Mearsheimer: There will be no two-state solution, only a greater Israel, and Palestinians will need the int’l community in the coming fight against apartheid

on 84 Comments

Something you won’t see on American television: Al Jazeera ran a long piece on the peace talks (linked here at Pulse.). "Empire" host Marwan Bishara is incisive; he speaks of the "Zionist lobby" and the emergence of a state in Kosovo with far less rigmarole than the endless peace process. His guests, on barstools in a rooftop interview in view of the White House, are Nabil Shaath of the P.A., former negotiator Rob Malley, and John Mearsheimer.

Mearsheimer is unbound. He dispels Malley’s assertion that Israel can cobble together a Palestinian state. He helps to elicit from Shaath wonderful statements, including the description of Israelis as "control freaks" and the simple explanation of why Palestinians, even Fatah Palestinians, cannot recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Some Mearsheimer soundbites:

"The talks are going to fail and who’s going to be blamed– the Palestinians."

[Obama has caved to Netanyahu twice. In July, Obama invited Netanyahu to the White House and] "treated him like visiting royalty. He’s 0 for 2. He’s bringing these two leaders to Washington with no sense of how they’re going to reach agreement… Israel holds virtually all the cards in this game… And President Obama has proved clearly that he’s incapable of putting pressure on Israel… The [cause] is very simple, the Israel lobby here in the United States.

"The peace process was not a major step forward because it’s led nowhere and has provided perfect cover to the Israelis to continue colonization… The peace process is a charade….

"Where is this all headed?.. You’re going to end up with a greater Israel.

You already have a greater Israel. It’s going to be one state. The Palestinians are going to have a handful of enclaves inside that state, one of which is the Gaza Strip, and there will be three or four in the West Bank. This will be an apartheid state… That’s where it’s headed. But it’s Israel in the driver’s seat. And the United States is merely Israel’s lawyer…

"How [can] the international community… facilitate the two state solution? I think that question is largely irrelevant. There’s not going to be a two-state solution. There’s going to be a greater Israel, and the Palestinians are going to live in a greater Israel. The reason that the international community is of enormous importance to the Palestinians is because the big fight that lies ahead is going to involve democracy inside of that greater Israel. What the Israelis are going to try to do is keep the Palestinians boxed up in Bantustans… The South African model, that’s correct."

[Malley says Mearsheimer underestimates the Israeli ability to create a state.]

"The question is, Are they going to give the Palestinians a viable state? They’ll give the Palestinians a handful of bantustans and call it a state….. The Palestinians will not accept anything short of a viable state, anything short of a state that’s based on the Clinton parameters… And there is no Israeli government now or in the future that will do that. And you’ll end up with a greater Israel. And therefore the international community will be very important because of the South African analogy.

"The two state solution is in my view the ideal solution… No, Washington cannot deliver. We’re wasting our time. This is a charade, this is not serious. This is a charade… You’re going to get a one-state solution. And it’s not clear that it’s not in the Palestinians’ interest to go for a one state solution over a two-state solution."

Throughout the 90s, Israel would not allow the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

"Clinton stabbed Arafat in the back… When these talks fail, you can rest assured that the knife will go in the back of the Palestinians and not the Israelis…"

Then this from Shaath: "The Israelis are control freaks. They control everything that we do."

Bishara: "Will you recognize the Jewish state?"

Shaath: "Of course not." To do so would be to put in jeopardy the Palestinians in Israel, and foreclose the right of return.

84 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    September 7, 2010, 9:14 am

    Maybe Mearsheimer’s comments are true. If he feels that the two-state solution is the best, why isn’t defining the characteristics that in his mind comprise viability, rather than just flying off the handle in desparation.

    Indefatifable motivation for peace, or weary and fatigued?

    Even Netanyahu’s demands are not that big a deal. They are real concerns, that distinguish an agreement that is confident from one that is a gamble. If Palestine accomplishes Israel’s security needs, and then states we cannot think of you sincerely as the Jewish democratic state of Israel, but only as the Democratic state of Israel, but we respect your right to exist as Israel, then I expect Netanyahu will be forced to say “this is good”.

    The paths described all STILL end in negotiation. Even the Hamas version of “resistance”. War ends in negotiation (on unilateral withdrawal).

    To criticize negotiaton is then to say nothing.

    To avoid negotiation is to risk, and to risk severely. Those that are angry fighting with those that are angry leave a lot of holes and a lot of civilians in deep pain and despair, and MUCH worse than present conditions.

    • Chaos4700
      September 7, 2010, 9:30 am

      Even Netanyahu’s demands are not that big a deal.

      Why do you keep making excuses for Netanyahu? You keep saying you disapprove of the ethnic cleansing and colonization of Palestinian land, but then you back it up with every ounce of your rhetoric, at every opportunity.

      How come Israel has the right to use military force to remove Palestinian families from land they’ve lived on for generations? You’ve never answered that question.

    • Citizen
      September 7, 2010, 10:43 am

      What I heard Mearsheimer repeating again and again was not any preference for 2S or 1S but that in view of past peace processes and present and on-going facts on the ground the 2S solution is impossible and hence the current peace process set up is a sham, a charade. And that, he goes on to say, is why only Netanayuh is beaming. Mearsheimer says at best the Obama folks are naive to think otherwise, especially in view
      of the fact that twice they confronted Netanayuh, and both times they lost. The reason? Mearsheimer says it’s simple: the power of AIPAC (the Zionist configuration in America), which is the only relevant other as happy as Netanayuh. Why are those two so happy? Because they know Obama has no choice. Early in the video Obama is shown saying “When I visit AIPAC I’m amongst friends, good friends.”

      It’s also pointed out in the video clip that there is the Chaney Lobby (Republican Right) partnering with the Israel Lobby. And that whereas (the quickly settled issue of )Kosovo included international intervention, whereas the US-AIPAC regime set up Uncle Sam as the sole Intervenor.

    • Citizen
      September 7, 2010, 2:13 pm

      Witty, you write as if reality does not create rational and reasonable skepticism. link to

    • Koshiro
      September 7, 2010, 4:28 pm

      “Even Netanyahu’s demands are not that big a deal.”
      Are you blind? Netanyahu keeps coming up with conditions that have one purpose, and one purpose only: To be humiliating and unacceptable to the Palestinians. His Jordan valley annexation plans, demilitarisation, recognition as the “Nation-state of the Jewish people”, and his newest stunt, the asinine idea that implementation of the Palestinian state should take 30-40 years.
      The whole point for Netanyahu is to emerge with the status quo, which suits him just fine, and see to it that the Palestinian side is blamed for it. In fact, that’s been the Israeli game for decades.

    • Shingo
      September 7, 2010, 4:44 pm

      “Even Netanyahu’s demands are not that big a deal. ”

      Sure. He simply demands that Israeli settlement continue being built on Palestinian land and demands that the 1967 border be ignored.

      In other words, Netanyahu’s demands mean no Palestnian state. No Big deal right Witty?

    • Bumblebye
      September 7, 2010, 6:13 pm


      You claim Netanyahu’s demands are not “that big a deal”. Obviously not to you. Doesn’t change your life one whit, does it Witty?

      “real concerns”? Like the gross distortion of democracy that comes from allowing settlers over the green line to vote in Israeli elections? The Palestinian representatives should demand that this franchise be withdrawn from the settlers, something that would probably leave Israelis (within the state proper) feeling freed from their voracious demands and more able to exercise some control over the situation. Shouldn’t be a big deal either, since it won’t affect you. Might even be a majority on both sides in favor – a possible first!

      • Richard Witty
        September 8, 2010, 4:00 pm

        Recognition as a Jewish state and security are the two demands that he defined as necessary to realize peace.

        The Palestinian negotiator referred to Jewish as a disqualifying characteristic, that it implies sanction for loss of civil rights to non-Jews within Israel.

        That is a possibility if Israel grows fascist, that the Jewish AND equal civil rights with wither.

        But, if peace is realized and civil relations emerge, its equally likely (especially if civil-minded Arabs and Jews, civil in contrast to nationalist) that Israel will lean far to the democratic of its joint formula.

        But, if Palestine is to be Palestinian majority and not just democratic, then their goals are identical, that Israel recognize Palestine as the Palestinian national state, no?

        How is it a substantive objection?

        If the formula is two states for two peoples?

        Wouldn’t that interpretation that a state cannot be simultaneously nationalist and democratic, remove Palestine from the criteria as a valid state? Applying in either form, single-state or two-state.

  2. seafoid
    September 7, 2010, 9:14 am

    Wow. Discussion of the real Palestinian situation on TV. It is actually possible.
    What’s Malley going to do for work when the peace process ceases?

    • Kathleen
      September 7, 2010, 10:43 am

      “when the peace process ceases” If only that was a real possibility
      In the report “succession of failures going on for years” You can say that again.

      this is an important report to spread around the blog world. Link at other sites.

      Hillary and Netanyahu look like they are in love.

      The changing map and Palestinian lands being swallowed needs to be on our MSM. Bet Rachel Maddow etc will never show this changing map on their programs. Will not hold my breath for that.

      Thanks Phil

    • Sumud
      September 7, 2010, 1:35 pm

      ..on TV yes, just not in the US as Al Jazeera English has extremely limited availability.

      link to

      It’s broadcast online via but I recall hearing after the flotilla murders that this was blocked in the US. Is it?

  3. potsherd
    September 7, 2010, 9:51 am

    If the international community will let Israel get away with turning Gaza into a combination prison and bombing target, why does Mearshimer suppose that they will involve themselves into what the Israelis will certainly describe as internal matters involving Israeli citizens, first and second class.

    The talks will fail, the Palestinians will be stuck with the blame, the Jim Crow Greater Israel will become official, and the official line will be, “What are you complaining about? The occupation is over.”

    • seafoid
      September 7, 2010, 10:49 am

      I don’t think the international community will tolerate the situation in Gaza long term. It’s too volatile and the injustice of the treatment of the Palestinians there is a serious generator of hatred of Israel in the Middle East. Gaza is just another dumb application of intense Israeli violence a la the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 that has no long term strategic point.

      There will be more Gaza flotillas and BDS can only get stronger. I wouldn’t be an Israeli today. I wouldn’t think the current situation can last indefinitely.

      • Elliot
        September 7, 2010, 11:38 am

        Seafoid – I disagree. Untenable situations can go on indefinitely. If Israel and the US can claim success at resolving the WB, Gaza will become less urgent. As has been stated here before, Israelis live in a cocoon and they are not too troubled by any of this.

      • piotr
        April 8, 2012, 12:58 am

        Our housing market was an untenable situation that was suppose to go on indefinitely.

        Elliot: Gaza is needed as a shooting gallery and Areas A, B, C for different varieties of “contact sport”. Before a deep crisis Israel will resolve nothing.

        USA and Israel can claim anything, but they will matter less and less.

      • potsherd
        September 7, 2010, 12:07 pm

        Seafoid, I think you think much too highly of the conscience of the international community. It has tolerated the Palestinian refugee situation for 60 years.

      • Sumud
        September 7, 2010, 2:35 pm

        Governments have tolerated it – their citizens have been largely ignorant of it until probably the last decade. Thanks to the internet and social media the real history of Israel and Palestine is becoming known. The Idiot’s wars on Afghanistan and Iraq (and Pakistan and Yemen) have also probably helped, by forcing westerners to really look at the Middle East. Long overdue.

        I have an old Pan-Am “World Guide” from 1976. The Sinai is described almost correctly as territory under “Israel Military Administration”, but the West Bank and Gaza are depicted on maps as belonging completely to Israel. The occupation isn’t mentioned. The word Palestine and Palestinians aren’t used. They don’t exist. The Dome of the Rock bizarrely appears in the Jordan entry, as though you might stumble across it in Amman.

        I haven’t read deeply into post-1967 history but I do recall that the spate of late 60s/early 70s plane hijackings by various Palestinian groups were largely an exercise in PR, conducted in the spirit of “We are Palestinians, and we exist”, since until that time they had been completely dismissed as generic “arabs”. You can see exactly this attitude of dismissal in Abba Eban’s late 50s interview with Mike Wallace, where he casually brushes aside Israel’s territorial expansions of 1948/9 by stating “the arabs” have plenty of land and “little Israel” has hardly any.. And Mike Wallace is satisfied and moves on, after Eban solemnly promises Israel has no further plans for territorial expansion..

        The point is, there has been progress, however glacially slow. We can watch a film now like Sands of Sorrow (1951), and broadly understand it and the context: Naqba – the refugees, the massacres, the death marches, the destruction of ~500 villages, the looting en-masse of Palestinians property, the camps, and so on. But at the time that film was made, and for a few decades after, very few people outside the ME knew about it. Now we have European Governments beginning to participate in BDS campaigns. It’s frustrating Apartheid in South Africa started after Al Naqba and ended formally 15 years ago – but we are on the home stretch.

      • seafoid
        September 8, 2010, 9:10 am

        Israel is built on shoddy foundations. I think Morocco will get away with Western Sahara and China with Tibet but I can’t see Israel doing it. The link to Islam is the thing. Plus Israelis are far too arrogant. And nobody wants to make aliyeh nowadays. And there are only 5 million of them anyway. And Israel depends on open trade. And is so vulnerable to boycotts. And ultimately it is on the wrong side of the Mediterranean.

        Plus everyone in Egypt and Lebanon hates Israel. You need to build links with the neighbours to thrive. And you need to replicate the success with the US generation in their 50s with the succeeding generation. And that is hard now. And Israel depends on its secular workers to keep the whole show on the road. They are slowly being diluted by the Orthodox. Also the hasbara gets more and more desperate. Zionism is a very brittle ideology.

        It all smacks of a temporary triumph. Like a sports team that is in the middle of a 4 in a row but will one day be beaten.

    • Citizen
      September 7, 2010, 10:50 am

      Good question, potsherd. I think the hope is that the world also let apartheid S Africa get away with it for a long time, but eventually
      that system was ended via BDS. OTH, the Zionists can always blow smoke by crying SHOAH whereas the Boer regime couldn’t; in fact they were
      handicapped in the long run by historic white guilt over both slavery and colonialism.

  4. hophmi
    September 7, 2010, 10:11 am

    Mearsheimer’s view is the same as it was 10 or 15 years ago. The difference is that he’s now a partisan, rather than a realist, and he seems to have less sympathy for Israel’s geopolitical position. In 2001, in an op-ed entitled “The Impossible Partition,” he articulated his view that the Clinton parameters offered the Palestinians a truncated sovereignty they were not likely to accept but also wrote that: “Because of security needs, Israel cannot grant the Palestinians a truly independent state of their own…[C]ommon sense says that Israel should not let the Palestinians acquire the capability to settle old scores.

    In sum, it is hard to see how the Palestinians could get a viable state that would not threaten Israel. Independence for the Palestinians and security for the Israelis are fundamentally incompatible…Israel cannot be secure alongside a securely independent Palestinian state.”

    So apparently, he understood Israeli security needs before he forgot about them. Given these views, it is hard to read his current outlook as anything but a wholesale rejection of Israel, not as the friendly criticism from a two-state solution supporters that Mearsheimer claims it is. Mearsheimer does not believe the two state solution is viable. He’s merely taken a side since then.

    I mean, to see him write about the international community helping the Palestinians makes me laugh, because I know that as a realist, he doesn’t really believe in the ability of the international community to do things like that.

    Mearsheimer also believes in ethnically homogeneous states. In 1993, during the Bosnia situation, he wrote “First, ethnically homogeneous states must be created…We should create instead a Bosnian state peopled almost exclusively by Muslims, a Croatian state for Croatians and a Serbian state made up mainly of Serbians. ”

    link to

    He wrote that to accomplish this, “Perhaps one million people — approximately 600,000 Muslims, 300,000 Serbs and 100,000 Croats — will have to move.”


    • Citizen
      September 7, 2010, 11:03 am

      It’s less that he forgot about Israel’s security needs, then that he sees they
      will drag down his own country, increasing its vulnerability with no end in sight. In this sense, as others have observed here recently on this blog,
      increasing also is the parallel number of high US military officers and veterans who see the same dilemna. There’s a lesson here from some US domestic issues, from Obamacare and illegal immigration. Eventually too, the I-P thing will be seen by the masses as a domestic issue too, which is what it is. Rubber bands break.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        September 7, 2010, 11:45 am

        I think you mean domestic in the sense that it’s a foreign policy issue that matters on the home front.

        In this interview in Seattle Jeff Halper is trying to make the I/P conflict a domestic issue in the strict sense: he sees Israel as a leader in the security industry and as a model for future forms of oppression at home.
        link to . It may not be enough to move people but it’s an interesting angle. I like Halper.

        The introduction part of the movie is mostly known I think so the beginning can be skipped. He touches on other issues, such as the dependency of Israel on the US and how it goes far beyond the 3billion/year argument (or the more general direct financial advantages) to technology links and security knowhow.

      • Citizen
        September 7, 2010, 12:04 pm

        Yes, Tuyzentfloot, that’s what I meant. But I also agree with Halper’s sense; there’s no doubt that the US has been absorbing the Israeli model on the pure domestic front under the rubric of homeland security measures and as well, there is a tremendous enmeshment between the two countries in technology–additionally Israel pirates are patents and sells whatever the US essentially gives them on the sly whereever it wants to regardless of the interests of the US. That’s the payback for making Israel our ever needy super welfare state companion.

    • potsherd
      September 7, 2010, 12:16 pm

      he doesn’t really believe in the ability of the international community to do things like that.

      Or rather, the will.

      Israel’s “security” is nothing more than a buzzword for rejectionism. It enables Israel to turn down any agreement since it would not guarantee perfect security – which is an impossible condition. Thus any agreement becomes and impossible outcome.

      Israel managed to make peace with both Jordan and Egypt even without guarantees of “security.” Both states have a military establishment. Both are capable of doing more harm to Israel than all the Palestinians put together. Israel managed to trust them regardless to keep the peace, as they have done now for decades.

      The difference is, Israel actually wanted peace with Jordan and Egypt.

      • hophmi
        September 7, 2010, 1:51 pm

        “The difference is, Israel actually wanted peace with Jordan and Egypt.”

        And peace actually got Israel something; increased security, at least on the Southern front. And Israel got these things because Egypt realized that it could not defeat Israel militarily.

        Both sides need to offer something for there to be an agreement. If the Palestinians cannot offer security, what is the point of negotiation?

      • Eva Smagacz
        September 7, 2010, 5:54 pm

        Hophmi, you wrote:

        “Both sides need to offer something for there to be an agreement. If the Palestinians cannot offer security, what is the point of negotiation?”

        I think you are right, and there will be no agreement between Palestinians and Israelis, because Palestinians have nothing to offer Israel (well, with exception of self immolation, I suppose)

        However, the “peace process” negotiations are taking place to create an illusion of peaceful intent on behalf of Israelis, and that means that Israelis think that world opinion is worth paying attention to.

        So, conversely, the world opinion is a powerful party in these negotiations even if it is an invisible one. So you and me are actors in this drama, because we have means of waking up the conscience of ordinary people who are becoming revolted when they learn the macabre reality of occupation. Quite a responsibility on our shoulders, wouldn’t you say?

      • Shingo
        September 7, 2010, 6:18 pm

        “. And Israel got these things because Egypt realized that it could not defeat Israel militarily.”

        Egypt would have defeated Israel militarily had Nixon not come to Israel’s rescue.

      • Chaos4700
        September 7, 2010, 7:46 pm

        And Israel got these things because Egypt realized that it could not defeat Israel militarily.

        Yeah. Germans used to pretend that the French thought that about Germans, too.

      • potsherd
        September 7, 2010, 8:08 pm

        Don’t be a frier, don’t give something for nothing. The problem being, the Palestinians have nothing to give. Israel has already taken it all.

        But you seem to be evading the point, hophmi. What Israel is demanding is what no one can give. There are no guarantees that Palestine could conceivably offer that Israel would accept. That’s the entire point of the demand. It’s like insisting on a squared circle as a condition of peace, to be sure that no agreement is ever met.

        And certainly no one is talking about security for Palestinians, although they are far more in need of it than Israel. Can Israel guarantee that no new Baruch Goldstein will ever show up in the neighborhood mosque, blasting away? If not, why are the same demands made of Palestinians? Only to avoid an agreement.

      • hophmi
        September 12, 2010, 4:18 pm

        Where? In the Sinai desert?

      • Sin Nombre
        September 7, 2010, 2:19 pm

        potsherd wrote:

        “Israel’s “security” is nothing more than a buzzword for rejectionism.”

        This is a deep, deep point with many implications.

      • hophmi
        September 12, 2010, 4:18 pm

        It’s a false point that ignores the humanity of the Israelis.

      • Shingo
        September 12, 2010, 5:31 pm

        No it’s a real point that illistrates the fact taht only Israel’s security is ever regarded as noteworthy, while security of Palestinians is ignored completely.

    • Avi
      September 7, 2010, 12:55 pm

      Notice how hophmi and shwartzman showed up at the same time.

      Some keyword must have set their Megaphone software off, so they came running.

      • potsherd
        September 7, 2010, 1:04 pm

        Better those two than some who seem to sleep with their RSS feed connected to the alarm clock.

      • Avi
        September 7, 2010, 1:46 pm


        There’s probably a gadget that does that, too.

      • Surcouf
        September 7, 2010, 1:41 pm

        Avi – the keyword that set them off is Mearsheimer. Prof. Mearsheimer cuts to the chase and lays it bare for everyone to see.

        From his presentation ”The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners” at the Palestinian Center in Washington, DC, last April:

        ”Regrettably, the two-state solution is now a fantasy. Instead, those territories will be incorporated into a “Greater Israel,” which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa. Nevertheless, a Jewish apartheid state is not politically viable over the long term. In the end, it will become a democratic bi-national state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens. In other words, it will cease being a Jewish state, which will mean the end of the Zionist dream.”

        Video & Transcript

        Now, if I were a Zionist, this would be the source of nightmares. And Mearsheimer cannot be silenced or intimidated, and when these talks fail, I suspect that we might see more of him because of what will come up next.

      • hophmi
        September 7, 2010, 1:49 pm

        “Mearsheimer cannot be silenced or intimidated…” HAHAHA. Neither can all of the other people who speak out on this issue. One thing is for sure. You people are not silent.

        Mearsheimer is being disingenuous. As I demonstrated, he did not believe a two-state solution was possible ten years ago, and he chalked it up to the gap between Israeli security needs and Palestinian terrorial demands.

      • Shingo
        September 7, 2010, 6:11 pm

        “Mearsheimer is being disingenuous. As I demonstrated, he did not believe a two-state solution was possible ten years ago, and he chalked it up to the gap between Israeli security needs and Palestinian terrorial demands.”

        You still haven’t answeredy question Homphi. You said this position made Meareshimer a realist.

        Do you consider yourself a realist and if so, do you oppose a 2 state solution?

      • Chaos4700
        September 7, 2010, 7:47 pm

        “Palestinian territorial demands,” huh? I didn’t know that not having your ancestral home flattened by a bulldozer to put up a Jewish-exclusive gated community was a “demand.”

      • potsherd
        September 7, 2010, 8:10 pm

        If an antiZionist speaks up in the woods, does anyone hear? Who controls the programming?

      • hophmi
        September 12, 2010, 4:22 pm

        What question? Who asked a question?

        Mearsheimer is without question a realist, and as a realist, he understands that Israel has legitimate security needs and that, according to his worldview, a deal is unlikely because the Palestinians cannot provide the Israelis with any security.

      • Chaos4700
        September 12, 2010, 7:25 pm

        Not without just falling over dead and letting the Israelis bulldoze over their corpses to build more strip malls, night clubs and gated communities anyway.

      • hophmi
        September 7, 2010, 1:46 pm

        Don’t know what you’re insinuating hear, but I have Mondoweiss on my Google Reader, so I respond as I see stuff come up.

        Anything of substance to say?

      • Avi
        September 7, 2010, 5:08 pm

        hophmi September 7, 2010 at 1:46 pm

        Don’t know what you’re insinuating hear, but I have Mondoweiss on my Google Reader, so I respond as I see stuff come up.

        Anything of substance to say?

        I wasn’t insinuating anything. In fact, I thought my comment was rather blunt and direct, enough to be understood.

        As for “substance”, I think that was rather substantial considering how Israeli hasbara operates. Don’t ya think?

        By the way, your slightly delayed reaction time might have something to do with the software. Do you have the latest version? You can get it here:

        link to

      • hophmi
        September 12, 2010, 4:24 pm

        Not being involved with Israeli hasbara, I have no idea how it operates. To the extent that I’ve seen it, I think it is pretty damned mediocre.

        Look, Avi, you have a predictable enough opinion. You just don’t have much respect for anyone who dissents from it. I get it.

      • Chaos4700
        September 12, 2010, 5:19 pm

        Excuse me? Who are you guys to talk about not having respect for people who dissent?

        How many people from our side have put out anyone’s eye with a tear gas canister?

      • Shingo
        September 12, 2010, 5:28 pm

        “You just don’t have much respect for anyone who dissents from it. I get it.”

        What yo don’t get is that like most intelligent and discerning people, Avi is open to dissenting oponions if they are based on facts. Otherwise, opinions are like…well know that rest, everybody has one.

    • Sumud
      September 7, 2010, 2:41 pm

      Got a special interest in Mearsheimer have you?

      Quite impressive, being able to whip out some NYT article he wrote in 1993, and another which he maybe (you haven’t given us a source) wrote in 2001.

      • hophmi
        September 12, 2010, 4:27 pm

        The 2001 article I got from Lexis-Nexis. The 1993 article is from the NY Times website.

        I remembered the op-ed well, but it is no longer on the Times website for some reason, so I had to find it another way. In searching for it, I came across the earlier piece.

    • Shingo
      September 7, 2010, 4:52 pm

      “Mearsheimer’s view is the same as it was 10 or 15 years ago.”
      That’s probably because nothing has changed in 10 to 15 years. In fact, they’ve become worse.

      “In sum, it is hard to see how the Palestinians could get a viable state that would not threaten Israel.”

      Isn’t it interesting how the question is always put to consider Israel’s concerns but not the Palestinians? Wouldn’t an Israeli state threaten a Palestinian one?

      “So apparently, he understood Israeli security needs before he forgot about them.”

      So I take it you oppose the creation of a Palestinian state on the grounds that Israel cannot be secure alongside a securely independent Palestinian state?

      To take that further Homphi, are you suggesting that anyone concered with Israel’s security cannot possibly be a supporter of a 2 state solution? If that is the case, then you must logically support the alternative, which is an apartheid Jewish state.

      After all, that is the realist position, is it not?

      • hophmi
        September 12, 2010, 4:30 pm

        No, I am for the creation of a Palestinian state and believe that are ways to get it done without endangering the lives of Israelis. I think Mearsheimer is wrong. I remembered his 2001 op-ed because of that, and also because it was pretty much identical to what Robert Kaplan, another hard-core realist, wrote on the issue.

      • Chaos4700
        September 12, 2010, 5:20 pm

        You say you are for the creation of a Palestinian state. Are you for the mandated removal of all of the illegal settlements Israel has built on the West Bank? All of them?

      • Shingo
        September 12, 2010, 5:29 pm

        “No, I am for the creation of a Palestinian state and believe that are ways to get it done without endangering the lives of Israelis. ”

        Last week you were arguing that the realist position was the a Palestinian state was imposible without endangering the lives of Israelis.

        What’s changed since then?

  5. Jim Haygood
    September 7, 2010, 10:24 am

    One of the Palestinian negotiators said the ‘peace process’ is like negotiating with Israel about splitting a pizza, while Israel wolfs down the pizza.

    It isn’t surprising that Israel would do this. But One-Term Obama is a sucker for lending his presidential prestige to such a sham. Playing Stepin Fetchit for the Lobby is gonna cost him.

    Mearsheimer is quite right that the South African bantustans serve as the Israeli model. By drawing artificial borders around its black population, apartheid South Africa could retain its international borders while excluding blacks from nationality and the vote, thus maintaining white majority control. Israel’s obsession is the same: retaining Jewish majority control at all costs. ‘One person, one vote’ in a unified state would mean sweeping away the Law of Return, and the rest of the chauvinist Jewish-supremacist legislation.

    One person, one vote, one New Palestine: coming soon to a Holy Land near you!

    • eljay
      September 7, 2010, 10:58 am

      > One of the Palestinian negotiators said the ‘peace process’ is like negotiating with Israel about splitting a pizza, while Israel wolfs down the pizza.

      True, but the Israel – sensing that the Palestinians are “humanizing ‘the Other'” and making “better wheels” instead of fighting for what is rightfully theirs – will undoubtedly leave for the Palestinians a few bits of crust with some sauce and cheese on. Both sides get something, and the “humanists” get to rave about the glorious achievements of discourse over dissent.

    • Citizen
      September 7, 2010, 11:06 am

      Apartheid S Africa & Israel were great pals, veritable mutual aid societies; Israel was the last to disown that relationship, with good reason.

  6. Richard Witty
    September 7, 2010, 11:05 am

    I just saw the whole video.

    I agree with the request for a confidently viable Palestinian state, symbolic and partially substantive right of return – particularly for those individuals denied their day in court, and for reform to realize actual equal individual rights for all within Israel.

    I find the “predictions” to be self-destructive. There is very strong basis for suspicion. To exagerate one’s predictive powers into fact, is fraud.

    “I don’t see how”, is a different statement than “It can’t possibly happen”. One is a humble recognition that one does not see everything. If the articulation of that was not also a contributor to the difficulty of peace talks, then it would be innocuous. Its not though.

    I was also struck by how frequently EVERY commentator interrupted and more or less dictated to the Palestinian Dr Shaath, interrupting frequently, lecturing him.

    I was also struck by how Dr Shaath described that simplistic judgements of “lack of progress” were innaccurate, that incremental improvement had occurred.

    Everyone notes that the prospect of a functional single state through incremental annexation is a future possibility. Those that speak as if it has already occurred, will likely drop the ball, that maybe could have been caught.

    During a “hail Mary” pass, there is not an alternative play being conducted with a second ball. The investment of the parties is in the pass. Plans for the next play, certainly, but finishing the job is the order of the day.

    • Citizen
      September 7, 2010, 12:09 pm

      Obama should toss out a hail Mary pass directly to the settlement issue, as Abbas is now begging him to do–live up to the Cairo Speech. The world would be happy at merely that, but he will drop the ball. He’s playing baskeball with himself, as he did with Obamacare.

    • eljay
      September 7, 2010, 12:22 pm

      >> During a “hail Mary” pass, there is not an alternative play being conducted with a second ball. The investment of the parties is in the pass. Plans for the next play, certainly, but finishing the job is the order of the day.

      Another mess-up analogy. There is no “second ball”, but the pass is just part of the play, and manoeuvering by both sides continues until the play is complete. Or do you believe that one the pass is thrown, all the players on both teams just stop moving and watch the ball sail gracefully through the air?

    • RoHa
      September 7, 2010, 9:35 pm

      What is a “hail Mary” pass, and how does it work as a metaphor?

      Ninety Percent of the world would like to know.

      • James North
        September 7, 2010, 9:51 pm

        It is a metaphor from American football, a last-second desperation measure that succeeds about once every ten years.

      • RoHa
        September 8, 2010, 6:01 am

        Hardly anyone in the real world understands American Football (though probably more than understand Aussie Rules) so your explanation of the metaphorical force is exactly what we need.

  7. Kathleen
    September 7, 2010, 11:27 am

    Sure wish they would have allowed Mearsheimer to finish. They kept interrupting him.

    “Greater Israel with Palestinian bantustans”

    Mearsheimer kept repeating the reality that is taking place on the ground.

  8. Kathleen
    September 7, 2010, 11:39 am

    Mearsheimer..after this charade “the knife will go into the back of the Palestinians not the Israeli’s”

    Hope folks link this important interview at other sites

    • Citizen
      September 7, 2010, 12:11 pm

      I’d bet on it, Kathleen, and I am not a gambler. I agree, pass this one on around the internet, including Tweet & FB.

      • Kathleen
        September 7, 2010, 2:08 pm

        Had the pleasure of meeting Mearsheimer at the Ohio University Baker Peace Conference. He was on a panel with Ledeen, Leon Fuerth, some other person and Mearsheimer (this was before the I lobby book came out).

        I asked the panel if Israel should be pushed to sign the IAEA’s Non Proliferation Treaty agreement? Ledeen responded first to my question “you don’t like Israel do you” I looked at him and told him not to put words in my mouth and asked him to answer the question. He danced around it. Fuerth did the same. Then the moderator interrupted because the O.U. community started to get agitated by the avoidance.

        Went up to Mearsheimer after the panel discussion and he told me about the upcoming book and stated “of course they should sign, no question about it” Talked more. Mearsheimer totally accessible

    • Walid
      September 7, 2010, 12:25 pm

      Palestinians have a long record of getting it in the back as far back as 1920 with the first Hachemites and it never stopped since then. Rafah is a good current example.

  9. Bumblebye
    September 7, 2010, 1:30 pm

    Avi Shlaim today in the Guardian:

    “To get Israelis and Palestinians round a conference table and to tell them to hammer out an agreement is like putting a lion and a lamb in a cage and asking them to sort out their own differences.”

    “…Americans (sic) mediators are utterly ineffectual.”

    link to

    • Avi
      September 7, 2010, 1:49 pm

      I like his opening paragraph:

      The pope, according to a no doubt apocryphal story, maintains that there are two possible solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict – the realistic and the miraculous. The realistic solution involves divine intervention; the miraculous solution involves a voluntary agreement between the parties themselves.

      • Avi
        September 7, 2010, 2:47 pm

        Well, this is strange.

        This is the second post which hasn’t been approved in an hour and I don’t see why it shouldn’t be approve.

        Is a software glitch at Mondoweiss HQ to blame?

      • Bumblebye
        September 7, 2010, 5:46 pm

        Poor Avi.

        It’s very frustrating, all this modding. I keep wanting to knock on the screen and shout “Oi, where are you?! Where’s me bloomin’ comment gone?!”

    • potsherd
      September 7, 2010, 2:30 pm

      I wish he had said “hyena” or “anaconda” instead of the noble image of the lion.

      • Bumblebye
        September 7, 2010, 2:47 pm

        Think instead of the “noble image”, which is fiction, of the reality – the winning lion kills and eats the loser’s cubs.

      • potsherd
        September 7, 2010, 8:12 pm

        But the lion has good PR.

      • Bumblebye
        September 7, 2010, 8:17 pm



        The PRoblem!

  10. Citizen
    September 7, 2010, 2:29 pm

    Mearsheimer is a knight out to slay the dragon. At least we can read him.
    Anybody able to get a copy of Solzhenitsyn’s 200 Years Together?

    link to

  11. Chu
    September 7, 2010, 3:17 pm

    Mearsheimer never sugar coats anything. He’s a realist with a negative outlook on what many see as a ugly stain on US policy.
    There are about 2.5 million in the West Bank, so what will Israel do with these people? They can’t force them to migrate, but can they continue the occupation for another 100 years?

  12. Mohammad Alsaafin
    September 7, 2010, 4:09 pm

    Slightly off topic, but Aljazeera can now be streamed live from it’s website link to

    Thought I might spread the word:) Oh and the host is Azmi Bishara’s brother. Back to your comments…

    • Chaos4700
      September 7, 2010, 7:49 pm

      Cool. Thanks for the info. Also, your family is still in our thoughts. Please give us all an update through Mondoweiss whenever there are updates to be had.

  13. MHughes976
    September 8, 2010, 12:09 pm

    I recall from back in the 70s, when Sadat and Begin were meeting, Sadat’s saying that his position was that the Palestinians should have ‘independence’, Begin’s that they should have ‘self-rule’. At that time I made myself believe that this language indicated that it was only a matter of time before two barely different concepts were reconciled.
    What I seem to see now is that the pretence of self-rule is an essential part of the Allon Plan and that the Allon Plan has been (Diane Mason has demonstrated this with extreme clarity here) the whole story of Israeli policy all along (or allong). Mearsheimer for his part seems to me to demonstrate that Israel is not about to make major concessions. I think he’s less convincing about the Palestinian side, of which he says far less.
    The Palestinian negotiators are mere puppets, who cannot refuse to sign anything demanded by their Western paymasters, who in turn only want the problem to go away. If Netanyahu wants Abbas and his cohorts to put something to a referendum, they will. Israeli policy has surely been bent all these years on making life for the Palestinians so appalling that they will consent, when and if the time comes, to vote in a referendum for the Greater Israel with subordinate population solution. Their quid pro quo will be a reduction in daily humiliation and a big box of money, with a pink ribbon, from the West – worth it if we can get rid of all this silly bother. As an extra, they will get withdrawal from a few settlements, agreed through an Israeli referendum and put into effect with immense drama.
    I’m sure Mearsheimer is right that this will amount to apartheid. But I’m not sure he’s right that there will be no trappings of consent attached to it, which will defend it for decades and more against the fickle, too easily quieted and too easily deceived conscience of the West.
    John Locke, arguing that poor people need some representation, says that people without resources, economic or political, will always in the end have no alternative but to beg for mercy and take any wretched thing left to them.

  14. piotr
    September 8, 2010, 11:22 pm

    I disagree that “the Palestinian negotiators are mere puppets”. Basically, what Netanyahu will offer, no Palestinian quisling will accept. The question is who will get worse PR in the process. I will be surprised if Israel will not, as long as Abbas will not repeat “no counteroffer” mistake. And if you believe that Netanyahu will deliver “a reduction in daily humiliation and a bit pot of money”, examine the reasons why it did not happen already. Daily humiliation is not some mere bargaining chip but the main joy in life for Israelis (at least, the political majority). A pothead would give up pot more easily.

    I also disagree that the international community will never care about Palestinians. There are three large states in the region, Egypt, Turkey and Iran. Right now, Israel is secured by the quisling axis of PA and Egypt, but I doubt if it will last for the next decade. Mubarrak is very old and not in good health. Once Egypt flips, there can be quite a domino effect.

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