The choice is Israel's: two states or apartheid

Thanks to Philip Weiss, who runs the site, Mondoweiss, for drawing attention to the choices Israel faces in the coming years, as it confronts the Obama administration's push for a final two state solution. What other solution is there? Just one: Apartheid, as Jimmy Carter so wisely warned about a few years ago in his book: Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. It would appear that "peace" in this context translates into two states, and that is precisely why not only Obama, but the rest of the world is now supporting the side by side solution. There is no other choice that Israel is giving the Palestinians.

In an LA Times Oped, Mustafa Barghouthi responded to the Obama/Netanyahu meeting with this observation: Can Obama meet Netanyahu's challenge?

More recently, Netanyahu has added a new demand: that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This is intended only to confuse and delay peace talks. And it's wrong. Palestinians in the occupied territories have no standing to sign away the rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel in order to get Israel to the negotiating table. To tell the truth, we don't believe that Israel can be a true democracy and an exclusivist Jewish state at the same time. Yet Israeli leaders seem oblivious -- or pretend to be oblivious -- to why Palestinians would decline to acknowledge Israel's status as a Jewish state.

Increasingly, Israel is out of step with a world hurtling into the 21st century with Obama. This is no longer the segregated world of President Truman and David Ben-Gurion at Israel's founding. Yet Netanyahu's selection of Lieberman, who once stated that "minorities are the biggest problem in the world," exemplifies Israel's tone-deafness in a changed world.

The choice is Israel's: two states, or increasing isolation by a world that will not accept apartheid dressed up as an economic development plan. Tragically, the consequences of further delay and oppression will be endured by Palestinians -- both in the occupied territories and in an increasingly exclusivist Jewish state whose self-definition comes at the expense of Palestinian citizens.

Philip Weiss remarked, "Barghouthi makes a point that we've made many times - Israel's demand for an exclusive Jewish state is an anti-democratic anachronism in a world that celebrated Obama's election. Israel is quickly finding itself on the wrong side of history."

A further note from Weiss tells us how far we are from getting to the two state solution from the Netanyahu camp:

Netanyahu senior aide Ron Dermer on the plane from Washington DC to Tel Aviv reoirtedly stated:

"This idea of two states for two peoples is a stupid and childish solution to a very complex problem."

Another top Netanyahu advisor referred to the two-state solution as "juvenile," in this Ynet article Fixation on two-state solution is childish.

Is Apartheid more mature?

Tags: Israel, Netanyahu, obama, Palestine (all tags)

Comments

77 Comments

Israel made its choice when they placed

Bibieberman in charge of its future.

The settlement activity will accelerate, and Bibi will obfuscate.

There is no happy ending here.  For either side.

by Geekesque 2009-05-20 10:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Israel made its choice when they placed

No doubt that Israel has been veering right and that a majority of Israelis are right of center.

And there is ever reason, considering Israel's past behavior, to be skeptical that a deal can be struck under this government. It almost seems like all of the liberal Israelis moved to the United States, leaving there a hearty right wing.

Boycott, boycott, boycott may be the next stage of this conflict, but don't underestimate Obama, even though he is up against a "youthful and experienced" opponent. It seems that the world came out of the closet after the two states solution was reproposed by Obama, before lacking the courage to call human rights crimes what they are, and supporting, sometimes openly, the deprivation of freedom and self-determination of a people who have lived in Israel-Palestine for a thousand years.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 05:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Israel made its choice when they placed

I don't share your optimism. I don't think Obama is ready to risk what is needed to make momentous change and he may be right. With Palestinian civil society destroyed, the Palestinian government in shambles and Israel in the grasp of right wing rejectionists that's a tar pit with no exit for any US politician.

The Israeli's are living under the illusion that they are a great power and are still in full neo-con mode trying to project that power. The war with Hezbollah should have been a wake-up call. The myth of Israeli military invincibility and unstoppable power was dependent on being surrounded by inept, corrupt autocracies. They should not assume that their adversaries will be so accommodatingly incompetent in the future. It was an excellent psy-ops tool against a hostile Arab world but one should never start to believe one's own BS.

I believe that emigration is now exceeding immigration in Israel and a large number of Israeli young are contemplating leaving according to one 2007 poll I saw. Israel is hell bent on destroying it self. The armed religious fanatics are in the drivers seat and they are succeeding in making a 2 state solution an impossibility and incorporating a huge hostile population into a greater Israel that will eventually, as in South Africa assert majority rule.

by hankg 2009-05-21 09:24AM | 0 recs
If Apartheid

then what?  What's the end game here?  Do you, MS, simply walk away at that point?  Do you think that the Palestinians will give up at that point?  Will the international mobilization just peter out?

I agree that in the near term the best possible occurrence would be implementation of the two state solution.  But if those who want to block it succeed, then what?

Also, this may be an effective argument for mobilizing those who already support two states, but not its opponents or those supporters of Israel who are on the fence.  If you want to address them, I'd use the kind of argument that Gideon Levy offers this morning in Haaretz:

The ball is in Netanyahu's court. If he ends the occupation, he'll get peace and security; if he doesn't, he won't. It's not about another minor deal, but about the future of the Zionist enterprise. Such an opportunity will not return.
http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1087110. html

In the near term, Palestinians face enormous disadvantages as opposed to Israelis.  Long term, as the Palestine Study Group report suggests, Israelis have more at stake and will encounter huge strategic disadvantages.  Unless the Palestinians and their supporters, such as yourself, will just accept Apartheid.  I don't think that likely.  So what then?

PS Were you able to dig up that Meshal quote in the NYT you remembered where he embraces the two state solution as a final status?  That would be an inestimable positive development.  If HAMAS did that, it would be a boon to all who want peace.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 05:20AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

The Obama administration is wise enough to know that a minority party such as Hamas is merely a red herring, and apparently Netayahu knows that too, hence, the switch to Iran. Hamas does not have the power to stop a two state solution.

If Israel would recognize the existence of Palestine and the right of Palestinians to a state of their own, to freedom and self-determination, no doubt that even more than a majority of Palestinians would celebrate the conclusion of a deal with Israel.

But as Jeff Halper likes to state, the problem is us (Israel), not the Palestinians. And that's obvious to most people who look beyond the withering Hamas red herring. It is Israel who wishes to continue the colonization. Hamas said it all along: two states aligned along the 67 borders. Anyone who can believew that Hamas is holding up the progress is a fool, or thinks that others are fools.

And I didn't know that you were not a supporter of the just aspirations of the Palestinian people, Strummerson.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 05:44AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

I'm confused.  This comment does not respond to anything I asked.  I know your talking points quite well and do not disagree with many of them.  But you consistently advocate dialogue.  That means responding to those with whom you are in dialogue.

Instead of responding to the content of my comment, you launch into a repeat lecture regarding your evaluation of HAMAS.  All I did was follow up on a previous conversation where you asserted that the HAMAS chief backs a two state solution as a final status.  But even though this would help resolve a disagreement between us and be a huge help to all supporters of a two state solution (just as it would be if Bibi took that step, which I think completely unlikely), you still haven't provided it.

But as long as you have chosen to go there, raising the question of HAMAS's political relevance, there is an excellent piece in today's NYT about the current electoral situation in the PA by the very credible and respected Palestinian scholar and analyst Khalil Shikaki.  He presents a mixed picture regarding HAMAS prospects if elections were held today.

Polls I have conducted indicate that while Hamas has lost about a quarter of its popular base since the last elections, in January 2006 -- today it has the backing of only one-third of potential voters -- Fatah's support has remained stagnant, at a little over 40 percent. Clearly, those who abandoned Hamas have not shifted to Fatah. Most disturbing for Fatah is that its leader, President Abbas, could easily lose to Ismail Haniya, Hamas's most popular leader.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/21/opinio n/21shikaki.html?_r=1

As for your crack cheap crack: "And I didn't know that you were not a supporter of the just aspirations of the Palestinian people, Strummerson."

My response: How does accusing me of opposing justice for Palestinians further dialogue or help facilitate the circulation of information about this conflict on this site.  How is this a response to content and not a personal attack?  How is this not just another attempt to "slay the poster," a strategy you claim to oppose?

I'm not trying to spar with you here.  I asked an honest question.  A series of honest questions.  The title of your diary poses two possibilities and places the ball firmly in Israel's court.  The excellently argued Gideon Levy piece I quoted and linked to in my previous comment takes a similar position.  Like Halper (and you and I) Levy sees the onus on Israel at this point.  All four of us think that the near term possibilities are either two states or apartheid and we all want to prevent the latter.  Yet unlike you (I think, but you have not answered the question) the three of us think that Apartheid will not be an end game, but eventually lead to the demise of political Zionism.  Halper and I think that might prove a boon in the long run, and see an enhanced future for cultural Zionism if that happens.  Regardless, all of us would choose 2 states right now.

But given the fact that you have posed the dichotomy, it's clear that one direction is clearly the desirable one and we believe that it would prove sustainable.  Is it so illegitimate in your eyes to discuss the ramifications of the less desirable and clearly plausible turn?  Isn't it important to discuss what we would do about it?

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 06:11AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

I have recced your diary, but I am troll rating this comment.

This comment is beneath all the good work you do here... it was not a response to Strummerson's post, and you end with a ridiculous attack on Strummerson that is not based on his writing history or on his specific comment.

by Ravi Verma 2009-05-21 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Not a problem, but I don't think you read his comment.

"Unless the Palestinians and their supporters, such as yourself, will just accept Apartheid.  I don't think that likely.  So what then?"

Ergo, Strummerson is not a supporter. He didn't say like me.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

This verges on both the Orwellian and the McCarthyist.  Come on.  How many times have I expressed my support for the two state solution directly to you?  Do you require daily loyalty oaths?

It was clearly implied.  But here, for your benefit.

Like me, Strummerson>  I support two states.

For my rationale, see my response to JJE below.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 11:48AM | 0 recs
Maybe you should re-read his comment

Let me summarize

(a) We both support the 2-state solution.  And we both agree that the only alternatives are 2-states and apartheid.

(b) But, what happens if the opponents of the 2-state solution succeed in blocking the 2-state solution

(c) Will the Palestinians, and their supporters (such as yourself) simply accept apartheid ?  No.  So what will you do... in the hypothetical case of the 2 state solution being blocked

It was written as clear as day; and I am really wondering how it could have been misinterpreted any other way!!

by Ravi Verma 2009-05-21 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Meshal: Hamas seeks Palestinian state based on 1967 borders  

By Haaretz Service  

Hamas seeks the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza based on their borders before the Six Day War, the group's political leader Khaled Meshal told The New York Times in an interview published Tuesday.

The Damascus-based official added, however, that his Islamist militant organization would only agree to a "long-term truce" that would be valid for 10 years.

Meshal's interview with the influential newspaper, the first given by the Hamas leader to an American news outlet in a year, is part of the Islamist organization's efforts to reach out to the West at large and the Obama administration in particular. It came in light of Washington's readiness to play a more forceful role in advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

"I promise the American administration and the international community that we will be part of the solution, period," the Hamas leader told The New York Times.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 06:05AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Obviously, only Palestinian representatives in the peace talks, which will be Fatah, will determine the permanency of a two state deal, and not Hamas.

Clearly, Meshal's words made evident that Hamas is not going to interfere, and is incapable of interfering, with a final status treaty.

So you can if you wish continue to pump up Hamas as an impediment to peace, which in practical terms gives a weak excuse for Israel to continue its occupation and colonization, but clearly, it is the latter problem that is the impediment.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 06:11AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Meshal: Hamas seeks Palestinian state based on 1967 borders  

By Haaretz Service  

Hamas seeks the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza based on their borders before the Six Day War, the group's political leader Khaled Meshal told The New York Times in an interview published Tuesday.

The Damascus-based official added, however, that his Islamist militant organization would only agree to a "long-term truce" that would be valid for 10 years.

Meshal's interview with the influential newspaper, the first given by the Hamas leader to an American news outlet in a year, is part of the Islamist organization's efforts to reach out to the West at large and the Obama administration in particular. It came in light of Washington's readiness to play a more forceful role in advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

"I promise the American administration and the international community that we will be part of the solution, period," the Hamas leader told The New York Times.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 06:12AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

That's not what the Saudi/Arab League proposal is talking about.  It's not what FATAH is talking about.  It's not what HADASH and MERETZ, and some in Labour and Kadima are talking about.  It's certainly not the Obama-Clinton-Mitchell position and would be unacceptable to them.  It would be unacceptable to the EU.

It may make Carter happy.  But this is no more an embrace of two states as that of Zionists claim to embrace two states but who want to truncate the West Bank, maintain control of the Jordan valley, and refuse to share/partition Jerusalem.

If that's the quote you were talking about, as I suspected, then I disagree with your interpretation.  Has any major conflict in history ever been resolved with a ten year break that might be extended or might be exploited to rearm and reposition?  A hudna is not a sulha and a ceasefire/truce is not a peace treaty.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Silly point, frankly.

So you are saying that Hamas, which is only supported by 20% of the Palestinian people living in all of the territories, intends to invade Israel after ten years.

Are you saying that this is therefore an excuse for Israel not to conclude a two state solution to the conflict. Please clarify.

Does this mean that, given Hamas' willingness only to agree to a ten year truce, Israel has every right to continue the colonization of the Palestinian territories?

But who cares about this trivial point from a minority in Palestine.

From what everyone heard from Netanyahu since his election is that two states has nothing to do with Hamas. It has everything to do with his perception that all of this land belongs to Israel, presumably by Zionist and religious nationalist rights.

That's the problem, not Hamas. If Hamas didn't exist, Israel would have had to invent them. In fact, didn't they fund their development as a counter organization to Arafat's PLO. Arafat had become dangerous: he began talking recognition of Israel, and living side by side. Dangerous.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 06:25AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Silly response.

So you are saying that Hamas, which is only supported by 20% of the Palestinian people living in all of the territories, intends to invade Israel after ten years.

Not exactly.  First off, I know you think this 20% figure (which by the way roughly equals Israeli support for Likud) is magic, that it gives a full picture of what is going on.  But HAMAS received over 44% in the last legislative elections and an article in the NYT this morning suggests that Ismayil Haniyeh, it's chief in Gaza could defeat Abbas for the presidency of the PA.  So I think on all of those counts, discounting HAMAS as a major (and potentially dominant) player in Palestinian politics is simply counter-factual.  

And yes, I think HAMAS would potentially re-engage armed struggle after 10 years.  Otherwise, why not put a sulha, a final status peace treaty with full normalization on the table in exchange for ending the occupation as all serious supporters of two states do?  I think this sends a clear message that the 1948 armistice lines are not acceptable to them as final borders.  Now, you may want to argue that they shouldn't accept them.  But if so, then you don't accept two states either.  I don't know for a fact that they would launch an attack.  I know that this is not a serious negotiating position.  If Israel offered similar wording, you'd be correct to scoff.

Are you saying that this is therefore an excuse for Israel not to conclude a two state solution to the conflict. Please clarify.

Nope.  Not what I am saying here.  I have consistently argued the opposite.  Dialogue requires actually paying attention.  I think HAMAS indeed presents an obstacle to a peaceful resolution of this conflict, but using them as an excuse not to end the occupation will only strengthen them.  If Israel truly wants to confront HAMAS, bombs and blockades and rejectionism is a losing strategy.  Here are the steps I advocate instead:

1. Lift the blockade on all humanitarian and construction supplies.

2. Freeze settlements, including those around East Jerusalem such as Maa'leh Adumim.

3. Stop construction on the wall.

4. Announce a firm commitment to moving forward on a two state solution with steps 1-3 establishing the credibility of those intentions.

5. Immediately remove all "illegal" outposts.

6. Release Marwan Barghouti from prison.

7. Encourage Abbas to call for new elections and for Barghouti to run for the presidency.

8. Set a date for talks with serious proposals for land swaps, refugees, and Jerusalem

Does this mean that, given Hamas' willingness only to agree to a ten year truce, Israel has every right to continue the colonization of the Palestinian territories?

Absolutely not.  See immediately above.  But I do think that Israel needs to make it clear that this is unacceptable, as opposed to the FATAH position and now American backed Saudi/Arab League proposal.  This, along with the confidence building measures above, will go a long way to swaying those who have supported HAMAS as a protest by giving them an alternative.  

And thanks, but I'm not interested in applying for the position of MainStreet's straw man today.  You'll have to find someone else.

From what everyone heard from Netanyahu since his election is that two states has nothing to do with Hamas. It has everything to do with his perception that all of this land belongs to Israel, presumably by Zionist and religious nationalist rights.

I never said Bibi was serious about peace.

If Hamas didn't exist, Israel would have had to invent them. In fact, didn't they fund their development as a counter organization to Arafat's PLO. Arafat had become dangerous: he began talking recognition of Israel, and living side by side. Dangerous.

You are correct.  Israel was a central player in the invention of HAMAS.  But, you are incorrect that this means HAMAS is nothing more than a tool of Israel.  It is an independent political player with an ideology drawing on the most anti-Semitic and misogynist aspects of Egypt's Muslim brother hood.  Accordingly, it seems absurd to me that any liberal or progressive interested in human rights would support it.  They torture and decapitate their political opponents, for crying out loud.  HAMAS also has serious financial backers.  The conditions of a political movement's emergence are always complex and a partial picture of those conditions do not offer an adequate analysis of its scope, intentions, and its power, especially 20 years after its emergence.  I assure you that a paper written with this methodology on any political movement would receive a very low grade.

Those are my arguments for today, offered in good faith and in detail.

You still have not addressed my original question regarding prospects and strategies if Israel chooses apartheid over two states.  That's the topic of your diary and I think it's relevant to discuss this, particularly given Israel's current government.  I know you support boycotts.  What else should we do and what do you think will ultimately happen?

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 07:05AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

"HAMAS received over 44% in the last legislative elections and an article in the NYT this morning suggests that Ismayil Haniyeh, it's chief in Gaza could defeat Abbas for the presidency of the PA."

As everyone knew at the time, the Hamas showing in the election was predicated on the perceived corruption of Fatah and its supporters. And could you supply the poll or the basis for an NYT claim that Hamas would win the next election, being supported by only 20% of the Palestinian people?

I don't have time to respond to this extensive comment. But my impression is that, unlike the present Israel government, you prefer to resurrect Hamas as an impediment to peace, when at the same time providing a list of actions Israel should undertake to come to the two states table. At least you are willing to place blame where it should be placed.

Netanyahu is only interested in completing the colonization, and as far as I can tell, the US administration is not interested in buying into the Hamas herring, but only in getting Israel to stop the colonization, and at this time, lifting the deleterious effects of the occupation and siege on the Palestinian people. Hamas does not fit into their equation for peace, and that is understandable. Israel is the impediment, not Hamas.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 08:09AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

It would be more helpful for the dialogue we both seek here if you responded to the content of my arguments and avoided your habit of casting aspersion on my intentions.  This is indeed the kind of attempt to "slay the poster" you object to.

I think it's obvious to anyone who reads my posts in good faith that I am not interested in "pumping up HAMAS" in order to excuse or extend "colonization" or prolong the occupation.  But I think it important to look at all the factors that may derail the process.  As far as Israel's security concerns, though those of the Palestinians are certainly more pressing, those of Israelis are not irrelevant or trumped up, even if they are also exploited by cynics and rejectionists.  Furthermore, you will get nowhere in debating Israel's supporters by dismissing them with buzz words and catch phrases such as "red herring," particularly when doing so excludes everything from the analysis except "20%."  It's simply bad strategy and not responsible analysis.  Given that many Palestinian scholars and activists see HAMAS as a real problem, it just seems silly repeat "red herring 20% red herring 20% red herring 20% red herring 20%" ad nauseum.  Particularly when others bring additional information to the table.  Instead I advocate reading a larger sampling of evidence and perspectives and articulating a better strategy (as I do above) for marginalizing them than the cynics and militarists have to offer.

As for your request for a link, may I ask if this is sincere or simply an effort to deflect?  After all, I linked to Shikaki's article from this morning's NYT which addresses the electoral prospects for both HAMAS and FATAH in a previous comment in this very thread.  Shikaki is a deeply respected Palestinian authority on these matters.  That doesn't mean he is right.  It means that no responsible person would dismiss him out of hand simply because his analysis might be inconvenient for the position they argue.

Have a good day.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Strum, I still don't understand your objection to Hamas.  

You don't believe the two-state solution is best; neither does Hamas.  Both you and Hamas accept it as a short-to-medium term alternative.

Am I missing something?

How can Hamas "be the problem"?

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-21 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Hamas has accepted the two state solution, repeatedly.

The latest poll from a respected Palestinian polling service (link not available) showed that only 20% of Palestinians in the OPT support Hamas, whereas over 40% support Fatah. The others support other smaller organizations or they are noncommital.

Strummerson underestimates the extent to which the Israeli public has been propagandized to believe that Hamas and security is their problem, not their own government, and that would include the latest propaganda about Iran. Iran has no intention of attacking Israel, in spite of the repeated misinterpretations of the Iranian PM's rhetoric against Israel.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

I have to believe you are right, MS.  

I also can't help but believe that Strum himself is also a closet Iran alarmist.  To the best of my knowledge, he's always been mysteriously mum on the subject.

(Again, Strum, corrections welcome!)

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-21 09:21AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

I believe Iran should be engaged diplomatically and has little to no bearing on the necessity of ending the occupation with a two state solution.

Now, I suspect you are a homophobe, as you've always been mysteriously mum on the subject of gay/civil rights.

Same logic.  Rather silly, no?

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

"Hamas has accepted the two state solution, repeatedly."

Given the qualification that it is not a final status but only as a temporary cessation of active hostilities, this now approaches the status of an out and out lie.

If you object to Israeli politicians and party platforms that undermine acceptance of "two states" with qualifications, why this obstinate refusal to recognize that a Palestinian party does the same?

As for what I underestimate or not, I offer pretty detailed arguments here that you refuse to respond to, offering instead such ad hominem claims.  What happened to responding to content?

And I am baffled that you bring Iran up at every opportunity in criticizing my positions, as I almost never mention your darling "Amaj" at all.

Mostly, I responded to the content of your diary, and quite sympathetically.  Instead of engaging that, you decided to argue with me about HAMAS.  I apologize for requesting the reference you claimed to have, but ultimately failed to produce.  It pulled everything off track.  You cannot produce a HAMAS acceptance of two states as a final status, as this doesn't exist.  If you think that irrelevant, then we have an honest disagreement.  But you claimed to have evidence they had.  They haven't.  And I think you are remiss not to take that into account.  Regardless, inviting disagreement means actually engaging arguments, not resorting to ad hominem attempts to discredit those who disagree.

I'll now leave it to others to evaluate my rationale and the evidence I have introduced here.  

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

His darling "Amaj"?

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-21 09:34AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

His pet name for the President of Iran.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Yes, Strum.  We get that.

The question-mark was regarding your use of the tactic (frankly, a quite neocon one).

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-21 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Neo-con?  And here I thought you opposed name calling.  Yes, neo-cons raise Iran all the time.  But I didn't raise Iran here, MS did.  

Okay.  We're devolving here.  I responded to both of your questions and arguments.  But it's clear that disagreement, difference in perspective, and dialogue is not actually welcome in this diary.  I don't need anyone in particular to agree with me.  But it's become clear that the diarist here doesn't think it a requirement to read a post before responding to the poster, despite frequent calls to address content and not the person behind it.

Enjoy the echo chamber.  I'm sure that all who already hold exactly your shared perspective on every detail will continue to do so.  The rest?  No idea.

I leave this diary with one question, why do two people who support a two state solution find it useful to try to manufacture enmity with another advocate of the same, simply because there are differences in rationale and perspective leading ultimately to the same conclusion?

I hope this diary gets some traffic later on and other participants weigh in on this.  Feel free to denigrate me in my absence.  It's always a mark of class.

In the mean time, good luck.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Strummerson, your posts are quite interesting and appreciated, but your inability to take disagreement, or alternate interpretations of your statements, always gives rise to charges that you are being slandered or denigrated.

I don't think anyone here intentionally denigrates or slanders anyone. Disagreement is of the essence of debate and in this area there is plenty of room for it. So I would suggest that you stop taking things so personally. Whatever anyone says here will not effect the outcome of this conflict.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Hilarious.

Let's take a poll on who engages disagreement more civilly.  One who responds more conscientiously and more productively.  Who reads others' posts and responds in good faith more consistently.

This isn't personal.  I simply object to demonization instead of disagreement.  I object to those who label anyone who does not toe their line as neo-cons and likudniks on the one hand or anti-Semites on the other.

I now expect you standard response where you say if I can't take it I should leave the blog.  I think I take it pretty well.  My posts have been substantive.  Your responses, in my interpretation, have not.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 12:05PM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

To answer your question: Yes, indeed.  You are missing quite a bit.

I don't think HAMAS is the problem.  But I do think it is a problem for those who support a two state solution on all sides.  Many Palestinians concur.

I don't think the two state solution is ideal.  But I think it is the best arrangement we can hope for.  The difference between me and HAMAS should be quite clear.  I support two states as a final status. HAMAS does not.  I think two states as a "final status" can evolve in all sorts of ways over time and I hope it is accomplished as forthwith as a framework that presents as many possibilities for stabilization and then improvement as it will challenges.  These improvements may or may not alter the ultimate structure of the framework.  But regardless, they should only be pursued peacefully and democratically.  Here in the US, we have the power to alter even fundamental structures by amending the constitution.  Final status does not mean stasis.  It means permanent cessation of active hostilities and violence.  HAMAS, on the other hand, wants either to block two states or exploit it in service of a very different project, one potentially even less liberal and democratic than the current situation.  I think two states is the best available framework at present to increase liberalism and democracy for all involved.  Don't you?

Yuedo, your participation in these discussions has been largely limited to interrogating my positions, mostly by pushing me to clarify them.  I welcome your questions, though I think they often fail to adequately attend to what I have already stated.  Nonetheless, it seems like it's time to offer some arguments of your own.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Hamas is not going to change in the eyes of those who understand this conflict, and how it has been managed by Israel to invoke one red herring after another in order to continue the occupation and colonization of the OPT.

The impetus of your extensive writings is that Hamas is the problem, but then not. That's the impression, even though you are likely to say the opposite shortly afterward, say one thing then the opposite, which has been rightly referred to as Strummerland by Yuedo, an Orwellian like universe where people can have it both ways. The last Hamas invocation is that it is the Palestinians who have a problem with Hamas, not Israel, not the prospect that Hamas will attack Israel ten years from now if a peace deal is concluded.

If people may not read you posts, it is possible that it is because they end up being confused in Strummerland.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 09:29AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

I don't understand your usage of Orwellian, beyond the fact that it is meant as an insult.  Nor do I understand what you mean by "Strummerland" except as an attempt to "slay the poster" and avoid the content of the poster's arguments.

As for "those who understand this conflict" if by that you mean those who adopt your positions whole cloth on any and every aspect, I would like to point out that there are many perspectives on this conflict.  It seems to upset you or offend you that there are complexities to this situation.  Your response is to shout down anything that does not accord with your opinion.  That doesn't help increase understanding of anything, whether those with developed perspectives or those who lack any.  That is what we should be aiming for here, an increase in understanding and an increasingly effective advocacy of peace and justice.  At least, that's what I am interested in.

As for this:

The last Hamas invocation is that it is the Palestinians who have a problem with Hamas, not Israel, not the prospect that Hamas will attack Israel ten years from now if a peace deal is concluded.

This is not what I wrote at all.  It's about paying attention (an ethical obligation in debate) and reading comprehension (an intellectual imperative).  I wrote that HAMAS is one among several problems for those on all sides who want a two state solution.  What I wrote about the 10 year limitation on HAMAS acceptance of two states is that it gives the lie to their "acceptance."  Hence those who want two states need to work to marginalize them.  The best way to do that is to end the occupation.  But it's also imperative to be realistic that they may attempt to disrupt relations between the two states even after establishment.

Now, if people do not want to read my posts because my acknowledgment of the conflict's complexities confuse them, as they do you and Yuedo, then they shouldn't respond at all.  After all, a right wing Zionist could just respond to your posts without reading them by typing "bullshit" and "anti-Semite."  It would be deeply wrong and I'd oppose that as well.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Now, if people do not want to read my posts because my acknowledgment of the conflict's complexities confuse them, as they do you and Yuedo

Lovely.

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-21 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

MainStreet's claim.  See above.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 09:47AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Own your own name-calling, Strum.  MS said no such thing.

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-21 09:54AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

"If people may not read you posts, it is possible that it is because they end up being confused in Strummerland."

Nope.  That's his quote.  But as you chose to label my position "bizarre" as opposed to simply disagreeing with it conceptually or as a tactic, I think you need to own this yourself.  If something is "bizarre" it's confusing.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 09:59AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

When I'm confused, I will tell you, Strum.

When I believe you are being a right-winger, I will also tell you.

I believe you are being a right-winger.

Good day to you.

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-21 10:03AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

Positions of that crazy right-winger! I suppose this clasifies Obama as the far right.

Here are the steps I advocate instead:

1. Lift the blockade on all humanitarian and construction supplies.

2. Freeze settlements, including those around East Jerusalem such as Maa'leh Adumim.

3. Stop construction on the wall.

4. Announce a firm commitment to moving forward on a two state solution with steps 1-3 establishing the credibility of those intentions.

5. Immediately remove all "illegal" outposts.

6. Release Marwan Barghouti from prison.

7. Encourage Abbas to call for new elections and for Barghouti to run for the presidency.

8. Set a date for talks with serious proposals for land swaps, refugees, and Jerusalem.

by oc 2009-05-21 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

The complexity of your writings here is not about the conflict, but about your views, which often, after so many words, try to have it both ways.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 12:02PM | 0 recs
Re: If Apartheid

I reply below, Strum.

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-21 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The choice is Israel's: two states or aparthei

I am a two-stater, full-stop.  You are not.

Your interest parsing the minuta of Hamas positions is rather bizarre in an alleged Israeli progressive.

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-21 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The choice is Israel's: two states or aparthei

Okay.  Yuedo thinks my support of two states is illegitimate because I don't see it as a utopian panacea.  I can live with that quite well.  As for the fact that you think the "10 year hudna" is minutia, we obviously differ on the what qualifies as bizarre.

But here's the deal, why do you require 100% conformity among allies?  Why the need for 100% conformity at all.  Now that would indeed qualify as "Orwellian" in a usage more coherent than MainStreet's.

Aren't you two capable of good faith differences in perspective?

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: The choice is Israel's: two states or aparthei

100% conformity among allies? Ha.

My issue is not with good faith differences, but with bad faith ones.

So you're outside of the two-stater tent -- what consequence? Nothing.

On the other hand, what of your insistence of 100% conformity from Hamas? There, incapability to accept differences of perspective, conveniently serves the needs of Israeli obstructionism.

I'm sorry if you believe I am either confused or have no opinions. I'm simply cautious with my accusations. But it is becoming increasingly difficult not to be more harsh.

My best to you.

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-21 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: The choice is Israel's: two states or aparthei

It is almost comical at this point, the constant name-calling directed at the Judean People's Front by the People's Front of Judea.  Since you're not a 100% subscriber to someone's orthodoxy, you're a right-wing neocon!  Good God.

I always find your comments very interesting, Strum.  I'm confident that I am to the right of you on IP issues, but you always offer constructive food for thought.  It's a shame that these threads never offer you, how should I put this, a partner for peace.

by Steve M 2009-05-21 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: The choice is Israel's: two states or aparthei

Cheers, Steve.  From all of us here at the Judean People's Front.

I'm glad you find my input constructive.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: The choice is Israel's: two states or aparthei

If doublespeak is not Orwellian then I take back my use of the word to characterize some of your writings. It is just hard to have it both ways and not engage in doublespeak.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: The choice is Israel's: two states or aparthei

Complexity is not double-speak.  I don't even think my views are so complex.  Not everyone here agrees with me.  But only you and yuedo seem to find them incoherent.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: The choice is Israel's: two states or aparthei

You seem to want things both ways: yes you're for two states, but Hamas...it is Hamas that will spoil the apples. Can Israel conceivably agree to a two state solution if Hamas will only give a ten year truce. What if they, this small resistance group, attack Israel?

Get the picture you're creating? Yes, but....and as everyone knows a yes/but is a no.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 01:04PM | 0 recs
I don't think that's what he's saying

My understanding of the dialogue is as follows:

MainStreet: Hamas supports the two-state solution.

Strummerson: Not quite, they support a 10-year truce, but not necessarily a permanent two-state solution.

MainStreet: That's Likud propaganda to blame Hamas!

Strummerson: Be that as it may, it remains true that the Hamas position is what it is, and it is support for a 10-year truce rather than a two-state solution.

by JJE 2009-05-21 01:23PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't think that's what he's saying

In the pursuit of the two state solution, the US is not even considering rediculous provisos that would put a halt to progress, like the ten year truce. Hamas controls 6% of the Palestinian territories and is supported by only 20% of Palestinians. For the most part, it is a nonplayer.

Can Hamas even predict what will be present ten years from now?

From the looks of it, if Obama is not successful, we will be back on first base still figuring out how to get home. And that will have nothing to do with Hamas. It is Israel which will still be the problem, as it is today.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 02:05PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't think that's what he's saying

First off, your assertion than any yes/but = no is demonstrably false.  Yes, I would like to go to the beach tomorrow, but I promised to go with my sister and it's going to be 98 degrees, so let's invite my sister and bring sunscreen.  There is no logical necessity to your claim.  

On the other hand, "yes we support a two state solution but only for ten years" is as much a "no" in this situation as "yes we support a two state solution but Jerusalem is off the table" as Peres argued today.  Both of those are cases of "yes/but = no."

Now, where you argue that since the right wing uses HAMAS as an excuse not to proceed toward two states and then draw the conclusion that if so, HAMAS does not represent an obstacle also fails logical necessity.  In fact, generally when someone looks for an excuse they exploit something that is partially true.  For instance, I couldn't come to work because I had a cold.  Now, it's possible that someone has a minor cold and is using it as an excuse.  That doesn't mean one doesn't actually have a cold.  In the case of HAMAS, they indeed are an obstacle to two states AND exploited by the right wing.  You just pooh pooh your opponents and truncate the data on HAMAS's political power.

I, instead, argue that HAMAS is a significant player in Palestinian politics and does in fact represent one of many challenges the process faces.  But where the right wing uses them as an excuse and trusts rejection and militarism to defeat them, I argue that this rejectionism and militarism, and above all the continuity of the occupation will actually feed HAMAS.  Anyone who is serious about wanting to confront and marginalize HAMAS should follow the steps I outlined above.  Here they are again:

1. Lift the blockade on all humanitarian and construction supplies.

2. Freeze settlements, including those around East Jerusalem such as Maa'leh Adumim.

3. Stop construction on the wall.

4. Announce a firm commitment to moving forward on a two state solution with steps 1-3 establishing the credibility of those intentions.

5. Immediately remove all "illegal" outposts.

6. Release Marwan Barghouti from prison.

7. Encourage Abbas to call for new elections and for Barghouti to run for the presidency.

8. Set a date for talks with serious proposals for land swaps, refugees, and Jerusalem

This is a position of yes/but, not as a no, but yes/but here's how to proceed most effectively.

Several other posters to this diary have understood this position quite readily, even SteveM who admits he still doesn't completely agree.  Only you and Yuedo have responded by branding me an opponent of the two state process, a neo-con, and a right winger.  Everyone else thinks that is patently ridiculous.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 02:22PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't think that's what he's saying

Then why not forget Hamas and work on getting those steps you outline above moving, plus a few more you missed. You may soon learn that Hamas is not the issue but getting Israel to move on those steps, plus a few more, like withdrawal of settlements, is.

Israel has been the issue all along, and that I'm sure we can agree on.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 03:47PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't think that's what he's saying

Several reasons:

1. Intellectual honesty and the best analysis one can offer.  These also lend one's position credibility.  For instance, stressing one data point to the exclusion of others because that is the one that supports your position directly makes one seem unreliable because overly ideological.  

2. Because it's important to engage people beyond those who already completely agree with one on every point.  One needs to formulate effective responses to those with unformed opinions or differing perspectives.  To say that suicide bombings and qassam missiles are bullshit will absolutely fail to address anyone who honestly believes that a two state solution is just but not possible because of HAMAS violence and its ideology.  The fact that some portion of the vote HAMAS received was a protest vote doesn't mean HAMAS has no legitimate support or power, it means that its position is soft.  One is going to get further by acknowledging that it is fully rational to fear those who blow up municipal buses and lob missiles into cities and offering a good argument for how to undermine those who will do that.  On the other hand, yelling red herring, propaganda, silly, apologist for occupation, anti-Islamic racist will get you absolutely nowhere.

3. It's important to build long-term support for a process that will hit bumps.  If you simply argue that HAMAS is not a problem, one bus bombing sends soft support into the other camp.  Acknowledging that some in HAMAS will almost certainly either try to disrupt resolution or exploit it and then offering a long-term perspective while underlining how pyrrhic and short-sighted attempts to defeat them through repression is will build firmer support.  Look at No. Ireland.  Even this past year, a policeman was murdered.  Both sides showed  resolve and stood firm.  Israelis and Palestinians and international supporters of the peace process will need to stand equally firm, particularly if HAMAS and the Israeli right play into one another's hands as they have done in the past.

Finally, I highly recommend you take 10 minutes and read Shikaki's piece from NYT that I linked to in on of my first comments.  I think it elucidates the effectiveness of my position quite well.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't think that's what he's saying

I'm not going to repeat myself. If you read your posts, they are entirely focused on the Palestinian side=HAMAS, dereft of any reference to the negotiating side, FATAH, the side whose peace agenda is supported by the majority of the Palestinian public, and the one the United States is negotiating with.

Now, I suppose that if I were a Likud negotiator, that's probably all I would focus on, because Likud has no interest in two states or any solution that would lead to Palestinian statehood. This statement does not imply that YOU are Likud, but your arguments re. HAMAS are just those I would propose to OBAMA as a another precondition before I would even think of withdrawing a settlement, or stopping settlers from moving into the OPT. HAMAS must first do this or that, e.g., change its truce condition. However, if you know anything about Israeli negotiations, even if HAMAS did so, Israel would add another precondition, like HAMAS must first disarm. It goes on and on.

I'm working on a diary which mostly consists of a paper by the late Tanya Reinhart. It gives insight on just what is happening behind the scene on the Israeli side, today. Netanyahu's pursuit of the colonialism is nothing new. It has been going on for decades under all political parties. There no need to invoke red herrings like HAMAS to explain Israel's behavior and what it will do.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 05:27PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't think that's what he's saying

I'll lay out as simply as I can so that just maybe, if you are actually interested, you will be able to apprehend the differences that everyone excepting yuedo and yourself grasps quite simply.

Your argument: HAMAS not a problem.

Likud: HAMAS big problem.  Here are preconditions.

My argument: HAMAS a problem and will likely become bigger unless we move on the points I suggested, none of which represent pre-conditions to Palestinians and none of which are acceptable to Likud (except maybe removing outposts).

You use HAMAS to dismiss opposition.  Likud uses HAMAS to create opposition.  I see HAMAS as presenting an argument against opposition.  I actually engage the objections Likud raises and turn them to the opposite purpose.

AND, for the record, I simply asked for a reference you had offered previously.  You showed no interest in addressing the comment I offered in the beginning that had nothing to do with HAMAS and was directly connected to the content of your diary.  You must take responsibility for pushing the argument about HAMAS.  My request for that reference was tangential, in a PS, and at several points early on I requested we return to the topic of this diary.  You chose to hammer away at our disagreement regarding HAMAS and I responded with corrections, clarifications, and counter-arguments.  Lotus, Steve, Oak, and JJE all grasped my position by reading my original comment.  None agreed with your misinterpretation.  None saw your responses as good faith agreements or disagreements.  I will defend my positions from distortions.  That's what happened.  The majority of posters agree with my perspective.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 05:41PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't think that's what he's saying

Oak argument:
 - Maybe HAMAS is a problem
 - Maybe HAMAS is not a problem
 - Maybe HAMAS represents 20% of the Palestinians
 - Maybe HAMAS represents 80% of the Palestinians

We don't know and Abbas isn't helping. Palestine needs an election. Abbas is preventing it and losing credibility along the way. How can the Abbas government represent the Palestinians when he potentially has little support. It's a false negotiation. Hold an election and if HAMAS wins, then they should represent the Palestinians during the negotiations. Finding peace with Abbas won't mean a thing if the Palestinians do not trust or recognize him as their representative. An honest negotiation with HAMAS is better than an empty one Abbas.

Yes, it's possible to negotiate and create a state under Abbas, but more than likely it would lead to a bloody civil war. Not the first for a new state, but it's irresponsible to not try and avoid that potential outcome.

by oc 2009-05-21 06:35PM | 0 recs
I'm a one-stater

I support a single state that has no official religious or ethnic identity.  How do you like them bananas?  Should I apply for my Likud carrying card?

by JJE 2009-05-21 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm a one-stater

Man, what a fascist.

Why are you so racist against Arabs?

But seriously, the idea of one single secular democratic constitutional democracy in Israel/Palestine is an attractive concept and closest to how any liberal envisions American democracy.  The most compelling arguments against it depend on several political and socio-economic realities.

1. Most Palestinians have suffered dispossession and disenfranchisement as a direct result of political Zionism, which sought national self-determination for Jews.  Accordingly, a majority of Palestinians at present want the form of political agency that has been denied them.  Their historical experience and political aspirations get a big say here.

2. Most Israeli Jews still want that form of national self-determination.  I may wish it otherwise, my worldview being closer to cultural Zionism, but if I am serious about democracy, that counts too.

3. The socio-economic conditions and political institutions of Palestinians in the occupied territories are closer to the third world at present, due primarily to the occupation.  Throwing them together overnight with a highly developed first world economy and political culture is not promising.  Even if I see some superiority in the one state concept as a concept, a Palestinian state seems necessary for Palestinian economic and political development.  In part, because that is how most of them want to pursue it.

4. Given the urgency of the conditions under which most Palestinians currently try to live, the most proximate option is the morally superior one.  Though the two state solution faces enormous challenges, it is more realistic to try for at present.

Now which am I, a neo-con or an anti-Semite?  Maybe both?

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 11:26AM | 0 recs
Both, definitely

There was actually a movie about a Jewish skinhead a while ago called "The Believer."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0247199/

It didn't quite hang together.

by JJE 2009-05-21 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm a one-stater

you're either a Neo-Semite, or an Anti-Con, we are just not sure which!

by WashStateBlue 2009-05-22 12:03PM | 0 recs
However

If a majority of Palestinians in the occupied territories applied for citizenship in Israel, I would actively support them.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm a one-stater

A coherent, legitimate position.  It's not mine, but that's naturally ok.

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-21 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm a one-stater

How about this one?

Re: I'm a one-stater (none / 0)

But seriously, the idea of one single secular democratic constitutional democracy in Israel/Palestine is an attractive concept and closest to how any liberal envisions American democracy.  The most compelling arguments against it depend on several political and socio-economic realities.

1. Most Palestinians have suffered dispossession and disenfranchisement as a direct result of political Zionism, which sought national self-determination for Jews.  Accordingly, a majority of Palestinians at present want the form of political agency that has been denied them.  Their historical experience and political aspirations get a big say here.

2. Most Israeli Jews still want that form of national self-determination.  I may wish it otherwise, my worldview being closer to cultural Zionism, but if I am serious about democracy, that counts too.

3. The socio-economic conditions and political institutions of Palestinians in the occupied territories are closer to the third world at present, due primarily to the occupation.  Throwing them together overnight with a highly developed first world economy and political culture is not promising.  Even if I see some superiority in the one state concept as a concept, a Palestinian state seems necessary for Palestinian economic and political development.  In part, because that is how most of them want to pursue it.

4. Given the urgency of the conditions under which most Palestinians currently try to live, the most proximate option is the morally superior one.  Though the two state solution faces enormous challenges, it is more realistic to try for at present.

The future is unwritten
by Strummerson on Thu May 21, 2009 at 03:26:04 PM EST

Is that coherent?  Is it legitimate?  Or is it a bad faith position of a neo-con Likudnik right-winger and Iran alarmist (you'll notice I suspiciously omitted any mention of Iran)?  Is it naturally okay to agree or disagree with such a position?  Or is it unnatural and not okay to agree or disagree with it?

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 02:41PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm a one-stater

I am for a single state too!!  No religions, no borders.  

And the crazies on both sides who would want to call me a Likudnik or whatever can go to hell as well!!

by Ravi Verma 2009-05-21 01:33PM | 0 recs
A question for one staters

Do you then oppose the two state process in hopes that one truly democratic state of all its citizens will emerge from the alternative bantustanization apartheid process?

I think such a thing conceivable.  But I think it will take years more of acute struggle and suffering.  I'd be particularly interested in LotusBloom's perspective.  Given his/her engagement with the history and politics of South Asia and the failure of that partition to produce peace and stability.  It's not the same, but may have something to offer us.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 02:46PM | 0 recs
I oppose the one state process

because it is a waste of time.  

When a piece of land is coveted by 2 (or more) side, then you cannot possibly carve out that piece of land, in any fashion, and satisfy threshold level of acceptability for most people.

Dividing a coveted piece of land has never worked out for anyone.  I may be biased because of my background, as you point out, but I would be mighty curious if anyone can provide any counter examples (as opposed to arguments that it could be made to work).

And yes, I know that a 1 state solution will take longer to achieve. But just because an acceptable solution will take longer does not mean that one should pursue an unworkable solution.

I think Pres. CLinton used to speak eloquently on this issue as well: once you start dividing people on the basis of race, or religion (or any other basis), then there is no end to the number of subdivisions you can create.

by Ravi Verma 2009-05-21 02:52PM | 0 recs
Re: I oppose the one state process

I particularly sought your input on this because of your particular perspective.  I don't think it's a "bias," as that implies something pejorative.

You ask a good question about historical precedents.  Many look to the success of the N. Ireland process under Mitchell and Clinton.  They reached an accord that contained elements of integration and separation, and it has even withstood occasional acts of violence meant to blow it apart.  I'm thinking of the recent murder of a policeman.

I think it's an imperfect analogy.  All analogies are.  But it's useful.  I'll try to think of others.

But to follow up, I understand your opposition to the two state process as based on a negative estimation of its workability.  Just for the sake of discussion, if you thought it imperfectly workable in the near term but that a superior one state arrangement was attainable in the distant future, would you hold the same position?

Again, I think your input here particularly valuable because partition has much to teach us that may be applicable, things to be avoided and/or improved.  Of course, I understand that what is going on currently in Pakistan may make this particularly painful for you at the moment.  I'm sorry and it's something I respect.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 03:03PM | 0 recs
Re: I oppose the one state process

I'm beginning to think that a result that none of the parties is working towards they may get by default. That is one state. It would be a bit ironic if the rejectionists on both sides who dreamed of one state purged of the other group may thanks to there actions both get half their wish. One state but not a Jewish one or a Muslim one.

by hankg 2009-05-21 05:48PM | 0 recs
Re: I oppose the one state process

I have been arguing this for some time.  It's also the perspective of the Palestine Strategy Study Group, which seeks to use this to galvanize Palestinian strategic advantages to press for a two state solution (their report can be found on the web easily).  But if if fails, what you suggest I think in the long run it might prove the best result.  Permanent apartheid will ultimately prove untenable.  Didn't hold in SA.  Won't hold here.  But the cost over coming decades will, I think, prove horrific.  There are slightly more complex approaches.  I recommend Jeff Halper's recent book An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel.

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 05:56PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm a one-stater

Who would not be for one state if it could ever become what you would like it to be: truly democratic, all peoples equal regardless of religion, etc.

That is not the track Israel has been on for 60 years, and rather than becoming as you would wish, it has actually gone further in the other direction, with loyalty oaths for Arab citizens, proposals for transferring Arabs into all Arab cantons, laws of separation between Jews and Arabs have been upheld by the High Court, etc.

And now with Likud proposing to continue settlement and proposing exclusive possession of the Jordan Valley, you may actually get part of your wish for one state: the state of Israel from the Jordan River to the sea, albeit peppered with Arab cantons in Arab dense areas in what was once called the West Bank.

One state is therefore a deception because it will have borders and it will have separation by religion and ethnicity.

That's why this diary's title emphasizes two states or apartheid. Apartheid is just what I described above.

One state, no thanks.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm a one-stater

Why do you think apartheid would prove more sustainable in Palestine than it did in South Africa?

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 06:25PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm a one-stater

Apparently no one wants to go there. I certainly don't.

After the recent Gaza massacre, we are reminded that Israelis (with exception of course) place little value on "Arab" life, and when the revolt begin, we can only hope, along the lines of Halper's premonition, that the Palestinians are not just decimated. Even then, the strong ethnocracy that Israel was created around ("this land belongs to the Jewish people," Netanyahu a few days ago) will not accomodate a real democracy. This is a state that wants to be a Jewish state.

And from the other side, neither an Apartheid existence nor being citizens of a Jewish state would come close to satisfying the Palestinian aspiration for statehood. It is possible, though unlikely after their own experiences, that they want a state for Palestinian people.

You might also want to look up the history of the nonviolent protests at Bi'lin or Ni'lin in the West Bank. They often led to violent reactions from the IDF. Deaths have occurred.

Finally, there is no other place to create a Palestinian state, which is besides the point. Palestine was their country or land if you will for over a thousand years.

by MainStreet 2009-05-21 07:12PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm a one-stater

Sure. Sure.  But my question still stands.  If the two state solution fails, as is plausible, what next?  What if apartheid?  Where will it go from there?  Do you really think that will stand interminably?

by Strummerson 2009-05-21 07:23PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm a one-stater

No answer. Before apartheid becomes the reality, it is better if this Likud gov just fails. Perhaps the Obama strategy is to ultimately help push it off the cliff. A gesture like withholding foreign aid to Israel might do the trick.

by MainStreet 2009-05-22 01:34AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm a one-stater

Curtain raiser  
By Aluf Benn, Haaretz

WASHINGTON - This week's meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama was marked by a lack of surprises. The meeting was thoroughly prepared in advance and each leader knew what to expect. Obama will give dialogue with Iran a chance until the end of the year, and Netanyahu agreed to discuss with the U.S. administration a freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank. These issues will be the focus of diplomacy in the coming months. All the rest is scenery, like the demand that the Arab countries begin normalizing relations with Israel, or issues like "the two-state solution" and "the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state."

Many people in Washington seemed to be more interested in the life expectancy of the current Israeli government than in Netanyahu's positions. To a large extent, the answer to that will be dependent on Obama: The more he pressures Netanyahu to "stop the settlements," the greater the prime minister's coalition problems. Netanyahu is in a trap: The more he tries to persuade Obama he can provide the diplomatic goods, the quicker his coalition will expire.


by MainStreet 2009-05-22 04:42AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm a one-stater

As you know, nothing would make me happier than to see this gov't collapse today.

As long as you are checking out Haaretz, look at this related piece: "The long arc of Israeli politics bends toward Kadima," http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1086 891.html.

I have no illusions about Kadima's ideology, but I think that Livni is a realist and that opens possibilities.  Even with Labour's bullshitty record, a Kadima-Labour led coalition would be significantly less ideologically intransigent than the Bibi/Lieberman regime.  I have to think that would offer some improvement.  Enough?  Not likely.  Anyway, the piece relates to that which you link and is worth a brief gander.

by Strummerson 2009-05-22 05:22AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm a one-stater

I don't think anyone should advocate for one state. That does not mean however it won't happen.

Emigration to the west is a lot easier for Israeli's then Palestinians and as time goes on a lot of young Israelis may find themselves identifying more with western democracies then the religious crazies who seem to be in the drivers seat in Israel. Israel was supposed to be a modern western democracy in a sea of backwards violent religious extremism. The 'hilltop youth' have about as much in common with more secular Israelis as does a Hamas militant. Netanyahu and company may be setting off a whole series of unpredictable unintended consequences.

by hankg 2009-05-21 07:24PM | 0 recs

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