Many groups that pass themselves off as "peace" and "justice" groups advocate destruction of Israel. Uri Avnery is a genuine peace advocate and probably would not classify himself as a 'Zionist.' However, Avnery is opposed to these solutions, because he understands that they won't work. The people who advocate them may believe in them in good faith, but they are recipes for disaster.
by Uri Avnery
If someone despairs of swimming the English Channel and decides, therefore, to swim across the Atlantic Ocean, it might be considered slightly odd. When my Palestinian friend, Michael Tarazy, despairs of the two-state solution and now advocates One State (IHT, Oct. 5), it does not look to me much more realistic.
Many beautiful utopian ideas have come to nothing, and some, like communism, have caused great tragedies, because they run contrary to human nature.
France is a member of the EU, but tell a Frenchman to dismantle France and merge with, say, the Germans in One State, and he will not be amused. The idea that Israelis would voluntarily dissolve their state, for which they have fought so hard (and for which, according to Zionist dogma, "eighty generations have longed and prayed") is far-fetched indeed. It could only happen after a crushing military defeat, but then the whole question would be moot anyway.
Nor, I believe, will the mass of the Palestinians give up their right to have a state of their own, like any other people on earth -unless, of course, the One State solution is a euphemism for dismantling Israel and turning all of the country into an Arab state.
Since nothing like this will happen in the next 100 years, the discussion could end right here. However, it may be worthwhile to examine some of the points made:
- There is very little similarity between Israel/Palestine and South Africa. In Israel/Palestine we have two nations with different histories, cultures, languages, religions and national aspirations.
- The apartheid rulers were partners of the Nazis and universally detested. Israel is "the state of the Holocaust survivors", and, as such, enjoys considerable sympathy and immunity from criticism. The pressure of world public opinion that helped bring racist South Africa to its knees is not going to materialize here.
- Per capita income of Israelis is almost tenfold higher than that of the Palestinians. Not only militarily, but also technologically and economically, the gap is immense. In the putative One State, Israelis will dominate all fields of endeavor for generations to come. The One State would in practice be an apartheid state.
- Even preaching the One State solution is dangerous, since it legitimizes the eradication of the pre-1967 Green Line and the unlimited expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. If one advocates this solution, how can one object to Israelis living everywhere in the country?
- At this point in time, more Israelis than Palestinians live between the Mediterranean and the Jordan. One has indeed to be naive beyond belief to imagine that Israelis would accord the Palestinians citizenship and then passively stand by while Palestinians become the majority, thus effectively turning the state into another country where Jews are a tolerated minority.
- It is far more likely that in the joint state there would rage a perpetual civil war, making the present conflict look like a garden party.
No, the two-state solution, which my friends and I have advocated for the last 55 years (following the 1947 UN resolution to that effect) is not only the best solution, it is the only one. The alternative is not One State, but escalating bloodshed, ethnic cleansing and catastrophe.
Two States do not mean two ghettoes. On the contrary, we want two states with an open border between them, not the US-Mexico but the US-Canada model. While each side will live in a state that expresses its national identity, our economies will inevitably grow closer together, our joint capital (Jerusalem) will symbolize our joint destiny. And down the road, some kind of Semitic Union, on the lines of the EU, may come into being.
Already 22 years ago, Yasser Arafat told me of his belief in a "Benelux solution" - a close cooperation between three sovereignstates, Israel, Palestine and Jordan. He has repeated this many times since. I share this view with him.
See also - The Occupation, Palestinians, Israel and Zionism Disengagement in Gaza: The unsettling end of orange?
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