed I can imagine – although Mizrahi jews have it bad you know.

      • hophmi
        June 16, 2010, 4:27 pm

        “The existence of Israel put the Jews in danger in Arab countries, with or without the Mossad. The Israelis are at fault for it.”

        The Israelis are not at fault for Arab antisemitism. That’s a bunch of crap. An Israeli in Palestine does not justify kicking a Jew in Cairo anymore than a freed slave in Liberia justifies kicking an African-American in Mississippi.

        This is yet another variant on the “there’s too many Jews in our neighborhood” argument.

        “But I do think a just solution should take into account Jews who want to go back to their homes elsewhere. ”

        Oh, thank you. Let’s see, first world modern country or third world dictatorship. Which will they choose? They will make the same choice as the Arab Israelis will given the choice between staying in Israel and moving to a new state of Palestine.

        “It may only need to be symbolic since they have been more than fairly reimbursed I can imagine – although Mizrahi jews have it bad you know.”

        Reimbursed by who? I don’t recall the Arab states reimbursing anyone for the property they stole from those they forced out. It’s the Palestinians who have received more than their fair share in the form of international aid, which their leaders have stolen from them and used to buy weapons.

        And Mizrachi Jews have it bad? Really? How bad? Where are your numbers to back up your statement?

      • DavidHeap
        June 16, 2010, 11:04 pm

        Why would anyone compensate Mizrahi Jews who did not leave Arab countries as refugees? As one of them, Ran Cohen stated: “I have this to say: I am not a refugee. I came at the behest of Zionism, due to the pull that this land exerts, and due to the idea of redemption. Nobody is going to define me as a refugee.”

      • leonlittman
        June 16, 2010, 11:21 pm

        Because their property was confiscated.

      • annie
        June 16, 2010, 11:58 pm

        you can’t have it both ways sam. you can’t dismiss the way they left and then claim it is a ‘fact’ Jews felt safer in Israel. if the ‘fact’ that jews felt safer in israel was as a result of actions taken by the state of israel in their home countries (say as a result of the lavon affair in egypt) then they can look to their own government for compensation. israel very much needed a population to come in, fast, to populate the place and to fill up those regions they were driving palestinians out of. they needed workers. as for iraq it was a colonial power and their puppet ruling iraq at the time probably working in conjunction w/israel for all we know. how bout this, how bout israel start paying all the countries who took in palestine’s refugees for all these years. how bout instead of paying an arm and a leg to jordan and lebanon they just give it to their own citizens as compensation.

      • annie
        June 17, 2010, 12:00 am

        An Israeli in Palestine does not justify kicking a Jew in Cairo

        no but a bunch of israelis in cairo bombing government buildings in false flag operations might. get your stories straight.

      • melka
        June 17, 2010, 7:42 am

        It’s been posted on Neturei Karta’s website, so you must be careful of the source, but this testimony from Naeim Giladi about the way Israel scared the jews from Iraq to get them to immigrate is an interesting read.

      • David Samel
        June 17, 2010, 8:24 am

        David Hirst, in his excellent book The Gun and the Olive Branch, gives a similar account of bombs planted in Baghdad’s Jewish community contributing to the atmosphere frightening the population to emigrate to Israel, and the subsequent discovery that Israeli agents had planted the bombs. I trust Hirst and believe the story, though I have never been able to find ironclad proof of its accuracy. Such proof is available with regard to the contemporaneous Lavon Affair in Egypt.

      • annie
        June 16, 2010, 11:44 pm

        No Jew in Israel is going back to an Arab country.

        this is a nutty thing to say and frankly you just can’t say it. for the majority of the last many centuries jews were living there and you can’t predict the future.

  7. Bandolero
    June 15, 2010, 4:56 pm

    This proposed solution is built on lies.

    “The Occupation has so far dragged on for 43 years”
    The zionist occupation is now in power for 62 years, and before were the British occupants.

    “Flemings and Walloons”
    Neither Flemings nor Walloons are colonialiast occupants, but Zionists are.

    “The territory of the State shall encompass the territory of the former British Mandate of Palestine plus the Golan Heights”
    The Golan heights are Syrian territory, how dare you making this Israeli?

    “The State shall be named Israel-Palestine, Palestine-Israel, Jerusalem, Canaan, or another name ultimately approved by a simple majority of its citizens voting in a national referendum.”
    There was already proposed an accetible name: Palestine.

    “The official languages of the State shall be Hebrew, Arabic and English.”
    English? Better to have Chinese, there’s not such a zionist bias in it as in English.

    “Citizenship in the State shall be granted to (1) all citizens of the State of Israel, ”
    Hugh? Every American, who was not able to live his racism freely, should have a Palestian citizenship?

    “(2) all legal permanent residents of the West Bank (which includes East Jerusalem), ”
    “Legal” should not depend on occupatier Israeli law.

    “the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights”
    The Golan Heights are Syrian. Those who live there, are occupiers.

    “and (3) all persons born within the territory of the State (excluding the Golan Heights), along with their spouses and minor children.”
    And don’t forget those who are grandchildren and grandgrandchildren.

    Enough with this.

    • sam
      June 15, 2010, 7:06 pm

      You’re a bit rough. it’s a proposal and has flaws. No need to get personal. Anyway, I agree about the Golan Heights. I have no idea where that came from either. As for the name, yes, Palestine is an option. But I think the name does not have to be a sticking point. If there was an end to occupation, equal rights, and right of return, would you say “no, you have not called the new state Palestine!” ?

      • David Samel
        June 15, 2010, 9:20 pm

        I agree, sam. The proposal definitely has flaws, but it is hardly the nefarious attempt to preserve Jewish supremacy that it is made out to be. There was never any reasonable chance that “Ben Zakkai’s” constitution or blueprint would come to fruition, but he took the time to think things through and put things out for general discussion. Some of his explanations are simplistic, some proposals unworkable and/or unfair. Perhaps I would agree more with plans proposed by some of his critics, but 1) I haven’t seen any; and 2) some people seem to think that Israeli Jews are a breed apart that will never be able to live with others. I’m not sure if that is an endorsement of a two-state solution or flat-out expulsion. I disagree with both.

      • Bandolero
        June 16, 2010, 11:43 am

        Sorry, if that looked as getting personal. That was not my intention.

        But I want to stick to my critics of that proposed plan: in my eyes, it has a deeply zionist and unjust bias. Here one more:

        “… no collective right of return for the Jewish or Palestinian people …”
        This puts zionist colonialisation and the victims of ethnic cleansing on the same level.

        I’ld propose this proposed plan to go to the dustbin.

  8. decentjew
    June 15, 2010, 5:01 pm

    Why bring in the refugee issue? That’s not the stumbling block to peace and never has been. The stumbling block is that Israel flatly rejects ANY livable arrangement for ANY Palestinians, refugee or otherwise.

    ..and talking about flags, currency and national anthem seems downright silly.

    If you don’t have a plan to force the Israelis into joining the human race and accepting the Palestinians as human beings with fundamental rights, you don’t have a plan. You have nothing.

    • sam
      June 15, 2010, 7:09 pm

      I think we need to move beyond this discourse of humanity. It’s rhetorical and doesn’t actually mean anything. What does it mean to see someone as not human? I think it is worse. Israelis recognize that Palestinians are human but they do this to them anyway. The Israelis would fully accept Palestinian “humanity” if it were elsewhere. It isn’t about humanity. It’s about politics (understood in its range of meaning: social, economic, etc).

      • decentjew
        June 15, 2010, 7:29 pm

        That’s one interpretation. Perhaps for the politicians in charge, this is largely about politics. I don’t see that as the case at all with the Israeli citizenry.

        Under the right conditions, a society can become diseased, gangrenous. It’s not something that happens often, but it can happen. We saw it in Nazi Germany and we see it today in Israel.

        In any society, you can find a few psychopaths who would be euphoric to see an unarmed girl shot in the face and blinded with a tear gas canister or a young woman crushed by a bulldozer. Generally, such people are in prison or tied to their beds in a mental ward. But in Israel, they are in the government, in every business, in every shop and cafe, on television, indeed, everywhere. In Israel, criminal psychosis is the norm. Finkelstein calls Israel “a lunatic state.” I don’t think the characterization is merely for effect. We are dealing with a nuclear-equipped society that has gone utterly mad.

      • sam
        June 15, 2010, 10:49 pm

        Hey, I think what you say is tempting. But I also think its the easy explanation. Just imagine everyone as crazy and in some ways you don’t have to deal with their logics and meaning. In many ways, the lunatic Israeli position is the easy position when you grow up in israel. To think otherwise is to be excommunicated (practically). few people would dare to do that. But humanity isn’t an issue. We all dehumanize the other everyday in our daily lives and in different ways. Some objectifying is harmless but coupled with sinister political objectives it can turn brutal.
        Not all your “crazies,” as you put it, are in jail in other societies. There are few millions, supporters of Glen Beck, who are roaming around in the US. I can give you examples in just about any country. I think I would call them “right wing.” But that’s a political position.

      • decentjew
        June 15, 2010, 11:18 pm

        I hear ya, Sam. In some respects, I quite agree. We have all sorts of ethnic nationalisms in the world and often the resulting attitudes to otherness are pretty shocking and distasteful.

        I was talking with a Bulgarian girl awhile back..bright, highly educated, utterly charming until the discussion for some reason touched on the Roma. Suddenly, I was talking with an arch racist, who saw nothing of any redeeming value in this (long oppressed) minority and spat out some choice denunciations of them as basically a waste of space. Nevertheless, the Bulgarians are not bombing their playgrounds and flour mills with white phosphorus!

        It’s very puzzling. Perhaps the most puzzling to me are people like Amira Hass, who grew up in Israel, who live in that society, are immersed in the same milieu, yet utterly reject its poisonous mindset and devote themselves, with great courage, to opposing it. The development of such a person is mysterious to me. I’ve often wondered about it. It pains me to admit that under the circumstances, I would probably not have the incredible independence of spirit to be an Amira Hass. I might very well be a typical Israeli. But that doesn’t make them less of a threat to the world’s stability. Indeed, just how they got that way seems pretty immaterial alongside the sobering reality, which is that they are itching for a war with Iran and could wind up blowing up the planet in the process. I think something has to be done about them.

      • Shmuel
        June 16, 2010, 12:40 am

        In many ways, the lunatic Israeli position is the easy position when you grow up in israel.

        You better believe it, sam. It comes replete with a vast array of illusions to suit every taste and temperament.

      • Miss Dee Mena
        June 17, 2010, 12:12 am

        Amira Hass doesn’t live in Israel. She has lived in Ramallah, i.e. the Palestinian West Bank, since 2000 where she has witnessed Israeli behaviour and excesses for years. She has also spent time in Gaza. When you live with and amongst the Palestinians for years it is almost impossible not to sympathise with their predicament.

      • Shmuel
        June 17, 2010, 1:23 am


        Living in Ramallah and Gaza has deepened Amira’s knowledge (not to mention improved her Arabic), but it hasn’t changed her basic understanding and humanity. She is a very special woman.

      • Miss Dee Mena
        June 17, 2010, 2:04 am

        Agreed Shmuel. I met her a number of years ago.

    • hayate
      June 15, 2010, 9:18 pm

      “If you don’t have a plan to force the Israelis into joining the human race and accepting the Palestinians as human beings with fundamental rights, you don’t have a plan. You have nothing.”

      I agree. The fundamental problem with any solution involving Palestine is israelis, their greed and their prejudices. Especially their Judeo-supremacism.

  9. teahee
    June 15, 2010, 5:50 pm

    Thank you Bandolero. Thank YOU, Jim Holstun. and thanks also to Decentjew for accurately describing Ben Zakkai’s whole trip: nothing.

  10. lobewyper
    June 15, 2010, 6:59 pm

    7 decentjew June 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm wrote:
    “I don’t buy it. The idea of Israelis living in peace and harmony with anyone is simply too far-fetched to seriously entertain. I also think that the similarities to the South African case have blinded many to the substantial differences, in terms of demographics, relations with the US, propaganda apparatus, economic realities and so many other features.”

    I agree, and former S. African president Thabo Mbeki has spelled out some of these differences (see link to his full article below):

    link to

    “However, if I may, I would like to say that it would seem to me that some of the elements that differentiate the two situations, namely the South African and the Palestine-Israel conflicts, are that:

    though there appears to be an agreement that the negotiations should result in a ‘two-state solution’, there is in fact no agreement on this fundamental issue, as the current government of Israel has not agreed to respect the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem serving as the capital of independent Palestine: The so-called security wall Israel has built on the West Bank and the settlements it has and is building objectively create new facts on the ground that militate against its recognition of the 1967 borders. Thus while the South African belligerents could and did agree on what was most fundamental regarding the future of the country, this has not been achieved in the Israel-Palestine context;
    The peace movement Israel is not strong enough to present an effective challenge to the broad Israeli political and security establishment. Thus, whereas the South African liberation offensive grew to present such a challenge, obliging the then ruling establishment to accept the need for fundamental change, this has not happened in the case of Israel;
    thirdly, the Israeli political and security establishment seems to be more at ease with and finds it more comfortable to confront a violent threat rather than a concerted political-diplomatic offensive. I would hazard the guess that this is because it has absolute confidence in the power and effectiveness of its security organs loyally supported by the military establishment in most Western countries, despite the 2006 debacle in Lebanon and the political complications that have arisen as a result of its punitive 2008 military offensive in Gaza, and therefore prefers a confrontation in the area in which it is strongest and believes it is assured of victory. To the contrary, with regard to the political-diplomatic sphere, she knows that she would find it very difficult to argue against the justice of the passionate plea that President Obama made in Cairo last year, lamenting the desperate plight that has confronted the Palestinian people for 60 years, and therefore prefers not to engage a contest with the international community based on what President Obama said.
    fourth, the people of Palestine are faced with the challenge that they have not achieved the unity and cohesion that the oppressed in South Africa largely did: This creates the possibility, which, despite the deadly violence that did occur, we largely avoided, of a fratricidal conflict that weakens and detracts from united action to achieve the common strategic goal, in this case the birth of a viable and independent State of Palestine;
    fifth, the establishment of such a state is a matter of urgent necessity for the people of Palestine, while the majority of the Israelis seem convinced that this outcome can be postponed indefinitely, given that their strategic objective, the establishment of the State of Israel is an accomplished fact, with their principal strategic task being the defence of this State: Thus they believe that time is on their side, and can afford to use it so to change the facts on the ground that any future process of negotiations would not oblige them to enter into any meaningful compromises. Thus it views the negotiations as a zero-sum game, aimed at them dictating a solution to the Palestinians, rather than a process that should secure the amicable outcome of a secure, peaceful and successful State of Israel and a secure, peaceful and successful State of Palestine, both capable of and willing to cooperate with each other for mutual benefit;
    sixth, Israel, itself a small state entity, enjoys major international support on the basis of a perspective it has elaborated and marketed in the rest of the world: This gives it the assurance that whatever it does, it will never face the danger of international isolation, especially by the major world powers, and will therefore always ensure that regardless of the rhetoric, its interests and aspirations will always occupy the first place in the strategic considerations of the major world powers, with those of the Palestinians being dealt with as a peripheral irritation which, nevertheless, but within the context of an immutable strategic paradigm, cannot be ignored. Therefore there would always be much publicised diplomatic activity targeted at resolving the Israel- Palestine conflict, which would give hope to the Palestinians, while putting the Israelis at ease because of the certainty that this activity would produce no result to which they are opposed, communicating the message that the activity is itself the result;
    seventh, contrary to the South African situation, historical circumstance has dictated that necessarily the peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict should be achieved with the direct involvement of external mediators, especially the United States, and this has been accepted by the two sides. All negotiations require that the negotiating parties should accept and believe genuinely that the mediator is an honest, neutral and disinterested broker, ready to facilitate a balanced outcome that accommodates the fundamental interests of the opposed belligerent parties. Without this, it is not possible for the mediator to facilitate a lasting agreement, lasting because of the genuine willingness of the negotiating parties fully to own the outcome, and therefore take responsibility for its implementation. If unfortunately this is not the case, this imposes an obligation on the negotiating parties each to engage in a second and continuous task to participate in a contest to persuade the mediator to lean more towards their side rather than towards the other. Historically, successive US administrations have dealt with Israel as a strategic partner. However, President Barak Obama has, in addition, and as you know, said clearly that the equitable resolution of the Palestine-Israel conflict is equally a matter of strategic interest to the United States, saying when he spoke at Cairo University on June 4th last year, that “America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own…For peace to come, it is time for (the Israelis and the Palestinians) – and all of us – to live up to our responsibilities.” Thus did the mediator of the Israel-Palestine conflict commit himself and his government to act as an honest broker, to facilitate an agreement which both the Palestinians and the Israelis will accept as their own, because it will have addressed the aspirations and the fears of the contending parties concerned, as the South Africans did when they voluntarily took ownership of the agreement they had negotiated without a mediator, and therefore accepted that it was their common responsibility successfully to implement the agreement.”

    • Avi
      June 15, 2010, 7:19 pm

      This is a sober analysis. It is evidently clear that the author has had extensive experience in this field and is capable of separating theory from reality and practice. It is also clear that he has walked the proverbial mile in someone else’s shoes by virtue of his life experience.

      • RoHa
        June 15, 2010, 7:32 pm

        I agree, Avi. Surprisingly intelligent and thoughtful for an ex-president.

    • hayate
      June 15, 2010, 9:34 pm

      Mbeki touches upon the fact israel has seemingly unlimited external support for its belligerency and stubbornness. But seems to have missed that israeli still thinks of itself as expanding. This I think is the main reason israel refuses to negotiate peace honestly. They don’t want peace because that will end their expansionist plans. They don’t want the Palestinians having a country because that will mean fixed borders they wont be able to expand beyond without drawing attention to their aggressive plans. As long as israel exists, as long as zionism is considered a respectable way of thinking, as long as zionist control throughout the usa and Europe is not addressed and neutralised, there can not be peace in the Mideast. And in a lot of other regions of the world.

      • Bumblebye
        June 15, 2010, 10:09 pm

        You must be mistaken! That wonderful Caroline Glick said in JPost just after the “hate boat”/flotilla murders that Israel is “not an expansionist state”!!!

      • hayate
        June 15, 2010, 10:22 pm


        Well, if the great glick said that….


      • Avi
        June 15, 2010, 11:06 pm


        It’s quite clear that Israel’s expansionist plans stop at the Jordan river in the east, the Sinai in the south and the current border south of the Litani river.

        Israel has taken over all the geographically strategic areas in the region, including the Golan Heights overlooking the ‘Sea of Galilee’ (Tiberias, Kineret) and the Hulla valley.

        The fact that both the Likud and the Labor (and Kadima) governments have expanded colonies in the occupied West Bank during the so-called peace process which started unofficially in the late 1980s and then officially in the 1990s shows that Israel intends to keep these lands, these colonies.

        The successive Likud governments have openly stated that they do not agree to an independent and sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, instead preferring an economic autonomy for the Palestinians while they continue to remain under Israeli military control. It is safe to assume that the Labor and Kadima governments have been in agreement with Likud in this regard, given the fact that the construction of the separation wall started under the so-called left wing party of Kadima and given the Camp David offer (see below). Security was and remains a secondary issue.

        In other words, the alleged interim agreement that was the Oslo Accords which granted the Palestinians a semi-autonomy in the West Bank was in fact to become the permanent solution. Israel basically told the PLO/Fatah and by association the P.A. “This is your sovereign territory, you control it, you police it, but we reserve the right to enter any time. We reserve the right to control all the exists and the crossings”.

        All those A,B, C and E areas were meant to become part of a permanent agreement, but the Palestinians were led on, believing that Israel was going to remove the colonies. The 2000 Intifada confirms this as Barak’s “unprecedented” offer at Camp David showed that the areas under Palestinian control – based on the Oslo Accords – were in fact the future Palestinian state.

        Do you see the yellow region in the link below? That’s the future Palestinian territory. There will be no independent and sovereign Palestinian state because Israel will seek to control all the crossings as it did when the Palestinian Authority’s jurisdiction was still respected by the Israeli army, mostly in urban areas.

        link to

        Israel is now merely waiting for Gaza/Hamas to fall as it has become the last bastion of Palestinian resistance and nationalism. Once Hamas falls, the US, Israel and Egypt will move to support a puppet government within the areas designated by the Oslo Accords.

        Israel’s hope is that once it eases the roadblocks and removes all signs of military occupation (military facilities, checkpoints, troop presence) that the Palestinians will rejoice and then Israel could redeploy its forces around the periphery of the “Palestinian State”. Should they rise up again, Israel will simply impose a siege like it has done with Gaza.

        In the final analysis, the Palestinians will be back to pre-1988 conditions, that is before the first Intifada.

      • azythos
        June 15, 2010, 11:22 pm

        Hayate. Good observation. The Zionists have absolutely no intention of stopping expansion before they reach the borders of “Greater Israel”, their only declared (by Ben-Gurion) borders since their 1937 Congress .

        One other major difference from the South African situation seems to be missing in this thoughtful piece. Whites in the African twin of Zionism never reached numbers beyond those of an almost insignificant minority, while in Palestine the ethnic cleansing-birthright citizenship combo has created a very unfavorable ratio.

      • joskenone
        June 17, 2010, 10:47 am

        Mannie De Saxe (joskenone)
        Mbeki’s thoughts are not plausible under any circumstances. A man who denied that AIDS comes from HIV all the years that he was president of South Africa during which HIV rates of infection became the highest in the world can just not be taken seriously, no matter what he thinks on any particular topic. Under Mbeki’s presidency South Africa lurched from one crisis to another such that the ANC government under its present much-married president is much discredited and many of Mbeki’s former cabinet ministers disgraced themselves by suggesting that AIDS could be cured with beetroot and garlic and lemons.
        Anything Mbeki says about Israel and Palestine can not be taken with anything more than a grain of salt.
        And the situation in Palestine has gone beyond the point of no return with the religious settlements in the West Bank.
        The only solution which is possible is a unified democratic non-religious state where all citizens live with equal rights – but this will not happen in my life time. It is enough of a surprise that it more or less happened in South Africa in my life time, but South Africa is riven with crime, corruption and still the highest HIV rates of infection in the world and the soccer World Cup won’t help alleviate the poverty and crime endemic in the country at this time.

  11. Richard Witty
    June 15, 2010, 7:06 pm

    link to

    This is the map that Israelis and Zionists see as controlling.

    Israel as a dot of blue in giant sea of green. It says, “We are tiny here. Why does the world begrudge us even a few hundred square miles?”

    Jihadists and pan-Islamicists see that same map and say, “why does anyone have a right to a mile of the Islamic territory?”

    link to

    This is the map that Palestinians and solidarity see as controlling (those that still regard Palestinian national identity as of consequence, rather than “civil” Israel-Palestine identity)

    Both are small in a sea of power dominated by others.

    Does anyone have a serious proposal of reconciliation of the two worldviews?

    I’m certain that both communities see themselves as little in a big and unfriendly sea.

    I think Ben’s realistic summary of obstacles are compelling. Maybe through skillful community organizing and persuasion, the peoples’ can come to see themselves as primarily civil, rather than primarily national.

    I don’t see that occurring through BDS or radical pro-Palestinian approaches.

    I’ve written to Ali Abunimeh about the apparent contradiction between seeking to create a consciousness of one state, and the political division that occurs through BDS and most particularly through academic and cultural BDS, but he has not responded coherently.

    I think he and others are reluctant to drop their “resistance” identity, more than they are committed to dissolving their national identity, assimilation into a civil non-national Israel-Palestine.

    If the leadership won’t do it, the articulators of the idea, who will?

    The Zionists?

    • Citizen
      June 16, 2010, 7:00 am

      Israel has had no consistent borders other than whatever land it can take and control, and Palestininans are a demographic threat. The resistence is
      against what?

    • eljay
      June 16, 2010, 10:39 am

      >> This is the map that Israelis and Zionists see as controlling. Israel as a dot of blue in giant sea of green. It says, “We are tiny here. Why does the world begrudge us even a few hundred square miles?”
      >> This is the map that Palestinians and solidarity see as controlling (those that still regard Palestinian national identity as of consequence, rather than “civil” Israel-Palestine identity)

      The hypocrisy shines through again: “Palestinian national identity” is of no consequence, while “Israeli national identity” – evidently still of consequence – cries out ““We are tiny here. Why does the world begrudge us even a few hundred square miles?” (Barf.)

      I love how that first map – which purports to show a distribution of world religions – confines Judaism exclusively to Israel. Maybe Israelis really are the only “real Jews” around! ;-)

      • Richard Witty
        June 16, 2010, 7:32 pm

        You don’t understand the psychology?

        It doesn’t make at least some sense to you?

      • eljay
        June 16, 2010, 8:46 pm

        >> You don’t understand the psychology?
        >> It doesn’t make at least some sense to you?

        I understand your psychology of creating a victim out of an oppressor and then equating the oppressor’s suffering to that of his victim. Makes perfect sense.

        I still don’t see what any of that has to do with Judaism being confined to Israel.

  12. thankgodimatheist
    June 15, 2010, 7:06 pm

    “The Occupation has so far dragged on for 43 years, ”

    Did you mean 62 years?

  13. hophmi
    June 15, 2010, 7:26 pm

    The responses to this post illustrate the utter lack of seriousness of the people who comment on this site. Most of you are wholly detached from reality.

  14. Menachem
    June 15, 2010, 7:37 pm

    You guys are unbelievable. Now one one-state solution, where everyone is treated equally isn’t a .good enough, well what is? The twisted commenters on Mondoweiss are making it quite clear that their real intentions are a Jew free ME.

    The worst thing about it is the Palestinians are the ones who suffer for your twisted mentality. All it does is give them a false hope that everything will turn back to how it was prior to Israel’s creation. Just like the Mr. Zakkai said, you guys sit on your glass towers, while the Palestinians suffer.

    Now that the cat is out of the bag, can any of your goons come up with a better solution than Mr. Zakkai’s? Lay it out on the table, is it a Jew free ME, if that is the case, then just admit it, you are fooling anyone anymore.

  15. chet
    June 15, 2010, 8:34 pm

    In the months following Cast Lead the results of a poll were published in Haaretz that showed that 75 % of Israelis detested hearing Arabic spoken and would not share an apartment building with Arabs.

    With present polls indicating that 90 % of Israelis support the Flotilla piracy and the continuation of the Gaza blockade, it seems farfetched to believe that the Israels and Palestinians could ever co-exist in a single state.

    • David Samel
      June 15, 2010, 9:31 pm

      These figures are alarming, but it would not surprise me if 1950’s polls showed that 75 % of southern whites detested mingling with blacks, and 90 % supported limitations of voting rights and separate, inferior schools. Surely there was a huge income and wealth gap between the two populations, and it probably has lessened only slightly to this day. Still, partition and separation were never the right answer.

      Mbeki’s analysis supplied by lobewyper is more impressive and well thought out than Ben Zakkai’s, but all situations are different, and the prospect for a one-state solution is in some ways more difficult and some ways easier than it was in South Africa’s case. Mostly, I agree with him that the situation faced by the Palestinians in the territories cries out for immediate relief, and if a two-state solution provided a possibility for that relief, I would favor it (to the extent my opinion makes any difference). But I’m not sure the 2ss is still viable, and even if it is, I don’t see it as permanent, because it does not address the underlying problem of the continuation of a Jewish State that treats some of its citizens as second class. If one state is inevitable, and I think it is, Ben Zakkai’s effort is an early and flawed attempt to describe its parameters. It’s not worthless, and it’s not dishonest.

      • Danaa
        June 15, 2010, 10:39 pm

        david, do you recall Shmuel’s proposal for a one state? he had a post on that sometime ago, and I can’t recall it’s parameters exactly but remember it was complex. Something like a condominium concept with different layers that overlap at some but not all points. It was an interesting concept…maybe I need to take the time to find it, but can’t now.

      • David Samel
        June 15, 2010, 11:46 pm

        Sorry, danaa, I don’t remember the details, though I do recall seeing that several months back. It would be tough to find, but maybe if he sees this, he’ll come to the rescue and republish it.

      • Shmuel
        June 16, 2010, 12:20 am


        I think you are confusing me with Ahmed Moor (I’m flattered, btw).

        link to

      • Danaa
        June 16, 2010, 1:37 am

        Thanks Shmuel – so kind of you not to take undue credit – still, I could have sworn there were some ideas from you sometime ago about one state options – I know you favor having the Mizrahi as a bridge, though of course, many have gone too far right now. I’ll check Moor’s post – I’m sure it’s a worthwhile comparison to Ben’s proposal above – from a different direction, of course. If I find a few minutes (busy, busy these days) I’d like to compare and contrast a few things myself. I mean, a resolution of the I/P conundrum is a hard nut to crack, even theoretically, much less practically, and puzzles like this are hard to resist. Though I must say, I have a feeling that we (as in all of us, planetary denizens) better find something quick.

      • Shmuel
        June 16, 2010, 2:05 am


        I’ve written quite a few comments on the subject, but I don’t think I’ve ever written anything “above the line”. The visions are interesting, but ultimately it’s the process that counts, as you say in America ;-)

    • wondering jew
      June 15, 2010, 10:08 pm

      Please link to the polling regarding the flotilla piracy.

      • decentjew
        June 15, 2010, 10:13 pm

        wondering jew. There have been various polls pointing to the attitudes of the Israeli vermin to the flotilla attack and other abominations. Here’s one:

        link to

        The figure I cite in my post–94%–comes from a poll conducted by Tel Aviv University concerning Israeli public support for the Gaza massacre.

      • Chaos4700
        June 15, 2010, 10:18 pm

        Back door ad hominem. Expect the rest of us to dog every piece of B.S. you spout and demand you provide links. Every… single… time.

      • wondering jew
        June 16, 2010, 4:44 am

        It is silliness when a request for a link to poll results is called back door ad hominem.

    • Chaos4700
      June 15, 2010, 10:15 pm

      Yeah, and I’m sure at least 90% of German citizens were initially enraged what the Allies imposed upon them at the end of World War II.

      That didn’t stop the world then, and it shouldn’t stop the world now. A nation that occupies another nation surrenders their moral ground to deny the imposition of circumstances on themselves after they have been infinitely cruel in imposing circumstances on other peoples.

      Also, Germany didn’t become the respectable nation it is today without that imposition.

  16. decentjew
    June 15, 2010, 10:08 pm

    “These figures are alarming, but it would not surprise me if 1950’s polls showed that 75 % of southern whites detested mingling with blacks, and 90 % supported limitations of voting rights and separate, inferior schools.”

    David Samel

    Actually, if we want the analogy to be accurate, we have to make a few slight adjustments.

    Instead of 75% of southern whites, we have to talk about 94% of the entire country. Then we have to replace ‘detest mingling with whites’ to “favor dealing with the blacks in the Unites States through a combination of expulsion and extermination.”

    Now the comparison with Israel is sound.

    Israel can in no way be described as normal. They are a severely pathological and dangerous society. They not only pose an existential threat to the Palestinians and to Iran, but literally, to all earthly life.

    As to Zakkai’s article, his intentions may have been good or ill but the piece remains absurd in either case, as it offers absolutely no suggestion, no hint of any kind as to how this state can possibly be bought into being against the longstanding efforts of the US and Israel. It’s like discussing what the national anthem of our new planet in some distant quasar galaxy ought to be, when no means of reaching, let alone colonizing it, have been proposed.. What purpose does this serve?

    I’m curious too why you believe a one state solution (or for that matter, two states) is in any way inevitable. The most likely scenario is that the Israelis consolidate their stranglehold on Palestinian land and resources and lock the remaining victims in a huge, maximum security prison for life. Some will move, some will starve, people will forget them, especially as conditions globally become worse and worse and people have their own severe issues to deal with: food shortages, water shortages, fuel shortages, environmental degradation, mass migrations brought on by climate change, waves of disease and so forth.

    • Chaos4700
      June 15, 2010, 10:17 pm

      I agree with just about everything you’ve laid out, DJ, except the last paragraph. I don’t think the world is going to ignore what Israel is doing, not from this point forward. If for no better reason than Israel will not stop at the Jordan River, nor at the Mediterranean for that matter.

      No imperial expansionist military power ever trifles to let mere borders and treaties arrest their ambition.

    • hayate
      June 15, 2010, 10:38 pm

      decentjew June 15, 2010 at 10:08 pm

      I agree. The problem in israel is much worse that that in the u.s. south pre-civil rights. There was actually a lot of mixing between the races, so these people were already living together. Albeit not equally, obviously. But this removed a lot of that “other” aspect that the groups viewed each other. Their “otherness” from each other was not as great as the situation in israel, so once the civil rights movement made headway, the two less distance to travel to see their “sameness”, since they already could see much of it already. Also the percentages, as Decentjew has noted are a world of difference. The percentages of hatred of Arabs by israeli jews is much closer to what one would find at a klu klux klan rally than to the usa overall, or even in the south, except maybe in specific, small regions. Bad as u.s. racism is, bad as the jim crow south was, there wasn’t that almost universal hatred by whites of blacks that one currently finds among israeli Jews for Muslims/Arabs.

      • Walid
        June 16, 2010, 1:08 am

        Hayate, you are seeing in those polls what you want to see. Far from Israelis being good guys since many are not, making monsters out of all of them is equally wrong. You said:

        “… According to Israeli polling data, over 90% of Israelis happily supported the mass slaughter in Gaza last year and nearly an identical percentage supported the slaughter on the Gaza aide convoy…”

        90% were in favour of the war on Gaza but what makes you say that these 90% “happily supported the slaughter” since the question was about their support for the war and not if they “enjoyed” the slaughter? I think that while 90% may have been in favour of the war because of all the spooking 8000 rockets on Sderot stories they have been fed by the powerful Israeli PR machine, it’s doubtful that 90% of Israelis enjoyed seeing white phosphorus falling on the civilians or that they were happy about or supported any slaughter. The same with the attack on the flotilla; the majority may have backed their government’s decision to attack because they were made to believe that Israel was attacking a Hamas-bound arms ship, I doubt that a majority of Israelis were happy about learning about people being shot in the head or in the back at point blank range. Polls are tricky tools.

      • hayate
        June 16, 2010, 1:59 am


        That’s rather pedantric, don’t you think. Had I said that x% of americans happily supported the aggression against Iraq, would you be here correcting me on that, too?

      • droog
        June 16, 2010, 3:48 am

        Hi Hayate, I think Walid is correct in his sober analysis of the polling results; The Pals indulge in similar Jingoism when they hit back at Israel. I think both sides will be more rational once the war is over and the shooting stops. Actually I would like to put that presumption to a test, has anyone seen any SA polling results for pre and post Apartheid?
        Part if the issue for creating a solution is getting people to accept that everybody will inevitably be drawn to a new mindset by a new reality, starting the day after. It’s a catch-22, a prime example being ‘peace plans’ which amount to rebranding of the fortifications.

      • Walid
        June 16, 2010, 6:12 am

        Hyate, you misunderstood me. First, I’m on your side and I’m not one for sparing Israelis in their brutal treatment of Palestinians. I commented about your “happily supported the slaughter” that appeared to have come from your emotions more than from the actual survey. For us to start insinuating that 90% of Israelis are evil and take pleasure in the suffering of the Palestinians is a little over the top. You skipped over the part about their being brainwashed with disinformation which may have contributed towards the 90% agreeing with the war and with the assault on the Turkish ship. We’re always complaining how Israelis go about twisting the truth and here we are doing it ourselves. Yes, I would have corrected you on the American/Iraq thing because in the same manner as the Israelis were brainwashed to get them to agree, the Americans got the same treatment with the WMD story that made them agree with the Iraq 2 war and with Iraq 1 with the incubator story and Americans of both periods while supporting the wars, they were never happy about it.

      • thankgodimatheist
        June 16, 2010, 6:56 am

        I wish I could agree with you Walid but in the light the recent events, (not that there’s anything different from the usual mind you) it suddenly dawned on me that Israel is a nation of mostly sadists and psychopaths. Not long time ago I used to think that such a trait was more prevalent among the unspeakably disgusting settlers but to see the jubilation and the unconditional support the Israeli populace provided the flotilla murderers and to learn the conditions in which Ziad Jilani has been executed when he was lying down bleeding, unarmed and, not being of any threat to the police, they put two bullets in his head and one in his belly when they could safely arrest him and take him for interrogation. I’m fed up with being reasonable, sensible, measured, composed and understanding. Too much hard work and an exercise in futility. Let’s face it.. This is what they are like.
        Or maybe I’m way too angry, too outraged, so profoundly hurt that it would be a good idea that I quit commenting altogether because I’m not going to be up to any good for the time being..

      • Walid
        June 16, 2010, 8:09 am

        I’m also very angry, TGIA, and I still haven’t gotten over the phosphorus over Gaza but I’m not yet at the stage of joining in on the writing-off of all the Israeli population as subhuman. I’m just as outraged at what happened with the Palestinian American at the checkpoint or the young lady that lost an eye last week and this is just from last week. I had already concluded long ago that Israeli politicians, leaders and military people are scum and I saw pictures of idiots dancing in the streets of TA because of the ship massacre, but these do not represent the totality of the Israeli population. You surely remember what was made of a few Palestinian refugees in camps seen on CNN celebrating with baklawa when the planes hit the towers and how much Arabs in general were demonized because of this short clip? We are now doing it ourselves by not making a distinction between Israelis. I think most of them have their brains screwed up by the shit that is being unloaded on them by their leaders but it does not make most of them evil to the core as we saying here.

        On a more pleasant note, an Australian ship with 150 tons of aid is booked and ready to join flotilla 2.

      • thankgodimatheist
        June 16, 2010, 8:14 am

        “I’m not yet at the stage of joining in on the writing-off of all the Israeli population as subhuman.”

        Not subhuman..Psychopaths!

      • thankgodimatheist
        June 16, 2010, 8:23 am

        “On a more pleasant note, an Australian ship with 150 tons of aid is booked and ready to join flotilla 2.”
        Good to hear. Some very good people in this country (where I live now). Generous in spirit and out of their pocket. Unfortunately it can’t be said of the hapless political class, right, left and center. Cowards..

      • potsherd
        June 16, 2010, 9:06 am

        The Israeli peace movement may be small, but it is highly courageous.

        In many ways the apathy in the US disgusts me more.

      • hophmi
        June 16, 2010, 9:12 am

        “it suddenly dawned on me that Israel is a nation of mostly sadists and psychopaths.”

        With views like this, it’s a wonder they haven’t asked you to mediate. Demonizing the Israelis is not going to get you anywhere. Save your righteous anger for someone who cares.

      • decentjew
        June 16, 2010, 9:52 am


        A huge joke. An exercise in 2nd rate play acting. Every Israeli in Sderot and Tel Aviv and everyplace else knows he has a better chance of being killed by lightning than by a Palestinian missile.

        The problem is not that Israelis are fearful. The problem is that Israelis lead completely normal, unencumbered lives while the Palestinians suffer and die.

        One approach to this impasse is embodied in the phrase “no justice, no peace.” What does this mean? To me it means, if the Palestinians are terrorized, if they are suffering, if they have no security, then Israelis also will be denied peace and security, Israelis will also be terrorized.

        Now one can decide this is a terrible or counter-productive approach That’s fine. I have mixed feelings about it. But that is what “no justice, no peace” means. If it doesn’t mean that, then I think it’s just a hollow slogan, suitable for T shirts but carrying no weight of conviction.

      • David Samel
        June 16, 2010, 10:42 am

        Walid – I agree 100% with your sentiments, and thank you for tirelessly expressing them in the face of contrary opinion.

        decentjew – I think you err when you dismiss the rockets on Sderot as a joke and second-rate play-acting. I’m sure they were often terrifying and at best very unpleasant. They surely were designed to have that effect.

        Rather than surmise that the residents of Sderot were feigning their fright, I think the relevant issue is that Israel visited much more severe punishment on 1.5 million people in Gaza. A bad day in Sderot was better than a good day in Gaza. If you compare the casualty figures alone, even before the massive attack beginning Dec 08, Israel killed and wounded many times, perhaps 50 times as many Gazans as Israel’s own casualties from the crude “rockets” fired by the other side. Israel fired just as many shells and missiles, which were far more deadly and accurate high-tech ordinance, into Gaza. And that’s just a comparison of the damage caused by military and pseudo-military projectiles fired by either side. The severe deprivation of goods necessary for everyday living was done solely by Israelis, and no doubt resulted in numerous deaths from lack of medicine, nutrition, etc. and severe hardship and misery for almost everyone. It is blind and hypocritical for Israelis, and their supporters in the US and elsewhere, to complain about “the rockets” from Gaza while ignoring the far greater cruelties visited upon Gaza by Israel over the same time period. However, that does not mean the rockets were fake or a joke. They were real, too.

      • hophmi
        June 16, 2010, 11:38 am

        Anyone who has met human beings from Sderot (they are human beings, last I checked, and they don’t live in settlements) would not call it a huge joke and “play acting.” It is not about the casualty numbers. It is about not being able to be outside, not being able to live any kind of normal life. Your lightening example is dumb. Americans have a better chance of being killed by lightening than by Al-Qaeda.

      • hayate
        June 16, 2010, 2:18 pm


        “Hyate, you misunderstood me.”

        Seems we are misunderstanding each other. The polls may not be accurate, but they are consistent. That shows a serious problem among israeli society that is equivalent to worst of the fringies in the usa. Not the u.s. on average, but the fringes, where racist extremism is considered normal. I never said israelis were evil (I only use that term as a joke, usually, so when you do see it used by me, read it as satire, parody, sarcasm and irony). The brainwashing of israelis is of course a major factor, they get it worse than americans – which is why the israeli media can be more honest than they can allow the media in the usa to be about israel. See, that’s another difference between israelis and americans that leaves me pessimistic that logic will work with israelis anymore. The brainwashing of hate is so deep, the brainwashers don’t fear discussion of it, the way they do in their american colony.

        That brainwashing is not going to go away anytime soon. The damage is likely for life with many, and these people will always be a serious problem. And in a democratic, non-racially defined Palestine, they will pose a criminal problem. Take a look at what just happened in Kyrgyzstan, several groups of terrorists went around killing people, others spread rumours of more killing to come and all hell broke loose. This is what I’m getting at. There is a very sizable proportion of israelis that would try that sort of business at every opportunity. Think irgun, the stern gang. For many israelis, that mentality is still a driving factor in their lives.

        In the usa, during the civil rights movement of the 50-60-70’s, the national guard had to be used in some racist communities to prevent mass terrorism breaking out. This is what will have to be done in israel. Except there is a serious problem. In israel, there is no national force that would protect against the bigoted, brainwashed crazies, as the israeli guv, military and police tend to be on the side of the bigoted crazies. I went into this in another comment further down. What I think has to happen is the nations of the world need to disarm and occupy israel before any serious resolution to Palestine can be arrived at. That involves dezionification of not only israel, but the countries of the world where zionism is also wrecking havoc in their societies and governments.

        As for israelis, my views are probably in line with those of Gilad Atzmon. IE: expect the worst, but still hold out for hope the worst wont happen.

      • hophmi
        June 16, 2010, 4:14 pm

        “As for israelis, my views are probably in line with those of Gilad Atzmon. IE: expect the worst, but still hold out for hope the worst wont happen.”

        Gilad Atzmon, a man so extreme and hateful that even most pro-Palestinian groups will have nothing to do with him.

      • hophmi
        June 16, 2010, 5:30 pm

        Reported for abuse. Yes, indeed, you do sound an Atzmon-follower.

        Well, around 15 percent of the Sderot population has left due to the rockets, so I guess ethnic cleansing is underway.

        Perhaps you can go there are shoot off some rockets yourself since you’re apparently so good at shooting off your mouth.

      • hayate
        June 16, 2010, 8:59 pm

        I’ve noticed it’s former israelis, such Atzmon, whom these sayanim/hasbarats fear and hate the most.

      • hayate
        June 16, 2010, 9:05 pm

        hophmi June 16, 2010 at 5:30 pm

        “Reported for abuse.”

        IE: “teacher, teacher! He looked at me! Make him stop.”

        You zionists make cowards look brave and and the kid in this advert look mature:

        link to

      • Walid
        June 17, 2010, 12:36 am

        Hayat, I didn’t question the validity of the polls but my comments were only about the trailer you added about 90% of Israelis enjoying the massacres. I don’t believe Israelis fall into only 1 group comprised of Haas, Levy, Avnery and friends and in another that is made up of the 90% discussed in the polls. I’d guess that the majority of those in the 90% category are more emotionally driven to have answered the way they did than ideologically inclined to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians. It’s something like you see in the States in times of crisis or war when the worst of Presidents can still get the majority of Americans to rally behind him out of patriootism or something like that; Bush II comes to mind having always succeeded by taking BL out of mothballs to spook Americans when the situation needed it. Israel does it all the time with the bogus existential threat day in, day out and for the same reason and this had to have an effect on people resulting in the 90% results. I’m trying to say that if there is any hope to be found within Israel’s society, it can be found within those very people within the 90% discussed by the polls and we shouldn’t be discounting them. They have to be somehow deprogrammed out of their fear and the rest could become possible. I don’t see any other way since we all know that Israel is going anywhere.

      • hayate
        June 17, 2010, 3:11 am


        The polls are a rough indicator, not a scientific study in my eyes. It’s the consistency of them, between the Gaza massacre and the Gaza aide convoy massacre. One was during a war, the other was not, but they showed the same obnoxious results. That indicates its not just war hype, but serious flaws in society motivating the answers to those polls. I didn’t mention it, but polls have also shown israelis consistently being 50-60-70% in favour of deporting Arab-israeli CITIZENS from israel. We’re not talking about a very healthy society here. In the usa, you might get similar results about Latinos in some knuckledragging backwater like arizona, but much of the rest of the usa is pissing on that state right now for their noxious views. And we all known the usa is still way down there on the scale of human evolution when it comes to cultural and racial tolerance to begin with. That israel is considerably below the usa in these aspects of civilization is not hopeful. And israel is getting worse, not better right now, thanks to their effective brainwashing. I don’t see reasonable israelis winning there.

        I’ll put my hope in outside forces changing israel, before I will put any hope on change coming from within israel. I think it’s going to be one of those regions where somebody stronger than them is going to have to come in and sit on them.

      • droog
        June 17, 2010, 3:30 am

        class, I’m going to include that in the next birds and bees chat I have with my teenager.

      • hayate
        June 17, 2010, 5:08 am


        “I’d guess that the majority of those in the 90% category are more emotionally driven to have answered the way they did than ideologically inclined to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians.”

        I strongly recommend reading this article:

        Алла Никонова
        Из Израиля о бомбежке Газы и о личных впечатлениях

        link to

        The author lives in israel and it is a description of her impressions of what fellow israeli Jews thought about Gaza and Palestinians. Google translator or Im Translator will give you the gist of she writes. Still, if parts give you trouble, post them, I probably can help.

      • hophmi
        June 17, 2010, 7:00 am

        Please show me which poll said that Israeli citizens are in favor of deporting Arab-Israelis. I have seen polls indicating that around half would encourage Arab-Israelis to leave, but I have not seen polls indicating that they believe Arab-Israelis should be deported. There is no consensus in the country for any kind of forcible removal, no support for it in the Knesset outside of maybe of the most rightwing 15%.

        I’m curious as to the polls that say most Americans oppose the Arizona law. I think maybe you don’t get outside your own political circle much, because most Americans support it (58 percent) link to

  17. syvanen
    June 15, 2010, 11:15 pm

    I happen to believe that the one-state solution is unworkable for many of the reasons that have been mentioned here. But what I happen to believe is quite irrelevant, this is an issue that will have to be worked out by the Jews and native Palestinians. Having said that, it should be obvious to any clear thinking person trying to understand the current situation is that Israel is not going to give up the West Bank settlements. This is not my desire but simply a judgment based on objective analysis. The political forces inside Israel have made the two-state solution impossible.

    If we accept the analysis I summarized in the above paragraph, then what is the solution? Genocide? Nope, that is not going to happen. More ethnic cleansing? Nope that won’t happen either, the rest of the world will not accept that solution. Apartheid? Well that is what the Israelis are doing today given that the two options above can’t be carried out. But unfortunately for Israel, this is not a solution that will be accepted by the rest of the world. If they try to make this the permanent solution BDS will eventually destroy their economy and they will have to surrender. Which leads to the final option. Israel will eventually have to give the native Palestinians equal political rights inside the state of Israel that includes today’s Israel and the West Bank. Can that possibly work? Hard to imagine how but one thing is fairly clear is that a state built on the former Palistinian mandate will not have a unique Jewish character for we all agree Jews will be a minority.

    Now can all of this work out in peaceful manner? My opinion is not likely. After all the Jews control over 200 nuclear weapons and I doubt anyone questions their willingness to use them to protect the Jewish character of their state.

    Somehow I see this trajectory as inevitable, my major interest is to see the US to get out of the way and not be sucked into another horrific war.

    Quite a dilemma don’t you think? And there is not much we as individuals can do to change things, except work on our government to get out of the way once everything goes south.

    • decentjew
      June 15, 2010, 11:36 pm

      good post. you make a few assumptions I find difficult to agree with, particularly concerning what the world will or won’t countenance. It has countenanced everything so far from the Nakba to Deir Yassin, Sabra and Shatilla, the massacre of 20,000 civilians in Lebanon in 1982, the attack on the USS Liberty, the Jenin massacre, the Gaza massacre, the massacre of passengers on a humanitarian aid flotilla, and a couple dozen other atrocities, not to mention the 60+ year brutalization and dispossession of the Palestinians. The US, openly contemptuous of international law will break any countries in half that try to interfere with US-Israeli aggression.

      You point to a looming, bloody conflict, quite possibly involving Israel’s nuclear arsenal. If that is the case, wouldn’t it be far more prudent for the US not to “get out of the way” but rather, to use its muscle to crush Israel, either through a crippling embargo of goods or credible military threat? Obviously, the US won’t do either of these things as we are in cahoots with Israel and its crime spree, but why should we theoretically get out of the way of something we have the potential to put a stop to?

      Finally, BDS forcing Israel to surrender does not seem remotely credible.

  18. robin
    June 15, 2010, 11:17 pm

    I think Ben is right that people should begin to imagine the one-state solution in more concrete ways. And I appreciate that he has done so here.

    But I want to comment on his proposal for a 20-year ban on immigration. While that would be a non-discriminatory policy on its face, the implications for Jews and Palestinians would be profoundly different in light of the history and policies leading up to it. For Jews, it would represent a temporary suspension of unlimited immigration. For Palestinians, it would represent the upholding of ethnic cleansing and race-based exclusion. Why should Palestinians have to wait 20 years for their first chance ever to participate in the life of their homeland?

    And for that matter, why should Jews have to wait 20 years to have that chance again? This is a policy that not only discriminates in practice, but hurts both groups, where the advantage of the one-state solution should be the ability to accommodate the wishes of both. I understand the author’s concern about a potential “demographic race” for dominance given the history and the current dysfunctions. But, the task of the one-state solution is to create a framework in which the demographic balance is irrelevant to the basic rights and equal treatment of all citizens. That removes much of the incentive for “demographic competition”, and at least allows both sides to compete on equal terms.

    The political system should be one that can tolerate some degree of “competitive” immigration. But I think when you constrain the potential “spoils” available to the majority group (the ability to privilege themselves and infringe on others’ rights), the needs and prospects of individual families will emerge as the central factor in all immigration.

    Such a system should probably be based around a mutually agreed and nearly-impossible-to-change constitution enshrining the equal rights of all citizens and the necessary reciprocity of national rights for Jews and Palestinians. And in the current situation there is structural hope for such agreement, as both groups have something to gain from it. Palestinians are currently denied equal rights, and would obviously benefit immediately from equal rights guarantees and protections. But given the demographic trends (no doubt largely a product of socioeconomic disparities that a binational state could hopefully also address), Jews have larger reason to expect future minority status, especially with the implementation of a Palestinian right of return.

    • Citizen
      June 16, 2010, 7:46 am

      Hard to imagine a solution to the immigration problem related to the Israelis and Palestinians. Just look at the shambles that is the US immigration policy. I don’t mean to imply the analogy is more than cursory, just to state that in both cases the immigration problem appears intractable without violence escalating.

  19. Shmuel
    June 16, 2010, 12:15 am

    Thanks, BZ. Good article. I have a few comments:

    1. Correction (sorry if it seems pedantic): The vast majority of Israeli Jews don’t want a binational state. (I’ll leave my pedantic remarks about the term “binational” for another time.)
    2. How do you know that “most Palestinians” do not want such a state? If you are referring to Palestinian public opinion polls, they are somewhat
    problematic for reasons associated with consciousness, political climate, pragmatic pre-emption etc., and perhaps most importantly, they do not include the refugees – a majority of the Palestinian people (which brings me to my next comment).
    3. Your suggested moratorium on immigration begins your one-state experiment with a grave injustice – if only because Jews with no direct connection to Palestine have been granted free (even incentivised) immigration for over 60 years, while refugees and their descendants have been denied their basic right (enshrined in international law) to return home.
    4. Your remark on family allowances “facilitat[ing] non-participation in the work force and the growth of religious extremism] may be CW in Israel, but it is unfounded and offensive.
    5. Your basic premise is that there are choices in I/P and the 1ss may be the ideal choice (as far as you are concerned), but it entails many obstacles. I do not share this premise. I believe there are currently no other choices in I/P but a human-rights based “solution” – i.e. an attempt to achieve maximum justice along a trajectory that, in all likelihood, will not lead to a comprehensive solution.

    Thanks again.

  20. sherbrsi
    June 16, 2010, 12:47 am

    As someone here on Mondoweiss noted, the solution to the conflict should not 1 state based, or two state based, but human rights based.

    States are political bodies. Israel can survive another 40 or 100 years of the occupation, but Palestinians (or even Palestine) cannot.

    The blockade of Gaza is realizing the worst fears of an inhumane occupation imposed on a population. The priority right now should be cessation of Israel’s brutal policies, and neutralization of its colonization. Obama was on the right track by focusing on the most immediate threat to the peace process, the settlement growth (when the problems were the settlements themselves). That is, before he was put in his place by the Israel-occupied Congress.

    The viability of any political resolution to the conflict is irrelevant. Most importantly it is insignificant when neither parties are in a position to act on them even if they will to reconcile. These suggestions may be well-intentioned, but they divert attention from matters that require urgent attention and intervention.

    • Citizen
      June 16, 2010, 7:50 am

      The US holds the key, but no US POTUS will use it. Where would Israel be now without the myriad supports it gets from the only superpower? The most they’d be able to do is wave their nukes and/or use them. That would not be good for Israel, let alone the rest of the world. There’s no room for Samson these days.

  21. joer
    June 16, 2010, 12:59 am

    A successful resolution must include a meaningful right of return for Palestinians refugees and their descendants-along with support and assistance for the returnees to get established-and an end to Jewish supremacy, including any separate but equal bullshit. This can only realistically be achieved in one state. Israelis shouldn’t be expelled just for being Israelis, but they must accept that they can’t bully Palestinians anymore under penalty of law. And only people with real ties to the land will be fast tracked to citizenship-and a summer with Birthright Israel doesn’t count as a real tie. But tourists and visitors of all religions should be welcome, as long as they understand they are guests in someone else’s home. Then there will have to be changes in education, housing, and just about everything else. Things will be very different but I think it can work.

    • hophmi
      June 16, 2010, 9:02 am

      “A successful resolution must include a meaningful right of return for Palestinians refugees and their descendants-along with support and assistance for the returnees to get established-and an end to Jewish supremacy, including any separate but equal bullshit. This can only realistically be achieved in one state.”

      Right. A Palestinian state in place of a Jewish one. Palestine 1947. And then we depend on people with no tradition of democracy to rule differently from their Arab brethren, who have no record of democracy or human rights to speak of.

      Sorry, but I’m not willing to take that risk, and I am not willing to live in a world where Jews are universally at the whim of some majority. Been there, done that, not doing it again.

  22. the pair
    June 16, 2010, 1:04 am

    43 years? someone find marty mcfly and tell him he sent us all to 1991 again. darn fool kid.

    it’s been 62 years and counting since the first ugliness and it’s always telling when people start the apartheid clock at 1967.

    i won’t annoy everyone with a text wall outlining an argument against every point in this article (not that i assume anyone reads all the comments anyway), but i’ll make a few points:

    “most one state proponents live outside and in ivory towers”. yeah, and so do a lot of israel’s financial benefactors. i don’t see anyone denying their influence. i’d also point out that the dearth of support for one state within israel/palestine is part of the problem. it’s like saying “everyone that’s opposed to guns in prisons lives outside of the correctional system so pish posh”.

    “too much bad blood”. we dropped atomic weapons on japan and they got over it pretty fast. the states also went from jim crow to obama and a culture saturated with hip hop in a few generations. obviously, that means nothing when it comes to real life and anyone that sees those superficial blips on the radar as significant is either sheltered or uninformed, but the point is: you have to start somewhere. your argument actually reminds me of BP apologists:

    “well, we need oil so bad we can’t do anything to change now! i mean, if we’d started developing alternative technologies and fuels in the 60s or 70s we’d be fine, but that doesn’t mean we should start now! that would rob the pundits of 2050 of their talking points and excuses!”

    “vast socioeconomic differences”: well, you may have noticed that’s also an issue in the states and to and even greater degree in russia or china and to and even greater degree than that in saudi arabia or random developing countries. that doesn’t mean we segregate the classes with checkpoints and walls. does it occur to anyone those very obstacles may have caused or at least exacerbated the division in the first place? maybe palestinians would make a good living if they didn’t spend their days digging tunnels under the egyptian border to get to toilet paper.

    i could go on. it’s respectful disagreement on most of this, but disagreement nonetheless.

  23. hayate
    June 16, 2010, 1:07 am

    Roger Tucker has some interesting ideas on the one state-two state question and goes into quite a bit of detail, both on his ideas and on the background israeli aggression, past and present.

    The One State Solution Sounds Like a Good Idea, but …

    Solving the problem of Israel/Palestine isn’t rocket science: the solution is obvious. We just have to get serious about it.

    by Roger Tucker / June 15th, 2010

    link to

    Most of what he proposes/writes here I don’t have any disagreements with, but there are a few things. First, this bit about the economics:

    “Realistically, the Jews, after eventually becoming a minority of the population, but a very substantial minority, would largely retain economic control, as well as dominance in many other ways.”

    Were that to happen, many of the same problems about israel would remain. Those who control the finances, control the country. And having any group in control of anything, especially Jewish israelis in a new Palestine would probably leave non-Jews in a similar situation they are now. What is needed to power share where no group has control, and everyone has power.

    A couple of other things I had problems with. The first is he doesn’t give a lot of attention to the Palestinian side, what their views might be, and perhaps what they are known to be. He sort of just glosses over this. As a result, he glosses over their role as well.

    The other thing is I think he’s too optimistic about israeli acceptance. I think it wouldn’t be as easy as he proposes and that israeli bigotry and Judeo-supremacism will be much harder to overcome. I think this will take world involvement and probably for a time, occupation of israel by neutral peace keeper forces. Naturally, israel (IE: the zionist forces) will have to be disarmed. Getting them to go for that is going to be a problem. The usa could force that, so could Europe, but as Tucker writes, the guvs of these countries are all pretty much israeli owned and operated now.

    So it will have to be people power that forces these guvs to dezionise, so they can then dezionise the Mideast and help work out a real solution to the problem the zionists, and their corporate buddies created there.

    • hayate
      June 16, 2010, 1:16 am

      BTW, my last bit about dezionification and people power is also what Tucker proposes. That’s not a difference with his ideas – the way it ended up in my comment looked like it might be I was disagreeing with Tucker on that.

  24. melka
    June 16, 2010, 2:30 am

    I don’t know who on MW (articles authors and commenters) lives in Israel / Palestine, but I find this kind of piece a bit hypocritical. In the same way Max Taylor’s article about non-violence sounds like the result of the mental gesticulations of an intellectual that just thinks 24/7 without taking into account the facts.

    This kind of articles always reminds me of one of the remote lessons I learned when reading about the Milgram experiment : it’s always easy to say “I won’t do this” or “I’ll do that”, but when you’re facing the problem, you never know how one is gonna react. Unfortunately, most of the time, it’s an ugly result.

    Most of the points in this article have already been commented here, so let’s just look at what have been signed, agreed, condemned, etc… All that legal shenanigan is quite clear : the only solution that should still be envisioned today is a two-state solution. The defined borders should be the ’47 ones (are they are the ones that Israel defined to be it’s sovereign territory) but we all know this will never work, so let’s settle to the ’67 borders. In 2008, Hamas was willing to accept those borders, so let’s apply it.

    I just don’t understand why we are even envisionning a one-state solution. Believing that this state can be an humanist utopy is just being a fool. I’d also like to see some statistics about the percentage of Palestinians / Israelis wanting/accepting this solution, I bet they are pretty low.

    It’s not our job nor our governments’ to interfere once again in the matter of defining what type of country these people are gonna live in. The Western world, and particularly the USA, already built enough foreign countries (Venezuela before Chavez or Afghanistan for the USA, many countries in Africa for France, etc…) and we know what the results of such manipulations are. Our job is only to apply what all those gigantic books called San Remo manual, International Law etc… are saying, and to apply the UN/UNSC resolutions, and those are very clear guidelines.

    I know this point of view also sounds like an utopist’s one, “follow the rules and everything will be ok”, but I’m pretty sure this is the safest one to achieve a quick end to the conflict, maybe not an everlasting peace though.

    Oh, and also, why would English become an official language in this one state ? Sounds like typical occidental imposition of ideas, or modern colonialism, to me.

    • melka
      June 16, 2010, 2:41 am

      One last thing I forgot to write above : I’m 100% sure that the one state solution will in fine bring a civil war for different reasons. Maybe I’m wrong but I believe that the UN cannot act during a civil war but can only work to avoid one from happening. Maybe send some troops to protect the civilians. If this was to happen, the ethnic cleansing of one or another of the party will become inevitable.

      • joer
        June 16, 2010, 7:49 am

        I wasn’t trying to interfere in Palestinian decision making. I was commenting as an outside observer. If a consensus develops that a divided mini-state is their best option, I’m not going to sit back in the safety of my home and urge them to fight on until final victory. But I do feel this whole sorry drama won’t be over until the right of return is addressed in some substantial way. How it is addressed should be the subject of negotiations-not the borders of a subservient state-that is, if we want this conflict to end. If it can be done in two states, then fine. I just don’t believe think separate but equal works. Violence is a possibility, but there has been violence for close to a century now. And, yeah, I know the main obstacle is the ideology of Jewish supremacy in a mostly Arab land. And that’s where we are.

      • hophmi
        June 16, 2010, 9:06 am

        You mean too many Jews moved into the neighborhood? Yeah, I’ve heard this racist argument before. If a land can’t be Jewish, why can it be “Arab?”

        The right of return IS part of the two-state solution. It is right-of-return to the new Palestinian state, the state which will have no Jews in it.

      • DavidHeap
        June 16, 2010, 11:27 pm

        You can only “return” to where you left or were driven out from: for the vast majority of diaspora Palestinians (as well as a significant number of Israeli Palestinians who are “present absentees”), that means the lands they were driven out of in 1947-1949, that were susequently expropriated and sold. One state or two, this stolen land issue is not going to go away.

  25. wondering jew
    June 16, 2010, 4:57 am

    I think Ben Zakai’s effort is worthwhile if only as a goad towards positive, forward thinking reactions.
    A few comments- Although already mentioned, I have no reason to assume Syria is about to concede the Golan Heights.
    As far as limiting immigration for the first twenty years to zero, it could be possible to allow the number of Palestinian immigrants to equal the number of Jewish immigrants. One of the raisons d’etre of Israel is to allow Jewish immigration and the proposal to cut off that immigration is a nonstarter, but so as to reduce the net effect of such immigration, allowing an equal number of Palestinian immigrants would be fair.
    I don’t expect mainstream Israel to accept this idea anytime soon. Gaza in effect has already been disgorged from Israel, although that is still in
    process, whereas the Palestinians wish to see both Gaza and the West Bank to be part of one independent state, Israel would like to see them divided. Moshe Arens has written recently about annexing the West Bank and so the West Bank is the most obvious first candidate for this process. (Instead of Gaza first, we would have West Bank first.) I don’t think either Fatah or Hamas will soon sign on to this idea, even though there is a chance for human rights for the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza hinted at in this proposal, Fatah and Hamas are still wedded to their own power and that power (in Gaza more than in the West Bank) has already begun to be handed to them and they won’t soon give it up.

    • melka
      June 16, 2010, 5:37 am

      I just can’t believe what I’m reading.
      – Palestinians are not “immigrants”, they are refugees, and as so they have the right to return to their land, written in the International Declartion of the Human Rights. It’s as simple as that. You can’t make quotas of people returning to their own home from where they’ve been expelled 60 years ago maximum. Allowing them to come back isn’t “fair”, it’s just the law Israel never follows.
      – I may misunderstand the word “disgorged”, but Gaza has not been disgorged from Israel. In fact, Israel is still occupying a large part of Gaza (I’m talking about the Gaza from the partition plan). This territory have not been annexed and from the legal / UN point of view Israel have to leave it. But Hamas is willing to leave it to Israel (’67 borders) : I say take their offer, they are being generous.
      – Annexation of the West Bank (or the Gaza Strip, for that matter) will have to be approved by the international bodies. After so many UNSC resolutions not being followed, I highly doubt Israel taking control of the West Bank will be considered an annexation but rather an invasion.
      – Fatah or Hamas (or any other political power) are representants of the Palestinian people. It’s not a question of “power”, it’s a question of sovereignty. Palestinians want to have sovereignty over their land, so do their representants.
      – “even though there is a chance for human rights for the Palestinians” : the “there is a chance” part is just too tragic for being laughable
      – I’m not leaving in Israel (thank God), but from various reports I have read (sorry I don’t have any links right now, I’m sure you’ll ask for “proof” so I’ll search later), the Israeli society is a lot like the Indian one, with a kind of caste system. I’m not quite sure the Palestinians living in a Greater Israel would fit in as an “equal human being”… but I may be wrong.

      • hophmi
        June 16, 2010, 9:16 am

        “Palestinians are not “immigrants”, they are refugees, and as so they have the right to return to their land, written in the International Declartion of the Human Rights. It’s as simple as that. You can’t make quotas of people returning to their own home from where they’ve been expelled 60 years ago maximum. Allowing them to come back isn’t “fair”, it’s just the law Israel never follows.”

        UNGA 194, a non-binding resolution, says that can return so long as they are willing to live in peace. I don’t see any proof of that.

        ““even though there is a chance for human rights for the Palestinians” : the “there is a chance” part is just too tragic for being laughable”

        The Arab with the most human rights in the Middle East live in Israel today. And you all know it.

        “I’m not leaving in Israel (thank God), but from various reports I have read (sorry I don’t have any links right now, I’m sure you’ll ask for “proof” so I’ll search later), the Israeli society is a lot like the Indian one, with a kind of caste system. I’m not quite sure the Palestinians living in a Greater Israel would fit in as an “equal human being”… but I may be wrong.”

        You are. There is no caste system in Israel.

    • robin
      June 16, 2010, 1:42 pm

      wondering jew, I disagree on maybe one or two points but overall this is a very open-minded and realistic post. I don’t think melka is giving you the benefit of the doubt here.

      There is some Israeli interest in an annexation of the West Bank (although its hardly the dominant view), which would improve the political and overall status of West Bank Palestinians at least. And I agree that Fatah may be wedded to the idea of partition due to power calculations. They see more power and perhaps more leeway to exploit that power as the indefinite ruling party of a quasi-state, vs. as one of several political parties in a unified Palestine/Israel. (Remember that their current hold on power is derived to a large extent from undemocratic, repressive methods that may not be available in a stable democracy.) That to me would explain why they can’t talk about the one-state option, except as a weak bluff.

      I disagree that Palestinian immigration should somehow be tied to Jewish immigration. You are correct that the right of Jewish immigration is non-negotiable for most Israeli Jews. It is just as important for Palestinians–only less attainable because of the power imbalance. Immigration should be unlimited for both groups. Both should have the right in live in and participate in the life of their homeland.

      • azythos
        June 16, 2010, 2:51 pm

        Robin: “…the right of Jewish immigration is non-negotiable for most Israeli Jews”

        Problem is, banning the despicable practice of race-or-religion-based selective immigration is a non-negotiable issue not only for all civilized nations but all members of the UN, theoretically even for the US.

        “Immigration should be unlimited for both groups. Both should have the right in live in and participate in the life of their homeland.”

        I can’t believe anyone could have written the above.
        Homeland? One does not _immigrate_ into one’s homeland. Palestinians and offspring would return, not immigrate.

        Russians Poles Germans Brooklyners can keep out, even if they have a double “citizenship” but are not living there. In fact, strictly speaking, sending back all the adult-immigrated ones with double citizenship is a legitimate issue.

      • robin
        June 16, 2010, 5:19 pm

        It’s not clear to me how a more open immigration policy could be described as a “despicable practice” (by a non-xenophobe). I hope my use of the term “immigration” is not misconstrued, I did not use it to suggest any lack of legitimacy. I accept that “return” is the appropriate phrase for even foreign-born Palestinians.

        But, why would that not be the case for Jews as well? For anyone not born there, the concept of homeland is not an objective, physical status. It is a mental connection. Yes Palestinians in most cases have a more recent family connection to the physical land. But at what point does one lose a homeland? How many generations does it take to be considered an immigrant in the pejorative sense?

        There is no possible categorical distinction between people who consider a place they have never lived to be their “homeland”. At most, there is a difference of degree in the number of generations removed, which obviously does not have a strict correlation with the strength of attachment. If you want to set a boundary in there (5 generations?), you would be doing so arbitrarily in a way that clearly hurts one group. We may argue that 2nd or 3rd generation Palestinian refugees are not absent by choice, but by acts of force. But Jews will argue the same thing about the period prior to 1948.

        If you want to suggest that there be no ethnic or origin-based criteria for immigration, and that it be unlimited for everyone, I would agree with you on that. But that is a pretty utopian concept in today’s world; I’m not sure if it is practiced by any country. There are less controversial and more urgent issues to be resolved.

        And simply, given a political framework of equality, what is the harm in allowing in more people? Shouldn’t this be an easy concession to make in order to end a century of violence and domination?

  26. Citizen
    June 16, 2010, 7:59 am

    What if they put the solution to a UN vote, the same way Israel was cut a partition share to call its own in the first place? Remember the behind the scenes pressures and bribery the first time around? That would happen again, but this time the internet would be watching.

  27. hophmi
    June 16, 2010, 9:08 am

    The UN has already given its opinion on the matter. It’s UNSC 242, and it calls for a negotiated solution.

  28. pineywoodslim
    June 16, 2010, 2:20 pm

    Having grown up in the American South in the 1950’s, I can say that back then the concept of desegregation and full racial equality was absolutely impossible to imagine for most people, black or white. And the history of black and white in the South is/was certainly as violent as the bad blood between Israelis and Palestinians. But, that changed within a few years time. So perhaps there is hope.

    Also, as problematic as Belgium and Quebec may be, either one is a far better example of tolerance and justice than the current state of things in Palestine.

  29. DavidHeap
    June 16, 2010, 3:14 pm

    it seems like all the high-profile one-state advocates (except Meron Benvenisti) reside overseas.</

    Omar Barghouti and Haidar Eid reside in West Bank and Gaza, respectively. Check out the One Democratic State Group link to before making such uninformed, dismissive claims.

    • robin
      June 16, 2010, 5:25 pm

      Wow, I had not seen this group before. Their advisory board is the cream of the crop. Makes me proud to call myself a “one-stater”.

  30. traintosiberia
    June 24, 2010, 3:05 pm

    I will express aginst myself here. Palestinian should be given full citizenship in the accecpting countries like Canada,US,Australia,and Libya and Western Sahra-Morocco /Russia/Kagakhistan who have lands to absorb them .Jerusalem should be handed over to UN. Israel once for all agree to a border and stop encroaching on other countriy’s territories. The border should be enforced with military made of different nations. Israel should bear the financial burden of settling the Palestinian .
    US should then stop giving freebies toIsrael and Egypt .

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