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The difficult passage from a two-state solution to decolonization in Palestine/Israel

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It’s happening, but slowly. Surveying the special issue of the Palestine-Israel Journal devoted to the threat that the hallowed two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be in jeopardy – or, as the issue’s title has it, “at a dangerous crossroads” – one gets the feeling of half-hearted, almost desperate assertions that the two-state solution is the only plausible one.

It is conceivable that the two-state solution is effectively dead — or at best in intensive care,” writes one contributor. The two-state solution may be “rescued,” writes another, if Israel withdraws unilaterally from the northwest portion of the West Bank or, suggests another, if governments reaffirm their adherence to international law. But the fact that the special issue of this liberal Zionist journal was put together in an obvious state of anxiety, its authors grasping at straws, speaks most eloquently of the slow but inexorable shift in political analysis taking place. Indeed, it could not avoid including several writers – Ha’aretz’s Gideon Levy and the Palestinian professor from Gaza, Husam Dajni among them – who call outright for a one-state alternative to the defunct two-state solution.   

In his piece, Tony Klug notes that “Sandwiched between the mantras of ‘There is no alternative to the two-state solution’ and ‘The two-state solution is dead,’ the contemporary debate over how to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been reduced to little more than a shouting match between two absolutist camps, both certain that they are correct.”

As someone who has been shouting that the two-state solution is dead and we must move on for more than a decade, I would submit that the debate and discussion should only intensify. Each “solution” involves fundamentally different visions, plans and aspirations for the futures of our peoples, and whether we will succeed in getting to a better future depends upon what direction is chosen. 

The main argument for the two-state solution is that it is fair(ish) (both peoples obtain national self determination, albeit Jews on 78-plus percent of the country, the Palestinians on less than 22 percent), conforms to international law and has been accepted internationally as the preferred solution – all true, in an ish kind of way. Many members of the critical Israeli peace camp who have gradually shifted from the two-state to one-state proposition, like me, did not do so because the latter option was better, but because we came to understand that it is simply not in the cards. If we were having this discussion in 1970, when the occupation was still in its infancy and our view of Israel as a progressive, socialist country was still innocent, it would be understandable. But this is 2019, more than half a century after the occupation began, more than a quarter of a century after the abortive Oslo peace process. We understand things we did not understand then. We understand that Israel never intended for a viable Palestinian state to ever emerge (the settlement project doubled in size during Oslo, when Labor ruled for five and a half of its seven-year life); we understand that human rights and international law have no traction in international relations; and we understand that the two-state solution, which no government in the world really believes is a plausible outcome, has become merely a convenient mechanism for conflict management as Israel takes over the entire country in incremental steps. 

As Gideon Levy puts it in his piece in this special issue of the journal, 

“The alternative to the two-state solution is, naturally, a one-state solution. This state has already existed for 52 years, since the 1967 war. The time has come to recognize that as well. The occupation is here to stay, as are the settlements. And the Green Line has been erased a long time ago, whether we like it or not. We are no longer talking about a temporary situation, and it is doubtful if it ever was or was ever intended to be. Whoever speaks of the occupation as a passing phenomenon does not know the reality and facts on the ground. Go out to the West Bank, see the Jewish settlements on every hill, and then say if that is what a temporary reality looks like. Pay attention to the traffic on the roads, the construction, the infrastructure of bypass roads that have been specially constructed to make the occupation permanent and to enable the settlements to thrive undisturbed. Look at the Separation Wall and the reality that it has created, and understand what is left of the Green Line. Those were not 52 years of occupation. Those were the first 52 years.

That’s what one state looks like, not the infrastructure for two states. That’s what one state looks like with two regimes… The one state has been here for quite a while. The fate of all the human beings living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is determined in the government buildings in Jerusalem and the security buildings in Tel Aviv. That’s what one state with one government looks like, period.

The only struggle that remains to be carried out now is the struggle over the nature of the regime in this one state…

[…]

This is the time to prepare for the next struggle: the struggle for equal rights for all, period.”       

Israelis wave their national flag on July 1, 2011 as some 40,000 march in a Jerusalem Day parade in the city's Arab neighborhoods to celebrate the capture of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in June 1967. (Photo: Mahfouz Abu Turk/APA Images)

Israelis wave their national flag on July 1, 2011 as some 40,000 march in a Jerusalem Day parade in the city’s Arab neighborhoods to celebrate the capture of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in June 1967. (Photo: Mahfouz Abu Turk/APA Images)

Settler colonialism, not a ‘conflict’

But we are beginning to understand an underlying reality far more consequential: that Zionism is a settler colonial movement whose overall and undeviating purpose is the redemption of the Land of Israel – all of it, the judaization of Palestine, the transformation of an Arab country into a Jewish one. The two-state idea is based on fundamental misunderstanding of the “conflict.” In his article in the special issue entitled “The Two-State Solution Remains the Only Pathway to a Mutually Agreed Resolution of the Conflict,” Jake Walles, a former U.S. consul general and chief of mission in Jerusalem who was involved in the Madrid talks, sets out this misconception.

“Fundamentally,” he writes, 

“the conflict is about two groups each claiming the same land as their homeland. Each side is attached to this place for national and religious reasons, and each side makes valid historical claims to support its case.

[….]

Resolving the conflict requires reconciling the national aspirations of both sides for their own national homeland. Israel represents the achievement of this objective for the Jewish people, and its legitimacy needs to be recognized as part of a resolution of the conflict. Likewise, the national aspirations of the Palestinian people can only be addressed through the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.”

Looking at Zionism as a settler colonial movement – which needs not take away from it its character as a national movement, but merely clarifies the strategy used by nationalist Jews to take over the country – fundamentally challenges that both peoples symmetry by which the conflict is usually portrayed, and on which the two-state idea rests. From the Zionist point of view, there is no other side. All settler colonial movements invent a story of why the land belongs to them and not to the indigenous people, why they are entitled to claim and possess the coveted country. Zionism never recognized the very existence of a Palestinian people, not to mention its national rights – and does not until this day. Settler colonialism is unilateral. The country belongs to us exclusively, there are no other legitimate claimants, and we have nothing to negotiate about, except the terms of the natives’ submission. And because there are no sides, there is no “conflict.”

Zionism has never recognized an Israeli-Palestinian conflict, only “terrorism” (that quintessential colonial term that criminalizes all resistance) that stands in the way of us redeeming our homeland. Now we understand why Israel has never accepted the term “occupation” (how can you occupy your own country?), and why it will never accept the two-state solution.

There is one other political fact on the ground that two-state supporters don’t see, or don’t want to see: there already exists a single state system between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. One cannot get into the entire country from any direction without going through Israeli border controls. The entire country is ruled by one political authority (with due respects to the collaborationist Palestinian Authority and Hamas in its besieged hellhole), enforced by one effective military. There is only one infrastructure (electricity, water, highways, etc.), and one official currency. More than a million Israeli Jews now live on the land that would have been a Palestinian state. By any measure one state already exists – and it is an apartheid state. Israeli Jews (and to a much lesser extent Palestinian citizens of Israel) live under one legal regime, non-Jewish non-citizens live under a completely different military/legal regime. Different national, religious and ethnic groups living under separate legal systems within a common polity, that’s apartheid. 

Now for all of this, good people still support the two-state system. Indeed, the gist of this issue of the Palestine-Israel Journal is that, in the words of career officer Shaul Arieli, “There Is No Other Solution.” I suspect that the underlying reason for this is a commitment to Israel as a Jewish state, for which its supporters are prepared to endure indefinite conflict management while still “speaking out” at the most outrageous Israeli violations of human rights. But to be fair, until recently Palestinians and their critical Israeli allies did not articulate a detailed and thought-out alternative to the two-state solution, a truly just, workable and plausible one-state alternative. Nonetheless that alternative is gaining momentum, less because of its own intrinsic justice and more because, support it as you will, for most people in Palestine/Israel and critical analysts and activists abroad, the two-state solution is clearly dead. 

Over the past couple years, the One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC), led initially by Palestinian citizens of Israel and their Israeli Jewish partners, has formulated such a detailed program. It recognizes that since the problem is not merely Israel’s occupation of 22 percent of historic Palestine or a conflict between two sides, but one of settler colonialism, the only just, comprehensive and effective resolution is the decolonization of the entire country. Its 10-point program can be summarized by seven fundamental elements:

(1) Replacing the current Israeli structure of separating people into distinct ethnic, religious and national groupings of different rights with a constitutional democracy based on common citizenship for all and equal civil rights;  

(2) Acknowledging the right of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return home, and taking concrete steps to reintegrate them into society;  

(3) Offering constitutional guarantees protecting the rights of the country’s national, ethnic, religious communities and others to their collective identities, associations, cultures and institutions;  

(4) Enabling and fostering the emergence of a new shared civil society; 

(5) Genuinely liberating Palestinians and Israelis through a process of political but also ideological decolonization, including a new, inclusive national narrative. If Israeli Jews acknowledge the national rights of the Palestinian people and past colonial crimes while establishing an egalitarian democracy, Palestinians will accept them as legitimate citizens and neighbors, thereby signaling the end of Zionist settler colonialism and entering into a new postcolonial relationship of accommodation, normalization and reconciliation. 

(6) Putting into place an inclusive post-neoliberal economy offering economic security, sustainability, meaningful employment and just compensation; and 

(7) Acknowledging a connectedness to the wider Middle Eastern and global communities that requires engagement in creating new regional and global structures of equality and sustainability upon which the success of local decolonization ultimately depends. 

Is this a plausible solution? Let’s see how the ODSC Plan stands up to the reasons Klug gives, in his piece in the Palestine-Israel Journal, for why a single state is impossible:

“[T]his particular one-state vision rests on the simplistic notion that complex Middle Eastern societies can be atomized down to the level of the individual and that a historical clash of two national movements can be reduced to a one-dimensional struggle for civil rights. It discounts the rudimentary need for both peoples to come to terms with the national imperative of the other. Indeed, it is predicated on there being no such national imperative. This denial, whether doctrinaire or merely uninformed, is its most serious defect.”

Two-State Objections

Our ODSC Plan takes into account not only the national identities of Palestinians and Israelis but also other significant collective identities, be they ethnic (Bedouin, Mizrahi, Samaritan), religious (the many branches and denominations of Islam, Jewry and Christianity and other faiths, such as Bahai), gender, class or communities of interest. Article 4 of our Program reads:

Within the framework of a single democratic state, the Constitution will also protect collective rights and the freedom of association, whether national, ethnic, religious, class or gender. Constitutional guarantees will ensure that all languages, arts and cultures can flourish and develop freely. No group or collectivity will have any privileges, nor will any group or collectivity have any control or domination over others. The Constitution will deny the Parliament the authority to enact any laws that discriminate against any community, be it ethnic, national, religious, cultural or class.

We recognize that in both the Middle East, home to Palestinians and Mizrahi Jews, and in Eastern Europe, where most of the Zionists originated, society was composed of collective groups, primarily religious, but often with strong ethnic or national characteristics, and not mere individuals. To pretend that the new state will be comprised only of individual voters while ignoring collective identities that in fact are more meaningful to the populace would merely force collective interests and agendas underground rather than dealing with their concerns openly. We fully expect that Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews alike will hang onto those identities, their collective narratives and their communal institutions, rituals and memories even within the new democratic society, certainly in the first generations. 

Take Palestinian refugees as an example. After more than 70 years, many of them and their descendants’ families want to come home to Palestine, as Palestinians. Those living in the camps have no concept of or experience with a civil society comprised of equal individuals, and certainly will have difficulties finding common cause with Israeli Jews. They will need the collective space to come home, reorient themselves, work on overcoming the traumas of exile and acquire the skills needed for a modern economy and inclusive polity. These are processes that will take generations; refugees cannot simply be pushed into a civil society not entirely their own. 

By the same token, many Israeli Jews, perhaps the large majority, will also be resistant to immediately entering into a democratic, citizen-based civil society, particularly the settler population and the ultra-orthodox. (How Mizrahim will fit in, whether they will fulfill that potential of being a “bridge” between the dominant Ashkenazi population and the Palestinians that was always hoped for, remains to be seen.) 

The ODSC Plan thus offers a middle ground. While allowing for and protecting such collective spaces as religious schools, institutions and holidays, museums, vehicles of language such as newspapers and literature, and even celebrating the multicultural character of the society through encouraging ethnic foods, music, theater and participating in holidays and customs of different cultural groups, the thrust of public policy will be towards encouraging a common, if pluralistic, civil society based on equal individual rights. 

Klug writes,

“[T]he proponents of this vision […] are emulating an old western tradition that has historically imposed its own values and systems on other peoples from the outside. The instinct to do this […] betrays an underlying neo-colonial mindset of ‘we know best’ that has caused mayhem around the world for generations. That there are very few, if any, examples of this Western-style democratic-secular model in the region should at least give its ardent proponents pause for thought.”

This is a strange claim precisely because it ignores the legacy of Western colonialism. Who says that democracy is a Western system that is rejected by the peoples of the Middle East? Who says that the autocratic regimes ruling Muslim countries today are natural to their peoples? The despotic regimes of the region are the product of colonialism, enforced until this day by the so-called democratic Western governments. Islam provided for women’s rights long before Christianity or Judaism did, and a vibrant feminist movement existed from Egypt, across North Africa to Afghanistan already in the 1920s. The intifadas, the Arab Spring, the revolt against Assad in Syria begun by progressive forces, the highly secularized and progressive societies that characterized Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon in the first half of the 20th century – all these indicate that the peoples of the region had  Western concepts of society and government, many of which were undermined or outright opposed by Western colonial governments, or overthrown, as the CIA did with the Mohammad Mosaddegh government in Iran in 1953, replacing him with the despotic Shah.    

On the contrary, we in the West (and particularly in democratic Israel where we displaced yet another Middle Eastern people and have kept them living under occupation this past half-century) owe it to the peoples of the region to support their aspirations for democracy. Ironically, resistance to a democratic state in Palestine/Israel comes from the democratic, secular, Western Jews of Israel, not from the Palestinians.    

Klug argues, “the inevitable Israeli-Palestinian coalition government in a unitary state, where the fragile population balance would be politically critical, would be highly unlikely to reach an agreement on a full-scale Palestinian right of return, a central plank of the one-state argument.”

This claim is based on a fundamental misunderstanding: that there would be a Lebanon-like coalition of parties based on ethnic, national and religious grounds. That is not our vision. Britain, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, India and many, many other multi-national countries have successful democracies in which people do not necessarily vote according to their collective identities. In Israel itself, some 20,000 Jews vote for “Arab” parties (which also have Jewish representation), while half of the Palestinian citizens of Israel vote for Zionist parties, from Meretz and Labor to Shas and even the Likud. In a democracy, many other factors feed into the equation besides nationality, ethnicity, race or religion – class and gender play key roles, and well as support or opposition to government policies and specific issues. “Right” and “left,” “progressive” and “conservative,” “religious” and “secular,” “rural” and “urban,” “young” and “old” – these and a thousand more variables cut across partisan population lines in the conduct of the everyday business of living together. As a new civil society emerges based on political, economic and social inclusion, there is no reason why a diverse electorate will not dilute, if not replace entirely, the ethnonational and religious divisions upon which Israel (far more than Palestine) is founded.

The right of Palestinian refugees to return home as part of our in-gathering of citizens (refugees do not lose their civil status just because they flee a war or repression, or are driven out, nor do their descendants) is an absolute in any resolution of the conflict. It is also a right over which Israelis have no veto power. While their reintegration into society will be prolonged and difficult, there is no reason to fear their return, or even to fear the Palestinian majority population. Indeed, with good will and good faith, the fundamental reconstruction of Palestinian/Israeli society that must take place may be transformed from a dire threat into a positive challenge.  

Klug argues a “one-state set-up would be unlikely to be the end of the matter. The Scots, the Catalans, the Basques and others live in democratic secular states with full equal rights. This hasn’t stopped many of them from agitating for self-determination and separate statehood. Czechoslovakia was one united democratic secular state until a disgruntled Slovakia seceded in 1993.”

Perhaps the creation of a single democratic state will not be the end of the matter. Perhaps, like Czechoslovakia, a two-state solution will emerge from the one state, the opposite of what has been predicted. Perhaps a looser form of confederation will emerge as relations normalize with the other states in the region; perhaps an Arab or Muslim EU will come to be – or any of many possibilities. So what? As long as these developments occur in a spirit of equal rights and good neighborly relations, why not even assume that current realities can and will change. I don’t see a problem here.  

Klug continues, “calling for one state plays right into the hands of the Israeli hard right by severely undermining the worldwide campaign to terminate the occupation through a physical Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and affording legitimacy to the settlement and annexation enterprises.”

Once again, this argument of pitting an end of occupation against an end to settler colonialism is mere reductionism. Merely ending the occupation does not resolve the wider issue of the Zionist colonization of Palestine, nor issues of power relations if and when a tiny and truncated Palestinian state emerges (nor the refugee issue). Tackling and resolving the overall issue of decolonizing the entire country ends the occupation on the way to establishing an equal and just relationship between the two peoples. In this way, the entire gamut of inequalities is addressed, with decolonization offering another benefit crucial to Israel: normalization. Only the indigenous can declare the end of settler colonialism and the arrival of a situation in which, in a common civil society, the indigenous can finally indigenize the colonial population. Merely ending the occupation does not achieve this, and yet this represents the only genuine solution to the conflict.     

Klug writes,

[O]ver the past 60 years there have been several attempts in the region to merge separate entities, the best known of which was the United Arab Republic (UAR) of Egypt and Syria, which lasted, mostly on paper, from 1958 through 1961, when Syria withdrew. If such attempts failed miserably among peoples who regarded themselves as having many traits in common, why would we anticipate a more positive outcome between two peoples who don’t share such traits and have been bitter foes for over a century?

Again, Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews are foes only if their struggle is conceived as a conflict between two sides. There are many reasons why the UAR didn’t work, partly because Egypt and Syria it were not a single country or population. That is very different from Palestine/Israel, where the two peoples (refugees and emigrants living outside the country aside) share a common polity – albeit one of colonization, occupation, repression and apartheid. Many ties – linguistic, economic, cultural, political – connect these two peoples, despite their fundamental inequality, all of which will come into play as conditions for an inclusive new civil society emerge, in the younger generation as well. We need museums and memorial ceremonies because, once a conflict is resolved, the young people quickly move on.  

Klug contends,

“[C]alls for one state are often predicated on the premise that the two-state solution has failed. But it hasn’t even been tried. The problem is the chronic failure of world powers to apply judicious pressure through a combination of rewards and penalties. A different end is not going to change this. More discerning and focused campaigning might More discerning and focused campaigning might. Starting all over again — with a more contentious goal — would be likely to set back the struggle for an equitable end of conflict immeasurably if not indefinitely.”

No doubt concentrated and forceful support for the two-state solution by governments could easily have succeeded – any time in the past seven decades and, indeed, until today. In fact, international law and human rights conventions put additional wind into those sails. It must be clear as well: both the Palestinians and the Israeli peace camp supported the two-state solution. Our argument that it is dead and we must move on does not arise from a rejection of this approach, but from the fact that it did not happen, and clearly will not happen. Realpolitik is too strong, as I describe in detail in my book “War Against the People.” Few politicians, few political parties and no country or combination of countries will apply the pressure or expend the political capital needed to force Israel out of the oPt, where more than one million settlers now live.

We have to bite that bullet. Simply asserting that the two-state solution is still alive, as does Klug, most of the contributors to this issue of Palestine-Israel Journal, J Street and all the rest – despite the fact that the U.S. and Israeli governments both now reject it and the facts on the ground are far too massive to achieve it – does not help. Simply asserting in a vague way, as Klug does, that “more discerning and focused campaigning” might somehow do the trick falls far short of offering an actual political path to such an outcome. His answers to the question he raises: “So what may be done?” is unconvincing:

“Ideally,” he writes, “Israel would take stock itself and sharply change course by declaring its intention to end the occupation promptly, accept the general principles of the Arab Peace Initiative and enter into authentic negotiations with all parties with the express purpose of ending the conflict once and for all. Failing this, the international community could call on Israel either to recognize a Palestinian state imminently or, pending the resolution of the conflict, grant equal rights to everyone subject to its rule.”

This is not a solution or a strategy. 

Palestinian children hold posters of President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian children hold posters of President Mahmoud Abbas during a rally to support the peace process in Balata refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus on July 17, 2010. (Photo: Wagdi Eshtayah/APA Images)

Towards a Strategy

Three realities underlie the ODSC strategy: 1. the two-state solution is dead and gone; 2. neither the Israeli Jewish public nor the governments of the world will cooperate in fundamentally changing the present status quo; and 3. the Palestinian cause has achieved the proportions of the anti-apartheid struggle worldwide, but effective mobilization of the global public requires an end game.  And so the ODSC takes a leaf out of the ANC playbook in terms of mobilizing three main target populations: the Palestinians, Israeli Jews and the international community, civil society and governments alike. 

The struggle for decolonization must be led, of course, by the Palestinians. It is their struggle, and no other party can define for them what decolonization entails, what will replace it or represent their collective voice. On the surface it appears that the Palestinians have little power or leverage: after a century and a quarter of relentless settler expansion, 60 percent of the Palestinians live in exile outside their country, Israel is poised to annex most of the West Bank, Israel succeeded in breaking armed Palestinian resistance in 2002 (with the localized exception of Gaza), and Israel enjoys the support of the vast majority of the world’s governments, including many Arab and Muslim ones. But Israel’s suppression of Palestinian resistance is not complete by any means. There exist many spaces of agency and resistance within a structure of settler colonialism, both in Palestine/Israel and certainly internationally. How to exploit those spaces and generate effective global resistance is the task of a political strategy? Decolonization involves shaking the convictions of settlers, laying out a compelling shared future, fundamentally altering power relations, producing new identities, new narratives, new systems of signification and a new polity and civil society. 

A major political ally in this struggle is the international civil society and, if effectively pressured, governments. Although the struggle for freedom in Palestine has reached the proportions worldwide of the anti-apartheid campaign, neither the Palestinian Authority nor Palestinian grassroots leadership nor Palestine’s Israeli and international allies have mounted effective political campaigns. True, there have been campaigns and acts of resistance that over the years have shifted public opinion in favor of the Palestinians – the global but politically limited BDS campaign being the most visible, as well as intifadas, Gaza’s Great March of Return, the educational work of human rights organizations, interventions on the part of activists groups, but such actions remains limited by the lack of a political end game, without which we cannot focus address the most basic question of our supporters and opponents alike: What do you want? (One answer often given, a “rights-based approach,” is vague and falls far short of an end game and plan of decolonization.) Once our campaigning is focused around a just, acceptable and workable end game – which the ODSC suggests is decolonization leading to a single democracy and a new, inclusive civil society – then there is no reason why we cannot overcome all the political obstacles. 

All this despite the fact that, as in South Africa, where the whites were not – and were not expected to be – active agents in the struggle to dismantle apartheid, in Israel the Jewish public must also be largely written off as a partner. When settler entitlement becomes normalized and the indigenous become irrelevant and criminalized, there is little chance that advocacy for decolonization will have any traction whatsoever. This does not mean that certain (small) segments of the Israeli population cannot be recruited, and, indeed, they can play a key role by lending credibility to the struggle. Their involvement also demonstrates the possibility of coexistence within a shared, egalitarian future society. This is important because, in yet another caution as to the perils of the one-state idea, Menachem Klein in this issue of Palestine-Israel Journal points to the likelihood of a civil war between Israeli Jews, “unless we address the question of how to reduce the potential damage in such an eventuality.” I suggest that shared resistance leads to shared life in a postcolonial society, not least because it offers an opportunity for members of the settler society to acquire the legitimacy and indigeneity they so desperately seek, but that cannot be obtained through force and repression. It is the only way Jews will ever return home to Israel and the Middle East, the essence of the Zionist vision.

To help pave the way and avoid conflicts, the ODSC Program envisions a transformation from a colonial apartheid regime to a state of equal rights for all its citizens. Although Israeli Jews will not be partners in decolonizing Palestine, the inclusive nature of our program will permit them, once their settler system has been rendered unsustainable, to move ahead to embrace a fundamentally different reality. Only the inclusiveness of the Freedom Charter and the new Constitution allowed the transition in South Africa to happen peacefully. This could happen in Palestine/Israel as well.

Supplied with a political endgame that anticipates and addresses the many fears and objections raised by those who cannot see beyond the current state of affairs or who refuse to see beyond the now-defunct two-state solution, we can move ahead to focus our energies on the true task before us: achieving political mobilization towards the actual end of decolonization and the creation of a new, inclusive democratic society, truly a light unto the nations. 

Jeff Halper

Jeff Halper is the Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and a member of the One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC). He can be reached at [email protected]

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41 Responses

  1. Ossinev on July 17, 2019, 3:30 pm

    “the conflict is about two groups each claiming the same land as their homeland. Each side is attached to this place for national and religious reasons, and each side makes valid historical claims to support its case.”

    What complete and utter garbage. This I/P conflict has got SFA to do with “two groups making claims”

    The Palestinian people are not a ” group “. They including the Jews who lived in the land before the Zionist conspiracy took aim are the natives of the land. It was and is their homeland. It is not never was and never will be the “homeland ” of a foreign “group” whatever their origins and whatever their history including their conversion to Judaism history.

    It does not presuppose expertise in rocket science to conclude that colonising Zionist Jews have zero “historical claims ” to another peoples land.

    • Mooser on July 17, 2019, 5:31 pm

      “and the creation of a new, inclusive democratic society, truly a light unto the nations.”

      You just had to stick in that “light unto the nations” gag, didn’t you?
      Wow.

    • LiberatePalestine on July 17, 2019, 6:31 pm

      Well put. Also, the claims of the Palestinians are not based on «religious reasons». Religion cannot give any population a claim to any land anywhere. The Palestinians’ claim to Palestine is based on the fact that they and their ancestors constituted the established population for centuries before the Zionist invasion. It is the Zionist claim that is essentially religious.

  2. JaapBo on July 17, 2019, 4:34 pm

    The 2SS is dead, but not only that! It is highly unlikely to achieve full equality of Jews and Palestinians (or what one might also call full decolonisation).
    1) for full equality the Palestinian state should have full sovereignty over its territory, something rejected by Israeli PM’s during the 2SS peace process
    2) full equality means that Israel accepts the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees of the Nakba, which is not part of the 2SS
    3) equality in Israel (which has over 65 discriminatory laws) is not part of the 2SS
    Therefore, the ideal 2SS seems unreachable, and a non-ideal 2SS will mean that the struggle for equal rights has to go on!

    • DaBakr on July 19, 2019, 2:33 am

      @j

      Point two will never gain traction among zionists unless the million Arab jews ethnically cleansed from ALL Arab muslim nations post ’48 is addressed on equal footing as the so named nakba

      • Talkback on July 19, 2019, 7:18 pm

        DaBakr: “Point two will never gain traction among zionists unless the million Arab jews ethnically cleansed from ALL Arab muslim nations post ’48 is addressed on equal footing as the so named nakba.”

        ROFL. As if it would gain traction amongst Zionists if these countries would allow Jews to return. As if it would gain any traction amongst Zionists under any circumstancse. Who are you kidding? Zionism is based on conquest and expulsion.

        And it’s like saying that fighting antisemitism will never gain traction among Nonjews unless the crimes against million of Nonjews in Palestine is not adressed on equal footing.

        Two wrongs don’t make a right. And many Jews chose to move to Irsael vplunteraly. Mossad encouraged some of them with false flag terrorism.

      • DaBakr on July 20, 2019, 8:50 pm

        @tb

        Not remotely the “same”. A mass exchange of populations 70 plus years on is neither a right nor is it non negotiable. Palestinian supporters are outraged and terrified at equating the two catastrophes

      • oldgeezer on July 20, 2019, 11:03 pm

        @Dabakr

        There is no comparison. No equivalence. One was a violent ethnic cleansing. The other was a combination of zionist actively working for Jews to immigrate to Israel and a not unexpected reaction to zionist terrorism and violence against Arabs.

        I fully support Jewish people laying claim against those states that forced them out. They should make those claims against those states and I support justice for them.

        Irsael is liable to all Palestinians it forced out. And again I fully support them in those claims.

        There is no basis for offsetting claims. There is not rational basis for offsetting claims except to a racist who considers all Arabs to be one and the same.

      • Talkback on July 21, 2019, 7:09 am

        DaBakr: “A mass exchange of populations 70 plus years on is neither a right nor is it non negotiable.”

        Keeping refugees expelled is not a right, but a violations of a rights. So is preventing them to return. And you know it, but you have to deny it being a supporter of Apartheid and the expulsion that it is based on.

        DaBakr: “Palestinian supporters are outraged and terrified at equating the two catastrophes”

        Why should they? Show me one Jew that has a refugee status and therefore would be entitled to return.

      • echinococcus on July 21, 2019, 10:36 am

        “A mass exchange of populations 70 plus years on…”

        What goddam “exchange”?
        It takes two for your sick tango. There are no “two” places.
        That’s simple as two plus two: Palestinians get their country back and invaders go out.

        As for those of Zionist invaders who may have got expelled collectively from their homelands, in rare cases, for being a fifth column, they still have to make a case about their individual innocence to their respective former nations, to which they have the right to return anyway.

        There is no “exchange”.

      • DaBakr on July 22, 2019, 3:57 am

        Very convenient for all the MW commenters to suddenly embrace Palestinian Arabs as a singular Israeli/zionist issue when the Arab muslim block has been complaining for decades Israel drives all conflict in the region (and beyond). And while there was no distinct Palestinian identity before the late 50s there was definitely an Arab jewish identity of Mizrahi from various regions in the middle east.

        The notion that one event was “violent” and the other not is absurd. There are enough news accounts from the time to counter this assumption of revision. A few zionist operatives in Iraq did not cause the mass expulsion of nearly a million jews across Africa and near Asia. That is a zionist hater fantasy drummed up by a few incidents with minimal impact.

        MW commenters must realize the hypocrisy of blaming all arab expulsion from Israel on zionist plots AND blaming all forced Jewish expulsion on zionist plots. Your view of history is tainted at least and paranoid at best. Talk to some Moroccan, Libyan or other Arab jews. Ask them if they have up wealth, rights, property willingly without threat.

        If there is no regional settlement or comprimise there will never be an imposed settlement.

        Or, as I like to ask of all the arab Muslim nations (and also Iran)….where are all your jews?

        Of course there is linkage between the two issues and of course Israel haters can’t stand the idea that there was absolutely a post ww2 population transfer where jews gained Israeli citizenship and the Arabs denied the future Palestinian Arabs any rights to citizenship? Real history, not conspiracies, is a bitch

      • DaBakr on July 22, 2019, 4:00 am

        @og

        Brace yourself. The two issues will absolutely be considered relatively equal in any future negotiations. Israel is close to a majority of arab/mizrahi/ Sephardic jews. They, as much as the arabs don’t forget.

      • Talkback on July 22, 2019, 10:16 am

        DaBakr: “Very convenient for all the MW commenters to suddenly embrace Palestinian Arabs as a singular Israeli/zionist issue when the Arab muslim block has been complaining for decades Israel drives all conflict in the region (and beyond).”

        Very racist for all the Zionist commenters to conflate Palestinian with Arabs or even Muslim as such. Are you actually claiming that it was ok to expell Jews, because they expelled Nonjews, too?

        DaBakr: “And while there was no distinct Palestinian identity before the late 50s …”

        I guess that these means that neither you nor your ancestors acquired Palestinan citizenship before 1948. Otherwise you wouldn’t claim such nonsense. Contrary to the Zionist racist self-definition of “Jews” the Palestinians are not a group defined by ethnicity, but by nationality/citizenship since 1925. Contrary to Jews they constitute a real nation/constitutive people like the French, British, Germans, etc. Which means that anyone who acquires Palestinian citizenship becomes “Palestinian” or a Palestinan national, whether he or she is Jewish or not. And that tells us everything about Israel’s racist nature which is not a state for its constitutive people (Israelis) – which don’t even exist according ot it’s Surpeme Apartheid Court – but only for Jews. That’s full bore Apartheid. No wait, it’s similar even to the Nazis which defined only volkish Germans/Aryans to be nationals. In Israel only Jews are the Reichsbuerger.

        And this definition of Palesinians has only changed in the 60s when they decided that only Jews who were natives of Palestine (ex-Ottoman Jews) and their paternal descendants are AUTOMATICALLY considered to be Palestinian, too. Which doesn’t prevent any Jew from becoming Palestinian by acquiring this citizenships. That’s exactly the case when Palestinian say that Jews can stay, but not as Israelis (only as Palestinians). But you the Zionist imbeciles and their willingness to lie about such matters when they claimed that Palestinans want a Judenrein state.

        I’m not exactly writing this to you, DaBakr, because your Zionist programming demands that you memory will be reset tommorow so that you can claim the same idiocies again wihtout feeling utterly stupid. That’s your destiny as a Zionist bot – poor thing. And unfortunately very intellgien being is suffering, too, from your idiocies.

        DaBakr: “Of course there is linkage between the two issues …”

        Indeed. One was a reaction to the other. You know which one. But Zionist chronology always starts wwith Jews being the victims. Tha’s actually the sign of a narcissitic infantile mind. Do you happen to know the kind of children who kick you many times and then suddenly start to cry “He kicked me!” when you kicked them back and then kick you again claiming that this was somekind of retaliation/response? It is my sincere believe that he vast majority of Jews in Israel is living with this infantile narcisstic state of mind.

        DaBakr: “… and of course Israel haters can’t stand the idea that there was absolutely a post ww2 population transfer where jews gained Israeli citizenship and the Arabs denied the future Palestinian Arabs any rights to citizenship?”

        What Dabakr wants to tell us this:
        Expulsion is legitimate, as long as every expelle ends up where Zionist Jews want them to end up. And that’s not hatred against Nonjews. Imagine a Nazi would claim that the expulsion and atrocities which they commited against Jews were legitimized after the expulsion and and atrocities which followed against Germans.

        Which proofs my repeated claim that supporting Zionism always ends up in inherently whitewashing Nazism and its crimes against humanity.

        And here we have an Israeli minister who boasts that Israsel is the only country in the world that is killing Iranians.
        https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israel-is-the-only-country-in-the-world-killing-iranians-israeli-minister-boasts-1.7541960

        Correct me if Im wrong, but I can’t remember any Nazi minister who boasted a similar claim about Germany being the only country that’s killing Jews. And if there was, DaBakr can claim that it was totally legitimate, because Jews are doing something similar today. Actually, what is your problem, DaBakr, if Palestinians want to drive Jews into the sea, after Jews expelled Palestinians? Wouldn’t that be legitimate, too, according to your idiotic reasoning?

        Please don’t answer any of my questions. I don’t want you to emberass yourself even more.

      • DaBakr on July 22, 2019, 8:00 pm

        @tb

        You really don’t want to go through all the news clips, reports and history where Palestine was almost universally considered a Jewish effort….the Palestine soccer team was Jewish, the Pal press was Jewish, the pal police……and while Haj al Husseini may have been the forefather of Palestinian nationalism it didn’t take off as a pan Arab idea until later. If it’s just turning the narrative on its head that you want, that’s your problem. I have never said the Arabs that identify as Palestinian don’t deserve their own state. I just maintain its to be negotiated and doesnt exist legally until the conflict is either ended, won or lost, depending.

        Your notion that the apprx million jews were expelled as a fifth column is exceptionally stupid and misguided. You sound like you think one population deserved what they got while the other was a victim of a dastardly plot. There is a name for that kind of thinking, in fact quite a few names could be attached. Too bad that after 70yrs many of the most hardline Arab regimes have come to realize accepting Israel and normalizing is much more beneficial to them and their region then a constant state of war.

      • Talkback on July 22, 2019, 9:51 pm

        DaBakr: “You really don’t want to go through all the news clips, reports and history where Palestine was almost universally considered a Jewish effort….the Palestine soccer team was Jewish, the Pal press was Jewish, the pal police……and while Haj al Husseini may have been the forefather of Palestinian nationalism it didn’t take off as a pan Arab idea until later.”

        ROFL. What does this have to do with anything? Palestinians are a constitutive people since 1925 as much as you need to distract from it. That has been the Palestinian identity until today minus the Judeninfiltration (Herzl’s term) since mandate times.

        DaBakr: “I have never said the Arabs that identify as Palestinian …”

        They don’t “identify” with being Palestinian. It’s their citizenship. Is that to complicated for you to understand, because Jews are not a citizenship=nation=nationality=constitutive people?

        DaBakr: “… don’t deserve their own state.”

        Palestinians don’t “deserve” their own state. They are entitled to it under international law.

        DaBakr: “I just maintain its to be negotiated and doesnt exist legally until the conflict is either ended, won or lost, depending.”

        ROFL. This may have not reached the Zionist nebulae yet, but Palestine’s statehood has allready been recognized within the UN and international organisations that grant membership only to states. The International Court of Justice is own of them It exists de jure allthough it is under occupation and this doesn’t have to be negotiated with anyone, especially not with the belligerent occupier.

        DaBakr: “Your notion that the apprx million jews were expelled as a fifth column is exceptionally stupid and misguided.

        What notion? Are you hallucinating? It is exactly Israel’s notion to keep the Palestinians expelled.

        DaBakr: “You sound like you think one population deserved what they got while the other was a victim of a dastardly plot.”

        I don’t think that anybody should be expelled or kept expelled. Contrary to the racist criminals of Israel.

        DaBakr: “There is a name for that kind of thinking, in fact quite a few names could be attached.”

        “Zionism” will do.

        DaBakr: “Too bad that after 70yrs many of the most hardline Arab regimes have come to realize accepting Israel and normalizing is much more beneficial to them and their region then a constant state of war.”

        Too bad for you that you don’t understand what future Apartheid has. Enjoy it while you can.

        Israel’s right wing is worse than Europe’s
        https://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium-israel-s-right-wing-is-worse-than-europe-s-1.7540538

      • DaBakr on July 22, 2019, 11:39 pm

        @tb

        Well tb, it seems we have very different views on this subject and you are sure your on the side of justice that you seem to feel will prevail over other opposing ideas no matter how well supported by other leading powers. I can’t criticize your view and take on history as you appear to be informed with info that bolsters your stance

  3. JaapBo on July 17, 2019, 5:15 pm

    Brian Klug, in his article (https://www.pij.org/articles/1899/is-there-a-plausible-alternative-to-the-twostate-solution) takes Scots, Basques, Catalans and Slovaks as examples, but the weak point is that they already live in separate territories, while Jews and Palestinians in Israel/Palestine live mixed. Better models are South Africa and Rwanda, where the peoples also live mixed, and they have one shared state with equality for all citizens (and in Rwanda after a very serious conflict between Hutu’s and Tutsi’s, so why not in Israel/Palestine?).

    Furthermore Klug says that Palestinians want a separate state too, but is this true? The PLO accepted it in 1988 only after fierce debate. I think separate states is the priority of zionists, but not that of Palestinians. Palestinians probably give priority to full equality. E.g. BDS want three Palestinian rights (slightly less than full equality), but is undecided on one state or two states.

    In my view full equality is the main goal, and only then either one or two states.

  4. aloeste on July 17, 2019, 8:48 pm

    Fascinating fantasies. Halper’s gentile great grandchildren will doubtless laugh at his folly. Jews aren’t giving anything away.
    This is like the kishon story of Israel becoming the 51st state. With the punchline now if we can just get the US To agree. If you want Jews willing to give hegemony to the goyim , try Williamsburg or kiryas Joel…

    • edthespark on July 17, 2019, 10:37 pm

      Agree its all really a state of mind.

    • Mooser on July 18, 2019, 5:26 pm

      ” Jews aren’t giving anything away.”

      Not even the well over half who marry out?

    • Talkback on July 26, 2019, 3:06 am

      aloeste: “Jews aren’t giving anything away.”

      You know very well that they didn’t legally acquire anything to actually call it theirs to begin with. Conquest and expulsion doesn’t count after 1945.

      • Mooser on July 26, 2019, 12:43 pm

        ” “Jews aren’t giving anything away.”

        We sure as hell are, and seemingly, as fast as we possibly can.

  5. wdr on July 18, 2019, 5:04 am

    Wishful thinking on a grand scale, Jeff. You should have expended your energy on something more fruitful, like solving Fermat’s Last Problem.

  6. Mooser on July 18, 2019, 5:29 pm

    Funny how American Zionists are more-Zionist-than-thou compared to actual Israelis, who have to live with the results.

    • Talkback on July 26, 2019, 3:11 am

      What makes you say that? Do American Zionists commit atrocities and crimes against humanity against the Palestinians? And what to you mean by “have to live with the results”? Do they? Is it not them who have created these “results” in Palestine?

  7. Elizabeth Block on July 18, 2019, 10:27 pm

    Nora Carmi, of Sabeel, a Palestinian Christian, said that yes, after all these years a lot of Palestinians have emigrated and settled in other places, and wouldn’t actually want to return – but, she said, “we want our right acknowledged.”

  8. Nathan on July 19, 2019, 5:11 pm

    Jeff Halper mentions in his peace program what’s in it for the Jews of Israel: “Normalization”. I would imagine that everyone will sorely miss the present conflict in the age of “normalization”.

    Anyway, the basic flaw of Mr Halper’s program is the same flaw that one reads in the many comments and articles here at Mondoweiss. He thinks that his view of the conflict is the only objective view, and his solution is based on this false assumption. It’s as if he has suggested the following: “Come on. Let’s be reasonable. Let’s do things my way”.

    The central theme of Mr Halper’s proposal is “decolonization”. Now, it’s one thing to present an argument that Israel is a colonial project, but surely intellectuals are supposed to be aware of the phenomenon that others sees things very differently. It’s absurd to imagine that the Jewish public in Israel is going to take seriously a proposal that is based on the assumption of illegitimacy. Mr Halper takes into account that the Jewish public probably won’t agree, so in essence the idea is that the plan will somehow be forced on them. And this is also part of the absurdity of the proposal at hand. It can’t be forced upon the Jewish public.

    Not too long ago, someone suggested that the Palestinians surrender. And, of course, the clear response was that they will never surrender. We also heard very clearly that they reject any economic proposals which are meant to end their political aspirations. This is all well and good. But now let’s look at the Jewish side of the equation. Who can imagine that they will surrender? It’s all so strange. The defeated side of the conflict will never give up, but Mr Halper presents a proposal for surrender to the victorious side of the conflict.

    It really is very simple. If you want to propose an end-of-conflict idea, you have to think of a proposal that (1) accepts the legitimacy of both sides, (2) takes into account the interests and aspirations of both sides and (3) is acceptable by both sides. It could be that there is no such possibility (in which case the conflict will continue indefinitely). However, a proposal that (1) rejects the legitimacy of the one side, (2) totally ignores the interests and aspirations of that one side and (3) is based on the one side’s total surrender has not been clearly thought out.

    • eljay on July 19, 2019, 5:52 pm

      || Nathan: … If you want to propose an end-of-conflict idea, you have to think of a proposal that (1) accepts the legitimacy of both sides, (2) takes into account the interests and aspirations of both sides and (3) is acceptable by both sides. … ||

      What you need is a proposal that encompasses justice, accountability and equality.

      I believe that the majority of Palestinians would be willing to accept such a proposal because it would right many (most?) of the wrongs committed by Zionism and Zionists and their deliberately and unapologetically colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” construct.

      I’m entirely certain that not a single Zionist would be willing to accept such a proposal because it would deprive them of the illegitimacy they covet – namely, the “right” of people who choose to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish:
      – to be supremacists;
      – to have as large as possible a supremacist state; and
      – to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them.

    • Talkback on July 19, 2019, 6:34 pm

      Nathan: “Now, it’s one thing to present an argument that Israel is a colonial project …”

      That’s is how Hertzl proposed it to Rhodes. What else could it be if foreign settlers enter a land without the consent of its native population.

      Nathan: “However, a proposal that (1) rejects the legitimacy of the one side, (2) totally ignores the interests and aspirations of that one side and (3) is based on the one side’s total surrender has not been clearly thought out.”

      To the contrary. Zionist settler colonialism and its genocidal policies against the native Nonjews has always been clearly thought out.

      The Palestinians want to see their rights restored which they have under international and humanitarian law and according to countless UN resolutions, including their right to equality, to return and to self determination.

      Israel wants them to accept that it is going to violate these rights forever. This is what you call “legitimacy”, “interest” and “aspirations”. Nobody buys your fake symmetry, Nathan.

    • Talkback on July 19, 2019, 6:59 pm

      Btw. Nathan, Since you are talking about legitimacy.

      Do you think that it is legitimate for the people of a country to defend its territorial integrity against seperatists whose majority are foreign settlers and whose declared intentions is to take over the whole country? And do you think that foreing settlers have a right to expell the native population of a country in order to become a majority themselves?

      • Nathan on July 20, 2019, 10:03 am

        Talkback – Perhaps you have heard the old line: “When did you stop beating your wife”? It’s a type of question that includes therein the assumption that the one being addressed is obviously guilty. And, now, you want to ask about “foreign settlers” and “separatists”. No matter what the answer may be, the one being addressed has to admit as self-evident that he is what YOU claim he is.

        I know it’s hard to imagine that others see things differently than you. It’s a major intellectual handicap of the anti-Israel alternative reality (as we see also in the above article). For you, the Jews are foreigners, but apparently you think that the Jews themselves see themselves as foreigners. I know that this will come to you as a total surprise (so, I hope you’re sitting down), but the Jews don’t see themselves as foreigners. They REALLY think that the ancient land in which they have founded their state is their homeland. You don’t agree, and that’s your point of view. However, your agreement is not a necessary component in the scheme of things. If someone wishes to make a proposal, it would be good policy if that someone would make an effort to propose something that is acceptable. A proposal that defines you as the “bad guy”, the “foreign invader”, “illegitimate” or the “colonialist” is really a waste of time. The Jews of Israel actually think that they are just fine (even if such a concept is ununderstandable in the obsessiveness of the anti-Israel crowd).

        Anyway, you asked me if the Arabs had the right to fight against the Jewish effort to found Israel (I rephrased your question, removing the “when did you stop beating your wife” parts of it). Yes, of course they had the right to go to war. It has happened many times in human history that a people feels it must go to war. But here’s the complicated part: You might feel that you must fight, and that you are absolutely right; however, this doesn’t mean that you will be successful in your war effort. You have to take into account that the other side also thinks that their cause is just. And you have to take into account the consequences of your decision to go to war.

      • LiberatePalestine on July 20, 2019, 12:07 pm

        The great majority of Jews in occupied Palestine today are objectively foreign settlers or descendants of same (within the period of the Zionist project). How they view themselves is irrelevant. The fact, denied by noöne, remains that they or their recent ancestors migrated to Palestine.

        Furthermore, Talkback did not ask a loaded question. Talkback’s questions didn’t even refer to the Zionist entity, so how the settler-colonial population occupying Palestine sees itself is irrelevant. Just answer the questions, please.

      • Talkback on July 20, 2019, 5:41 pm

        Nathan: “I know it’s hard to imagine that others see things differently than you. It’s a major intellectual handicap of the anti-Israel alternative reality (as we see also in the above article).”

        I know it’s hard to be honest and focus on the issue of the debate for someone like you. It’s a major intellectual handicap of the Zionist alternative reality (as we see also in every other of your comments) which needs to attack anyone ad hominem they can’t refute ad rem. For example this lie:

        Nathan: “For you, the Jews are foreigners, …”

        Nope, not native Jews who became Palestinian citizens in 1925. For you every Jew who came from a foreign country to acquire this citizenship in mandate times isn’t. I dare you to prove your point refering to this definition of “foreigner”:

        “… a person in a country who is not a citizen or permanent resident of that country.”

        Nathan: “… but apparently you think that the Jews themselves see themselves as foreigners.”

        Apoarantly your lies have a patholocgical quality. Do you actually understand the concept of “truth”? Not from your point of view but by definition?

        Nathan: “I know that this will come to you as a total surprise (so, I hope you’re sitting down), but the Jews don’t see themselves as foreigners.”

        I’m not surprised that you need to imply that “the Jews” suffer from the delusion that they were born in Palestine before 1925. I hope that this isn’t actually a mass psychosis. Allthough it could explain some of the racist and violent madness and the lies and intellectual handicaps in the Kahane continuum.

        Nathan: “You don’t agree, and that’s your point of view. However, your agreement is not a necessary component in the scheme of things.”

        I understand that you need to distract from the subjectivity of YOUR views based on mythological concepts and your failure do prove any of your points based on recognized definitions of terms like “foreigner”, “settler”, “invader”, “settler colonialism”, “Apartheid”, etc. or international law and human rights. That’s part of your fake symmetry con in which you need to claim that all views and claims to legitimacy are equally valid allthough you constantly fail to prove it.

        Nathan: “A proposal that defines you as the “bad guy”, the “foreign invader”, “illegitimate” or the “colonialist” is really a waste of time.”

        It sure is for the “bad guys” living in denial. And I know it is a waste of time for someone like you who continously fails to formulate counter arguments based on recognized principles and definitions. For example this one:

        Colonist/Settler: “A settler is a person who has migrated to an area and established a permanent residence there, often to colonize the area.”

        Now try to prove that Jews who settled in Palestine during mandate times were not settlers by definition.

        And I have asked you many times to formulate a single universal principle which could legitimize the founding of Israel and you even fail to try.

        Another definition: “An invasion is a military offensive in which large parts of combatants of one geopolitical entity aggressively enter territory owned by another such entity, generally with the objective of either conquering; liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a territory; forcing the partition of a country; …”

        Besides the obvious case of the Jewish Legion in World War I try to prove that foreign Zionists who entered Palestine under a British gund an de facto occupation didn’t take part in a military offensive in 1948 to conquer (or maybe from the delusional point of view “re-establish control or authority” over) Palestine or to force it’s partition. Wait, lets start with the Jewish terror campagne since the 1930s.

        Nathan: “Yes, of course they had the right to go to war.”

        Well, if the Palestinians had the RIGHT to go to war that means after 1945 that they were DEFENDING themselves and the territorial integrity of their country against seperatist who had the declared intention to take over the whole country and the inoffical intention to “transfer” large parts of its native population. Which means that the founding of Israel was an act of war/aggression against the territorial integrity of Palestine and the legitimate rights of its population and therefore illegitimate, inluding the expulsion of Palstinians. Thank your for making their case.

        Or do you want to claim that people have a right to expell others or keep them expelled? I’m sure that you are not going to surprise me with another view of what you call “the Jews”.

      • RoHa on July 20, 2019, 8:45 pm

        The Palestinians didn’t have much choice about going to war. They did not seek war. War came to them.

        Their country had been occupied during the First World War, in which they had no say, and, during that occupation, was invaded by Zionists against their wishes,

        As for consequences, they knew that to fight and lose and not to fight would have the same result. They would lose their country. Their only hope was to fight and win.

      • Mooser on July 20, 2019, 10:15 pm

        “Their country had been occupied…”

        Long enough for me to think of a nasty malaprop for “Crusade”

    • RoHa on July 20, 2019, 1:36 am

      Nathan does have one point. How can we either persuade or force the Israelis to stop being arseholes and to behave like decent human beings?

      • LiberatePalestine on July 20, 2019, 12:10 pm

        It finally happened in Germany, with limited success. It hasn’t yet happened in the US, Canada, Australia, and various other settler-colonial societies. Perhaps a military defeat, with occupation, is necessary.

  9. wondering jew on July 19, 2019, 6:21 pm

    Jerusalem Day 2011 was on June 1st and not July 1st as written in the caption of the photo.

  10. LiberatePalestine on July 19, 2019, 10:42 pm

    → Now, it’s one thing to present an argument that Israel is a colonial project, but surely intellectuals are supposed to be aware of the phenomenon that others sees things very differently.

    Not all opinions are worthy of respect. The Zionist entity is objectively a colonial project whether any particular person sees it as such or not.

    → It’s absurd to imagine that the Jewish public in Israel is going to take seriously a proposal that is based on the assumption of illegitimacy.

    Illegitimacy is not an assumption but a fact. And I don’t imagine that the settler-colonial public in occupied Palestine will take the proposal seriously. Of course it won’t.

    → Mr Halper takes into account that the Jewish public probably won’t agree, so in essence the idea is that the plan will somehow be forced on them.

    Precisely. The settlers won’t accept it, so it will have to be forced on them.

    → And this is also part of the absurdity of the proposal at hand. It can’t be forced upon the Jewish public.

    Why not? Zionist genocidal settler-colonialism was forced upon the Palestinian public.

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