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Hey it’s one state, relax and enjoy it!

Israel/Palestine
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"Who’s afraid of the one-state solution?"! At Foreign Policy, no less, by Dmitry Reider. What a vital contribution. The whole trick with the one-state solution is just like the trick with homosexuality, racism, and air travel. It is mental: it is to simply convince yourself that the heretofore preposterous is normal. That Palestinians are not going to murder the Jews by nature, that one-man/one-vote is not some radical proposition, and that Jews don’t really actually need a state to be safe. I don’t think they need a state, but most Jews still have this belief, darnit. And what if their children laugh at the idea? (See that is the mental trick.)

Douglas MacArthur was afraid of airplanes, was scared to fly on them. And remember that the visionary General Joseph Mitchell was court-martialled by the Army for arguing ad nauseum that airplanes are the wave of the future. Crazy, huh. Reider:

Yehouda Shenhav’s book [the Time of the Green Line] re-examines the very premises on which Israel and its allies perceive the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He suggests that the dispute’s fundamental problem is that most Israelis and Palestinians are using two different timelines, with conflicting conceptions of the conflict’s "year zero." For centrist or left-wing Israelis, it is 1967: the year when the West Bank and Gaza were occupied and the hitherto small, democratic, idealistic Israel turned sour. "All that I’m trying to do is allow my grandchildren to live in this country as I lived in it during the quietest, most beautiful decade of its life — 1957 to 1967," Shenhav quotes Yossi Beilin, an architect of the Oslo Accords and the Geneva Initiative, a private follow-up plan, as saying. For the Palestinians, Shenhav says, year zero remains 1948: the year of the mass expulsion of Arabs and the creation of a regime that systematically excluded them from meaningful participation in political and social life.

Shenhav deconstructs the nostalgic view of a supposedly pure pre-1967 Israel — highlighting its military administration of the Galilee region and of Arab cities, and its rampant discrimination against Arab ("Oriental") Jews. Moreover, he suggests the elite-oriented left fetishizes this era not due to its objections to Israeli incursion into Arab space, but because of the influx of Arabness, and the religious nationalism it elicited from Jews, into "civilized," Westernized Israel. For Shenhav, "the ‘new nostalgia’ longs for an Israel ruled by a secular, Jewish Ashkenazi regime," before the influx of Arabic-speaking Jews into the Israeli political space and that of Palestinian Arabs into Israelis’ day-to-day lives. The fear of growing non-European influence in Israel, Shenhav argues, also motivates centrist, segregationist Israeli political trends, which support the separation wall and even unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories exclusively to defuse Israel’s "demographic time bomb."

Shenhav suggests that the Israeli consensus over the two-state solution stems from the hope to go back to 1967, without revisiting the original sins of the expulsions and expropriations of 1948. Moreover, he that argues the two-state solution as propagated today will cause lasting damage not just to settlers — most of whom, including the second and third generations, would lose their homes — but to the Palestinian refugees, who will be sidelined, as they were by the Oslo process. The group set to suffer the worst political consequences of this two-state solution are Israeli Arabs, who will be pressured to seek redress for their demands from the new Palestinian state or even, if the views of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are heeded, have their Israeli citizenship forcibly withdrawn and replaced with a Palestinian one.

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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