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It is time to imagine how one state– one person, one vote– will work

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This piece appeared last week on Huffington Post, but we felt it important to bring it to a wider audience. Especially because co-author Jonathan Kuttab will be speaking on Tuesday night at Temple Israel in New Rochelle; and co-author Robert Herbst will also be there. –Editor. 

We are two human rights lawyers, one Palestinian Arab, one American Jew, who believe that both Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews need to be able to live free, dignified and whole lives in the Land belonging to both. We are of the view that the liberation of both peoples – Jews from being occupiers and dominators, and Palestinians from being occupied and dominated – in two separate states has now been rendered virtually impossible by the facts on the ground. “Ending the occupation” is therefore no longer sufficient to create a viable future for both. Instead, we need to think carefully about how to accommodate the genuine needs of both peoples in some form of unitary state guaranteed to provide real political rights and human dignity and freedom as well as real and lasting security to both peoples.

The Impossibility of the Two State Solution (“2SS”)

It is now commonly acknowledged that the two state solution has become physically impossible to implement. The premise of 2SS was that the 1967 War provided an opportunity for a pragmatic compromise between the Zionist movement in the State of Israel, and the Palestinian national movement and its Arab Allies which could be achieved in a strategic “land for peace” formula whereby the state of Israel would withdraw from the lands it recently occupied, in return for peace and normalization. Additional elements were sometimes mentioned such as the sharing of East Jerusalem, a Palestinian Right of Return to the new Palestinian state as well as security arrangements such as demilitarization of the State of Palestine. Clearly, Jewish settlements and settlement activities have run counter to this proposed compromise, but there they are.

Now, in 2016, the extent, depth, and longevity of the occupation have created new facts on the ground. There are about 600,000 settlers, with their entire legal, administrative, political, and economic infrastructure, virtually impossible to remove, and dividing Palestinians into cantons, all of which makes the 2SS no longer possible, even if Israel were fully committed to it, which if truth be told, it is not. Secretary of State John Kerry recently was the latest of those acknowledging that time is fast running out on this proposed compromise.

The Thinking Behind 2SS No Longer Fits the Facts on the Ground

At the time it was first suggested, the 2SS was vehemently condemned by sizable populations on both sides, but slowly gained majority support, and became the official platform of both communities, because it was an eminently reasonable compromise that reflected both the balance of power at the time and the majority interests of both protagonists. It did not require the repudiation or radical rethinking of any of the ideologies involved, but merely limited the application of such ideologies to a geographic portion of the contested land.

The 2SS was consonant with International law, which prohibited the acquisition of land through armed conflict and proclaimed the status of the acquired territories to be “occupied.” Even the Israeli High Court supported this legal classification, and does so to this day, in accord with numerous pronouncements of the UN Security Council and that of the near-unanimous decision of the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (9 July 2004) (holding that Israel’s policy of establishing settlements in that territory is a “flagrant violation” of the Fourth Geneva Convention[,]” and observing that it was “tantamount” to “de facto annexation” which entailed “further alterations to the demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory” which “severely impedes the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self‑determination.”).

This is the position of all the countries of the world today, including the United States. It was reaffirmed by the Saudi Initiative, which promised full Israeli normalization with all the Arab and Moslem countries in the region in return for full Israeli withdrawal from lands occupied in 1967.

The goal of pro-Palestinian activism (and its Arab and international support) changed from “liberation of Palestine” to “ending the occupation,” which was a slogan and program acceptable to many good faith activists who cared about peace and justice, but who were reluctant to take positions that were perceived as anti-Israeli. The presence of a sizable ‘peace movement’ inside Israel that supported the 2SS solution contributed to this.

Indeed, the alternative to the 2SS, the one-state solution (one person-one vote), was rejected by many as a repudiation of Zionism and the destruction of the concept of a Jewish state, which in the minds of many was akin to calling for expulsion of Jews from Palestine, and possibly a second Holocaust. The prospect was so unthinkable that in many venues, no serious discussion of a one-state solution was tolerated.

The fly in the ointment of the 2SS was the settler project, and the settlers themselves. Introducing into the occupied territories hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers, claiming the privileges of Israeli citizenship, directly contradicted the entire logic of the proposed compromise, by proclaiming Israeli dominion over all the contested area of Palestine. Each additional settler, and confiscation of each dunam (a dunam is 1000 square meters, or ¼ acre) for settlements, and the exclusively Jewish roads, courts, laws, infrastructure and regulations that came with them, put the lie to claims of Israeli governments to support a 2SS and reaffirmed Zionist claims to all of Palestine for the Jewish people. Genuinely supporting the 2SS would have required opposition to, or strict limitation of, the settlement enterprise.

Israel continues to mouth support of the 2SS because it permits the status quo to continue as settlements expand and Palestinian lands are slowly but inexorably taken, while the failure to achieve the 2SS can be blamed on a variety of excuses, such as the absence of a unified and effective Palestinian leadership willing to negotiate a final 2SS solution, or the continuation of armed resistance or (differently framed) acts of terrorism. In endless negotiations over the last 25 years, modifications to the 2SS have been proposed, such as “settlement blocks” and exchange of territories, while Israeli control of the occupied territories has continued to expand and harden and Palestinian resistance to it ineffectively ebbs and flows.

Inertia is a powerful force. With no effective outside pressure from the international community, it is no wonder that intelligent Israeli politicians, and even some in AIPAC itself, the Israel lobby group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, could deceptively claim to support the 2SS while effectively working to make sure it would never be implemented.

Time for a New End Game?

The belief that Palestinian lives and rights matter is gaining new currency in the United States and around the world, among Jews and non-Jews, as the harsh reality of Palestinian life under occupation is made manifest by the ubiquity of smartphone cameras and the increased willingness of the media to explore that life. For the first time, there appears to be the prospect that outside pressure on Israel may build, in the form of boycott, divestment and sanctions, and otherwise. But if the 2SS is dead, what is the alternative? What is the end game that would guarantee a future for Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs in a shared Land? We believe that some out-of-the box thinking is required to provide peace and justice, some measure of stability and an end to the conflict. Such new thinking, and an articulation of what form it would take (totally apart from the question of how to achieve it), requires some radical reformulation of both the language, assumptions, and orientation of people on both sides, as well as their outside supporters and the international community itself.

We start by rejecting two prominent mutually incompatible ideologies: To have a Jewish state dedicated exclusively to the interests of its Jewish citizens, and which serves the interest of all Jews worldwide, whether by divine right or historical connection, would necessarily require the elimination or subjugation and repression of the indigenous non-Jewish population. Insisting on an Arab Palestine as part of the Arab world, and treating Zionists, other than the original Palestinian Jews, as foreign invaders with no rights and connection to the Land would similarly call for the elimination or forced expulsion of most Israelis as recent immigrants, and a denial of their Jewish religious and cultural aspirations and requirements. What is needed is for each group to understand the hopes, fears, interests, and aspirations of the other, empathize with them, and to sufficiently alter and moderate its own ideology to accommodate the other group rather than seek to vanquish and dominate it and deny it any legitimacy.

We therefore need to ask Israeli Jews, “what do you really need to live free, secure, and culturally and religiously Jewish lives here in Palestine/Israel, and how can those needs be fulfilled without negating the ability of Palestinians to live equally free, secure, dignified lives?” We also need to ask the Palestinians what they need to live such lives in a state where they are not dominant, and where Israeli Jews are the majority, or perhaps as time goes on, a substantial minority.

Implicit in both questions is a belief that while democracy requires one-person-one-vote, a state that encompasses and belongs to more than one major ethnic/religious group cannot afford to ignore any of them, but must find a formula that accommodates all and contains sufficient ironclad legal and institutional guarantees that each individual and group is, and feels, fully protected against the caprice of the majority so that all can exercise the full panoply of human rights and live with human dignity. This is particularly true where genuine differences and recent enmities appear to control and restrict present realities. New structures must be created. Guarantees must be firmly established in constitutions and laws that cannot be altered or overturned by numerical majorities that permanently and significantly disadvantage minorities.

Yugoslavia had a tri-cameral constitution under Marshal Tito, carefully balancing Serbs, Muslims, and Croats, before that system collapsed after his death. Lebanon also has a system, which for all its faults, allows the government to accommodate different religious groups, none of which can be ignored or slighted. Other countries have either found a way to make significant minorities feel a sense of belonging to their country, or have suffered the consequences of internal conflict, civil strife and calls for secession. In our situation, in addition to internal legal and other controls, a high level of international support, guarantees, and legitimacy will be required in light of the extensive interest and involvement of significant outside actors. In particular, the religious importance of the Land, and of Jerusalem, to all three monotheistic religions, gives the international community a significant stake in the governance of the whole country and good reason to insure open access and non-exclusive control over its destiny. Christians have largely ceased, since the times of the Crusaders, to make exclusive claims to Jerusalem. In order to insure security, peace and tranquility, neither Jewish nor Muslim claims of exclusivity can be tolerated.

For a solution to commend itself to people of goodwill on both sides and to the international community, it must address the major needs of Jews and Palestinians as identified by each side as bottom line irreducible requirements, as opposed to desired or demanded outcomes. These needs must be met and addressed by a new order and governing structure regardless of which group is in the numeric majority or minority, now or in the future.

Essential Elements of the New Order:

1. Equality and Non-discrimination: The State of Israel has failed in law and in practice to provide full equality even to its own Arab citizens. While Palestinians recognize that the new state will likely continue in the foreseeable future to be dominated by Jews for a number of reasons, Palestinians will require that equality be strictly applied, particularly in the public sphere. Public institutions, lands, funds, and resources, including water and public education, must be utilized equally in the interest of all citizens. Discrimination must not be tolerated. Arabic, which is currently formally recognized as an official language in Israel, will need to be deliberately incorporated into public life, on a par with Hebrew. While it was important for Jews to revive and promote Hebrew in Israel after centuries of non-use, there can be no excuse for the deliberate downgrading of Arabic (Arabic signs, where they exist even in the West Bank appear to be deliberately misspelled, and it is easier to find government documents in Amharic (the language of the recent Ethiopian immigrants) than in Arabic.

2. Freedom of Movement: Freedom of movement within the new state must be guaranteed. Restrictions of travel between the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, the settlements and pre-1967 Israel must be removed, as well as the Wall and the checkpoints. Discretionary (administrative) restrictions on travel within as well as to and from the new state must be removed. Security forces claiming the need for the restriction of the movement of any person must be required to obtain judicial orders, subject to the legal presumption in favor of freedom of movement that needs to be overcome when incarcerating a person.

3. Right of Return: Jews have insisted on a Right of Return to Israel as a fundamental right for any Jew throughout the world, particularly if he or she feels persecuted or endangered as a Jew. As it stands now, this right is not qualified by the need to show persecution or fear of a tangible threat, and the institutions of the State actively promote aliyah and incentivizes Jews to come to Israel. The availability of this right seems to be a serious requirement for Jewish Israelis which Palestinians must accept. However, Palestinians, who have been forcibly denied access to their homeland, must also have a right of return (Awdah). Had there been a 2SS, this right of return could have been limited to a new Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. But it is a right which can and must be accommodated in a new governing structure in Israel/Palestine.

4. Relations with the Arab world. Israeli Jews feel a great connection to diaspora Jews, obtain much support from them, and advocate that they have a legitimate stake in, and responsibility for, Israel. Palestinian Arabs also feel they are an integral part of the Arab world and get, or at least expect, support from them. The new state will have to deal with both these inclinations. Palestinians will need to re-evaluate their pan-Arab identity, and adjust it to reflect that their state now is both Jewish and Arab to its very core.

5. Defense: For a number of reasons, primarily the trauma of the Holocaust, and the bitter experience of anti-Jewish anti-Semitism in the West (Palestinians are Semites, too), Israelis have a heightened sensitivity to control of the army and the defense establishment. The new State may require that the Minister of Defense as well as a majority of the top brass in the army be Jewish as a matter of permanent constitutional law. Palestinians, however, must be free to join the army on an equal basis, while all citizens must be able to demand exemption from military service for reasons of conscience.

6. Legal Protections: In addition to a constitution that embodies strict guarantees that safeguard the fundamental political interests of both groups, these “Protection Clauses” must be safeguarded from alteration except by large majorities (e.g., 80% of the Parliament) and approval by a super majority of a special constitutional court (e.g., 4 out of 5 judges where each group has at least 2). In other significant ministries and public bodies, quotas must dictate the minimum number of representatives at the highest level, while all other positions are filled on a merit, non-discriminatory basis. In government ministries, the deputy for each Ministry must belong to the other major group. (If the Minister is Jewish, then the deputy must be Arab). In this manner the fear that a high level public servant who belongs to one group will be oppressive to those in the minority group will be eliminated. In addition, this and other similar “Protection Clauses” will remove the ‘demographic threat’ and ensure that a group which has a numerical majority will not be able to oppress the minority, and that a future change in the numerical balance between the two communities will not render the new minority vulnerable to oppression by the majority.

7. Ministry of Tolerance: Out of a recognition that the security of citizens is a vital interest of the country, and in appreciation of the past experience of both peoples, the country should invest at least 10% of its defense budget in programs to promote tolerance and understanding of the history, culture and language of each community by the other, supervised by a government ministry conducting joint activities and programs intended to heal the hurts of the past.

8. Civil Law: while personal status matters are currently handled by the religious courts of the different communities, new progressive and liberal civil laws must be promulgated that will ensure the rights of secular individuals, mixed marriages, and religious communities that are not currently recognized, including Reform and Conservative Jews, and evangelical Christians. Without derogating the existing rights of religious courts, individuals who choose not to be governed by them should be allowed to follow their conscience, and not be forced to submit to religious courts as a matter of law. This system could be a model for other nations in the Middle East, currently governed by the Millet System.

9. Name/ Character/ Public holidays / Symbols and flag: Careful thought and creativity with input from both sides is required to have these elements reflect the desires of both communities without exclusivity or discrimination against the other. Click here for a survey of selected plans incorporating some of these elements.

Robert Herbst

Robert Herbst is a civil rights lawyer. He was chapter coordinator for Westchester Jewish Voice for Peace from 2014-2017,

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Jonathan Kuttab

Jonathan Kuttab is a Palestinian attorney and human rights activist who grew up in East Jerusalem, graduated from University of Virginia Law School, and has worked at the Iaw firm of Mudge Rose Guthrie & Alexander. He is a member of the Bar in New York, Israel, and Palestine. Mr. Kuttab has founded a number of human rights organizations including Al Haq and the Mandela Institute for Palestinian Prisoners. He is the Chairman of the Board of Bethlehem Bible College and has worked with the Holy Land Trust. He is active in other civil society organizations in Palestine and internationally. He was the Head of the Legal Committee negotiating the Cairo Agreement of 1994 between Israel and the PLO and has been active in peace and justice issues for many years.

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71 Responses

  1. pabelmont on November 27, 2016, 11:41 am

    Mixed marriages? Well, then, how about various new forms of marriages and also divorces w/o religious rule interventions.

    What about the lands that settlers took for individuals, from other (Palestinian) forms of land ownership (village communal; mosque-owned (waqf) land)?

    Even if the authors (here) wish/reluctantly-admit that 2SS is impossible, would they agree that the SANCTIONS-BASED THREAT (say by UNSC) to require Israel to remove all non-military traces from all occupied territories (Golan,West Bank) (appearing to honor 2SS as a possibility) would in fact serve usefully as a prod toward the sort of 1SS proposed here?

  2. Maghlawatan on November 27, 2016, 4:56 pm

    No mention of economic rights. Laysh?

  3. Maghlawatan on November 27, 2016, 5:08 pm

    The Israeli education system will have to be dismantled.
    And the IDF will have to be reduced to a size where it can serve the people rather than itself as as present

    • echinococcus on November 28, 2016, 8:50 am

      Wow, the tremendous acrobatics people will get into in order to justify keeping the Zionist entity alive!
      Keep the “IDF”, eh? “Serving the people”, of course; good one, that.

      One Zionist reanimation trick stumbling on the heels of another.
      Last it was Zionist participation in BDS.
      Now it is decreeing a one-state Zionist entity with a JVP-drawn constitution from Jersey (New) –wonder what they’ll invent next.
      The sad part is the number of people falling for it.

      • Mooser on November 28, 2016, 11:53 am

        I think the article is looking forward to a time after Zionist power has collapsed in Palestine. And proposing some ways forward, some principles.

      • echinococcus on December 1, 2016, 2:41 pm


        I know that. That’s why I used the phrase “Keeping Zionism alive”.

  4. talknic on November 27, 2016, 6:06 pm

    Bullsh*te article based on the completely false notion that illegal Israelis cannot now be moved.

    Foreigners illegally settling in and claiming territories outside their own state’s borders would not be acceptable to ANY other country in the world … except Palestine … for no other reason than the criminals are Jewish?

    • johneill on November 27, 2016, 9:35 pm

      tibet comes to mind.

      • Maghlawatan on November 28, 2016, 12:44 am

        The Israelis are winging it. I don’t think they can pull it off. They are too dependent on fragilising outside factors. If Israel was an independent entity with unlimited economic power say like Saudi with the Shia it might work. But it isn’t. And they had to reorder their society to serve the occupation. Israel is actually very weak.

      • talknic on November 28, 2016, 8:07 am

        I doubt Tibet finds the Chinese invasion acceptable

      • echinococcus on November 28, 2016, 8:58 am

        Maghla Watan,

        Israel is actually very weak.

        If it were very weak, as you say, there would be no point in keeping it in the one-state. Erasing it would be the single logical action.

        It is just as weak, or as strong, as the US. No point in perpetuating illusions.

      • Mooser on November 28, 2016, 11:57 am

        “It is just as weak, or as strong, as the US.”

        Oh, the US can do a lot for Israel. But there are a lot of things that only Jews can do for Israel. If they are willing, that is.

      • Maghlawatan on November 28, 2016, 12:32 pm


        The US is on the verge of economic meltdown
        But it has been around for a while

        Israel is too weak for a peace deal. It’s too weak to end the Palestine question.

      • echinococcus on November 28, 2016, 8:32 pm


        Israel is too weak for a peace deal. It’s too weak to end the Palestine question

        What the hell are you talking about? When did it ever indicate an intention to “end the Palestine question” as you call it? The only way it can agree to end it is by successful genocide. It is powerful enough for that.

      • Maghlawatan on November 28, 2016, 10:59 pm


        Israel is too weak to solve the existential questions that plague it. It always takes the easy option. More houses for settlers. No need to question anything. The machine runs as per usual every Monday morning.

        The Palestinian question has been hanging over Israel like a bad smell since the get go.
        In 1949 at the Lausanne conference the Zionists refused to discuss it. This was stupid.
        They doubled up in 1967. God only knows why.

        They could have bought the Palestinians off in the 50s while they had all that support but they always do stuff on the cheap which is why buildings in Israel collapse every so often. The Maccabiah games bridge, the wedding hall in the early 00s, the forest fires. Too cheap and too lazy

        If you look at the Goldstone report they got Goldberg out to accuse the judge of a blood libel but at this stage they just take the piss. Senior Zionists wil plead for self regulation but self regulation just makes the situation worse. Leadership is abysmal.

        The Israeli leadership does not have the balls to address YESHA which will more than likely destroy the Zionist project. $120 bn to date. Imagine what they could have done with the money if theyhad been honest.

        If you think about Israel in terms of political capital the last 15 years have been deflationary.
        I think the Jewish inability to understand how to use power efficiently is at the root of it.

        The TV industry in the West is slowly dying. Kids are turning off. There is no single media truth any more. Israel needs hasbara to survive. And it cannot control the narrative on social media. So many pillars of Zionist stability are corroding.

        It will either be an internal collapse or some sort of invasion from the east. The history of regimes on the land over the last 3000 years suggests eternity is not on the menu.

        If I was head of Palestinian coordination in the West Bank I would get the kids to sing this to the soldiers at the checkpoints :

      • Mooser on November 29, 2016, 11:58 am

        My dear”Mag”, maybe beyond all questions of right, rights, and wrongs, morality, politics there simply aren’t enough Jews (and Jews who are willing) to do the job?

        Like I always say, there’s no reason why 2 billion united, discuplined Jews shouldn’t do whatever they want, and make the world dance to their tune.

      • echinococcus on November 30, 2016, 3:51 am


        They could have bought the Palestinians off in the 50s while they had all that support



    • Mooser on November 28, 2016, 12:00 pm

      “Bullsh*te article based on the completely false notion that illegal Israelis cannot now be moved.”

      Really? As I understand it, most Israelis are perfectly free to leave.

  5. zaid on November 27, 2016, 11:12 pm

    I prefer Ayatollah Khamenei solution.

    Just and humane.

  6. RoHa on November 28, 2016, 12:30 am

    “to all three monotheistic religions,”

    Am I the only person who knows that there are more than three?

    • straightline on November 28, 2016, 3:38 am

      No! There are many: Zoroastrianism, the Baha’i Faith, and Sikhism to name but three more. Usually the word “major” is appended to distinguish the Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but Sikhism probably has more followers than Judaism.

  7. RoHa on November 28, 2016, 12:31 am

    “While it was important for Jews to revive and promote Hebrew in Israel after centuries of non-use”

    No it wasn’t. Serves no useful purpose whatsoever, and just puts up another language barrier.

    • annie on November 28, 2016, 1:29 am

      plus, “revive” is a slippery term, most of the words are (relatively) new borrowing heavily from arabic.

      • Maghlawatan on November 28, 2016, 2:37 am

        Language was the only way to create a nation out of all that variety.
        But it brought it own risk, in particular Groupthink. The fact that most Israeli Jews do not speak the language of their family before 1948 makes it so easy to manipulate them.

        If you wanted to organise a society to hate you couldn’t get more effective than changing the language.

      • echinococcus on November 28, 2016, 7:26 am

        It isn’t so much the vocabulary as the whole hybrid structure. It is in fact a deliberately made-up language using Yiddish/Slavic as pattern for this creole. It is a “conlang”, constructed language inasmuch as it was deliberately engineered by Eliezer Perlman, later Ben-Yehuda, but not made up from ground up, like, say, Esperanto (interesting contrast between this rabid nationalist/invader and his internationalist co-citizen Zamenhoff, who developed Esperanto.) It was developed as a weapon to make people abandon their modern tongue, mainly Yiddish/ German or Russian at the time, within one generation. Many consider such an act as despicable if not criminal.

        Also, the fact that it was no one’s mother tongue (biblical H. having been a dead language like Latin for some 2,000 years) it necessarily had to go through a second, post-construction phase of being developed for most of its content by a crowd with many different substrata: for a long time native speakers were a tiny minority and the continuous development still relies heavily on a very large proportion of non-native speakers. So “revive” really means creating a whole nother language than the classical one.

        I am not a Semitist and so can’t argue in detail but we have a couple very knowledgeable people among MW commenters; Falic for example.

      • Maghlawatan on November 28, 2016, 10:48 pm

        Modern Hebrew is makey uppy just like Israeli history. Basically nothing happened between AD 70 and 1880. Except pogroms.
        The problem with Zionism is it takes up too many evenings.

        The funny thing about the “Jewish state” is the indoctrination. Jews in the diaspora (other than the Orthodox) tend to be educated to think rather than to follow orders.

        Israel is too weak to allow people to think. It’s a constant struggle against reason.

      • Sibiriak on November 29, 2016, 11:44 am

        Maghlawatan, I love you, man.

      • Mooser on November 29, 2016, 12:44 pm

        “Maghlawatan, I love you, man.”?

        I’m developing quite a crush on him, too. But you beat me to the bunch. I was too shy to say it.

      • annie on November 30, 2016, 2:16 am

        me too. makes it easier w/hostage and seafoid being absent. miss them both.

        and so many others.

      • Maghlawatan on November 30, 2016, 1:06 am

        Echi the vocab is based on Hebrew (which is related to arabic) but the syntax is straight outta old Poland via Yiddish and Slavic.

        And the culture of modern Hebrew is heavily influenced by the Nazis.
        A culture based on Yiddish would have made peace with the Palestinians YEARS ago.

        Absolutely fascinating .

      • wondering jew on November 30, 2016, 3:05 am

        Note to any readers not from the choir: see how people who speak, write and read neither modern hebrew nor biblical hebrew are authorities on both.

      • RoHa on November 30, 2016, 4:22 am

        I miss Hostage, too. I hope his absence is because he’s finally got a life and is having fun, instead of memorising every single document about I/P. But I do miss that magisterial, complete, command of the material.

      • Maghlawatan on November 30, 2016, 10:02 am

        Yonah people without vaginas can become gynaecologists.
        Can you please ask your handlers for fresh material ?

      • Mooser on November 30, 2016, 5:07 pm

        ,” instead of memorising every single document”

        If I am not mistaken, he has also lived a lot of it, too.

      • Mooser on November 30, 2016, 5:43 pm

        “Note to any readers not from the choir

        “Yonah” everybodyshould find them a choir that’ll let them sing…

      • RoHa on November 30, 2016, 6:39 pm

        “If I am not mistaken, he has also lived a lot of it, too.”

        I’m not sure that would be a lot more fun.

      • Mooser on November 30, 2016, 9:26 pm

        “I’m not sure that would be a lot more fun.”

        Didn’t think it would be. Not implying that!

    • Maghlawatan on November 29, 2016, 2:59 pm

      It was important to control and brainwash the people.
      Jewish Israelis are nuts.

      Biblical Hebrew didn’t have vocabulary for commands such as “let’s torture this 12 year old”
      The use of “Shalom” should be banned.

      • annie on November 29, 2016, 3:18 pm

        Biblical Hebrew didn’t have vocabulary for commands such as “let’s torture this 12 year old”

        blood libel!

      • Mooser on November 29, 2016, 6:38 pm

        “The use of “Shalom” should be banned.”

        Shalom? Shalom, you’ll find Shalom the nicest greeting you know. It means bonjour, salut, and skol, and twice as much as “Hello”! It means a million lovely things, like “Peace be yours” or “Welcome home”. And even when you say good-bye, you say good-bye with Shalom!
        But I’m sure you knew that.

      • Maghlawatan on November 30, 2016, 12:57 am

        Mooser, when kids are indoctrinated via the education system to hate, shalom is the purest hypocrisy. They should say “trauma!” to each other. It would be more real.

        95% of Yossis supported Cast Lead.
        They would have been saying Shalom to each other
        at the time.
        Shalom is up there with Arbeit macht Frei

        It’s fine in the Borscht Belt, however…

      • Mooser on November 30, 2016, 4:55 pm

        “It’s fine in the Borscht Belt, however…”

        Or even on Broadway!

  8. RoHa on November 28, 2016, 12:40 am

    It should be a major project of the Ministry of Tolerance (and, perhaps, the associated Ministries of Love, Peace, Plenty, and Truth) to not only remove the distinction between “nationality” and “citizenship” from the law, but also to encourage the citizens to see themselves and each other as citizens of the Socialist and Democratic People’s Republic of the Holy Land, and not as members of “national groups”.

    • CigarGod on November 28, 2016, 11:39 am

      Having a hard time recalling any time in history when the land was Holy.

  9. RoHa on November 28, 2016, 12:42 am

    And hooray for Herbst and Kuttab for making a start.

  10. wdr on November 28, 2016, 2:20 am

    Apart from anything else about this totally unrealistic proposal, the authors are saying
    that Jews can settle anywhere they want in the area of Mandate Palestine, including
    the West Bank and Gaza. Presumably the 300,000 or more settlers already in the West Bank
    can stay there, and be joined by hundreds of thousands of others.

    • Maghlawatan on November 29, 2016, 3:14 pm

      The West Bank includes East Jerusalem. There are over 750,000 nominally Jewish settlers. No Palestinian citizens live in the settlements.

      • Mooser on November 29, 2016, 6:11 pm

        . “There are over 750,000 nominally Jewish settlers”

        Shouldn’t that be 7.5 million nominally Jewish settlers?

      • Maghlawatan on November 30, 2016, 1:17 am

        Mooser, have you already allowed for the Jewish fingernails factor ?
        I would multiply your 7.5m by 10 just for the fingernails.

        You might even consider adding more to allow for heads, shoulders , knees and toes

      • Mooser on November 30, 2016, 5:04 pm

        “Mooser, have you already allowed for the Jewish fingernails factor ?”

        I think two orders of magnitude, and rounding up to the next billion is all the demographic help the Jewish birth-rate can reasonably ask of one man, wouldn’t you say?
        I’m no Shem, but I did what I could.

  11. Maghlawatan on November 28, 2016, 2:43 am

    Shared symbols like hummus …

    Even if there was peace and one woman one vote it would be hard. Northern Ireland is a good example. When the settler community defines itself as being NOT the “local” community it is hard to get everyone moving in the same direction.

    Probably the most important thing is to educate kids together to break down the mechanisms that drive hate.

    Shlomo Sand has written extensively about the need for a local Israeli identity rather than a Jewish one. The Jewish thing about intermarriage would be a huge problem in a 1SS.

    If you cannot bear the sight of a people give them half the land and STFU

  12. echinococcus on November 28, 2016, 2:56 am

    How it will work?

    If history is any kind of guide, it won’t work without justice. The Palestinian people, owners of the land and the sovereignty over it, are not very likely to see as justice any solution, be it as well-intentioned as it may and subscribed to by many Palestinians, too, if they have not been consulted in a plebiscite that excludes the invaders but includes all Palestinians including the uprooted. In the absence of occupation and other duress.

    It is up to the Palestinians to collectively decide if they want to bestow their citizenship on their invaders, or if they want to give up their exclusive ownership of their sovereignty.

    Not up to some American lawyer –or Palestinian lawyer, or any person.

    Just remember Algeria. All your projects are certainly very valuable. Justice should come before that.

  13. Maghlawatan on November 28, 2016, 3:18 am

    Nassim Taleb’s 10 principles for a black swan free world.

    1. What is fragile should break early while it is still small . (YESHA should have been strangled in 1967)
    2. No socialisation of losses and privatisation of gains . (Yossi Israeli should understand where the money goes)
    3. People who were driving a school bus blindfolded (and crashed it) should never be given a new bus . (Bibi should never have been reelected)=
    4. Do not let someone making an “incentive” bonus manage a nuclear plant – or your financial risks . (AIPAC are too dangerous)
    5. Counter-balance complexity with simplicity . (swap hasbara for justice)
    6. Do not give children sticks of dynamite, even if they come with a warning (YESHA is poison).
    7. Only Ponzi schemes should depend on confidence. Governments should never need to “restore confidence”. (Hasbara should not be necessary . Israel should be able to speak for itself without mediation)
    8. Do not give an addict more drugs if he has withdrawal pains ..(YESHA)
    9. Citizens should not depend on financial assets or fallible “expert” advice for their retirement .). (AIPAC won’t be around when it all blows up)
    10. Make an omelette with the broken eggs

  14. CigarGod on November 28, 2016, 11:03 am

    Nice work Herbst and Kuttab,
    Seen as a whole, is looks insurmountable…and as many here say, unrealistic.
    But, if you break it down into it’s smaller parts and look for which foundation blocks that might be the easiest to start with, you might be able to get a win to build on.

  15. James Canning on November 28, 2016, 1:05 pm

    I continue to think it highly unlikely Israeli Jews will give up control of the state of Israel. ZERO chance, in fact.

    • Mooser on November 28, 2016, 1:38 pm

      “I continue to think it highly unlikely Israeli Jews will give up control of the state of Israel. ZERO chance, in fact.”

      And what’s the minimum number of Zionist Jews that can be accomplished by? Or does that not matter?

  16. Ismail on November 28, 2016, 1:17 pm

    “9. Name/ Character/ Public holidays / Symbols and flag: Careful thought and creativity with input from both sides is required to have these elements reflect the desires of both communities without exclusivity or discrimination against the other. Click here for a survey of selected plans incorporating some of these elements.”

    When I clicked on the link, I got nothing but a message that “this domain has expired”.

    And how.

    Look, I admire what these guys are doing and I certainly agree with the premise that the 2SS belongs in the same atlas in which Candyland and Mordor may be found. But I’m not sure about what seems to me a zionist-friendly cast to some of their proposals.

    The army should be Jewish-run to assuage the fears of Pal/Isr Jews? Like the Palestinians have no legitimate concerns about the “defense” forces responsible for their half-century of occupation, expropriation of their lands, jailing, disappearance or murder of countless of their countrymen…any reader here may fill in the numberless other blanks.

    Good start, resubmit with corrections.

  17. Bosnorth on November 28, 2016, 6:57 pm

    What neither this excellent article nor any comments mention is the form and direction of the Palestinian struggle (other than its waxing and waning, and its international BDS dimension).

    The best part of this serious piece of work is that much of it matches very closely the sort of civil rights demands that have been envisaged as coming into play with the death of 2SS: freedom of movement, equal rights under the law, votes for all under a constitution for all, equal immigration (“return”) rights, equal allocation of resources, equality of respect and esteem etc. And the “Ministry of Tolerance” has been prefigured by bi-lingual and coexistence projects, even against huge pressures and vigilante violence and arson.

    Such a civil rights campaign could be the link between where we are now and where the authors suggest we might one day arrive. See a proposed five-point Charter here:

    However, there seems little prospect of the Palestinian official leadership, so suborned by the 2SS trap, raising such demands or leading such a struggle, which unfortunately means that Palestinians have a double fight on their hands.

  18. Sibiriak on December 1, 2016, 7:02 pm

    It is now commonly acknowledged that the two state solution has become physically impossible to implement. [emphasis added]


    No. There are is nothing physically impossible about a two-state settlement. The impossibility is entirely political/psychological. And the very same political/psychological barriers that make a 2SS currently impossible make a single democratic state even more impossible.

    • Mooser on December 3, 2016, 1:45 pm

      “There are is nothing physically impossible about a two-state settlement”

      Especially if Israel is willing to bear the cost of all the holograms. Land, water, and resources for everybody!

  19. Mayhem on December 2, 2016, 9:45 pm

    The total stupidity of this discussion is that there is no direct mention of what many believe is the main obstacle to peace and reconciliation, which is deep-rooted Islamic anti-semitism and the fundamental unwillingness of Islam to accept a sovereign Jewish presence in the Middle East. No Jew living in Israel in his right mind can trust Palestinians hell-bent on Israel’s destruction, Palestinians who are inciting violence every day and constantly aiming to obliterate the Jewish historical narrative and replace it with lies and fabrications.

    • eljay on December 2, 2016, 10:22 pm

      || Mayhem: The total stupidity of this discussion … ||

      …is the Zio-supremacist belief that:
      – acts of injustice and immorality committed against Jews justify acts of injustice and immorality committed by Jews;
      – Jews are entitled to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them; and
      – Jews are entitled to a religion-supremacist state in as much as possible of Palestine.

      No-one should be expected or required to accept oppression, colonialism, (war) crimes or supremacism. “Jewish” isn’t a free pass to do evil.

    • oldgeezer on December 3, 2016, 12:41 am


      Oh give it a rest. I am beyond caring whether you are merely extremely ignorant or purely mendacious

      Israel has been offered peace and normalized relations on multiple occasions. It is Israel who has rejected these peace overtures, never made counter offers and continued to double down on land theft, international law and international humanitarian law violations.

      You are not the victim. You are the perp.

      Just was with the faux liberal sandraLLAP who doesn’t recognize the Abbas and the PA who have indicated the settlers may stay in a future Palestinian state provided they take Palestinian citizenship and adhere to their laws. The only thing preventing sandra’s pathetic nirvana is the rogue, and criminal state of Israel. Which she defends without a trace of irony.

    • Mooser on December 3, 2016, 12:00 pm

      ” The total stupidity of this discussion is that there is no direct mention of what many believe is the main obstacle to peace and reconciliation, which is deep-rooted Islamic anti-semitism and the fundamental unwillingness of Islam to accept a sovereign Jewish presence in the Middle East ”

      He’s right, you know! Just look at the US! The US absolutely refused “to accept a sovereign Jewish presence” in the United States, and look what happened to us!! Subjected to a Silent Holocaust of freedom and intermarriage and affluence! Just imagine if that happened in Israel!

    • annie on December 3, 2016, 1:29 pm

      what many believe……. deep-rooted Islamic anti-semitism…..unwillingness of Islam to accept

      virtually all islamophobes think this way. it’s like talking to a brick wall because palestinians have legitimate reasons to demand their rights and resist those who oppress them. this is what mayhem and his ilk cannot face or acknowledge, and therefor he blames the victim and demeans them. whereas, if i spoke of deep rooted jewish bigotry and an unwillingness of judaism and No muslim in his right mind can trust jews etc etc there would be howls of accusations from the chattering class and blog posts written about what annie robbins wrote. but you, you think you can spout this racism here, and someone — not me by my recollection — cleared this racist comment for publication. disgusting.

      oh, and christian palestinians are no different in their resistance mayhem, they get slaughtered by israel too. but your islmophobia doesn’t acknowledge them does it, it doesn’t merge with your bigoted messaging.

      • Maghlawatan on December 3, 2016, 1:37 pm

        Most Muslims do not give a shit about Israel.
        Because Israel is a joke. Whining about antisemitism while murdering children.
        Since when did murdering children become kosher?
        Was it during Vatican 2 ?

      • MHughes976 on December 3, 2016, 5:10 pm

        I think it hard to justify blaming anti-Jewish sentiment for lack of peace when there is something else to be considered, that is the lack of a proposal for a final settlement proposed and put on the table by Israel, as is the responsibility of those exercising sovereign power over the whole area. When that proposal comes we can take a view on the response and decide if unreasonable prejudices are driving it.

  20. Mooser on December 3, 2016, 6:07 pm

    “the lack of a proposal for a final settlement proposed and put on the table by Israel, as is the responsibility of those exercising sovereign power over the whole area.”

    Well, if you are going to give them “sovereign power over the whole area” what need have they of a “final settlement”? In that case, the Palestinians are an internal Israeli security matter.

    Israel already has a “final settlement” in mind for the Palestinians. Is there any reason to pretend they don’t?

    • MHughes976 on December 4, 2016, 12:09 pm

      Exercising sovereign power but without a proper social contract, so not the legitimate long-term sovereign! But even exercising the power creates responsibilities. What they have in mind, but don’t ever say, would be irresponsible, to put things mildly. Meanwhile no one can blame the allegedly famous anti-Semitism of the Palestinians, or any other force, for putting obstacles in the way of something not even attempted.

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