Posted by: Lister | September 22, 2008

Last chance for peace?

By Johann Hari in the Independent:

The leader of the Irgun, Menachem Begin, wrote that every British attempt to “break our backs… only made us stronger and more determined”. The same is happening with Palestinian nationalists today. Stripped of a state, they are fighting for one – and every Israeli attack makes them more radical and enraged.

But does Livni see the parallel? In the abstract, she advocates a two-state solution – but in Israel she has been dubbed “Ms. Not-Right-Now” because she always says she believes in compromising for peace but “not right now.” Her husband said she decided to become a politician because of her “scathing” disapproval of the Oslo accords, signed exactly 15 years ago. She reiterated this during the campaign.

But Oslo was rigged in Israel’s favour: while it lasted, the number of Jewish fundamentalist settlers on Palestinian land nearly doubled, and Palestinian movement was harshly curtailed. It is a myth that the Palestinians were offered a real two-state solution and rejected it. Even Shlomo Ben-Ami, Israel’s Foreign Minister at the time, says: “If I were a Palestinian, I would have rejected Camp David as well.” If even this was too much for Livni, what practical peace can she achieve?

[…] Several leading Palestinians – including the late Edward Said, the former Prime Minister Ahmed Queri, and Sari Nusseibeh – have begun to outline this idea [one-state solution].

[…] The Palestinians would stop asking for a free enclave of their own, and start demanding full legal equality in one state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Equipped with this demand, they would no longer appear to the world as a fragmented minority, but – all added together – as a majority in Israel/Palestine ruled over by a racially-defined minority. It would look even more like South Africa Redux.

Olmert was worried about this last year:

“If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Haaretz Wednesday, the day the Annapolis conference ended in an agreement to try to reach a Mideast peace settlement by the end of 2008.

“The Jewish organizations, which were our power base in America, will be the first to come out against us,” Olmert said, “because they will say they cannot support a state that does not support democracy and equal voting rights for all its residents.”



  1. At least Olmert is an honest Zionist.

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