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A new proposal for confederated states (without any idea of how to get Israel to comply)

on 54 Comments

Dov Waxman and Dahlia Scheindlin have a proposal up at the Guardian exploring the idea of a “confederal approach” to the one- versus two-state question in Palestine/Israel. They call this the “two-state solution 2.0”.

First read their ideas, and note what’s glaringly missing — anything to change current Israeli policy:

[T]here is another way. It combines elements of both one-state and two-state solutions. It is a confederal approach, proposing two sovereign states, with an open border between them, freedom of movement and residency, and some limited shared governance….

The 1967 ceasefire lines would be the basis for a border, but a different kind of border, not today’s 9m concrete wall, but one aimed at allowing people on both sides to cross freely, to visit their holy places, to work, shop, socialise – in short, to breathe.

…..While each state would decide its own citizenship policies, including laws of return, citizens of one state could be permitted to live as residents in the other (as in the European Union), with each state setting limits on the number of non-citizens granted residency.

This would open up a new way of addressing the intractable issue of Palestinian refugees. Israeli Jews adamantly oppose the right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel proper because they view it as bringing about the end of Israel’s Jewish majority; Palestinians just as resolutely insist on it – indeed it has become the symbolic centrepiece of their national struggle…. In a confederal approach, however, Palestinian refugees who wish to return could live in Israel as residents, but would exercise their full citizenship rights, such as voting in national elections, in Palestine.

De-linking citizenship and residency also helps address the thorny problem of Jewish settlers, who number more than half a million in the West Bank and East Jerusalem…

….. a confederal approach envisions a united Jerusalem as the shared capital of two states….

….a confederation is the idea of establishing some joint institutions and legal mechanisms to facilitate cooperation between the two states, not only in security matters but also in areas such as economic development and management of shared resources….

However far-fetched it may appear, it is the most realistic approach because it accommodates the demands of Israelis and Palestinians for national self-determination…..

I appreciate their creativity and (clearly) positive intentions. However, Waxman and Scheindlin say it is the “most realistic approach” without offering any suggestions on how to get Israel to accept this proposal. Israel is in the driver’s seat; why would the government change a thing?

I think it’s unrealistic and irresponsible, at this juncture, to discuss an “approach” without discussing implementing acceptance.

The two are addressing a British audience and say, “people no longer know what to do about it”.  Yes, we’ve certainly run the gamut on what to do, without applying outside pressure and interference (sanctions for example).

Let’s imagine every person in the US and the UK read this and agreed with it and Palestinians embraced it whole-heartedly — then what? Do you think Israel would agree? Why do they think Israel will change its conduct one iota? And what does that mean for Palestinian human rights? What difference would it make, in practical terms, if we all loved the proposal but the Israeli government didn’t? It just becomes another idea to chew over for years and years — pushing any resolution down the road.

The discussion we should be having is what the global community needs to do to force Israel to comply to a plan — because if they (the global community) are unwilling to do that — new ideas are just an exercise in futility. What conversations should people be having with their elected officials to get them to act — to “approach” making Israel comply with a change of course? Because this article does not go near addressing that “approach”.

Waxman wrote a few years ago it was “too much to expect” that American Jews could bring peace to Israel/Palestine, and I agree with him. That leaves the rest of us.

On a final note, Bradley Burston has had it up to here, again, this time with supporters of BDS.

I’ve had it up to here with the bludgeoning, exclusivist tactics of BDS activists, who attack with immediate and snarkily supremacist condescension any suggestion that there might be other ways to fight occupation.

He thinks the movement is full of mean people who think Israelis are “incapable of listening to reason…all alike, all of them stonehearted, all of them hateful, all of them worthy of being hated.”

No, we’re tired of just deploring the occupation and doing nothing. We’ve tried everything else. Now it’s our turn to do what our governments won’t, after decades. The “approach” we’ve chosen is Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Live with it.

I do appreciate the efforts of Waxman and Scheindlin. But at this point any idea for a solution needs to include at least a notion about Israeli compliance.

Thanks to Ofer Neiman

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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54 Responses

  1. Ramzi Jaber
    May 8, 2016, 10:18 pm

    1S1P1V. No other way.

    • just
      May 8, 2016, 10:50 pm

      Exactly, Ramzi!

      Thanks for this article, Annie. I read it last night , and shook my head for many of the reasons that you have expressed here.

      Now if we could only get sanctions imposed on Israel, along with an absence of the veto at the UN, and a seriously dramatic cut in aid and weapons, implementation of the Leahy Law~ that day will come. BDS will lead the way, not more of this farce of a “peace process”.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 8, 2016, 11:14 pm

        BDS will lead the way

        exactly

      • hophmi
        May 9, 2016, 10:35 am

        How has BDS helped the Palestinians?

        It hasn’t. You’re self-delusional.

      • oldgeezer
        May 9, 2016, 11:04 am

        @hophmi

        Don’t be so patronizing. That is up to the Palestinians who have asked for BDS support to decide. It is certainly not the domain of people, such as yourself, who support war crimes and crimes against humanity.

      • eljay
        May 9, 2016, 11:50 am

        || hophmi: How has BDS helped the Palestinians? It hasn’t. … ||

        How has the establishment by Zio-supremacists of an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and religion-supremacist state in Palestine helped the Palestinians?

        How have the past and on-going (war) crimes committed by Zio-supremacists helped the Palestinians?

        How have the refusals by Zio-supremacists to honour their obligations under international law (including RoR) helped the Palestinians?

        How have the never-ending apologetics spouted by Zio-supremacists helped the Palestinians?

        You guessed it: They haven’t.

      • olive52
        May 9, 2016, 3:57 pm

        Many Palestinians do not support BDS as it harms those who wish to continue to earn a living in Israel. BDS claimed victory in Sodastream having to move its Mishor Adumim plant which resulted in over 70 Palestinians from the surrounding areas losing their jobs. I doubt that they and their families are too happy with the BDS.

      • just
        May 9, 2016, 4:07 pm

        olive~ I’ll wait to hear from the “many Palestinians”. Your “doubt” doesn’t cut it.

        Thanks.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 9, 2016, 4:14 pm

        Your “doubt” doesn’t cut it.

        yeah, there’s just that little something about zionists speaking for palestinians that rubs me the wrong way. can’t quite put my finger on it tho.

      • ritzl
        May 9, 2016, 4:49 pm

        @Olive, so assuming Sodastream values its Palestinian employees, why can’t they work in the plant wherever it’s located?

        Why did ANY Palestinians have to lose their jobs from a plant move?

        Sounds like BDS had absolutely nothing to do with their job loss. Must be something else.

        I think what you meant to say is that Palestinians may be leery of BDS because Israel and Israeli institutions always exact some form of severe yet completely unwarranted retribution for being compelled to do the most basic right, moral, just, and legal of things.

  2. Marnie
    May 9, 2016, 12:43 am

    I think Burstein’s playing both sides, one minute he’s fuming about zionist policies and the next minute he’s whimpering oww! BDS hurt my feelings and I’m not gonna play anymore! Neither is the BDS movement Mr. Burstein – get used to it. It’s the only thing now that’s having any impact so forward it must go. There’s no other peaceful way. It’s the colonialists, the zionist government and all the stupid supporters of it’s policies that always choose to draw blood before listening to reason.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      May 9, 2016, 7:14 pm

      Annie: Zionists speaking on behalf of Palestinians has one overriding merit. It prevents Palestinians from saying anything unacceptable (i.e., to Zionists). Dialogue always makes much faster progress when you hold it with yourself.

  3. sawah
    May 9, 2016, 1:15 am

    yes, the most realistic approach is BDS…
    thanks for the article Annie
    Happy Mother’s Day

    • Stephen Shenfield
      May 9, 2016, 7:30 pm

      But seriously. This imaginative new idea (first raised just 70 years ago, as David Fincham notes below) opens up exciting vistas. More conferences, workshops, frameworks (hammered into shape in the workshops), roadmaps (a roadmap is essential in a country without rail transport and the old one seems to have been mislaid), bus schedules, quintets (quartets are a bit passe and an odd number of participants will facilitate majority decision making) and so on and so forth.

      • Sibiriak
        May 10, 2016, 1:57 am

        Stephen Shenfield: This imaginative new idea (first raised just 70 years ago, as David Fincham notes below) opens up exciting vistas. More conferences, workshops, frameworks..
        ———–

        Actually the single-state idea is quite old as well, and probably has even greater conference/workshop potential. 1S1P1V. T.I.N.A. (Unless the future is open.)

  4. bryan
    May 9, 2016, 7:47 am

    Annie

    (1) You have it wrong that the article is addressing a British audience. This is extracted from a longer piece published in the Washington Quarterly.

    (2) “I think it’s unrealistic and irresponsible, at this juncture, to discuss an “approach” without discussing implementing acceptance.” That is a somewhat strange argument to hear on MW, which I thought embraced the “War of Ideas in the Middle East”, and often argues that any issue that raises public consciousness and develops debate is beneficial.

    For how long has their been discussion of a Two State Solution, without detailed analysis of the path to implementation – beyond of course periodic exhortations by American Secretaries of State, occasional condemnations by the UN and a general acceptance that an agreement between Israeli and Palestinian leaders will be necessary? Why should the bar be set higher for this proposal, and why does a similar implementation path not apply? The flimsiness of the implementation approach to 2SS (esp. Oslo) has been go for confidence building measures now, and we’ll grapple with the serious issues (like borders, refugees. and Jerusalem) later on.

    (3) “The discussion we should be having is what the global community needs to do to force Israel to comply to a plan” Surely the first thing we need to is to agree what the plan is, before we talk about how to impose / implement it. The international community continues to talk about the 2SS, though increasingly it is being acknowledged that settlements and economic integration have made a viable second state impossible. The parameters of the 2SS were well known, and broadly agreed. The only problem was implementation. But the concept of a 1SS is not well developed, and could come in a diversity of shapes and sizes, and these various options surely need to be subject to serious debate? The simple formula 1S1P1V works pretty well in dozens of countries, but the Zionist movement has fiercely opposed this approach for more than a century, so simply reciting 1S1P1V like a magical incantation isn’t going to solve anything. Serious work to elaborate constitutional forms that might persuade and be acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians are desperately urgent.

    (4) I think you overestimate the power and influence of the global community. Look at any issue of major regime change: e.g. American Civil Rights; collapse of Apartheid in South Africa; collapse of Soviet power; transformation of fascist regimes in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Myanmar, etc. External condemnation and international isolation were contributory, but ultimately the forces for internal change achieved the transformation. The same I am sure will apply in I/P.

    (5) “No, we’re tired of just deploring the occupation and doing nothing. We’ve tried everything else. Now it’s our turn to do what our governments won’t, after decades. The “approach” we’ve chosen is Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Live with it.”

    BDS has a vital role to play, but gains achieved so far have been relatively minor; further gains will be very hard-fought; and other changes must go hand in hand alongside an accelerating strategy of BDS.

    What I am long-windedly trying to get at (and I don’t think I’m really disagreeing with anything you say) is that if and when I/P is resolved it will be as a result of multiple interlocking processes, which will need to evolve in parallel. These comprise:
    (a) as per PW’s excellent article today: liberate American Jews from the taboo of criticising Israel.
    (b) in the process, liberate American non-Jews so that the real facts about the conflict can be known and debated, in an atmosphere free of anti-Semitic slurs.
    (c) fight like hell to get money out of politics, so that the voice of the American people can be heard, and the power of the lobbies reduced.
    (d) fight like hell to find a progressive presidential candidate who can be elected and will be prepared to be even-handed on I/P and prepared to waive the American veto at the UN.
    (e) fight like hell to reduce carbon-dependence and develop clean energy which will have the effect of undermining the dictatorial regimes maintained in the Middle East by a West hungry for cheap oil.
    (f) continue rapprochement with Iran which will undermine Israeli-warmongering efforts and transform Middle Eastern international relations.
    (g) continue and accelerate the BDS process.
    (h) change on the American front is vital because of its special relationship, but will in the process energise and accelerate activism in Europe and elsewhere.
    (i) develop fully worked out proposals for the solution to I/P, which will very likely be some form of hyprid 1S/2S solution, for instance on the lines advocated by Waxman/ Scheindlin and Ali Abunimah.
    (j) reach out to and embrace progressive elements in Palestinian society who will react non-violently and very positively to the changing climate of world opinion. (Some of the $5billion p.a. saved by no longer arming Israel could work wonders in building civil society institutions)
    (k) reach out to and embrace progressive elements in Israeli society who will compromise on their current economic, political, military and cultural power if the only alternative is long-term decline and pariah status.
    (l) allow Israelis and Palestinians to work out and agree their own solution, rather than thinking that the global community can impose one.

    • Donald
      May 9, 2016, 9:16 am

      Without necessarily agreeing with every word, that was a very good comment. Really more the kind of thing that should be a front page article, to stir discussion.

      • eljay
        May 9, 2016, 9:24 am

        || Donald: Without necessarily agreeing with every word, that was a very good comment. Really more the kind of thing that should be a front page article, to stir discussion. ||

        +1.

    • Ramzi Jaber
      May 9, 2016, 11:39 am

      @bryan I agree with overall approach IF the other side REALLY wanted to cooperate to get to a solution that works. But this is NOT the case since the zionists think they don’t need to.

      So, what formula is left for the Palestinians to get to 1S1P1V?

      The answer is obvious: TIME = 1S1P1V

      In the absence of good will from the zionists, we have time on our side. We’ll get to 1S1P1V.

    • Annie Robbins
      May 9, 2016, 11:53 am

      (1) You have it wrong that the article is addressing a British audience. This is extracted from a longer piece published in the Washington Quarterly.

      i didn’t realize it was extracted from the washington quarterly, although they mentioned it was based on that article. it was their opening i referenced when i wrote the authors were “addressing a British audience and say, “people no longer know what to do about it”. here’s the opening:

      Whether you regard the controversy raging in the Labour party as a long overdue reckoning with insidious antisemitism on the British left or just a smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, one thing is clear: it has nothing to do with what is happening in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

      While the discussion in Britain about antisemitism and the limits of acceptable criticism of Israel is important, Israelis and Palestinians continue to kill and wound each other. The preoccupation with ignorant and offensive statements and Facebook posts of Labour politicians won’t stop anyone’s suffering in the Holy Land.

      Perhaps part of the reason we’ve become so focused on how we talk about Israel-Palestine is because people no longer know what to do about it.

      excuse me for being wrong. either way, i don’t think it alters my point. and if this was in fact extracted from the washington quarterly, my apologies.

      (2)a somewhat strange argument to hear on MW, which I thought embraced the “War of Ideas in the Middle East”, and often argues that any issue that raises public consciousness and develops debate is beneficial.

      did you also think phil’s comment here was a somewhat strange argument to make because any issue that raises public consciousness and develops debate is beneficial:

      http://mondoweiss.net/2016/05/maintained-deferential-governments/#sthash.OY1agXGs.dpuf

      Waxman ended his talk by saying that Jews must learn to argue about this issue in a more tolerant manner so that the “poison” doesn’t destroy the community. I don’t buy that. That’s like saying, have dialogue with the White Citizens Council in Mississippi in the 1960s. This battle has to get more open and more critical.

      because talking about the issue in a tolerant manner, can still raise conscience and develop debate.

      For how long has their been discussion of a Two State Solution, without detailed analysis of the path to implementation

      a few decades i would imagine. there have been lots of plans both with detailed analysis and without detailed analysis. however, “discussing implementing acceptance” by the israeli government is a conversation less traveled — and given what’s become apparent to more and more people, that the israeli government doesn’t want to find a solution (other than taking over all the land come hell or high water) i think it should include a range of discussion outside of the parameters of ‘let the occupied and occupier come to an agreement’.

      Why should the bar be set higher for this proposal, and why does a similar implementation path not apply?

      the bar should be set higher, to include a path to pressuring israel — concrete pressure — with a detailed list of repercussions if israel does not comply, to any proposals going forward. just like when we negotiated the iran deal we included steps we’d take if they broke the agreement. and the reason we should do that is because one can discuss implementation plans til the cows come home and it will probably bring the same results we’ve had in the past — nothing but more entrenchment.

      The flimsiness of the implementation approach to 2SS (esp. Oslo) has been go for confidence building measures now, and we’ll grapple with the serious issues (like borders, refugees. and Jerusalem) later on. –

      exactly. borders, refugees and jerusalem are always relegated as final status issues. that’s why palestinian negotiators don’t want any more ‘peace talks’ until israel issues a proposal for borders upfront — which they’ve continually refused to do. and i can tell you right now what Israel would say to this current plan. they’d say no way. they’d say but lets talk about it for the next few years while we expand the settlements while we’re talking.

      (3)Surely the first thing we need to is to agree what the plan is, before we talk about how to impose / implement it.

      no, i disagree. i think any plan should include an acceptance implementation procedure. there was likely never a time the US seriously considered any plan w/iran that didn’t include how the US would respond if iran refused to comply. this is not more complicated than the marshal plan or the warsaw pact. it didn’t take decades to plan them. you can’t go on business as usual chatting about plans for the next few decades without considering ways to get israel to comply. there are a lot of smart people in the world — if you put 20 geniuses in a room for a week they could come up with several working plans. there’s no lack of brainpower here, there’s a lack of will to carry it out in a meaningful way.

      The simple formula 1S1P1V works pretty well in dozens of countries, but the Zionist movement has fiercely opposed this approach for more than a century

      so what, they will fiercely oppose this plan too — trust me, they will.

      Serious work to elaborate constitutional forms that might persuade and be acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians are desperately urgent.

      really? you think constitutional forms might persuade and be acceptable to israelis. because i think more is needed than that. ask your self, what has persuaded palestinians to accept life under occupation for all these years? ok, granted they do not “accept” it intellectually, but they have accepted it because they are forced to. if you have a soldier standing in front of you pointing a gun at your child’s head that’s one way to persuade a parent to accept letting them take your child. i’m not suggesting we point guns at israelis, i am suggesting we expand our options wrt “accept” and persuade”. bds is a non violent persuasion. i think this entire time we’ve been operating under the assumption a plan is what’s needed when that is not the case. this is why bsd is neutral wrt one state or two. the log in the road is the realization israel won’t accept any plan. so it becomes useless making one without figuring it out how to force them to accept one. this should be part of every dialogue about a “plan”, not “agreed by both parties” — for that’s what the “magical incantation” is.

      I think you overestimate the power and influence of the global community.

      oh really. this is not syria, it’s not iran. after the US, UK and europe as well as every state who voted for a palestinians state at the UN, refuses trade w/israel and sanctions them for their intransigence, then tell me i overestimate their power. i don’t over estimate their power.

      all these liberal zionists who hound us for bds, and people like burston who chastize us, let’s hear their plan for getting israel to comply.

      multiple interlocking processes, which will need to evolve in parallel. These comprise:
      (a) as per PW’s excellent article today: liberate American Jews from the taboo of criticising Israel. –

      why is this (a)? why is the liberation of american jews first on your list?

      (l) allow Israelis and Palestinians to work out and agree their own solution, rather than thinking that the global community can impose one.

      LOL. are you kidding me. now you sound like the israeli government.

      • bryan
        May 10, 2016, 10:28 am

        Annie, I wasn’t trying to be critical of your article, I was just trying to contribute to the conversation. I was wrong to open my post with “you have it wrong”; but I was just pointing out that an analysis framed for an American audience had been prefixed by a couple of paragraphs to offer current relevance to Guardian readers. (I used to joke with by wife that our decades of bliss together were built on my facility to say “yes, dear, I was wrong” or “no, dear, you were right”.)

        You article was a worthy contribution and I agree with many of the points you made but I still have severe reservations with some elements, so let me focus on these:

        (1) “irresponsible”. Had you restricted yourself to saying that “I think it is unrealistic, at this juncture, to discuss an approach…” I would have entirely agreed, but you added “and irresponsible”. The general consensus seems to that the 2SS is not yet buried but unattainable because no offer is on the table, and no offer could be placed on the table which would be acceptable to the Palestinian people. Therefore we are left with only the 1SS, which will eventually emerge out of the current facts on the ground reality. I have read much commentary about this solution, but I have not yet encountered any concrete vision of what this would look like in terms of constitutional framework, reparations for, or return of, stolen homes, land, and resources, or the itinerary of return of refugees from the camps. Without such a clearly defined and generally agreed blueprint, the ISS is even more vulnerable than its predecessor to the knee-jerk Zionist reaction that “it will destroy Israel”. It is therefore entirely “responsible” to explore the configuration of what this new state could look like (and in keeping with the ethos of MW, as I also pointed out). Stephen Shenfield, above, may agree with you that more Zionist-controlled debate is simply a time-wasting tactic, delaying resolution, but Ramzi seems more realistic, arguing, if I may paraphrase, don’t worry, the 1SS is not on the horizon yet but will inevitably arrive.

        (2) “implementation”. Your argument seems to be that the “irresponsibility” of the Waxman / Scheindlin proposal lies in the absence of a clearly defined implementation path. Two points: (a) The 2SS was long espoused without a detailed implementation path. Even more relevantly, BDS, which you and I both support, advocates three general principles to resolving the conflict without any attempt to prescribe what the actual political solution will look like, even to the extent of whether it will be 1SS or a 2SS. (b) More fundamentally, project management methodology prescribes a number of stages of analysis – covering requirements, objectives, risks, issues, constraints, costs, benefits, etc. and, of course, implementation approach and timetable. But you do not invest time and effort, assuming you have conducted a feasibility study, until at least the broad outlines of your solution have been agreed, in defining the precise implementation path.

        (3) “imposing” a solution. We both agree that extreme pressure needs to be applied, but I am more sceptical of the influence and track-record of the “external” world imposing solutions to resolve what can be viewed as “internal” problems. I said you over-estimated the influence of the global community. We neither of us defined our terms: whether we meant (a) the oblique and indirect pressure which can be applied by millions of trade unionists, church members, gays, celebrities and political activists campaigning, demonstrating, writing letters, signing petitions and supporting BDS, or (b) the somewhat more direct pressure that can be applied by the international “community” of nations, employing primarily diplomatic methods, working through institutions like the UN and similar groupings. I assumed you were referring to the latter, and your response, citing the Iran deal would appear to confirm that. Now the American government (or even a single principled president) could very easily transform the situation by a raft of actions (end military and financial support, end tax-exempt donations to Zionist groups, stop attacking BDS, waive the UN veto, campaign for a nuclear free middle east, vigorously support all Palestinian Americans killed, injured or denied entry, release the archives of the USS Liberty attack and other incidents, etc.) But that will not occur while corn-barrel politics rule, and without the US we can expect little from others (EU dominated by sympathetic UK and Germany, Russia and Arab regimes mired in internal problems and border disputes, China, Brazil, India distant, disinterested or lacking in international clout).

        Finally you took issue with two points I made: questioning why I put the liberation of Jewish Americans (from the taboo placed on criticising Israel) first on my list and why I echoed the Israeli government in insisting that a workable solution would have to be agreed by Israelis and Palestinians. I’m surprised you ask.

        For any resolution to occur the climate of opinion has to change, and has clearly to change first in America (and then as usual we can all catch a cold). Perhaps you ask the question because I can easily fall into a trap unless I watch my words, but tell me how many Americans of Palestinian, Arab, Moslem, European Christian or secular backgrounds have advised the President on Middle Eastern affairs. Tell me that every recent Presidential candidate (with one honourable exception) has appeared before CAIR to pledge fealty to the cause. Tell me that editorials and opinion pieces are almost exclusively provided by pro-Palestine journalists and public figures, who also monopolise the chat shows and talk radio. Tell me that dissenting voices in academia like Norman Finkelstein (may he rest in peace) and Joseph Massad and dozens of others are rigorously policed by an army of pro-Palestine donors, alumnae, activist groups and armies of letter-writers. Tell me the number of senate and house resolutions that have passed unopposed condemning atrocities against Gaza and Lebanon because of the stranglehold that the cause of Palestine exerts in American politics and the deep funding provided by dual-nationality / dual loyalty Gulf sheikhs.

        The plain and obvious fact is that the very limited debate occurring in America is completely dominated by partisans of one side; that opening up public discourse to greater diversity, more accurate coverage and alternative opinions would be immensely valuable; that censorship and self-censorship are rife and corrosive because those presenting honest opinions can so easily be vilified, side-lined and their careers ruined. Their are many eloquent and principled witnesses for the defence (like Gideon Levy, Max Blumenthal, Miko Peled, and many others) but how often does the court stenographer that is mainstream media even record their testimony, and how many countless others (Joseph Stiglitz and the successors of the unhappy Jimmy Carter spring immediately to mind) simply refuse to enter the witness box lest their testimony be condemned as contempt of court? As PW recently argued changing this McCarthyite / Stalinist rule of orthodoxy requires challenging by overcoming this taboo on criticising Israel, first and foremost by American Jews who can be assumed to have some sort of natural immunity from charges of anti-Semitism. But when that dam is burst, a thousand flowers can spring up in the desert.

        Finally, yes for any peace to be made, let alone survive, the key stake-holders, who are the resident Israelis and the Palestinians between the river and the sea and the Palestinian exiles, will have to agree and commit to the solution, and prepare for the difficult task of reconciliation and cohabitation. No it won’t come under the current anaemic, corrupt and inept leadership of Abbas, and the bellicose, blustering and equally inept leadership of Netanyahu. But if we assume that the change requires strong external pressure, not even-handedly applied but in favour of the weakened victim, as I think we both do, and if we expect that this will both weaken and demoralise reactionary sectors in Israeli society, and empower progressive forces in Palestinian society (and of course vice versa) then when the way has been readied, we can expect not prophets but men of realism and at least moderate good will. Men like Johnson / MLK, De Klerk / Mandela, Sadat / Begin succeeded in resolving intractable and sometimes long-standing conflicts partly because of their own qualities, partly because of their supporters, and partly because of pressures applied to them (referring especially to Carter’s intervention to pressure Begin).

      • Annie Robbins
        May 10, 2016, 4:38 pm

        bryan, thanks for your response. don’t worry about offending me or being critical of my article, that’s fine. i appreciate your articulation. i think we fundamentally disagree on some important aspects required for resolution. let’s start here:

        The general consensus seems to that the 2SS is not yet buried but unattainable because no offer is on the table, and no offer could be placed on the table which would be acceptable to the Palestinian people.

        on the contrary, in sept 2011 when the quartet requested palestinians hold off on going to the UN for statehood status they presented a plan which was accepted by both parties and that plan stipulated both parties submit a proposal within a few months (3 months originally deadline extended til jan 26 2012 >>> http://mondoweiss.net/2011/12/europe-asks-wheres-israels-proposal/ ) — both agreed — israel said they welcomed the plan. soon after (one day) israel reneged and stated they only agreed to a proposal for a framework in which to negotiate for 9 months in which this so called proposal would be worked out — allegedly. (this was the precursor to the failed 9 month kerry negotiations in which israel would not agree to a proposal either — final status issues like borders for example).

        as agreed abbas submitted their proposal to the quartet and israel refused to submit a counter proposal. israel then accused the quartet in “meddling in its affairs”. they had no intention of ever making a proposal.

        this came after the palestine papers were exposed in early 2011 (one the eve of the arab spring) — for all to see — revealing that palestine and offered everything but the kitchen sink — including almost all of jerusalem — in 10 years of negotiations.

        so your concept that there’s a general consensus that 2SS is unattainable because no offer could be placed on the table which would be acceptable to Palestinians is woefully misinformed. the exact opposite is occurring. people are realizing (finally) israel will never accept a 2ss — as netanyahu let slip before the last election — and this more than anything has led the mainstream to start discussing/publishing options.

        so i stand by my earlier statement wrt irresponsible. at this junction — anyone under the illusion this is precipitated by palestinian recalcitrance is just wrong. everything they’ve tried, and they have bent over backwards, has been rejected by israel — as this plan would be. the only thing Israel will accept at this juncture is total surrender.

        i’ll be back to address another of your points. i urge you to open and review my link above before responding. here it is again

        Europe asks: Where’s Israel’s proposal?
        http://mondoweiss.net/2011/12/europe-asks-wheres-israels-proposal/

      • Annie Robbins
        May 10, 2016, 5:06 pm

        For any resolution to occur the climate of opinion has to change, and has clearly to change first in America …… Perhaps you ask the question because I can easily fall into a trap unless I watch my words, but tell me how many Americans of Palestinian, Arab, Moslem, European Christian or secular backgrounds have advised the President on Middle Eastern affairs…..The plain and obvious fact is that the very limited debate occurring in America is completely dominated by partisans of one side; that opening up public discourse to greater diversity, more accurate coverage and alternative opinions would be immensely valuable; that censorship and self-censorship are rife and corrosive because those presenting honest opinions can so easily be vilified….

        and your solution to this is to coddle american jewish opinion. you think everything will remain the same and stay on hold until we have permission from the jewish american community? this is why you placed it in “a” on your list to liberate them? because i’ll tell you, this is the most dead set inflexible demographic group (on this issue) and the least likely to change course than any other segment of our society.

        if you agree “any resolution to occur the climate of opinion has to change, and has clearly to change first in America” and you are prioritizing the voices of 2% of americans, the smallest segment with the most influence at this juncture (on this issue) and the most inflexible, you’re ignoring the potential influence of the masses. why do you think so many studies and polls are done on americans opinion of i/p? believe me, it’s because american opinion matters. there are a lot more of us and we do have power if we mobilize.

        but even more striking is the belief — which seems inherent in your suggestion — that jews control foreign policy and if you want to change it, change the jews first. i don’t buy that. just because something’s business as usual in washington really doesn’t mean we have to keep going down that road.

        i’d urge you to read “It is time to stop celebrating Jewish dissent in the Palestine solidarity movement” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/it-is-time-to-stop-celebrating-jewish-dissent-in-the-palestine-solidarity-movement/#sthash.4oThiIuY.dpuf

        plus, read the comments. ask yourself if you are not privileging jewish voices in this conversation. and if you are why are you? are you perpetuating the myth their voice is more important than others? and just because politicians may think they are and the media may think they are and even if 99% of americans may think they are — that doesn’t mean they are.

        so if you truly think “alternative opinions would be immensely valuable; that censorship and self-censorship are rife and corrosive because those presenting honest opinions can so easily be vilified” then start with yourself and start uplifting and empowering alternative opinion and one does not do that by privileging jewish voices.

        as an activist in this movement we need to lead public opinion, not follow. the only privileged voices in the liberation of the palestinian people are — palestinians.

        liberate Americans from the taboo of criticising Israel. enhance articulated voices in the movement for a free palestine and stop the pattern of placing jewish voices first in that conversation — because they are NOT more important — we’ve just been programmed to think they are.

      • just
        May 10, 2016, 5:14 pm

        Awesome comments, annie.

        This last one particularly~ outta the park! I appreciate the exchange very much~ so thank you too, bryan.

  5. David Gerald Fincham
    May 9, 2016, 9:26 am

    This is not actually a new proposal, in fact, if you read the UN Partition Plan carefully, freedom of transit was included as well as a full economic union. http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/independent-sovereign-palestine/

    Uri Avnery has been talking about a confederation for years, having initially discussed it with Yasser Arafat.

    It is clear that two completely independent sovereign states won’t work: the land is too small and the infrastructure and economies too inter-related. I disagree with the Guardian piece on two points. The so-called 1967 border ( i.e the 1949 Green Line) has no legitimacy at all. (I have an article coming up about that on Mondoweiss very soon: Annie, please nudge Phil if you have the chance.) Palestine deserves and needs much more territory than the 22% of their historic homeland outside the Green Line. Also, complete freedom to change residence would result in a rush of die-hard Zionists into the West Bank and Gaza in pursuit of the Zionist dream of settling all of the land from sea to river.

    • hophmi
      May 9, 2016, 10:41 am

      Palestine has the part of the former British Mandate East of the Jordan River if it desires more than “22%”. Surely you don’t regard the King of Jordan as a particularly legitimate ruling entity. You do realize that this remains the most likely confederation, right? The King, good man that he is, can’t rule the Palestinian majority in Jordan forever.

      • eljay
        May 9, 2016, 11:20 am

        || hophmi: Palestine has the part of the former British Mandate East of the Jordan River if it desires more than “22%”. … ||

        Palestine has 100% of the territory assigned to it by Partition. Palestine is not entitled to any portion of Jordan just as Israel is not entitled to any portion of Palestine.

        || … Surely you don’t regard the King of Jordan as a particularly legitimate ruling entity. … ||

        Dunno about the “legitimate ruling entity” but Jordan exists as a Jordanian state. Why are you picking on the world’s only Jordanian state and trying to wipe it off the map?

        || … You do realize that this remains the most likely confederation, right? … ||

        The most likely confederation should be the one into which the citizens of secular and democratic countries decide democratically enter.

        || … The King, good man that he is, can’t rule the Palestinian majority in Jordan forever. ||

        He won’t have to, seeing as how refugees from (Mandate) Palestine will eventually:
        – return as Israelis to their homeland of Israel, from which they fled;
        – return as Palestinians to their homeland of Palestine, from which they fled;
        – seek Jordanian citizenship and live as Jordanians in Jordan; or
        – seek citizenship elsewhere.

      • talknic
        May 9, 2016, 6:55 pm

        hophmi does Ziodrivel 101

        “Palestine has the part of the former British Mandate East of the Jordan River”

        Strange. Jordan became an independent state in 1946. https://www.google.com.au/search?q=Jordan+became+an+independent+state+in+1946

        Like all normal states, Israel being the exception, only the legitimate citizens who lived in the area that became Jordan had automatic right to citizenship. They are ALL Jordanian.

        The Palestinians who did not live in or are refugees from outside the area that became Jordan, did not and still do do not have a right to automatic citizenship to Jordan.

        The West Bank as it is now known, was legally annexed at the request of the majority of its legitimate inhabitants. The annexation was as a trustee only by demand of the other Arab States (Session: 12-II Date: May 1950).

        The Jordanian annexation of the West bank was not condemned by the UNSC, unlike Israel’s illegal, unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem
        252 (1968) of 21 May 1968, 267 (1969) of 3 July 1969, 271 (1969) of 15 September 1969, 298 (1971) of 25 September 1971, 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, 452 (1979) 20 July 1979, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980, 476 June 30 1980 and 478 August 20 1980. None of which have anything to do with race or religion. They’re based on the UN Charter, International Law and the GC’s, all of which Israel obliged itself to uphold. Alas it hasn’t.

        The West Bank was a part of a UN Member state from the moment Jordan joined the UN and a part of a High Contracting Power in 1967, therefore covered by GC IV as re-affirmed and emphasized by the UNSC. UNSC 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980,

        “You do realize that this remains the most likely confederation, right? The King, good man that he is, can’t rule the Palestinian majority in Jordan forever”

        You do realize you’ve just afforded another opportunity to show genuinely interested folk that your Zioidiot theory is simply bullsh*t!

  6. Pretext
    May 9, 2016, 10:02 am

    Burston is revealing himself to be a fool if he thinks the Israeli people and government can be “persuaded” to change. The country was created by overwhelming force and nigh on 70 years experience makes it clear that the injustice can only be addressed by overwhelming force in turn. Soft force, as the case may be, but unrelenting and intractable force until 1S1P1V becomes law and fact. Anything else is unicorns and fairy tales.

    • yonah fredman
      May 10, 2016, 1:42 am

      here’s some more of Bradley Burston’s piece:

      I don’t believe that collective punishment works. At all. Not when we in Israel practice it, and not in the form of BDS.
      I don’t believe in the religion of BDS, which holds that it is the One True Way, the only way to fight occupation and injustice. 
      I’ve had it up to here with the bludgeoning, exclusivist tactics of BDS activists, who attack with immediate and snarkily supremacist condescension any suggestion that there might be other ways to fight occupation.
      I’ve had it with the My Way or the Highway assumptions that anyone, even a leftist, who questions BDS – or even simply asks for clarification of its artfully ambiguous goals, or criticizes its methods, or the quality of its leadership – is obviously either a racist, a blockhead, a despicable Zionist, or, worst of all, most dismissible of all, not leftist enough.
      I’ve had it with the way that BDS supporters, with a peculiar middle school glee, exalt any gains as the Second Coming, while conveniently ignoring or justifying away any setbacks. 
      And one other thing. I’ve had it with the assumption that BDS supporters assiduously identify and condemn and root out elements of anti-Semitism from their ranks and the statements of their supporters.
      You needn’t look farther than Mondoweiss, one of the flagship platforms of the BDS movement. Its founder and co-editor, Philip Weiss, is a leading exponent of what he explicitly and proudly calls anti-zionism. 
      On Saturday, Weiss, approvingly summarizing recent remarks by journalist Seymour Hersh, wrote the following: “So to be clear: were it not for the role of Jewish money in the American political process, there would have been a peace settlement before now in Israel and Palestine. And that’s a ‘forbidden statement.'”
      I do not believe for a moment that Philip Weiss, who is Jewish, is anti-Semitic. But I believe that at a time when leftists across the sea are being forced – correctly – to re-examine statements they have made in the light of perceived or outright anti-Semitism, the exclusively pro-Palestinian left in North America needs to do so as well.

      • Mooser
        May 10, 2016, 11:09 am

        “I do not believe for a moment that Philip Weiss, who is Jewish, is anti-Semitic.”

        Your archive says different. Who are you trying to kid “Yonah”? According to you:

        “which puts critics of judaism or those alienated from the strict observance of their parents wishing to water down judaism in the boat of being slightly antisemitic.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/wondering-jew/?keyword=boat#sthash.JRnmUMr0.dpuf

        Everybody is an antisemite, except “Yonah” and he’s not really sure about “Hophmi”.

  7. Ramzi Jaber
    May 9, 2016, 11:26 am

    I agree with my dear co-commenters, BDS is very effective and must continue.

    Another current we shouldn’t ignore is the following: implosion from within. Just watch how the soul, heart, character, and society of the Zionist entity is changing fast towards absolute extremism and arrogance.

    At the end, 1S1P1V is the ONLY way.

    Remember: the Roman Empire didn’t collapse because of an outside attack. It fell due to internal rotting at the core. And that is what’s taking place now in the Zionist entity since being a colonial occupier is corrosive within.

  8. silamcuz
    May 9, 2016, 11:53 am

    The Zionist project must fail, and we should be working to make failure desirable to the Israelis. Only then we can effectively move forward in establishing a liberated Palestine for all of its inhabitants. There cannot be any provision for two states, else we are actively participating in the colonial carving up of sovereign Palestine. When we are afflicted with cancer, we strive to remove all of the cancer while keeping our bodies whole. This is what our goal should be when it comes to rhe IP conflict.

    • Mooser
      May 9, 2016, 12:21 pm

      “The Zionist project must fail, and we should be working to make failure desirable to the Israelis.”

      Now that makes a hell of a lot of sense. I can’t think of a better way to reduce Israel’s intransigence.

  9. echinococcus
    May 9, 2016, 1:53 pm

    Sure, Annie, implementation is generally the question to ask before proposing anything re occupied Palestine.

    Only this time, there may be more than enough Zionists to accept this proposal with enthusiasm, bells ringing and hymns being sung, as this one includes the most obnoxious points of a somewhat “propagandistic-liberal” annexation program. In fact, this is the proposal that should in cold logic get all Zionist votes; it can be implemented in a NY minute by the US and the local Zionists.

  10. just
    May 9, 2016, 5:45 pm

    “Hillary Clinton Reaffirms Opposition to BDS in Letter to Jewish Leaders

    Ahead of Methodist convention discussing BDS resolutions, church member and presidential hopeful Clinton writes letter calling against boycott movement

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton on Sunday reaffirmed her opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that targets Israel ahead of the United Methodists’ convention on Monday.

    Over 850 United Methodists are set to convene in Portland, Oregon, for 10 days, as they do every four years, to consider over 1000 proposals on topics such as LGBT inclusion, abortion, religious freedom, welcoming immigrants and refugees, gun violence, as well as “divestment from companies supporting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” …

    …“Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world,” Clinton wrote in the letter sent to IAN and the Jewish Federations and obtained by Jewish Insider, “we need to repudiate forceful efforts to malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism has no place in any civilized society — not in America, not in Europe, not anywhere. We must never tire in defending Israel’s legitimacy, expanding security and economic ties, and taking our alliance to the next level.”

    “Please know that I am grateful for your work, and that I stand ready to be your partner as we engage all people of good faith — regardless of their political persuasion or their views on policy specifics — in explaining why the BDS campaign is counterproductive to the pursuit of peace and harmful to Israelis and Palestinians alike,” Clinton added.

    The Democratic presidential front-runner also boasted about her Israel record as she readies for a general election match-up with her likely Republican opponent, Donald Trump.  

    ”As Senator and Secretary of State, I saw how crucial it is for America to defend Israel at every turn,” Clinton wrote.

    “I have opposed dozens of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN, the Human Rights Council, and other international organizations. I condemned the biased Goldstone Report, making it clear that Israel must be allowed to defend itself like any other country.”

    “And I made sure the United States blocked Palestinian attempts at the UN to unilaterally declare statehood. Time after time, no matter the venue, I have made it clear that America will always stand up for Israel. If I am fortunate enough to be elected president, the United States will reaffirm we have a strong and enduring national interest in Israel’s security.”

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/news/1.718840?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    Dangerous schmuck is as nice as I muster just now. Glad she reiterated her unconscionable position, though. (C’mon Bernie~ go for it!!!)

  11. Seth Morrison
    May 9, 2016, 8:46 pm

    Annie,

    I think that you are being overly critical of this article. There is no question that only BDS and a related cut in US military aid will have any potential to bring Israel to the table to ensure consideration of this or any other concept. However that is not the authors’ point.

    It is widely acknowledged that the two-state solution is dead and many believe that it will be very tough to get Israelis and some Palestinians to accept a one-state solution when what they really want is more cultural, religious and political autonomy. People who do not accept either option are less likely to work for a fair solution and to support BDS.

    As someone active in efforts to persuade Americans to support BDS and change Congressional support for Israel I think that having a potentially viable solution to promote can help motivate people to support BDS. It is easier to fight against goliath when you see a reasonable path forward.

    • Annie Robbins
      May 10, 2016, 5:50 pm

      As someone active in efforts to persuade Americans to support BDS and change Congressional support for Israel I think that having a potentially viable solution to promote can help motivate people to support BDS. It is easier to fight against goliath when you see a reasonable path forward.

      Seth, you say that as someone active in efforts to persuade Americans to support BDS. what alternate position do you think is a responsible one? do you think it’s responsible to propose a plan with no reasonable prospects for how to carry it out? if there is no question that only BDS and a related cut in US military aid will have any potential to bring Israel to the table to ensure consideration of this or any other concept then what is the point of making proposals that make no mention of that?

      i think it’s been decades seth. i think proposals have been made time and again. it’s not just this proposal, it’s any proposal. and i am not saying every proposal has to include advocating for bds. that is not my point (although i think it’s the only realistic option — some form of withhold or sanctions). my point is every proposal for an i/p resolution going forward, should include some way to ensure it will be carried out.

      for a moment let’s suspend our attachment to this plan this article and these authors (who i acknowledged as having good intent). what do you think is a reasonable amount of time to look at varying plans w/no mention of repercussions. 5 years, 10 years, 50 years, 100 years, 500 years? when does one feel like a dupe?

      imagine a man beats his wife over and over and she goes to the marriage counselor and the marriage counselor says be nicer to him and see how that works. the wife tries that and he beats her up again and she goes back to the counselor who tells her to start cooking him nice meals and she does that and he beats her up again. so time and again the wife goes back and the counselor keeps making suggestions (some of them really excellent well thought out suggestions professionals spent a lot of time on). miraculously — after ten years the woman was still alive after being beat up by her husband hundreds of times over the decade. and then the next decade too. so at what point might you think the counselor had been irresponsible by not including an action the woman should take if the husband would not comply? something like ‘go to the police, move out of the house’, etc. nor had the counselor ever taken any action herself to ensure the woman’s safety. the first session, the tenth session, a year of sessions, a decade of sessions, 2 decades, a lifetime?

      if the woman finally dies from her injuries, had she given the counselor 100k over the years (or a million for that matter) could the family sue the counselor for not reporting the abuse or advising the woman to go to the police (actually i think there are laws in place that require professionals to report certain incidences to authorities if the woman is in danger or a danger to others)? it just seems seth, that at this point, it’s unrealistic and irresponsible not including in any resolution plan — repercussions. that’s my opinion and i’m standing by it.

      and thanks for your activism.

      • Mooser
        May 10, 2016, 6:04 pm

        Thanx, Annie

      • Annie Robbins
        May 10, 2016, 6:13 pm

        thank you mooser.

      • just
        May 10, 2016, 6:16 pm

        Big ol’ ditto here, Mooser!

        annie is articulate, passionate, grounded, and spot- on~ on fire today!

      • Annie Robbins
        May 10, 2016, 7:41 pm

        ;) too sweet!

  12. jon s
    May 10, 2016, 4:57 pm

    The idea of a confederation is excellent, as sort of a Phase 2 to the two state solution. It’s the kind of thing we had in mind when we first conceived of the two states plan.

    • Mooser
      May 10, 2016, 6:06 pm

      “The idea of a confederation is excellent, as sort of a Phase 2 to the two state solution. It’s the kind of thing we had in mind when we first conceived of the two states plan. “

      Oh, you must mean Plan Dalet!

    • echinococcus
      May 10, 2016, 6:20 pm

      What were we just saying?
      This is the latest warmed-over Zionist annexation (and slowish genocide) plan and of course it will be enthusiastically implemented by Jon S and the likes of him.

  13. gamal
    May 10, 2016, 7:48 pm

    thanx for this Annie, and your several comments.

    “In a confederal approach, however, Palestinian refugees who wish to return could live in Israel as residents, but would exercise their full citizenship rights, such as voting in national elections, in Palestine.

    De-linking citizenship and residency also helps address the thorny problem of Jewish settlers, who number more than half a million in the West Bank and East Jerusalem…”

    isn’t this an affront to human dignity?

    Palestinians cede non-derogable fundamental rights and Israeli’s keep their ill-gotten gains, including the settlers, who i guess the Palestinians could leverage against some returnee ‘residents’ at Israels discretion,

    what has happened to the legal rights that Palestinians now have?
    To return home, for the return of stolen assets including land? to the automatic right to full citizenship in the territory they habitually inhabited, prior to their illegal expulsion?

    what is the legal frame work underlying this proposal.

    what is the Palestinian input to this?

    America now dominates the MENA just as the UK and France did in 19th and 20th centuries and these ‘conflict resolution’ approaches to I/P will be understood by Arabs as indicative of US contempt for them, i think they are right.

    i think these proposals are designed to drive a wedge between Palestinians and anti-Zionist US activists, i doubt the people of the region will find them acceptable.

    “While each state would decide its own citizenship policies, including laws of return, citizens of one state could be permitted to live as residents in the other (as in the European Union), with each state setting limits on the number of non-citizens granted residency.”

    let freedom ring, the “could be permitted” made me laugh.

    ‘Abduh said “we fully understand that the rights you extol as universal are not to be extended to us”

    and he didn’t know the half of it.

    • Mooser
      May 10, 2016, 8:35 pm

      “To return home, for the return of stolen assets including land?”

      Thanks, Gamal.
      And, although this is an indelicate suggestion, mightn’t there be any number of people among the Israelis who cannot be left at large if confederation is to be attempted? Or will there be an amnesty?

  14. diasp0ra
    May 11, 2016, 9:48 am

    I have some thoughts on this proposal. It is a bit long, so please bear with me.

    I, too, believe that the authors had good intentions with this plan, but it remains still very slanted towards Israel and what Israel would accept.

    For example, we still have the obsession with the 1967 borders. The 1967 borders have acted as blinders for the last 20+ years. When discussing these borders, the root causes of the conflict get obfuscated. This could be partially alleviated by the suggestion of borders not mattering physically anymore, and allowing for the free passage of people and goods between them.

    However, what the 1967 borders determine is much more than who, what and if things can pass through an imaginary line. It also defines territory, it defines economy, it defines future prospects. The world bank has already expressed doubts a Palestinian economy could sustain a state even with the full control of Area C, which according to this plan would remain partly in the hands of Israelis anyway. The settlements utilizing the richest parts of the territories would remain, would this become what they termed a “shared” resource? There are no “shared” resources inside Israel that Palestinians are currently utilizing, only in the West Bank does such a situation exist. Of course when we say “utilizing” we mean illegally being exploited by settlers. What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is also mine?

    So what does this mean for the prospective Palestinian state? It means that, as today, the Palestinian economy will be completely subordinate and dependent on the Israeli one. What will we become other than a cheap source of labor and an even larger market for Israeli goods? I’m sure the expansion of Rami Levi into Ramallah and Nablus will be very profitable for Israel. Palestinians simply do not have a similar capability to penetrate Israeli markets with their products. This again highlights the dangers of any approach that treats Palestinians and Israelis as equals in this conflict, it’s simply not true. Ignoring the power dynamics and hierarchies that exist on the ground has been disastrous to informed discussion of Palestine.

    What usually follows or accompanies economic subordination? Political subordination. Israel simply would have all the leverage to do as it pleased. So we have an economically dependent and politically weak state. What about the refugees?

    The idea has its heart in the right place, but I do not think it would work as intended for the following reasons:

    Even if only half the refugees decide to return, we are still talking about millions of people. You cannot convince me that Israel would allow additional millions of Palestinians to reside in Israel. Even as residents. The logic and ideology of the state, and of the people would not permit it. We are talking about a society where the majority do not want to live in the same building as an Arab. Yet this plan suggests to add millions of Arabs, or at the very least one million to live amongst them? For such an idea to be credible, Zionism as the ideology of the state and people needs to be considerably weakened. If this prerequisite is met, then this could be possible. But at the same time, if this prerequisite is met, then there are better alternatives out there than this half solution.

    What would resident rights even look like? This is another unknown factor. I’m certain they would not be identical to citizen rights. How many would Israel even allow to return and reside there? This would be resolved through negotiations, but when one group holds all the power, aren’t the Palestinians set up for failure from the beginning? Can the Palestinians say we only want to accept 100,000 residents? Of course not, the facts on the ground say there are almost 600,000 and there is nothing you can do about it. It’s an empty gesture, made to sell the illusion that Palestinians have any say in this cross residency program.

    The idea of a united Jerusalem is very feasible, and it has a good deal of support among Palestinians according to the survey I conducted last month.

    So at the end of this, let’s ask one simple question:

    Who benefits the most from such a solution?

    The clear and resounding answer is: Israel.

    What this solution would mean is that Israel would not need to compromise on a single thing. It’s a clear signal to Israel that it got away with everything, and others have to pick up the bill.

    Israel would have to take zero responsibility for its rampant settlement expansion. It would get to maintain all its occupied territory in the guise of shared resources. It would gain instant access to a fresh massive market that is too weak to resist complete Israeli economical domination. Who knows how many refugees Israel would accept to return, and not even as citizens. It would be rewarded for intransigence. This solution is not very different than the economic peace Israelis drool about. It has a more formal set up, it gives the Palestinians the illusion of sovereignty, but from any realistic angle we’d be completely dependent.

    I have seen such solutions a million time. They have good intentions, but they are all centered around Israel’s demographic interests. By being centered thus, they cannot bring justice to a people who are seen as a threat just for being born. Ethnic nationalism is an outdated ideology that needs to be scrubbed. Until a solution comes by that offers complete equality for everyone involved, without catering to outmoded ideas of ethnic purity, then any other proposed solution will always be an attempt to sell domination as cooperation.

    • just
      May 11, 2016, 10:20 am

      An absolutely cogent comment, diasp0ra. It was a pleasure to read and digest.

      I thank you for your insight, and for sharing your thoughts here when you do. You have taught me much, and enriched the dialogue here @ MW.

      • diasp0ra
        May 11, 2016, 11:06 am

        @Just

        As usual, you are way too kind to me :)

    • silamcuz
      May 11, 2016, 11:06 am

      Diaspora,

      I read through your comment, and would like you to know that many of us within the activist sphere feel the exact same way as you. We are fed-up with how supposed allies to the cause are so eager to acknowledge Israel and its 67 borders as some sort of equal stakeholder in this conflict, when it is anything but.

      The Zionists went into Palestine believing in their heart that the backwards Arabs were savages with no political consciousness nor a any sort of identity that ties them to the land, unlike “Jews” and their “promised land”. This is the starting point of the conflict, that set in motion all the evil acts perpetrated in Palestine by Zionists throughout the oncoming century. This belief underlies everything they did, and are doing, and it is recorded in written history as fact for everyone judge. We know now that these “Arabs” had extremely sophisticated culture and political system and identities that connect them to the land stretching back thousands of years.

      An analogy from my POV :

      The Zionists tried to engineer a skyscraper with flawed understanding of the math. As a result their building is inherently unstable and is constantly under threat of failure. How long will they be able to plaster the cracks 24/7 until the money runs out? In engineering we know very well what’s going to happen to this building eventually. It will either disastrously collapse on its own, or the owners will be forced to demolish it by the authorities.

      Right now the Zionists are in denial of their erroneous design calculations and are trying to blame everything from the wind to the soil to the ocean breeze for threatening the integrity of their prized skyscraper. Won’t be long until circumstances force them to move past the denial stage and admit they screwed up.

      People who believe Israel has right to exist in some form (like those who acknowledge 67 borders) on Palestine are saying the building can be salvaged despite the fact that it was doomed to fail even before construction started. They are not being responsible nor are they being smart, and should be rightfully shunned and their opinions disregarded.

  15. Annie Robbins
    May 31, 2016, 3:19 pm

    interesting — French Peace Plan Seeks Rigid Deadlines for Every Stage of Israeli-Palestinian Talks

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.722537

    and it includes “guarantees” for plans “implementation” and framework to accompany plan to its conclusion:

    The parameters the document sets relate to the core issues of the conflict – borders, security, refugees, Jerusalem, settlements and water – around which future negotiations will revolve.

    “The international community can build on the work developed by the United States in elucidating the core issues and therefore it can help devise solutions, and offer assistance and guarantees for their implementation. It can provide a framework to accompany them to their conclusion,”

    i think this is an important stage because only when the international community demands compliance will they acknowledge israel’s refusals. it’s going to take the international community to impose a solution. and if there’s no way to impose 2 states (which i think at this point would be fairly impossible) then the most likely alternative is one state w/equal rights.

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