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Interview with Dr. Haidar Eid: ‘The Palestinian struggle is not about independence — it is about liberation’


David Letwin (Jews for Palestinian Right of Return) interviews Dr. Haidar Eid, Associate Professor, Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. Dr. Eid is also a one-state activist and a member of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

David Letwin: Many Palestinian solidarity activists in this country put their main efforts into opposing the 1967 occupation and more recently, Israel’s siege of Gaza. But you and other Palestinians have argued that Palestinian refugees’ right to return is at the core of the struggle for justice. Why is this?

Haidar Eid: Zionist dispossession and oppression of Palestinians does not begin with 1967. It goes back to 1948, when more than 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from villages and towns in Palestine, and were deported to neighboring countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria ,Gaza and the West Bank to make way for an apartheid “Jewish state.”

Then, in 1967, Israel occupied the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem, which represents the remaining twenty-two percent of historic Palestine.

As a result of this systematic and ongoing ethnic cleansing, fully two-thirds of the Palestinian people are refugees entitled to their right of return to their original homeland, in accordance with United Nations resolution 194. This is the root of the Palestine issue.

Solidarity supporters that only take the cause back to 1967 are ignoring the source of the problem, and reflecting the Zionist Left in Israel, which wants separation of Palestinians from Israeli Jews.

whatcomesnextverticalCan this central right of return be realized if there is a Jewish state anywhere in historic Palestine?

No, that is an impossibility. Zionism, by nature, is an exclusionary ideology that doesn’t accept the “Other.” And the “Other,” in Zionist ideology, is the Palestinian — the Arab in the historic land of Palestine. So a Jewish state means the denial of rights to non-Jews. I am from a refugee family, but because I am not born from a Jewish mother, I’m not entitled to citizenship in the state of Israel; I’m not entitled to my right of return.

How does this fit into your analysis of the Two-State versus the One-State Solution?

The two-state solution is a racist solution that calls for a “pure Jewish state”, and a “pure Palestinian state,” both of which would be based on ethno-religious identities. It does not take into account the rights of two-thirds of the Palestinian people. Neither does it take into consideration the national and cultural rights of 1.2 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, who live as second-, if not third-class citizens of the state. This is extremely important.

Furthermore, the Palestinian struggle is not about independence — it is about liberation. Liberation is very different from independence, because our right to self-determination must lead to the right of return and full equality for all inhabitants of the state of Palestine.

The two-state solution is a racist dogma that cannot guarantee all the rights demanded by the 2005 BDS call around which we have a Palestinian consensus: withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Arab lands occupied in 1967; implementation of UN resolution 194, which calls for the right of return of all Palestinian refugees and their descendants; and an end to Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel. I’m sorry that we have solidarity activists who have fallen into the trap of supporting this so-called solution. Would supporters from the United States of America accept a state that officially discriminates against African Americans? Did South African supporters accept the “Bantustan solution”? No, they didn’t! So why accept it for the Palestinians?

And the One-State Solution?

The one-state solution is the only solution through which the Palestinian rights called for by the BDS movement can be achieved. Moreover, it is a very generous compromise from the oppressed colonized to the settler colonialists, offering citizenship in a state with total equality, exactly like what happened in South Africa, where white settlers were offered the same generous compromise by the indigenous population.

This is the 21st century, after all! We are offering a humane, inclusive solution that is not based on ethno-religious identity: a secular state for ALL of its citizens, regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender, etcetera.

If you’re really a supporter of Palestine, you are supposed to support our right to self-determination, which ultimately leads to a secular democratic state throughout all of historic Palestine. Otherwise, you would be supporting a racist solution! I don’t think that genuine support for Palestine excludes Right of Return. If that is the case, then where are the Palestinian refugees supposed to return? To an apartheid state that defines itself in ethno-religious terms? A state that is not their state since it is the state of Jews only?!

In a 2009 interview, BDS leader Omar Barghouti said, “I am completely against bi-nationalism. A secular, democratic state, yes, but not bi-national. There is a big difference.” Do you agree? And what, in your opinion, is the difference?

Yes, I completely agree. A bi-national state by definition is a state made up of two nations. These two nations are historically entitled to the land. But Jews do not constitute a nation. Israeli Jews constitute a settler-colonialist community, not unlike the whites of South Africa or the French in Algeria. Settler colonists are not entitled to self-determination. However, the indigenous people of Palestine, Muslims, Christians and Jews, are all entitled to self determination and they do constitute a nation.

In fact, bi-nationalism is a Zionist idea since it looks at ALL Jews as a nation that is entitled to the land.

What do you say to people who say, “OK, I agree with what you’re saying. But let’s be honest. Two-states is the only realistic solution, and if you really want to help Palestinians, you should focus on ending the immediate problem of the Occupation and supporting the two-state solution”?

I would say that the one-state solution is more practical/realistic than the two-state solution. South Africa proved that civic democracy for all the inhabitants of South Africa was the way forward; the land of South Africa, according to the Freedom Charter,  belongs to ALL those who live on it. That’s a lesson that we need to learn from history.

Israel has shot the two-state solution in the head by creating news facts on the ground: by annexing Jerusalem, having a “Greater Jerusalem,” and by increasing the number of settlers and expanding the existing illegal colonies (all colonies are illegal). In 1993, when the Oslo Accords were signed, the illusion of peace prevailed, unfortunately. People believed that it was possible to have two states: a Palestinian state on twenty-two percent of historic Palestine.

That year, 1993, the number of Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was 193,000. Twenty years later, the number of settlers in the West Bank has risen to 600,000. Israeli settlements — or rather the Jewish-only colonies, since Palestinians are not allowed to live there — have become towns and cities. Which means that Israel is not planning to leave the West Bank at all. And during these twenty years, Israel has erected a monstrous apartheid wall that separates Palestinians from Israelis, and Palestinians from Palestinians.

Israel has also transformed the Gaza Strip into a concentration camp (as much as these two words might disturb some people who claim to have monopoly on victimhood), an open-air prison. There is no communication between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The whole issue is personal for me; it is personal for all Palestinians. For example, my sister lives in Bethlehem, just a one-hour drive from Gaza. But I have not been able to see her for fifteen years. When both our parents died back in 2005, she was not able to come to their funerals. That personal experience tells you about the impossibility of having two-states.

So, just to clarify, you don’t support the one-state solution just because a two-state solution has “failed”; you support it because one-state is the only just solution, is that correct?

Absolutely correct. Even if you implemented the two-state solution — which is an impossibility — it does not fulfill the right of self-determination, which is right of return, equality and freedom. The two-state solution doesn’t do that.

At the 2013 Left Forum in New York, Steven Shalom argued that, while unjust, the “two-state solution” nevertheless paves the way for one democratic state and should be supported on that basis. Do you agree?

No, I do not! Does also think that the Anti-apartheid movement should have accepted the Bantustan solution based on the same logic? I have already made it clear in my previous answers and articles as to why that is a fallacy. A racist solution cannot pave the way to a just solution.

Archbishops Desmund Tutu said that “[they] wanted the full menu of rights.” Why are we expected to cater for less than that? I fail to understand.

Is it presumptuous for Jews and other non-Palestinians to endorse the call for one democratic state?

I strongly believe that all solidarity supporters should heed the call for one-state made by the oppressed Palestinians. They should be principled in their support for human rights and democracy as expressed through the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. Does the two-state solution subscribe to that declaration? No. Then logic and principle demands they should support the call for the solution that does, the solution that calls for civic democracy and equality throughout all of historic Palestine.

After all, activists didn’t feel it was presumptuous to support a single democratic state in South Africa, did they? And when the “president” of Transkei called on the international community to support and recognize his “independent homeland,” — his version of the “two-state solution” — international anti-apartheid activists did not buy that line!

And, by the way, most South Africa anti-apartheid activists who have visited Palestine now support the one-state solution. Some of my South African friends and comrades say it very clearly: “The one-state solution is the only solution, because we can’t support a racist solution.” That’s why even the official South African line of supporting a two-state solution is not that popular amongst South African solidarity supporters of Palestine — not to say even amongst members of the cabinet! They know what racism is all about! The five-state solution in South Africa was the brainchild of the architects of Apartheid: White South Africa on 88 per cent of the land, and four “Independent Homelands”/Bantustans for the natives! In fact, the original plan was to have 11 Bantustans, if four was not enough for you!

The solidarity movement supported the call for civic democracy and a secular democratic state in South Africa, because that was the only solution. There could be no compromise, no negotiations with apartheid. The same thing should apply to the Palestine solidarity movement. Why is that so difficult to understand?!

In a recent interview, Noam Chomsky said that the one-state solution was an “illusion” because it “has no international support.” How do you respond?

Did he also add the that the two-state solution has become a facade, a fantasy in the head of those who believe in fantasies? Didn’t he also argue in his latest piece in Mondoweiss  that Israel and the US have killed the two-state solution?

Personally, I feel heart-broken when I see an extremely smart thinker like Chomsky missing the point and deciding to adopt a soft-Zionist  position! There is something with people like Chomsky and Finkelstein with whom you tend to agree about everything in the world except on Palestine. That’s why, understandably, some BDS and one-state activists in the US call them PEP (Progressive except on Palestine!)

There is an overwhelming international support for our right to self-determination; and this entails our right of return and equality. How is the two-state solution going to deal with these two internationally sanctioned rights? Chomsky fails to provide an answer, unless he thinks we are not entitled to our right of return and equality! He is smart enough to know that the two-state solution is a racist one. Didn’t he think so about the Bantustans of South Africa?!

You recently said, “At one point in time, the BDS movement will be asked to take that stand” in favor of one democratic state. Why has the BDS campaign refrained from taking this stand so far, and should it do so now?

Every activist knows very by now that the BDS movement is rights-based, rights that are guaranteed for ALL human beings regardless of ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, etcetera. BDS is guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That is why most, if not all, BDS activists are staunch human rights defenders.

I am, nevertheless, aware of tensions arising from the Boycott National Committee’s lack of a political program and its focus on a rights-based approach. This issue is certainly worthy of discussion within the BNC’s secretariat.

But we also need to take into consideration that the BNC is a coalition with all the compromises coalitions have to make in order to work as a front. That is why the BNC has become the frame of reference for international boycott movements. I believe that a good comparison with the South African experience, within this context, can be made, which shouldn’t overlook the role of the United Democratic Front (UDF) that functioned with representation from the National Congress Party, as well as other political parties and civil society organizations in exactly the same manner as the BNC. The UDF adopted two out of what South Africans called the “four pillars of struggle,” namely mass mobilization and the boycott campaign. History stands witness to this approach that contributed immensely to ending apartheid. In my opinion, the BNC has learnt this historical lesson from South Africa. But it took the international community about 30 years to heed the call made by the anti-apartheid movement, whereas the Palestinian BDS call was made in 2005 only.

That is why I think there will come a time when BDS will be asked to take a stand vis-à-vis the one or two-state solution. And I strongly believe that it will come in support of the former.

How is the call for a single secular democratic state throughout historic Palestine connected to other liberation struggles in the region?

When the Arab Spring started in Tunisia and Egypt, Israel was extremely worried because the struggle in the Arab world is for human rights and democracy. And democracy is the antithesis of Zionism; exactly the same way democracy in South Africa was the antithesis of apartheid, and which ultimately led to the end of institutional apartheid there in 1994. (I still think that economic apartheid exists in South Africa, but this is something we can address in another context)

As a Zionist project, Israel knows very well that true democracy in the Arab world would spread and reach Palestine. Israel would be expected by the international community and by the Arab Spring to be truly democratic. That means one person, one vote. And after the right of return, one person, one vote would ultimately lead to the collapse of  the Zionist enterprise in Palestine.

That, to my mind, is the link between the Palestinian struggle for freedom, self-determination, and liberation, and the struggle for democracy and human rights in the Arab world.

Speaking of BDS, Norman Finkelstein recently accused the BDS campaign of hypocrisy for appealing to international law when it comes to Palestinian rights, but refusing to respect international resolutions, like the 1947 UN partition, that — he claims — legitimize the existence of the “Jewish state.” How do you respond?

I’m so sorry to hear that from a smart person like Norman Finkelstein.

As US solidarity supporters, you have principles. You can’t reconcile an unjust partition and apartheid with human rights and democracy. Has Norman Finkelstein forgotten that Israel defines itself as the state of Jews only? Do you expect me to recognize something like this, just because the United Nations declared it to be so? We recognize those laws and resolutions, like 194, that are just and reject those, like the partition resolution, that are unjust. That is the way all human rights struggles have operated. How is that hypocritical?

That is how it was in the struggle against apartheid South Africa. Whether it was Norman Finkelstein or his mentor Noam Chomsky, everybody heeded the call by South Africans. We all said, “What do you want, you oppressed, colonized South Africans?” They said, “We want an end to apartheid.” And right now, Palestinians are saying we want an end to Israeli apartheid.

And I would have understood him had he supported the two-state solution based on UN resolution 181, passed in 1947; it offered to partition Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state as THE solution! It is a very unfair and problematic resolution in that it offered the Jewish minority (660,000 out of 2 million people) the larger part of the land (56%). This 56 percent, offered to the Jews, included an equal number of Jews and Palestinians. And since most Zionists, soft or not, fought for a Jewish majority in Palestine, that ultimately led to the NAKBAH, i.e, an orchestrated process of ethnic cleansing. Two-staters, such as Finkelstein, do say that a Palestinian state should be established on 44 per cent of Palestine based on UN resolutions!

So I would argue that it’s Norman Finkelstein who’s being hypocritical, because he is unwilling to do for Palestinians what he and all other activists did for South Africans. And in fact, he’s being Zionist and racist when he actually expects us Palestinians to listen to what he has to say in the first place. No, excuse me — he is supposed to listen to what *we* have to say. Unless he has decided to ignore the fact that the 2005 BDS call has been endorsed by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Civil Society, including National and Islamist forces!Is that not enough for you if you were a genuine supporter of Palestine?

It has been twenty years since Oslo Accords were signed. What effect did these accords, and the so-called “Peace Process,” have on the struggle for the core Palestinian rights called for by BDS: equality, right of return, and end of Occupation?

I’ll sum it by quoting Edward Said in 1993: the Oslo Accords are a second Nakba. Oslo has reduced the Palestinian people to those who only live in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, while excluding Palestinian refugees and Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel. Oslo never alluded to Palestinian’s right to return to their villages and towns from which they were ethnically cleansed in 1948 and never alluded to equality in the 1948 territories. Oslo basically codified and legitimized the ethnic cleansing — the Nakba — of 1948.

Oslo also gave a false impression to the international community that you have “two equal parties” — Palestinians on the one hand, and the Israelis on the other — engaged in “dialogue” to solve their problem. But there are not two equal parties. There is no dialogue. There is an apartheid regime seeking to perpetuate its rule on the one hand, and an indigenous people struggling for their inalienable rights on the other.

Rather than acknowledging the necessity of disassembling this apartheid regime once and for all, Oslo fetishized the trappings of statehood, that if you offer Palestinians a flag and a red carpet for its president and a national anthem, then you have solved the Palestinian question once and for all!

Going back to Norman Finkelstein: you have the struggle of colonized Palestinians against settler colonialists — thanks to the BDS movement, thanks to the formation of the BNC, thanks to the formation of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and thanks to the revival of the one-state idea. You have intellectuals and activists like Edward Said, Azmi Bishara, Ali Abunimah, Omar Barghouti, Ramzy Baroud, Joesph Masaad, Ilan Pappe and all these people who have decided to say farewell to the two-state solution, and to endorse the one-state solution.

As solidarity supporters you need to support democracy and human rights — the same principles you followed in the Eighties against apartheid South Africa. You didn’t waste time discussing the practicalities of having Bantustans in South Africa. So you need to join us in putting the two-state solution on the shelf in a museum, because it delays our liberation, and support our call for one-state.

This post is part of “What Comes Next?: A forum on the end of the two-state paradigm.” This series was initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace as an investigation into the current state of thinking about one state and two state solutions, and the collection has been further expanded by Mondoweiss to mark 20 years since the Oslo process. The entire series can be found here.

David Letwin and Dr. Haidar Eid

David Letwin is a member of Jews for Palestinian Right of Return. Dr. Haidar Eid is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. Dr. Eid is also a one-state activist and a member of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

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31 Responses

  1. MHughes976 on December 2, 2013, 12:28 pm

    I agree that 2ss in all known forms is screamingly unjust and that the comparison with Bantustans and with the liberation movement’s refusing to accept Bantustans as a step along the way is apt. But I don’t think we can rule out the possibility that in the circumstances of the ME some form of 2ss might be a useful step forward. It would negate the Zionist principle that only Jewish people have a birthright in the Holy Land. Mind you, that’s a reason, I think the main reason, why Israeli governments have little intention of conceding it, except perhaps in the most Bantustanish form, where there was to be a series of enclaves that could progressively be cleared, from smallest to largest, by a mixture of sharp sticks and rather mouldy carrots.

  2. just on December 2, 2013, 1:06 pm

    Thank you.


  3. MHughes976 on December 2, 2013, 1:25 pm

    Sounds like a man of deep ideas. The idea that what defines a writer is working out personal issues in serious ways – ‘the political is the personal, perhaps’ – is quite interesting.

  4. MHughes976 on December 2, 2013, 1:29 pm

    This was meant to be a comment on Phil’s late mentor Peter Kaplan. I’ve sometimes got comments in the wrong place but never quite this badly.

  5. Ron Edwards on December 2, 2013, 2:40 pm

    Dr. Eid nails it. Thank you for this excellent interview.

    I first encountered the “liberation not independence” argument from Ali Abunimah. It makes perfect sense and I’d like to see it become the primary phrasing.

  6. Erasmus on December 2, 2013, 2:56 pm

    LIBERATION – not independence

    Dr. Eid’s is the STRONGEST and most CONSISTENT plea for the One-State-solution that i have come across.

    We have to go back to the roots of the tragedy: 1948

    Everything else leads us up the garden path.

  7. mondonut on December 2, 2013, 3:32 pm

    Great interview. I wish the entire world understood this breathtakingly simple concept. Will ending the occupation bring peace? No. Will the RoR? No. Will a Palestinian State? No. Will all of the above? No.

    What brings peace? Nothing less than the dismantling of the State of Israel. Let’s see how much worldwide support the Palestinians enjoy when that becomes obvious. Better yet, send Abbas back to the U.N. to make that demand.

    • RoHa on December 2, 2013, 11:19 pm

      How much of the world really wants there to be a Jewish State in Palestine? My guess is that most people would be happy to see the end of Israel if it brought peace to the region.

  8. LisaAK on December 2, 2013, 3:51 pm

    Thank you for this interview. Dr. Eid very clearly articulated the logical, democratic, and human rights-based reasoning for One State vs. Two States. Like Ron Edwards, above, I love the “liberation not independence” phrase and hope it begins to be used more widely. I just have 2 issues:

    First, in my mind, the question about cherry picking UN resolutions wasn’t really very clearly answered. How can Palestinian solidarity activists argue international law and cite certain UN Resolutions, but say other ones are invalid? Isn’t that what Israel does – just ignores the ones it doesn’t like? I think that is the hypocrisy to which Chomsky was referring. Right wingers/pro-Zionists often quote the mythological argument that Israel accepted the “compromise” of 2-states, but it was the “Arabs” who would not. So wouldn’t arguing that Res. 181 is unfair play right into that argument? We need a more succinct talking point on the issue of the UN resolutions.

    Second, there is an inherent problem with international solidarity activists (particularly Jewish ones like myself) advocating for a particular solution when there is not, or at least not yet, a consensus amongst the Palestinians themselves that 1-State is what they want. I just came back from Palestine and met with a number of Popular Resistance leaders who emphasized that their struggle is for freedom and equal rights and they deliberately do not take a position on 1 State vs. 2-States. In fact, there are numerous Palestinian national flags waived around at the weekly demonstrations, and most of the individual Palestinians I spoke with clearly advocated for 2-States or said they didn’t care so long as the wall is taken down, they have access to their lands, and freedom with equal rights. Doesn’t it make sense for the internationals to more generally advocate for human rights and leave it up to those actually living under occupation to make a clear call for the solution first?

  9. DaveS on December 2, 2013, 4:20 pm

    I agree with almost all that Dr. Eid has to say about the moral superiority and even the superior feasibility of the 1ss, but have one nit to pick. He says that Finkelstein should listen to what the Palestinians say. But what if public opinion polls show that a majority of Palestinians favor the 2ss over 1ss? Dr. Eid is not bound by such majority sentiment, and why should any non-Palestinian be bound? He has expressed his opinion very eloquently and IMO persuasively. But I think we should try to persuade people who have a different opinion rather than question whether they have the right to express it.

    Also, Dr. Eid says that Palestinians (presumably he means Israeli citizens) are not allowed to live in the Jewish only settlements in the WB. I do not doubt this, but I am not familiar with the legal proscriptions against it. Israelis sometimes point out that the Israelis-only roads may be accessed by Palestinian citizens who have yellow license plates. Does anyone know if the settlements are Jewish-exclusive by law or other practical reasons? And are the 600,000 or more Israeli settlers all Jewish without a single exception, or are there somehow any non-Jewish Israeli citizens on that side of the green line?

    • just on December 2, 2013, 5:14 pm

      Seems to me that you have more than one”nit to pick”.

      Good questions, though.

      • DaveS on December 2, 2013, 5:58 pm

        No, really just one, in the first paragraph. My second is not a disagreement but a quest for clarification.

    • Shmuel on December 2, 2013, 6:22 pm

      Does anyone know if the settlements are Jewish-exclusive by law or other practical reasons? And are the 600,000 or more Israeli settlers all Jewish without a single exception, or are there somehow any non-Jewish Israeli citizens on that side of the green line?

      Good questions, David, to which I think I can give some general answers.

      Some (not many) Palestinian citizens of Israel do live and even own apartments in the settlements in East Jerusalem, and there are a few hundred Palestinian-Israeli students at Ariel University, some of whom live in Ariel itself, so that there doesn’t seem to be a blanket ban on non-Jewish Israelis living on settlements. And, of course, there are non-Palestinian non-Jews (mainly from the FSU) in East Jerusalem, Ma’aleh Adumim and Ariel, although I don’t know how significant their numbers are in those areas.

      On the other hand, many settlements are “communal” (there are a number of different legal forms this may take, but the predominant one is that of the “yishuv kehilati”) and therefore have acceptance committees and are free to screen potential residents, excluding those deemed “unsuited to the nature of the community” or something along those lines.

      Another factor to take into consideration, particularly close to the green line (on the WB side), is that a good deal of land is actually owned by the Jewish National Fund subsidiary Himnuta, which as a rule, will not lease to non-Jews (even if the new rules governing JNF lands inside Israel are also applicable in the WB, but I suspect they are not, as Israeli property law in general does not apply there).

      Beitar Illit (the largest settlement in the WB) may not fit into any of the above categories, but it is an ultra-orthodox city that, presumably, has some mechanism to exclude not only non-Jews, but even Jews who do not meet the community’s standards of religious observance. I know of one ultra-Orthodox settlement in East Jerusalem, for example, where it was only possible to purchase homes through ultra-Orthodox organisations set up for that purpose (and a small neighbourhood in West Jerusalem where transactions were contingent upon signing an additional, religious contract, with a clause prohibiting sale to non-Jews or non-observant Jews).

      It goes without saying that it is state policy to build and approve only settlements for Jews (based on the principle that “state land” = “Jewish land”), so that a non-Jew living on a settlement would necessarily have to live on a settlement built for Jews.

      In short, a somewhat mixed bag of rules and practices, but the end result, for one reason or another (some voluntary), is that the settlements are almost exclusively Jewish.

      • DaveS on December 2, 2013, 6:59 pm

        Thanks, Shmuel. I have often wondered about this and am glad it was you who answered.

  10. Keith on December 2, 2013, 5:47 pm

    ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE! Gaza is in crisis right now and this interview with Dr. Haidar Eid focuses on an ideal solution in the distant future! Pontificating when the house is on fire! This is a self-indulgent diversion. Might not be a bad idea to de-emphasize the “Jews for This, Jews for That” point of view and talk to the Palestinian representatives from the Free Gaza Movement to see whether they want to emphasize getting relief NOW, or focus on turning the clock back to 1947 at some distant point in time. Below is a quote and link to a Gaza update from Ramzy Baroud:

    “The latest punishment of Gaza may seem like another familiar plot to humiliate the strip to the satisfaction of Israel, Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, and the military-controlled Egyptian government. But something far more sinister is brewing.

    This time, the collective punishment of Gaza arrives in the form of raw sewage that is flooding many neighborhoods across the impoverished and energy-chocked region of 360 km2 (139 sq mi) and 1.8 million inhabitants. Even before the latest crisis resulting from a severe shortage of electricity and diesel fuel that is usually smuggled through Egypt, Gaza was rendered gradually uninhabitable. A comprehensive UN report last year said that if no urgent action were taken, Gaza would be ‘unlivable’ by 2020. Since the report was issued in August 2012, the situation has grown much worse.” (Ramzy Baroud)

    • Walid on December 2, 2013, 11:28 pm

      “if no urgent action were taken, Gaza would be ‘unlivable’ by 2020. ” (Ramzy Baroud)

      This end appears to be the master plan for Gaza of both Egypt and Israel. If and when that happens, does the plan say where these 1.8 million people would go, or does it call for a collective suicide?

      • talknic on December 3, 2013, 2:04 am

        @ Walid “This end appears to be the master plan for Gaza of both Egypt and Israel”

        Egypt is in between a rock and a hard place. Except by voicing objection in the UN, Egypt is powerless to do anything for the Palestinians/Gaza other than tear up the Peace Treaty and/or other contractual agreements it has with Israel.

        Each Party undertakes to ensure that acts or threats of belligerency, hostility, or violence do not originate from and are not committed from within its territory, or by any forces subject to its control or by any other forces stationed on its territory , against the population, citizens or property of the other Party. Each Party also undertakes to refrain from organizing, instigating, inciting, assisting or participating in acts or threats of belligerency, hostility, subversion or violence against the other Party, anywhere , and undertakes to ensure that perpetrators of such acts are brought to justice.

        The Parties agree that the normal relationship established between them will include full recognition, diplomatic, economic and cultural relations, termination of economic boycotts and discriminatory barriers to the free movement of people and goods , and will guarantee the mutual enjoyment by citizens of the due process of law. The process by which they undertake to achieve such a relationship parallel to the implementation of other provisions of this Treaty is set out in the annexed protocol

      • Walid on December 3, 2013, 2:49 am

        “Each Party undertakes to ensure that acts or threats of belligerency, hostility, or violence do not originate from and are not committed from within its territory…”

        What’s letting medical supplies or fuel through Rafah or allowing students and sick people free passage have to do with the above provision?

        There’s a diffrence between actually giving a helping hand to Hamas to fight Israel and an outstretched hand to civilians for humanitarian reasons. Egyptians are either stupid or they are actually helping Israel keep its boots on the Gazans’ throats. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Israel not having participated in the actual slaughters at Sabra-Chatila but simply having kept all exits from the camps locked up to prevent anyone from escaping and providing night flares to facilitate the work of the actual Lebanese butchers. What Egypt is doing is not that different.

      • talknic on December 3, 2013, 12:20 pm

        Walid “What’s letting medical supplies or fuel through Rafah or allowing students and sick people free passage have to do with the above provision?”

        Nothing. Israel is in breach of the Laws of War in that respect. As the Occupying Power it is legally required to provide the shortfall in necessities incl medical treatment, while protecting the the occupied, their property and their territory. That doesn’t get Egypt out from between the rock and the hard place unless it tears up the Peace Treaty and/or breaks its other contractual obligations with the Occupying Power, Israel

        “Egyptians are either stupid or they are actually helping Israel keep its boots on the Gazans’ throats”

        Egypt is A) in political turmoil at present B) the Occupying Power dictates who, what, how, when anything goes in or out of occupied territories.

        ” It’s somewhat reminiscent of Israel not having participated in the actual slaughters at Sabra-Chatila but simply having kept all exits from the camps locked up to prevent anyone from escaping and providing night flares to facilitate the work of the actual Lebanese butchers. What Egypt is doing is not that different.”

        If Egypt tears up the Peace Treaty, Israel would very likely want to put boots on the ground in Gaza, permanently.

      • Walid on December 3, 2013, 12:39 pm

        Taknic, I think Egypt was the more delighted of the two that the peace treaty was signed. It was flat broke back then and is still flat broke and can’t afford to be in any a state of war with anyone. How long would those F16s continue to fly without American spare parts? Egypt would never tear up the treaty and Israel knows it.

  11. Mayhem on December 2, 2013, 8:05 pm

    This guy Eid just blows my socks off. He pontificates from his ivory tower about what he wants and believes, not once mentioning Hamas and the obvious role they play in preventing any peace or reconciliation with Israel. We get to hear once again the standard anti-Israel diatribe with all the usual jargon and misrepresentations.
    He blithely says that Zionism is an

    exclusionary ideology that doesn’t accept the “Other.”

    coming from an Islamic state that is pushing unashamedly for Islamic supremacy and domination.
    He suggests that

    Israel defines itself as the state of Jews only

    conveniently forgetting that more than 20% of Israel’s population is Arab with the same full civil and democratic rights as Jews have.
    The blind hypocrisy of this man!

    • Ron Edwards on December 3, 2013, 4:52 pm

      Weak piffle. I miss Obsidian, whose perfidy at least required wits to counter.

      1. No, non-Jewish citizens of Israel do not enjoy the same (“full”) civil and democratic rights as Jewish citizens – the term “citizen-national” for the latter was invented precisely to distinguish them, and nationals are privileged in many official and non-official ways. This discrimination is exacerbated by the many pretty-sounding provisions in the Basic Law (the pretend constitution) which are easily rescinded if half the Knesset decides their beneficiary is not sufficiently loyal to the “Jewish and democratic state.”

      2. “Hamas! Hamas! Ham- … Hey, isn’t anyone listening any more?” No, we’re not. Never mind Hamas’ role in actually decreasing militancy, its acknowledged softening of its original charter, or its elected status – since Operation Cast Lead, that name’s witchy goose-the-Americans power has been canceled.

  12. jon s on December 3, 2013, 5:54 am

    The interview with Dr. Eid is the kind of text that serves right-wing Zionists: the conflict is not about the occupation or the settlements or the borders, it’s about our very right to exist. A Jewish state can’t exist anywhere, not on one square foot of land in the country. Even the bi-national option is out because Jews are not a nation, Israelis don’t have the right to self-determination. Even confirmed anti-Zionists like Professors Chomsky and Finkelstein don’t go far enough.
    Depressing stuff, to be sure, but at least Dr.Eid is honest. Reminds us of what supporters of Israel-Palestinian peace and understanding, on both sides, are up against.

    • Ron Edwards on December 3, 2013, 9:34 am

      There is no right to exist for states. States neither have rights nor don’t have rights.

      That whole phrasing throws fog over two important points. First, that nothing being discussed concerns the physical, life-or-death fates of current Israeli nationals. “Right to exist” is deliberately chosen to confound this, prompting fear of extermination, the whole “throw us into the sea” line. It concerns privilege and oppression, including lethal oppression. If anyone needs to be worried about being thrown into the sea, it’s the people of Gaza, in many cases literally, if having your legs shot off by depleted uranium bullets isn’t enough.

      Second, your slight shift from nation to a designated group with “self-determination” is another long-standing shibboleth. It’s evolved from a critique of colonialism into a defense of neo-colonialism, i.e., the privileging of one distinct group via a deal with an external power. Since, no state on this planet with the possible exception of a tiny island in Papua New Guinea is comprised of a single culture and ethnicity, the idea that a nation (as used in this discussion) implies a state has prompted little but evil over the past century especially.

      Therefore all this talk about peoples and self-determinations and states’ right to exist is blather. All of it, by anyone. This is about justice and about an elite who is visiting horror upon the helpless under their control, as facilitated solely by my tax money and the international threat constantly implied and frequently applied by my government.

      Israeli apologists and non-apologists constantly tap-dance their way between “we depend on you so much” and “we’re all alone and can do what we want,” shifting back and forth as needed in the moment to preserve their privilege. I’m yanking the floor out from under this dance for good.

      • MHughes976 on December 3, 2013, 11:39 am

        States can have rights springing from treaties and so forth, though the specific rights created this way are mutable by further agreement, whereas human rights, if there are any such, exist objectively, regardless of what people think.
        Individual human rights can sometimes be summarised by reference to states. Thus to say ‘states have a right to be free of invaders and marauders’ might just be a way of saying that individuals have a right not to experience the frightful things that invaders and marauders do. Most of us do speak in this way.
        This way of speaking about what are in the end individual rights is different from a way of thinking, not just speaking, in which it is actually groups, not individuals, to whom rights belong. Hostage, who knows how much I enjoy a bit of Bible study, has mentioned to me the Daughters of Zelophehad in Numbers as bearers of a group-defined right. It is logically possible to think of all rights in this way, though that would be different from our ‘Universal Declaration’ style of ‘every individual has the right…’. But I don’t think it’s possible to think of rights consistently in both these fashions.
        I do agree with you that there has never been even an intelligible, let alone a plausible, statement of the alleged universal right of group self-determination. Endless paradox follows from the idea that every one of the multitude of overlapping human groups can indefinitely define and redefine the polity to which it belongs. That’s even before you get to the problem of saying what a nation is.
        Well, I think that there can be a restricted principle telling you to give the least possible offence, in circumstances where an empire or federation has fallen, in constituting governments in its former provinces. Mind you, even that it is one bloody (right word) hell of a lot easier said than done, as the whole history of the ME after the Ottomans and of Central Europe after the Hapsburgs shows. I’ve gone on quite long enough.

      • Citizen on December 3, 2013, 2:11 pm

        I agree the verbal abstractions used are used just as you say.
        It’s true no state has a right to exist in the sense that, say, a corporation does if it’s charter of incorporation is validated by a state, e.g., in the USA, that state is usually Delaware, which has the most favorable laws for corporations to do whatever they want. The Civil War was fought because some states thought they could leave the union of states. In the end, any state can do what it wants so long as it has the military-economic power to do so. Any state or union of states has only, internally, its police power, and externally, its military power, to enforce whatever it desires to label as its rights. A rebellion of enough citizens with arms could take the teeth out of the IRS, for example, or end US enmeshment with Israel. The USA regime system placates the poor by redistribution of wealth to those with least to lose in outright rebellion in the streets, and insures its own survival simultaneously by placating the very wealthy who can afford to take many hits of all sorts and hire their own private police force.

        All law is state-sponsored. Legal rights are not the same as claimed moral rights. In America, law students are taught that all rights come with responsibilities, and privileges are not the same as rights as they can be retracted if the privileged one violates the conditions of the privilege or license.

      • Ron Edwards on December 3, 2013, 5:12 pm

        You two make things way harder than they have to be. For example, the entities you are describing are not capable of thought or action. U.S. “states” did not “think” they could secede from the union. All such talk is at best unnecessary, and almost automatically misleading and obfuscating – just as it is in Jon S’s post. We are dealing with hasbara here. The way to counter it is to talk about people and things which exist, with actual causes and effects.

        Laws are the enforcement of group agreements, whether small groups or big ones, mediated however, written or not. States are the claimed limit of that enforcement, “claimed” because many powerful groups exert force beyond those boundaries, and therefore the term is only marginally useful. … oh, what’s the use. See it like you want to – but don’t get diverted from the problem at hand, which is Jon S.

        Whether individual rights exist in some metaphysical sense, or whether they are the summary of fortuitous alliances, is precisely the sort of irrelevant chat that posts like Jon S’s can exploit.

        Appearances aside, I agree with nearly everything concrete stated in your and MHughes’ posts, with the exception of corporate rights – however, I’m past my patience with the tortuous venture through la-la land required to get to those points. This is not merely a matter of personal taste or comfort with convenient abstractions. My call is to talk about real people, real actions, real force, and real events, because when that happens, the spouters of hasbara cannot tie you or, more importantly, readers/listeners into knots.

    • tree on December 3, 2013, 5:45 pm

      Reminds us of what supporters of Israel-Palestinian peace and understanding, on both sides, are up against.

      It all depends on what you think people need to “understand”. Should Palestinians understand that Israel (plus the West Bank) is the Jewish State and they should accept that they will never be given equal rights in the country? Should they understand that Palestinians are not wanted there and so should leave? Or should they understand that all people in the land deserve equal rights, which is the understanding that Dr. Eid is promoting? And why is that concept so hard for you, jon, to understand? Maybe you’d be more effective and enlightened if you actual tried to understand the concept of equal human and civil rights for all, instead of just “supporting” some ill-defined concept of “understanding”.

    • RoHa on December 3, 2013, 8:24 pm

      “it’s about our very right to exist.”

      What do you mean by “our right to exist”? Do you mean the right to life of the individual Israelis? Dr. Eid is not suggesting that they do not have a right to life.

      Do you mean the right to exist of the State of Israel? Whatever rights states may have, they do not have that right.

      As Ron Edward points out, you are just tossing in the phrase “right to exist” to accuse your opponents of threatening mass murder.

      “A Jewish state can’t exist anywhere”

      We have already explained why the concept of a Jewish state (or any other ethnically based state) is evil. It denies equal rights to people who are not of the selected ethnicity. It is always wrong for a state to privilege one ethnicity over others. Nor does that fact that there have been a number of such states make it right.

      “Jews are not a nation”

      Not in any ordinary sense of the word. And it wouldn’t provide a scrap of mitigation for the evil of Israel if they were.

      “Israelis don’t have the right to self-determination.”

      We (and especially I) have written at length on this site about this self-determination blather.

      And insofar as there is anything approximating to such a right, it is certainly not an absolute, unrestricted, right.

  13. Citizen on December 3, 2013, 6:55 am

    The South African solution was more than fair to the settler whites since it gave them equal rights with the natives. The same should be done with Israel/Palestine–and no eternal right of return for diaspora jews.

  14. notatall on December 4, 2013, 6:41 am

    Eid is on the mark, from start to finish. Only one nation in Palestine, only one state. Anything else is zionism, hard or soft.

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