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?
Hi Roni and Mazen,
My compliments on a true rarity - a summary that both claims to be short, and actually is.
And for short questions, the answers are huge. I'll be brief in response, and the details can wait.
For 20 years I've been suggesting that some kind of Federation could work. And would face less net obstacles than any other possible structure. And is even the most preferable of all the possibilities.
People can exist in a unitary state of all people regardless of their religion. It has happened before, is happening now, and will continue to happen.
So the real question is in the second part. What is the biggest obstacle...?
The biggest obstacle is education.
It takes perhaps twenty years to provide a quality education, but in that time too many are raised in ignorance. Whic is easier and cheaper.
The number of uneducated people will overwhelm the number of educated people unless society takes firm steps to prevent that from happening. I'd argue it's even happening in the US right now, unfortunately. It's also happening in Israel and Palestine.
This is a most discouraging trend we should be doing our best to reverse.
When considering the competing solutions to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and especially when considering the one-binational-state solution, we must also consider the one-uni-national-state solution, in which all citizens form one nation, and all former national identities cease to be national identities and are hence considered ethnic identities.
This solution was proposed at different times by different persons on both sides. In all the times it was proposed it was passed over in complete silence. We may argue against it, but, as I feel confident you agrtee, we must not ignore it.
With fond feelings and in hope
P.S. - I saw that the discussion of this topic takes place in a separate place. I shall copy-paste this there too.
I think you raise a very important issue because binationalism, like federalism, may simply institutionalize dominance. But a unitary state also has that possibility in it. South African whites still dominate much of the economy and land and only few black elites are elevated and share in that wealth. The majority remain disenfranchized. I would be interested in your thoughts on this.
"It has happened before, is happening now, and will continue to happen."
can you mention an example of a state where 2 nations are living well together? (i'm not being cinical, it is a serious qustion)
Thanks for asking.,
The question did not ask about two "nations", but asked
"Why do you think people can or can't exist in a unitary state of all people regardless of their religion?"
The United States is a perfect example, though not the only one, of a place where people of diverse religions can and do coexist peacefully - and even to their mutual enrichment.
But look at Switzerland, where "German" "Italian" and "French" Swiss coexist despite some pretty substantial linguistic and cultural sub-divisions.
The English and Scottish kingdoms were not so long ago wholly distinct. Then came a blending period of about two centuries, and then the Act of Union. Now they coexist pretty well, except maybe at football matches. And with the advances in communications and technology and mobility, things can change much more quickly now then in the past.
I would be interested to know how we can prevent a federation structure from just perpetuating the status quo: i.e. a dominant Israeli society in control of most of teh resources and a subordinate Palestinian society kept in small cantons with limited rights.
There would have to be a Constitution, or Bill of Rights, or some similar foundational document setting out the basic minimum standards for the Federation as a whole.
And the focus would be on the individual and the rights of the individual, not on "Palestinian society" or "Israeli society."
One of the ways in which Israeli politics have gone wrong is in emphasizing the collective over the individual
in understanding the ideas of civil and human rights.
The less it is a group rights thing, and the more an individual rights thing, the less the potential for abuse of power by those purporting to represent the group.
Achieving this would require not much less of a revolution in Israeli thought than in Palestinian thought.
But if this scheme would not free up the entire Land for all of its inhabitants to drive wherever they want, go wherever they want, and do whatever they want there that doesn't hurt anyone else; under the label of Federation, never mind.
Maybe two constricted, inconveniently laid out, that-much-the-poorer-for-lack-of-the-other-part states would still be more honest than that.
I think you identified a key issue. Rights as understood by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are individual rights. There si very little in International law about the collective right because the collective is a subjective thing (and who can speak about "the Jewish people" right anyway?).
What we see happening over and over again is rights being assigned to groups anyways,
to the detriment of the individuals who ought to be benefitting. What happens is that the rights end up accumulating in a few people or groups who purport to represent the minority, but in reality are plundering it and depriving most of its individual members of the very rights and privileges they should have received; and so the problem that the whole thing was supposed to solve remains unsolved in practice, while politicians can say "Look, we did what we could. We gave 'them" all those rights and privileges."
But giving money or rights to Hamas doesn't help the people of Gaza. Giving to Fatah hasn't yet been a guarantee that the money would go to help regular people in Shomron. How many after-school programs are there in Bet Sahour or Bet-Lehem, or Hebron, for high school students? How has the giving of tens of millions of dollars a year to the Jewish Agency for Ethiopian programs failed to raise Bagrut scores and employment rates for Ethiopian Israeli students and graduates? How much did Arafat steal that was meant to improve life for other people? How much do some Israeli Rabbis steal that the people who gave it thought would be going to poor orthodox families in Israel?
The problem is everywhere that a relatively narrow and non-accountable group is given the plum job of "representing" the interests of a large minority that is somewhat diverse within itself.
European law is full of instances of group-rights doctrines that really obscure the individual element of minority rights, so I'm not sure it's true that there's so little in international law about collective rights. But I am pretty sure that those precedents are ill-advised and will prove to have been counterproductive.
It's not just the UNUDHR that sees rights as inhering in the individual, it's the US Constitution as well. (Though the UN has done a far poorer job of implementing the DHR than the US has of implementing the Constitution.To be fair, it is a much bigger job...)
i'm happy to see that so many people joined this group! hope it will be a good discussion.
i dont want to rush with my opinions (Roni said to think before the "send"...), so i will through some points to think about:
1. remember that all of us here are looking for an outcome wich is fair, peacefull, makes sence and takes care of all the inhabitents. but there are many radical people on both sides, that their main values and motives are very different, and some of them sit in key positions .
2. both nations are thorn from inside into many identities, and are very unstable sociaties. it could be that both of those boiling pots, when they mix together, will make a big explosion.
3. one heavy qustion is about the law that lets every jew imigrant to israel ("hok ha shvut"). what do you think can replace it - a law that allows every jew/muslem/palestinan imigrent? cancell this law? adjust it?
and one positive point for last:
4. i think if someone will make a callculation of how much money will be saved when there is no border between us, and what can be done with this money, 90% of the people will go for this outcome just out of the shock...
First I think we need to disentangle this concept of "nation". Identity via a nationalism is a European concept and has never been part of traditional/native people ideas. In middle eastern Christian, Jewish, and Muslim societies there was no such concept until imposed on us by the Europeans. And when that happened, it was also interpreted differently and used differently by different people. In Palestinian polity it has meant things like narrow nationalism (Palestinian Nationalism), pan-Arab Nationalism, and more recently pan-Islamic nationalism (we could also add the left's idea of pan-worker struggles). These various forms were and are at odd with each other. Similar issues occur in Israeli society (e.g. religious Zionists, secular labor Zionists etc).
So your question about two nations is oversimplified at best. In the US and in many European countries today (and I dare say in much of the rest of the world except some backward parts of the Middle East including Saudi Arabia), people of various religions and political persuations do coexist (and even intermarry). It may not be 100% harmonious but it is far better IMHO than the horrors that visited us here with the "us here, them there" (separate and unequal) philosophies in the past 6 decades (and even today). What do you think?
Can someone just for the clarity of the discussion summarize what possible solutions are there for such one state with two nations, and where and if each solution is implemented in the globe today or previously