Excellent piece by Carlo Strenger in Haaretz, “2011 is the year the two-state solution died.” Catching up to truth offered to us by Ali Abunimah and John Mearsheimer and others, Strenger acknowledges the reality and says that apartheid must be crushed; and Israel is here to stay. The wisdom here is the awareness that his society can only be saved and its good parts redeemed through an international multicultural community Strenger has come to rely on via the internet, one that believes all people are created equal. This is the community that will defeat Zionism. This is the community that can help a reactionary society stumble forward into the modern age… And yes, Strenger is locked inside the fear-ridden Israeli head in this piece, but he knows that American Jews have had enough, and so has Europe. The thrust of this piece is an awareness borne by social media: Israel must join the Arab spring, or there will be cataclysm far worse.
If they [the Palestinians] will, as they say, stick to peaceful resistance, they will need a lot of stamina indeed. In the short run, I am afraid, they will, as Sari Nousseibeh predicts, live without full political rights. I say this with shame. But this is the truth
Our long-term task is to develop new models of dealing with the emerging reality. I wish I could say something clear and constructive, but for the time being I can’t. I have not yet seen realistic models other than the two state solution.
The one state solution, at this point, is an empty concept, so is that of an Israeli-Palestinian confederation. For neither case can I imagine how the parliament of the greater Israel-Palestine would function, or how equality of all citizens with respect to security could be achieved: I agree with Sari Nousseibeh that Jewish history from the Pogroms through the Holocaust, from the 1948 war to that of 1973, is too traumatic for Israelis to relinquish control of security for a long time to come.
Yet any solution that looks like apartheid is unacceptable.
Although the two state solution was far from perfect: at least it gave answers to these basic questions of governance and civic rights. But Israel’s citizens and its government have decided: It will not be.
For the “Free World” the end of the two state solution has a number of implications. The charade of trying to get Netanyahu to negotiate with Palestinians can be ended: there is nothing to talk about with Netanyahu, and he is likely to win Israel’s next elections as well. To some extent, this may come as a relief: after all, trying to set up negotiations was a waste of time and energy….
I would like to end this rather somber eulogy for the two state solution on a personal note. Looking back on the entries in ‘Strenger than Fiction’ of 2011, I see how difficult this year was politically. In many ways my motivation to analyze and reflect upon the many negative developments of this year; of trying to maintain hope, and sticking to principles of decency was fuelled by the support of many friends and readers, in Israel and abroad.
This community of like-minded people is varied. It is composed of Jews and Gentiles; of people who clearly belong to the left, and others who are more centrist in their positions; it spreads from Jerusalem through Europe to the U.S. and South America with occasional interesting comments from India and Korea.
It is held together by a set of common beliefs: that all humans are created equal; that we must strive to create societies that protect human rights, and allow individuals and cultures to flourish; and that the task of humanity is to gradually overcome our tribal past and strive towards a world order that reflects out dependence upon each other. I am grateful for this community that is keeping our hopes alive, even in difficult times.