The One-State Solution Comes From…The Right?

A section of the Israeli right wing has now graduated from their unabashed opposition to advocating a one-state solution.  This is not a passing affectation, I think, but a strategic choice that is gaining support, with good reason.

The right-wing idea is built on the fatal flaw that progressive advocates of a one-state solution have never been able to adequately address: that the Arab population, whether minority or majority, would be disenfranchised in this one state, leading to the very apartheid scenario the left wishes to avoid (or, as some would put it, erase). Thus part of the strategic goal of a one-state solution among the right is to permanently destroy Palestinian nationalism.

Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens

There are different ideas among right-wingers for how a one-state solution would work. One common thread, though, is that it would not include Gaza. Since there are no longer any Jews in Gaza, and the actual land is neither significant to Jewish religion or history nor worth much in terms of real estate, they can let it go.

So, Israel would annex the entire West Bank, solving the problem of Jerusalem. Palestinians would be given citizenship, in some scenarios immediately, in some gradually. Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem would have the right to vote, but would certainly also be expected to abandon their fellows in Gaza, the refugee camps in the neighboring countries, and scattered around the world.

Here’s how Hanan Porat, one of the giants of the Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) movement, puts it:

“In my view, every Arab has three options. First, those who want an Arab state and are ready to implement that goal by means of terrorism and a struggle against the state, have no place in the Land of Israel. Second, those who accept their place and accept Jewish sovereignty, but do not want to take part in the state and fulfill all their obligations, can be considered residents and enjoy full human rights, but not political representation in the state’s institutions. By the same token, they will also not have full obligations, such as military or national service. Third, those who say they are loyal to the state and to its laws and are ready to fulfill the obligations it prescribes and declare loyalty to it, can receive full citizenship. I consider this a moral and human principle: citizenship is not forced on anyone or granted just like that. We tried this in East Jerusalem, and the fact is that we failed… Already 30 years ago, we in Gush Emunim were against solutions of fear – both withdrawal and transfer – and said that in the Return to Zion there is room for the Arab population who desire this, as long as we are not naive about the process.” Continue reading

Bibi: More of the Same Bad Leadership

A video from 2001 is making the internet rounds these days, one that shows current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talking to a settler widow who had just lost her husband to a Palestinian attack at the beginning of the second intifada.

In the video, Bibi says (in Hebrew, translation by Dena Shunra, with a few corrections of my own): “ I know what America is. America is something that can easily be moved. Moved in the right direction…80% of theAmericanssupport us. It’s absurd. We have that kind of support and we say “what will we do with the…” look. That administration was extremely pro-Palestinian. I wasn’t afraid to maneuver there. I was not afraid to clash with Clinton. I was not afraid to clash with the United Nations. I was paying the price anyway, I preferred to receive the value. Value for the price.”

Well, the wifi and fiber optic networks were abuzz. Here is Bibi with his guard supposedly down. The video is said to have been taken without his knowledge, so we’re supposedly getting the unvarnished Bibi.

I’m not so sure. The takeaway seems to have been “Here is the real Bibi, don’t you see he never wants to make peace?” I think the video shows something else, that Bibi is just a huckster, a politician who is always playing to the crowd. And that he is afraid of a negotiated peace—just like his fellows.

Just because he didn’t know there was a camera running doesn’t mean Bibi wasn’t still performing. He knows well that the settlement communities are very tight-knit, and what he says in the home of a settler who just lost her husband almost certainly would be repeated, making its way quickly throughout the West Bank. At the time of that meeting, Bibi was trying to consolidate a hard right opposition to then-Likud leader and Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. I’m not at all convinced he was being any more sincere with this woman than he was with the Israeli and global public when he accepted a “two-state solution” last year. Continue reading