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Shulman moves from ‘Israel in peril’ to no possibility of a two-state solution

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A year ago in the New York Review of Books, in “Israel in Peril,” David Shulman was still holding on to the ideal of a Jewish state and seeking to convince American readers that dramatic action was needed to preserve a Palestinian state. But Shulman, who moved to Israel from the U.S. as a young man many years ago, does not live in denial; he goes out often into the occupied territories with Ta’ayush and sees what Israel has created in the West Bank. And in his latest piece, at +972, he states that partition is finished.

On the way back to Jerusalem, Gabi asks me if I still think there’s some possibility for the two-state solution. I shake my head. Guy, who’s in South Hebron all the time, says, “Yes, of course, that’s what Israel wants. They want the Jewish state here, on the ground, all of it, and the Palestinian state can be somewhere else, maybe on the moon.”

I believe Shulman’s movement fulfills Rabbi Hillel’s question, If not now, when? That question is about honoring reality, honoring the moment. Partition and the ideal of a Jewish state are gone forever.

Read Shulman’s piece for a description of his group’s failed efforts to protect a way of life for Palestinian shepherd-based communities in the Hebron Hills, which are filled with settler colonies. The soldiers keep moving Palestinians out of Area C.

[T]here’s been a wave of further annexations. The settlers are paving new roads, which become de facto boundaries, far beyond the settlements’ periphery. Plots of land that the Palestinian owners have worked for some years, or have reclaimed, often with our help, have been declared “in dispute” — which means that settlers have access to them, but the rightful owners don’t. All over South Hebron there are attempts from above and from below to roll back the gains we’ve made in recent years. Probably officers in the Civil Administration have been devising creative schemes. And there have been the usual, routine detentions, harassments, lethal threats, arrests — more, in fact much more, than before. Add to this a wave of pure nit-picking and pestering, for example by handing out tickets to activists, Israeli and Palestinian, for absurd traffic violations; several of our people have recently been fined large amounts for crossing the road while not on a marked pedestrian crossing. Remember we’re talking about the vast open spaces of a desert; the nearest pedestrian crossing is either in Jerusalem or Beersheva, 40 miles away. I myself witnessed the police administering just such a fine the last time I was in the area, some three weeks back.

In short, things are tightening up. Here’s what it looks like on an ordinary day. From Beit ‘Imrah we head down over the terraces to the grazing grounds where the shepherds are clustered with their sheep. An army jeep is waiting for us. A fat, balding officer heaves himself out of it and informs Fadil: “You see this path. It’s the border. You can’t cross it.” The path is an arbitrary line, deep inside the wadi where, in the last months, they’ve been able to graze — after many years during which this wadi was completely out of bounds. We start filming. By now more soldiers, clutching rifles, have clambered out of the jeep. They prod us, driving us over the line and then farther uphill, and they’re jamming our cameras with their cell phones, which they literally thrust in our faces. The commanding officer doesn’t speak again. We protest, we talk of the law, we talk of the crimes he’s committing. He doesn’t reply….

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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22 Responses

  1. pabelmont on April 30, 2013, 11:06 am

    Glad to have a quasi-definition of “disputed territories” — namely, Israel wants them and is prepared to (or has already) made them off limits to Palestinians. What a wonderful thing is de facto sovereignty! Or, conversely, what a dreadful thing is the world’s backing-down, presumably largely at USA’s request, from its undertakings under Geneva Conventions, to “ensure respect” for the Conventions “under all circumstances” which, here, means acting (not merely talk-talk-talking) to compel Israel not to violate G-4 by its settlements program, land confiscation, etc.

    The meaning of “2SS is dead” also gains some clarity. In the absence of any power willing (and able, but ability is always in question until an attempt is made to act) to compel Israel to remove the settlers, settlements, wall, and siege, then, YES, 2SS is dead, for, surely — as far as certainty goes in this world — Israel is not about to do any of those things voluntarily.

    Two questions for us all to ponder: [1] why do the nations continue to sit on their hands and [2] why did they initially sit on their hands w.r.t. settlements? Is/was it nuclear blackmail by Israel? Is it economic power of USA (such as applied now via sanctions to Iran, and such as our ever-so-clever banks applied to EU’s banks, ruining Europe)? Or do the nations (other than the most-powerful-prisoner-in-the-world/USA) just act in their own interest and see no reason to intervene on Palestine’s behalf — or in the interest of a rule of law they don’t see themselves profiting from?

  2. braciole on April 30, 2013, 11:22 am

    When the Zionist entity disappears from the pages of history, the only people responsible will be the Zionist. What a bunch of morons.

    • American on April 30, 2013, 1:08 pm

      Yea they will be the ones responsible…and zionism should be made an 21st century example of similar to nazism…which still won’t make up for all the
      people and lives they destroyed and dragged down with them.

      • American on April 30, 2013, 2:44 pm

        And I really ,really want to see US neo-ism made an example of too.

    • James Canning on April 30, 2013, 2:14 pm

      I think you mean the Zionist-expansionists who try to prevent Israeli withdrawal from West Bank, Braciole.

    • Ecru on May 1, 2013, 5:19 am

      It won’t just be Zionists.

      Zionism has succeeded beyond its wildest imaginings in tainting Judaism as a whole. Largely with the help of the worldwide Jewish community and Zionist gate keepers in the media. So when it goes – it’s going to take down a lot more than just those completely tied to Jewish ethno-supremacism.

  3. HarryLaw on April 30, 2013, 12:20 pm

    Professor Walt said there are three possible solutions if the 2 state solution is dead
    1/ A one state democracy .. one man one vote.
    2/ Ethnic cleansing and a Greater Israel.
    3/ Apartheid
    These options miss out the solution favored by the Israelis, the “fried chicken” solution or as this article indicates, a Palestinian state on the moon.
    Natanyahu rejects the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan river, David Bar-illan, Director of communications and policy planning in the office of the Israeli Prime Minister said that the Palestinians could call whatever fragments of Palestine is left to them a state or “fried chicken”, the Jabotinsky, iron wall separating Israelis and Palestinians in sealed off Bantustans or prisons in a Greater Israel is what is planned, initially, with Israel’s claim to sovereignty over the whole of the “Land of Israel” intact. Some measure of self rule will be offered or some other such exotic arrangement, so that the apartheid model does not quite fit, the Bantustans will be kept viable with continuous aid from EU/US, dependent on how well behaved the prisoners are , Will anyone complain? sure they will, but since Israel has kept up the occupation for over 46 years, and have succeeded in conning the EU/US pay for it, and the Palestinians police it, they could be excused for thinking why not? what’s to stop them ?

    • American on April 30, 2013, 1:18 pm

      ”1/ A one state democracy .. one man one vote.”

      Will never happen ….they will not give up Jewish control/supremacy within Israel cause then it wouldn’t be the “Jewish State.
      So other two are much, much more likely.

      • Sumud on May 1, 2013, 8:36 am

        Option 3 (Apartheid) is NOW and will continue for a period. When sufficient anti-apartheid pressure builds on Israel, the increasingly-in-charge settlers will attempt to implement Option 2 (Ethnic cleansing and a Greater Israel) at which point all but the most nutty zionists will jump ship and even the most craven US President will be forced to intervene, which will [eventually] result in Option 1: A one state democracy.

        Option 2 is what worries me.

  4. annie on April 30, 2013, 1:04 pm

    i wish palestinians would step up ICC action. what are they waiting for?

    • American on April 30, 2013, 1:10 pm

      Ditto……go ICC now.

    • Justpassingby on April 30, 2013, 3:13 pm

      The fact that they arent are going there is just another sign of the corrupt nature of the P.A., answer is of course that they, P.A., are more or less an allied to US, Israel.

      Besides is ICC even an option? ICC have earlier rejected looking into this topic with the dubious justification that Palestine wasnt a state.

    • Pamela Olson on April 30, 2013, 4:17 pm

      Currently it’s not up to “the Palestinians.” It’s up to the quislings who have no real power other than prostrating themselves and hoping for crumbs (and a nice car and plenty of cash and VIP checkpoints along the way). Any time they defy the people with real power, they get their legs chopped out from under them. (See: UNGA vote on statehood.)

      Fayyad finally fled the sinking ship. What will happen next, I wonder?

    • ToivoS on April 30, 2013, 4:18 pm

      what are they waiting for? Abbas is waiting for the next payment from his international backers. This is the structure for managing the Palestinians that the US set up during the Oslo process.

      Palestinians cannot begin to resist until they get rid of the PA.

    • Ecru on May 1, 2013, 5:25 am

      What threats has the USA uttered on Israel’s behalf (on Israel’s orders?) about what happens if the ICC gets involved? That’s the question.

      • American on May 1, 2013, 10:04 am

        I am sure the US has threatened to cut off any aid and pressure Arab and all other countries to do the same if Palestine goes to ICC.

  5. HarryLaw on April 30, 2013, 1:41 pm

    Israel and Palestinian officials are expecting an intensive two or three months of US work to prepare for formal talks, [the Washington Post]. The Israeli government know there are many ways to skin a cat, they know Abbas’s weaknesses, oh how they know them, a couple of concessions here and there [confidence building measures] probably on Palestinian Prisoners which would be a feather in Abbas’s cap, and important for the prisoners and families, but not politically significant in the overall scheme of things, they can re arrest them later in any case, and we are back on the peace talks train to nowhere again.

  6. James Canning on April 30, 2013, 2:13 pm

    I continue to see no reason why the existence of illegal colonies in the West Bank should by definition change the borders of Palestine.

  7. BradAllen on April 30, 2013, 2:15 pm

    Forget it. Now the Qatar regime has decided to sell out Palestine. White House information that Arab league with leadership from Qatar will agree to a modified border not based on 1967. Goodbye Palestine.

  8. James Canning on April 30, 2013, 2:17 pm

    The Soviet Union relocated more than one million ethnic Russians, in Estonia, during its occupation of that country. In hopes of swamping the Esonians who lived there. Failed, thank goodness.

    Ironically, the USSR later ran low on ethnic Russians, and this problem helped to bring on the collapse of the USSR.

  9. lysias on April 30, 2013, 2:26 pm

    Off topic, Barbara Boxer’s bill to allow Israel to continue to have preferential visa treatment even if Israel continues to exclude U.S. citizens has run into trouble in Congress. CQ: AIPAC-Backed Israel Bill Stalls Over Visa Waiver Provision (requires subscription):

    AIPAC usually garners overwhelming majorities of co-sponsors for bills that it prioritizes.

    But this measure has gathered only 24 co-sponsors in the six weeks since Boxer introduced it on March 5 to coincide with AIPAC annual policy conference in Washington. At the event, AIPAC officials made the bill and a companion in the House (HR 938) one its legislative priorities, sending thousands members of the organization to Capitol Hill to lobby their representatives to support the measures.

    The times they are a-changing.

  10. DICKERSON3870 on April 30, 2013, 9:39 pm

    I recall some years ago (just after Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in the summer of 2006, I believe) Wolf Blitzer asking Pat Robertson if there was a possibility of the two-state solution. Pat Robertson replied no, there was not enough land.

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