One State is not an apocalyptic vision of the Last Days. It is a perfectly
doable and mutually profitable development.
The Jewish nationalist One-Staters should be encouraged by our side.
The Right Move
- “No, you must finish both the meat and the vegetables;
don’t pick the cheese off your sandwich and do not leave bread on the plate” -
so we tell to a choosy kid who tries to take his pick and shortcut his way to
dessert. Picking and choosing is a troublesome habit at the family table.
This applies to the Israeli settlers and Jewish nationalists
as well. At last, at long last, they have begun to recognise the advantages of
One State between the Sea and the River, instead of having a Jewish Ghetto and
Arab Bantustans. So we have been told by Haaretz writer
Noam Sheizaf in a piece with the telling
Endgame. Among new adepts of the One State, one
finds the Knesset Speaker Rubi (Reuven) Rivlin, who
said, "It's preferable for the Palestinians to become citizens of the state
rather than for us to divide the country." and
ex-Defence Minister Moshe Arens who is ready to grant
Israeli citizenship to the Palestinians in the West Bank. These are heavy guns
of Israeli politics, and they are apparently supported by other Likud members
like MK Tzipi Hotovely, leading settlers like Uri Elitzur, Rabbis like Rabbi
Froman of Tekoa, and to an extent even by the icon of settlers, Hanan Porat.
They speak of granting the two and a half million
Palestinians of the West Bank full rights and Israeli citizenship. This is a
step in right direction, which should be approved of. This is certainly not
enough, but as a first step it would do. However, some of these Jews want to
pick and choose. Adi Mintz, a former director general of the Yesha Council,
would like Israel to annex 60 percent of Judea and Samaria, whose 300,000
Palestinian inhabitants would be granted Israeli citizenship. This is too little
too late. Such a harebrained scheme has no chance of being acceptable to the
Palestinians, or to decent people anywhere.
“If you want the land, take it with the people”. This was the
answer of Glubb Pasha in 1948. This commander of the Arab Legion was forced to
surrender the Valley of Ara to the Jews; the Jews wanted – then as now – to have
the land without people. He refused. Eventually the Jews relented, and the
people of the Wadi Ara remained in their homes, received Israeli citizenship and
prospered. This should be the model – but not “pick and choose”. Otherwise the
remainder of Palestine will have a lot of people locked up in tiny enclaves.
All of Palestine and all of the Palestinians living there –
this is a doable minimum for the first stage. This is much less than what the
Palestinians want, for they reasonably want to see the
refugees coming back home from Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. The Palestinians also
want to regain property lost under racist laws, notably the Absentee Property
Law. However, these demands could be more profitably discussed when there are
four to five million Palestinian voters in Israel.
Even the most enlightened and accommodating Jewish
nationalists do not want to take Gaza, for it has very little land and a lot of
Palestinians. This would preclude a true solution, but probably even the
absorption of all the West Bank with the full enfranchising of all of its
present inhabitants is acceptable as a first step in the right direction. At the
same time Gaza’s re-integration could begin and last, say, a year or two; at the
end of this period Gaza would be fully integrated and its inhabitants fully
enfranchised as well.
Is it possible at all, or do we encounter here yet another
example of “Zionist spin that is planted in our
discourse in order to disseminate confusion” as our friend Gilad Atzmon has
put it? Proceed with caution, I advise. One State
is good for Palestinians, and their majority prefers it to “independence” under
Mahmud Abbas or even Ismail Hanie. However, One State is good for Jews, not only
for Palestinians. It is good for Israeli business. It is good for half-a-million
of Jewish settlers who would be able to remain in their homes. It is good for
Oriental Jews who would be re-integrated into their native Arabic milieu. It is
good for Russians who are anyway considered ‘second-rate Jews’. It is good for
honest Jews, for they will find peace of mind. Their persecution mania will
hopefully go away. In short, Jews would not regret the change overmuch, just as
white South Africans do not miss the days of apartheid. Peace with neighbours
will allow full integration in the region, and integration usually is good for
One State is not an apocalyptic vision of the Last Days. It
is a perfectly doable and mutually profitable development. Why it did not occur
until now, is a question of psychology rather than realpolitik. Traditionally
Jews have been against intermarriage since the days of Ezra, who expelled all
mixed-marriage couples from the nascent Jewish state. With the decrease of
Jewish religiosity, nationalist Jews have inherited this trait. Jewish
nationalism was informed in the 19th c.; the nationalist (or “proud”)
Jews share Hitler’s hate of miscegenation and fear of diluting their ‘pure
race’. They correctly believe that peaceful coexistence will bring forth
intermarriage, thereby diluting precious Jewish blood, or race, or DNA or
whatever you call it. Indeed, in the US, Russia and Europe, intermarriage is
more than 50%. If war is the only way to prevent intermarriage, let it be war,
they conclude. War is good, for “it keeps the Israeli
society from falling apart”,
said Israeli historian Ilan Pappe.
This National-Socialist, warlike Judaism is outdated, and is
being undermined by Americanisation of Israel on one side of the green line and
by the influence of the land on the other side of it. The settlers, a rough lot,
live close to the most charming and delightful places in Palestine. It is not
surprising that for some of them the land has become more important than blood.
Not only the blood to be shed, but also the blood to be mixed. Actually, the
owner of Ha'aretz newspaper, Amos Shocken, wrote in favour of the full
integration and the mutual assimilation of Jews and Palestinians. Shlomo Sand’s
pioneering book Invention of the Jewish People, which debunks the concept
of a pure and ancient Jewish race, had astonishing success among Israeli Jews,
who apparently are ready for this message.
A foreign reader might be surprised by the Jewish
Nationalists’ support of this idea so rigidly rejected by the Israeli Zionist
Left. However, for us Israelis, it is not surprising in the light of
organisational and moral collapse of the Zionist Left in recent years. After
all, the Zionist Left gave us the Nakba under Ben Gurion and a lot of
settlements under Rabin and Barak. The Zionist Left also invented the Wall and
the apartheid slogan “we are here, they are there”.
Ali Abunimah correctly
reminded us that “in
South Africa, it was not the traditional white liberal critics of apartheid who
oversaw the system's dismantling, but the National Party which had built
apartheid in the first place.” Indeed, liberalism leads nowhere, ditto the
wishy-washy leftie attitude. Settlers may contain some very unpalatable
elements, but they are hardly worse than average Israeli. Many of them are
perfectly human. Their Palestinian neighbours are aware of that. Indeed Raja
Shehadeh concludes his wonderful
Palestinian Walks by a charming encounter with a young settler who came down
to a stream to have his smoke. Shehadeh and the settler pass the joint back and
forth, as if it were a calumet of peace.
Gilad Atzmon and Ali Abunima both state that Jewish
nationalists are committed to preserving a “Jewish democratic state” as opposed
to a “state for all citizens”. True enough. A Jewish democratic state means that
it is democratic for Jews and Jewish for everybody else. However, Lincoln and
his contemporaries who enfranchised the slaves did not expect that a black man
would become the US President one day – yet it happened due to the dynamics they
unleashed. Likewise in our case, let millions of Palestinians get on the voter
roll, and then these small problems will be taken care of.
The Jewish nationalist One-Staters should be encouraged by
our side. Perhaps this is the right time to do a One State Conference like we
did few years ago in Lausanne, but this time with settlers and Hamas, and with
everybody else who wants to live in One Palestine, Complete, to use the words of
From Uri Avnery:
Not so fast Mr. Shamir. There are traps involved.
Shamir responds to Avnery’s arguments:
Before reading explanations and reasoning, look for the
bottom line. I have no patience for explanations why the Jewish state is
necessary and why Jews are so wonderfully different, why killing an Arab is of
no consequence but killing a Jew is ‘genocide’, or why Iran should be bombed. A
Zionist is expected to uphold the concept of a Jewish state, and his
explanations are of no interest to me.
Uri Avnery is a nice man, indefatigable writer and activist
at his late 80s. I respect him and always greet him when I meet him at a Tel
Aviv demo or in a Palestinian village visit. But he is a certified Zionist. He
sued (AND WON) the guy who wrote that he is not. He is also a certified
anti-Communist and admirer of the capitalist system, so his self-description is
“being of the Left” is rather a misnomer. He – albeit as a very young man –
participated at atrocities of Nakba, at his own account. For him, what Israel
got in 1948 is holy and sacred. There is no chance of dew in hell that he’d
support One State.
He says that a Jewish state can’t be anything but a
supremacist Jewish state; so there is no reason to let poor Palestinians to have
Israeli citizenship for they will suffer. It is just a usual Jewish sophistic
one should be used to by now.
Lenin, dismissing Uri Avnerys of his time,
said of such arguments: “This argument belongs entirely to the realm of
obvious fallacies; it is as like as two peas to those arguments which
mathematicians call mathematical sophistries, and which prove— quite logically,
at first glance—that twice two are five, that the part is greater than the
whole, and so on. There are collections of such mathematical sophistries, and
they are of some value to school children. But it is even embarrassing to have
to explain to people who claim to be the sole representatives of the Jewish
proletariat so elementary a sophistry”.
If Israel will have four million native Palestinians
enfranchised, the Jews may call it “a Jewish state” or change its name into “A
Jewish State of Israel” like “Islamic Republic of Iran”. The meaning would be
very different from what it is now.
Within Russian Federation, there is a region officially
called the Jewish Autonomous Republic of
Birobidzhan. Despite the name, despite its synagogues, Jewish schools and
statues of Jewish writers, the Jews there are a minority, but happy and
prosperous minority. Within a bigger framework, the Jewish State of Israel will
become another Birobidzhan, threatening nobody and discriminating nobody. So the
name and the title of “Jewish state” has much less meaning than what is implied
Consider Lebanon, which was created in mid-19th
century is a Maronite state. Later, the Maronites extended the borders of
Lebanon and lost their majority by grasping Shiite and Druze lands. Very soon
their superiority withered away. The same thing will happen to Jews in a big
“Jewish state” without Jewish majority.
So I wouldn’t be scared by Avnery’s objections. He does not
want the Jewish state to disappear, but we do not mind it to be replaced by a
state for all citizens. This is the bottom line.
Salah Sanjak responds:
One state solution is an inevitable solution if we want it to
If white South Africa were able to abandon Apartheid, it should be much easier
for the Jews to give up Zionism. Yes, we can live in one Middle East the same
as we lived for millennia if the Western War Machine and Multi National
Capitalist Corporation butt out of the world monopoly.
Life is too short to be able to punish the guilty. Most of
the founders of Israel are gone, and at we left with is the outcome of their
action and their mind set. Ideology, religion, moral code, laws, etc. mislead
people and drive them to commit all sorts of crimes.
One way to look at these crimes is as a manifestation of a
disease. To focus on eliminate the disease and its source is much more
affective than concentrating on punishing criminals. I am not underestimating
the important of punishment as deterring factor and as battles to win against
the criminals establishments, but I won’t allow revenge to take over me because
I rather be a free of this disease.
Cultural~Social~Economical~Political Revolution is the lab
where we can isolate and remove human social illnesses. Unfortunately,
nowadays, revolution is a strange concept and it doesn’t have a beautiful face
in people’s mind. Maybe because it brings out the images of the Soviet Union
and the Peoples Republic of China . Alternatively, we need to win the
Cultural~Social~Economical~Political debate, propose a practical short term
solutions and visionary long term goals, and prepare to bring down governments
and institutioins that host the backwardness of humanity. Who’s is who is not
one entity to decide, instead it’s something we need to arrive at,
Dr. Medina writes:
I agree, though I think that Gaza is indigestible in a 1-2
year time frame. Maybe never. But there is always Egypt.
Shamir replies: You say that
because you do not remember Israel before 1992: Gaza was as integrated then as
the West Bank now.
From Beduin, Singapore
Here is what I think is a suitable response to this one state
(a) It would attempt to make true, this Zionist lie,
"Palestine is a land without a people and the Jews are a people without a land".
Both parts of the statement are lies, which we collectively cowardly allow.
Second (b) It would legitimise the theft of the land, and all
the unspeakable things that are associated with it which were forced on a
hapless group of people set up on by the world with indescribable cowardice.
Further (c) It is the final Ploy to get the whole land and
the people as underlings and servants to their masters...
More (d) Happily, Palestinians will never accept One State
and there will always be war and no one, me you and the cowardly world will
never rest easy, or sleep sound, because of this ignominy which stinks to high
You see Shamir...
I am led by the principle that if it is not yours leave it
alone...and if you took it and it was not given to you, then give it back,
before it is asked of you....
I think you and the one state people are using another
principle | I however do not know of it.
Of course that is OK, I cannot know everything and do not....
One State is not acceptable, because it is wrong, no matter
how un-economic it may be for the occupiers....
What a bunch of cowards we are.
Shamir replied: well, this
position leads nowhere. Meanwhile, Israel can’t be defeated by force of arms. So
the choice is rather limited.
From Eric Walberg
>It is good for half-a-million of Jewish settlers who would
be able to remain in their homes.
Shamir replied: Yes. Uprooting
of so many people can’t be achieved without massive bloodshed and huge
destruction of the land. Eventually some legal owners may be compensated for the
loss of land, and the settlements will not be “for Jews only”, but will become
villages like every other village in the country. The whole idea of One State is
like that: no great reverts, just usher equality; enfranchise Palestinians, do
not disenfranchise Jews. I am not aware of a country ready to fight Israel
anyway; so this is the best one can get, in my view. And it is fair enough. Read
the response of Salah Sanjak above for the Palestinian sentiment.
From Jamie T
Eric makes a good point. The settlers have all their prime
real estate. One would be allowing Chomsky's facts on the ground to stand.
I guess that's the sacrifice for citizenship and no wall. (I mean I'm assuming
the wall would have to go.)
But wasn't South Africa different in that its whites were not new arrivals,
newly deployed into the indigenes remaining land like the Brooklynese.
But perhaps if they legalize marijuana in the West Bank, it'll work out after
Shamir replied: while fully
sharing your hope that the weed will be legalized, I am not sure I agree with
recentness of arrivals. Though there were Boers who lived in the US since
hundreds of years, all other communities, Anglos, Indians, Jews were relatively
recent arrivals (from turn-de-sičcle or even after the war).