Posted by: Lister | May 12, 2007

The debate continues

Uri Avnery again writes about the one-state solution. (You can find the previous articles under the “Avnery” tag in my categories bar).

He begins by saying he is not in battle with the likes of Ilan Pappe. Then he steps into the arena… 😉

There is no time for a solution in 100 years. We need an urgent solution, a solution that can be realized within a few years.

[From later] No doubt, the One State idea gives its adherents moral satisfaction. Somebody told me: OK, it is not realistic, but it is moral, and that is the place where I want to be. I say: that is a luxury we cannot afford. When the fate of so many human beings is in the balance, a moral stand that is not realistic is immoral. I repeat: a moral stand that is not realistic is immoral.

[…] THERE ARE three questions concerning the One State idea: (1) Is it at all possible? (2) If it is possible – is it good? (3) Will it bring a just peace?

Avnery believes it is not possible. He lists countries that have broken up (USSR, Yugoslavia — even the victory of the SNP in the UK); almost all Israelis are against it and how could international pressure change that?; The Majority of Palestinians also want a state of their own. Here’s his best line of attack:

HOW IS this idea to be realized? The advocates of the One State never go into this in detail.

It is supposed, so it seems, to come about something like this: the Palestinians will give up their Struggle for Liberation and their aspiration for a national state of their own. They will announce that they want to live in a joint state with the Israelis. After the establishment of this state, they will have to fight for their civil rights. People of goodwill around the world will support their struggle, as they once did in South Africa. They will impose a boycott. They will isolate the state. Millions of refugees will come back to the country. Thus the wheel will turn back and the Palestinian majority will attain power.

How much time will that take? Two generations? Three generations? Four generations?

Does anyone imagine how such a state will function in practice? The inhabitant of Bil’in will pay the same taxes as the inhabitant of Kfar-Sava? The inhabitants of Jenin will enact a constitution together with the inhabitants of Netanya? The inhabitants of Hebron and the settlers will serve in the same army and the same police force, shoulder to shoulder, and will be subject to the same laws? Is that realistic?

Avnery also says a one-state solution would not be a good thing. His argument being that Israelis are 25 times richer than Palestinians so they would still be dominant.

He also thinks it will not bring peace, but the threat of civil war.

On comparisons to South Africa:

In South Africa, there were no two nations , each with a tradition, a language and a religion that go back for more than a thousand years. Neither the whites not the blacks wanted a separate state of their own, nor did they ever live in two separate states. The one state had already existed for a long time, and the struggle was over power in this one state.

The bosses of South Africa were racists, who admired the Nazis and were incarcerated during World War II because of that. It was easy to boycott their state in all fields of activity. Israel, on the other hand, is accepted by the world as the State of the Holocaust Survivors, and apart from small groups, nobody will boycott it. It is enough for the Israelis to point out that the first step on the way to Auschwitz was the Nazi slogan “Kauft nicht bei Juden” – Don’t buy from Jews.

Furthermore, a world-wide boycott will arouse in the hearts of many Jews all over the world the deepest fears of Anti-Semitism, and will push them into the arms of the extreme Right.

A quite different thing is a focused boycott against specific elements of the occupation. We were the pioneers of this approach, when, more than ten years ago, we started a boycott of the products of the settlements and pulled the European Union along with us.

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