Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Bi-Nationalism: The Logic of Reality

By Sherri Muzher | Palestine Chronicle | August 18, 2012

Regardless of the US presidential election results in November, Palestinians will be told to resume direct negotiations with Israel if they wish to see a state of their own.

Apparently, the old expression that ‘actions speak louder than words’ doesn’t apply. The continuation of Israeli settlements speaks volumes. Physical separation and lack of contiguity has nullified the hopes of two states living side by side.

Professor Stephen Walt of Harvard University, co-author of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, summarized direct talks in three points. 1) There is no sign that the Palestinians are willing to accept less than a viable, territorially contiguous state in the West Bank (and eventually, Gaza), including a capital in East Jerusalem. 2) There is no sign that Israel’s government is willing to accept anything more than a symbolic Palestinian “state” consisting of a set of disconnected Bantustans, with Israel in full control of the borders, air space, and water supplies. 3) There is no sign that the U.S. government is willing to put meaningful pressure on Israel.

In fact, the last U.S. president to put serious pressure on Israel was George H.W. Bush who withheld loan guarantees to Israel for its settlement policies back in 1991.

A decade earlier, President Reagan said in September 1982, “Indeed, the immediate adoption of a settlements freeze by Israel, more than any other action, could create the confidence needed for wider participation in these talks.”

But leaders from Labor, Likud, and Kadima have never taken a reprieve from settlement-building.

Numerous reasons have been cited by Israelis for the need to build Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, including the need for more housing to accommodate Jewish immigrants.

Jewish settlers will tell you that their presence in the West Bank, known as Judea and Samaria to religious Jews, is necessary because God said the land must belong to the Jews even if it means ridding the land of its inhabitants.

Some say that the settlements in the Occupied Territories are necessary to protect Israel’s security. However, Binyamin Begin, son of the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin and a prominent voice in the rightwing Likud party stated that “In strategic terms, the settlements are of no importance.” Adding, they constitute an obstacle, an insurmountable obstacle to the establishment of an independent Arab State west of the river Jordan.”

But nobody expressed the objective of settlements better than Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who once urged that, “Everybody has to move, run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements, because everything we take now will stay ours.”

That mentality has driven Israeli governments and hurt hopes for real peace. Short of removing 500,000 settlers from the Occupied Territories, there are still two chances for peace: 1) Jewish settlers can agree to become citizens of a future Palestine and abide under its laws or 2) agree to a bi-national state. Bi-nationalism is the idea of two national groups living in one nation as equals. The latter has picked up steam.

It is doubtful that bi-nationalism was in the cards either. Bi-nationalism is perhaps the greatest fear of those who wish to maintain the Jewish character of Israel since Palestinians would become the majority. But as Justice Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish justice on the Supreme Court once said, “The logic of words should yield to the logic of realities.”

And this much is known: Palestinians aren’t leaving and Israelis aren’t leaving. They share the same land and the same natural resources. Their economies are linked. Israeli settlements have made physical separation impossible. The only solution is a democratic bi-national state where Palestinians and Israelis live as equals and are forced to make it work.

Sherri Muzher is the author of Escape to a World of Palestinian Surprises. Visit: http://www.palestiniansurprises.com.

August 19, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 19 Comments

Palestine – The Third Option

Rehmat’s World | June 18, 2010

The other day, I came across two interesting articles. One written by an American Jew and the other by an Israeli-born Jew. Roger Tucker, an American and founder of One Democratic State, had featured this blog once and Israeli-born Brit Gilad Atzmon who has been quoted several times on this blog. Both writers dismiss the western ‘option’ of the two-state solution – in order to make the modern Jews-only (demographically) colonial experiment, everlasting. These two Jewish writers are not blinded by their Jewishness, like columnist Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post or Daniel Pipes, who claim that the world is against Israel and Jews to please Muslims.

Personally, I believe in the ‘option’ of a democratic one-state Palestine, based on ‘one-vote- one person’ with equal rights for all its citizens, dismantling of racist Zionist political parties and the Israel Occupation Force (IOF), right of return for the natives and suitable compensation for their loss of properties to the Jew settlers – and of course the dismantling of country’s nuclear arsenal. All those racist Jews, who don’t want to live in peace with the natives – they should be allowed to migrate back to their ancestral lands – Germany, Russia, Poland, France, the UK, the US, etc. – as many White settlers did in South Africa, Algeria and India.

Professor Edward Said predicted a long time ago that the great majority of Israeli Jews would prefer to live under Muslim rule in Palestine than go back to their ancestral western homeland where they know anti-Semitism would be waiting for them.

Roger Tucker in his recent article The One State Solution sounds like a good idea, but… , which is closer to my ‘option’ – pointed out the past history of Islamic tolerance toward Jews and Christians and how both Israelis and Palestinians could benefit from it: “Zionism, prior to the ascendance of Jabotinskian fanaticism and terrorism in Palestine about 80 years ago, envisioned a cooperative, binational state. It was not that long ago. The ridiculous notion that “they’ve always hated and fought one another,” another objection that one often hears, is just one of many facile inventions of Zionist propaganda. Barring relatively brief eruptions of tribal and religious strife, like the Crusades, the siblings of the Abrahamic tradition (outside of Europe at least) have gotten along rather swimmingly for the last 1,500 years, i.e., since the birth of Islam, which has traditionally respected and been hospitable to both Christians and Jews.

Roger Tucker believes Israeli Jews, after eventually becoming a minority, would retain economic clout as well as dominance in politics and other fields, as the White Afrikaners have in South Africa. “And a Jewish culture, with its multifarious institutions, customs and traditions would coexist with its Palestinian counterpart, enriching both but threatening neither. Why is he sure of that? Because: “ Fortunately for the Israelis, the Palestinians have proven themselves to be an extremely decent, tolerant and amazingly patient people. In general, they show remarkably little animosity towards Jewish people, and the remaining hotheads, on both sides, could be dealt with”.

And what is there for the Americans to gain by supporting the “One State Option”? Here are some of the obvious benefits:

1. “With the Jewish state dissolved and the problem solved, Zionism, a combination of ethnocentric, religious and nationalist fascism dedicated to the continued existence of Israel, would no longer have a raison d’être and would consequently die a quiet, unlamented demise, to the great relief of billions of people. In one stroke, its iron grip on the political life of the West would relax and perhaps the ideals and hopes that gave rise to the great democracies could somehow be salvaged. The US, foremost among these, might once again be viewed with respect instead of with a mixture of fear and contempt. Perhaps we could begin to deal with the real problems that face humanity, without being distracted by the wars, hypocrisy, treason, crimes, terrorism, distortions, double standards, lies, confusion and scheming that Zionism has until now plagued us with,” wrote Tucker.

2. American taxpayers would not have to waste US$6-14 billion each year on the deceptive regime which, mostly, has worked counter to America’s interests. Washington can use this money to provide education and medical facilities for 45-52 million American citizens who cannot afford them. Also, with some of that money – Washington can improve its inhumane prison facilities for the over six million US prisoners.

However, Gilad Atzmon prefers the Third Option:

“It is an obvious fact that the Israelis do not belong to the region. The Jewish claim for Zion i.e. Palestine is beyond pathetic. It is in fact as ridiculous as a bunch of  Italian settlers invading London’s Piccadilly Circus claiming their right to return to a land once occupied by their Roman forefathers. Obviously Italians would not get away with it, Zionists, on the other hand, have managed to fool the nations for more than a while.

Most humanists seem to support the One State Solution, they are convinced that such a solution is fair and ethical. Again, I am rather perplexed here. As much as we accept that sharing the land is reasonable and ethical, it is completely foreign to Jewish ideology and Zionism in particular. Early Zionist immigrants were more than welcome to share the land with the Palestinian indigenous population. But they had a completely different plan in mind, they wanted a ‘Jews only State’. They eventually ethnically cleansed the Palestinians (1948), Those who managed to cling  to the land were eventually locked behind walls and barbed wire. The One State Solution dismisses the Jewish ideology. As much as I myself tend to support the One State Solution, I am fully aware of the fact that such a solution may become  possible only when the Israeli Jewish population gives up its supremacist ideology. Needless to say that when this happens, the Jews in Palestine  would become Palestinian Jews: ordinary people of Jewish ethnic origin  who happen to live on Palestinian land.

Considering the latest Israeli barbarian military operations, bearing in mind the disastrous starvation in Gaza, learning about the serious threat to world peace imposed by repeated nuclear threats made by Israel against its neighboring States and Iran in particular, we should move the discourse one step further. We better look at Helen Thomas’ solution.”

March 11, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 3 Comments