Short introduction to the topic by Mazin:
All observers know that there has been significant changes in the political, cultural and economic landscape that are forcing a reexamination of assumptions about peaceful outcomes. For example, there are now 500,000 Israeli Jewish settlers in the areas Israel occupied in 1967. Those areas represent about 20% of historic Palestine and these are the same areas envisioned to be the future Palestinian state. There is thus a revival of the consideration of a one state outcome (whether a binational state, a confederation, or a secular democratic state for all its people). The forum is interested in a respectful discussion of the merits of these outcomes (some may call solutions but others disagree with the terminology which implies that there visions are mere solutions to manufactured problems). We urge you to focus discussion on just and peaceful outcomes and we will remove postings which suggest perpetual conflicts as inevitable or that denigrade religions or ethnicities. In your comments please focus on the issues (which are political) and not the persons and try to understand different perspectives. You may start by referring to these questions or as you like, please be aware to group guidelines and help us maintain productive and dignified discussion.
Why do you think people can or can't exist in a unitary state of all people regardless of their religion? What do you think is the biggest obstacle to getting people to recognize the inherent dignity and equality of all other people?
Who said anything about losing the Israeli identity?
It should stay exactly what it is in its part of the Federation.
And also grow, not lose, by addition.
If I thought this would be bad for the Israeli identity, I'd be against the idea.
Mazin and Yigal - thanks for your answers!
Roni - me too would like to hear more from Palestinians who are pro-one-state outcome, about their reasons.
as i see it, an outcome of 1 state, or a federation, has more benefits, but as well more risks, then the other outcomes. in other words: there is much more to gain, and much more to lose, for both sides. i thing both advantages and disadventages are clear for all of us. so in order to take this risk, we must have a strong "glue" as Roni said, or common interest, which i think is the economical benefit. i agree that "nations" is an artificial term that fades away in Europe, but i think the only reason that makes it fade away, is that the "glue", the "us", is changing from nations ("us spanish people") to economical terms ("us e.c members", "us Microsoft workers"). so i think that as people will be convinced that when we will have a common state we will not have to strugle for making our living, they will be easier to take those risks.
More Palestinians are coming to realize that the "two state solution" is a mirage, an illusion, and a myth. There are far too many reasons for that than I can state in these discussion. I wrote a book that articulates these. You can also read more at a website that Palestinians in Gaza created (these are not Hamas people ;-) and it is now spreading to other areas. The website is http://www.odsg.org/ and you can network with them
I agree with a lot of what you say, but also disagree with a lot as well.
(and I wish I had time to really get into these issues with you face to face...)
Here, for instance.
The way I see it, most of the big reasons why a two state solution will not work at present
also apply in making a one-state solution almost equally unworkable.
No one here has yet broached the issue of what must be done affirmatively on the Palestinian side in order that the Federal system we are both pondering can come to fruition.
That will mean no more shooting Israeli motorists on random roads in Palestinian areas; no shooting Israeli hikers hiking in open fields; no more throwing acid at soldiers on state lines; no more teaching hate in Palestinian classrooms, and no more maps with no Israel on them; acceptance of women's rights and equality of minorities, even non-Muslim ones...
In sum, Palestine will need to be just as accommodating to its minorities as Israel will be. Because the minimum standards for treating minorities would be one of the first things that has to be addressed in the Federal Constitution (for Equal Protection of the law purposes - and that is a Fundamental right), or they shouldn't bother trying a one-state solution at all.
Meaning in part, some Jews and Christians in the PA Parliament, as there are Muslims and Christians in the Israeli Knesset.
Signs in the same three languages. Open access to Jews to all the holy places where Jews do not currently enjoy free and open access. And so on...
I'm perfectly ready to discuss all the many things Israel has to do for its part,
and to address what racism there is in Israel, and what non-racial discrimination,
and what simple injustice and unfairness; but in context.
To really talk about a one-state solution without discussing what must be done on the PA side to make it workable is, to me, so academic as to be practically pointless.
Since you raised the issue of violence as a primary issue, let me address it. I think Violence is a symptom of the disease not the disease etiology. In South Africa, the day apartheid ended was teh day all violence ended. Ending bviolence would not have been considered possible before ending apartheid. But here is a more detailed analysis of terror/violence from one of my earlier writings on the internet (done in 2001).
Generally, any occupying or colonial power would label resistance to its occupation as terrorism (lumping some acts even when not terrorism but legitimate resistance). Examples include the French resistance to German occupation, the Algerian resistance to French occupation, the Palestinain resistance to British occupation, the South African black resistance to apartheid, the Afghan resistance to Russian occupation, and ofcourse the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation. One must distinguish legitimate resistance to oppression and colonization, as approved in the United Nations Charter, from terrorism. In the context of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination this distinction has been intentionally obfuscated by the Zionists and their friends in the Western Media. Terror indeed occasionally rears its ugly head in acts of native populations against colonial power. Examples are too numerous to cite but include ANC "necklacing" of collaborators, native American attacks on civilians (including "scalping" which was first introduced by the Conquistadores), bombing of British and Arab civilian areas by Jewish groups in Palestine in the 1930s, Palestinian airplane hijacking and suicide bombings in civilian areas.
The Declaration on Principles of International Law (1970) emphasised that all states are under a duty to refrain from any forcible action which deprives people of their right to self-determination. The Declaration also notes that "in their actions against, and resistance to, such forcible action" such peoples could receive support in accordance with the purpose and principles of the UN Charter. Various UN resolutions have reaffirmed the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for liberation from colonial domination and alien subjection, "by all available means including armed struggle" (see e.g. UNGA 3070, 3103, 3246, 3328, 3481, 31/91, 32/42 and 32/154). In article 1(4) of Protocol I (additional to the Geneva Conventions) considers self-determination struggles as international armed conflicts situations. The principle of self-determination itself provides that where forcible action has been taken to suppress the right, force may be used in order to counter this and achieve self-determination.
Palestinians did resort to terrorism as did the native Americans, the IRA, the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa and a many other movements. Palestinian terrorism was minuscule though compared to Israel's use of terror which was both qualitatively and quantitatively far superior than that of the Palestinians. The number of people killed by terrorist actions by Israel both before its creation and after has far exceeded (usually by more than an order of magnitude) the number killed by Palestinian groups (Human Rights Organizations reports).
Terror, as a useful and purposeful policy was first adopted in the modern Middle East by Zionists. The first airplane hijacking was committed by Israel. On 12 December 1954 a civilian Syrian airliner was hijacked by Israel shortly after take-off. The first car-bomb was an invention of Zionists, as was the assassination of United Nations personnel. A Zionist truck-bomb blew up the King David hotel in Jerusalem killing 88 in 1946. Zionist terror in the 1930s and 1940s has been neglected in the discussion about terrorism in the Middle East.
Both former prime ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, as well as current Likud-leader Ariel Sharon, were terrorist commanders responsible for numerous atrocities, including acts against Jews. The archives of Haganah contain the names of forty Jews who were killed by Begin's and Shamir's groups (Nahum Barnea and Danny Rubenstein, Davar, 19 March 1982). The Zionist record of terror is long and bloody before the creation of Israel. In the single month of July 1938, the Irgun killed 76 Palestinians in terrorist attacks (Simha Flapan, Zionism and the Palestinians, St. Martin's Press, 1977, ch. 2).
Before the Arab countries engaged in the Palestine/Israel conflict, Zionsit forces have already committed several of their massacres including the infamous one at Deir Yassin in April 9, 1948. More than half of the 531 Palestinian villages and towns were depopulated by Israeli military actions before Israel was established in May 15, 1948 and thus before the beginning of the first major Arab Israeli war (according to Israeli historians).
Between December 1947 and February 1949, 161 Palestinians were killed and 320 injured by Irgun, Stern and Haganah terrorist attacks on market-places and cafes. Bus atttacks in the same period killed fifteen Palestinians. On 30 December 1947 the Palmach, the strike forces of Haganah, attacked and massacred 60 Palestinian villagers of Bald as-Shaikh.
But Israel also continued to terrorize the natives into leaving even after the hostilities ended and cease-fires were signed. This post war ethnic cleansing occured in 64 of the 531 Palestinian localities depopulated according to Israeli historians.
More cross border massacres and terror ensued afterwards. 700 Regular Israeli troops (Force 101) attack the border village of Qibya on 10/14/53. The troops led by a young commander, Ariel Sharon, used mortars, machine guns, rifles and explosives. 42 houses are blown up as well as the local schools and the mosque. Every man, woman and child found were murdered in cold blood (a total of 75 according to independent estimates). Ben-Gurion initially claims this was carried out by "Jewish terrorists" and not by the IDF but this was later retracted. However, Qibya was only a minor massacre compared to those committed in Lebanon by Israel or its paid cronies (Sabra and Shatila, Qana etc.). Israeli actions were responsible in total for the killing of perhaps as many as 30-50,000 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians. Historians also now acknowledge that Israeli forces also executed hundreds of prisoners of war in the Sinai in 1967.
Some of the violence is directly attributed to basic racism. Israeli Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, commenting on the Israeli killing of Palestinian demonstrators justified it by clarifying that killing isn't murder if the victim is Gentile stating "Jewish blood and a goy's [gentile's] blood are not the same" (Jerusalem Post, June 19,1989).
As can be easily documented by any student of history, the recent violence against the Palestinian population is not new. This has gone on now for over 65 years. Before Israel was established, Zionism was born in blood and terrorism against the native population. Zionists did not even spare Jews from their terror tactics. Hagannah archives show dozens of Jews killed and Zionists planted bombs in the 1950s to scare Jewish Iraqis to leave for the promised land (see Gileadi's excellent book on the topic).
Israel Eldad, has written, "Had it not been for Deir Yassin, half a million Arabs would be living in the State of Israel. The State of Israel would not have existed. We must not disregard this, with full awareness of the responsibility involved. All wars are cruel. There is no way out of that. This country will be Eretz Israel with an absolute Jewish majority and a small Arab minority, or Eretz Ishmaelif we do not expel the Arabs one way or another." "One way or another" is a chilling phrase for many Jewish Israelis who believe that "The solution of the transports, the trucks, is not the end of the story. There is a further stage, which the proponents of racist Zionism do not usually refer to explicitly, since the conditions for it are not yet ripe. But the principles are there, clear and inevitable. This is the stage of genocide, the destruction of the Palestinian people." (Ibid., pp. 262 ? 263, citing Davis and Mezvinsky, eds. Documents from Israel, p. 187, and Yoram Peri, Davar, 3 August 1984, in Israeli Press Briefs, no. 28).
With the Likud assumption of power in 1977 and the subsequent rise of extreme right-wing forces in Israel, the most far-reaching proposals entered mainstream Zionist thinking and official circles. Such proposals, including Arab population removal, were outlined in an article by Oded Yinon entitled "A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s", which appeared in the WZO's periodical Kivunim in February 1982. The article called for Israel to bring about the dissolution and fragmentation of the Arab states into a mosaic of ethnic groupings. According to Yinon, the policy of Israel must be "to bring about the dissolution of Jordan; the termination of the problem of the [occupied] territories densely populated with Arabs west of the [River] Jordan; and emigration from the territories, and economic-demographic freeze in them." He added, "we have to be active in order to encourage this change speedily, in the nearest time."
Yinon believed, like many advocates of transfer in Israel, that "Israel has made a strategic mistake in not taking measures [of mass expulsion] towards the Arab population in the new territories during and shortly after the  war.... Such a line would have saved us the bitter and dangerous conflict ever since which we could have already then terminated by giving Jordan to the Palestinians."
Israel is adept at learning new and improved methods in its campaign to colonize the land of Palestine. Benjamin Netanyhu, then Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister told students at Barllan University: "Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass explosions among the Arabs of the territories." From the Israeli Journal Hotam (November 24,1989). Twelve years later, Israeli Defense Minister Ben Eliezer told the Yediot Aharonot Newspaper 13 Sept. 2001 two days after the terrorist attack on the US: "It is a fact that we have killed 14 Palestinians in Jenin, Kabatyeh and Tammun, with the world remaining absolutely silent. It's a disaster for Arafat,"
Leadership thought in Israel concentrated on two models to deal with Palestinians: direct terror and power with thinning those in the areas or an apartheid like system to confine and control them. Referring to members of underground Jewish organizations in occupied areas in 1984, General Yehoshafat Harkabi observed that "they are rational people whose chief motivation stems from their awareness that annexation of the West Bank together with its Arab population would be disastrous and tantamount to national suicide ? unless that population were thinned out and made to flee by means of terrorism". He added that terrorism was "the logical, rational conclusion of the policy that aims at annexation. Such terrorism is neither a punishment nor a deterrent; it is a political instrument" (David McDowall, The Uprising and Beyond, p. 262, citing Ha,aretz, 11 May 1984).
With all due respect, this would be completely irrelevant to what I wrote,
even if I agreed 100% with your analysis, which I certainly do not.
You are changing the subject.
I will not in this space debate who committed more massacres or who committed them first.
For every such incident you can identify, I can name at least one committed by the locals against Jews that occurred earlier. If you want, I'd be glad to discuss that with you elsewhere, but that is off topic here. Where YOU raised the issue of a one-state solution. Which I even support, if it is done properly.
As Paul wrote, I am not engaging in a blame game.
Again - you suggested a one-state solution.
I'm only pointing out some of the conditions that would be necessary for such an outcome to materialize.
To imply that there can be equal sharing, and a single state, but that only the Israelis have work to do is absurd.
Don't you want a solution more than to keep arguing about who's to blame for the sins of the past?
So instead of looking at all the problems, and trying to figure out how to get from them to where we want to be; I prefer to consider where we want to be (hoping that we are at least on the same page about that) and what must be done to deal with those problems in trying to make it happen.
One of the things that must exist forr me to take the idea of a one-state solution seriously -
and remember, most people do not take that idea seriously at all, for good reason -
is for there to be a mutual Constitution establishing the minimum standards of behavior on both (or all) sides. And one of those minimum standards is institutionalizing the concept of 'Equal Protection of the Laws' within the Federal apparatus. On both (or all) sides.
The issues you address have thousands of Israelis talking about them every day (ironically, I get the feeling that each one considers him or her-self the only enlightened one among a bunch of barbarians, but let's call that an internal Israeli matter and leave it for now).
Where is the Palestinian Shatil? Where is the Palestinian B'Tselem? Shalom Achshav?
Where were the Palestinain human rights groups when the Olmert regime so grossly violated the rights of 8000 Israeli Jews it expelled from Gaza?
We must not be afraid to talk about now, because we want to see an outcome in the future.
Now I read that the PA is the Palestinian Shalom Achshav.
But that analogy is very waek.
How many Shalom Achshav members have murdered Palestinian hikers in the woods,
or shot Palestinian motorists to death? But PA personnel have both of those things to Israelis just this year.
If that does not stop happening, I guarantee you that we will both be stuck with a two-state outcome.
The PA is improving, and I give it tremendous credit for that, but still has a very long way to go to be compared with Shalom Achshav, or even the Israeli government (which does have Arabs in its ranks, and army).
I want my children to grow up in a country which is Jewish in culture, Hebrew in language, and democratic in its government.
I think that only by maintaining Israeli independence NEXT DOOR to a Palestinian Arab state can this be achieved.
Mixing the two communities in One state as suggested by some (notably Iran!!!) means that Israel will not be Jewish, nor Hebrew speaking, nor democratic but will soon be turned into an unhappy version of Lebanon where the Christians have been swamped by the Moslems (see what Hezballah has done to Lebanon!!).
So no thanks, I am absolutely against a one-state solution as it is called.
We Jews fought for our freedom against Philistines , Greeks, and Romans in ancient times, and after we were able to regain our lost independence and liberty (which is what ZIONISM is all about!) we still had to fight the British and then the Arabs, backed for many years by the mighty and evil USSR. Today we are threatened by fanatic Iran.
But I seek peace- based on mutual respect. The One state solution shows total disrespect for Jewish traditions and ideals. Most Israelis think as I do. The Two-state solution is the one I support.
As a former Israeli diplomat I cannot but defend the honour of my country.
And I hope the Palestinian Arab leadership under Abu Mazen will soon reach peace with Israel.
Nice to meet you.
Let's keep in mind that this is purely academic right now, and we are only exploring possibilities.
Let's also say that you were in charge of the effort to resolve this situation. Dictator David.
And everyone promised to listen to you to induce you to take the job.
Now. Would you put a border with soldiers posted and security checkpoints and maybe even passport- processing stations in every street in the Old City of Yerushalayim where the Israeli and Palestinian states would meet? Where should that checkpoint be in the shuk between Jaffa Gate and the Western Wall?
And the Armenian Quarter, and it's crazy access-road on Mt. Zion? Israel or Palestine? Again, where is there room in that tiny alley for a checkpoint?
You probably know what difficulties this would entail better than I.
But: Couldn't you design a Federal system that did not disrespect Jewish traditions and ideals?
I believe that I could.
In practice, and right now, I also lean towards a two-state admission of failure.
But as someone who is working on Aliyah, has 30+ nephews and neices living there; and who does not want to see Kever Yosef and the Maarat Hamachpelah and the Har HaBayit so many other places off limits to Israelis (as they mostly are now?!);
I can't help but recognize how pathetic the status quo is;
and can't stop wishing and hoping for something better.
I hope you will think about what you wrote and just imagine if it was written by others (Christians, Muslims, Aryans, Whites etc). How would that make you feel as a Jew? Have you thought about how you envision maintaining a Jewish state if the state is built on injustice and perpetual worry about maximizing geography (for Eretz Yisrael) while minimizing demography (of non-Jews)? At what price to maintain the status quo. Why would a one state (federation or otherwise) eliminate Jewish culture or Jewish history etc? Did Judaism not survive thousands of years before the state of Israel? Is a Jew in Tel Aviv or Sderot today safer than a Jew in New York (or Berlin)? With 2% Jewish population in the US, is New York not "Jewish" while Tel Aviv and Jerusalem "Jewish"?
You state you want your children to grow in a country which "is Jewish in culture, Hebrew in language, and democratic in its government." Can you please define how democratic is it to remove most of the natives and then to say to those who remained at all odds that we have a national anthem that speaks of Jewish yearning for the land? How do you expect loyalty of 1.5 million non-Jewish citizens when their relatives are denied the right to return to their homes and lands while any Jew in the world (including converts) can get automatic citizenship. Isn't such discrimination contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? These and others are all questions that lead to the most relevant one: at what price are you willing to pay for maintaining the dominance? What if Arabs in Israel become a majority by natural increase and vote out the discriminatory laws (Or even the national anthem)? Would the state need to carry a new round of ethnic cleansing? We should be really honest and open about the price and how far we would go to maintain this.
My thought is actually closer to Martin Buber: that maintaining a hebrew, Israeli, Jewish culture/language etc here can ONLY be done with the agreement of the native Palestinians (Jabotinsky thought it can only be done against their wishes and with an Iron wall).
Like you i read a lot not only Martin Buber, but all the "Brit Shalom" group during 1920's. It's quite important for Israelis today to know well his viewpoint. Maybe it would be nice to propose here some extracts of these writings. And also Hannah Arendt writings about Israel during 1940's and 1950's. When i'll have some time, i'll give you texts and documents about it.
Roni, you have to invite here Michel Warshawski from AIC. He wrote a book about a binational state. In french but maybe there is an english or hebrew version... I talk with him many times... Nice guy ! I can also upload a video i filmed during a conference but it's in french...