Rfelekisi : Dikalangan negeri Arab pun sudah ada suara-suara untuk "one-state 
solution", antara lain Moamar Khadafi dari Libiya.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010 
11:41 Mecca time, 08:41 GMT

      Israeli right embracing one-state?  
       By Ali Abunimah 
            Proposals to grant Israeli citizenship to Palestinians in the West 
Bank are being pushed by some prominent activists among the West Bank settler 
movement [GALLO/GETTY] 

      There has been a strong revival in recent years of support among 
Palestinians for a one-state solution guaranteeing equal rights to Palestinians 
and Israeli Jews throughout historic Palestine.

      One might expect that any support for a single state among Israeli Jews 
would come from the far left, and in fact this is where the most prominent 
Israeli Jewish champions of the idea are found, although in small numbers.

      Recently, proposals to grant Israeli citizenship to Palestinians in the 
West Bank, including the right to vote for the knesset, have emerged from a 
surprising direction: Right-wing stalwarts such as knesset speaker Reuven 
Rivlin, and former defence minister Moshe Arens, both from the Likud party of 
Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister.

      Even more surprisingly, the idea has been pushed by prominent activists 
among Israel's West Bank settler movement, who were the subject of a must-read 
profile by Noam Sheizaf in Haaretz.

      Unlikely advocates

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      Their visions still fall far short of what any Palestinian advocate of a 
single state would consider to be just: The Israeli proposals insist on 
maintaining the state's character - at least symbolically - as a "Jewish 
state," exclude the Gaza Strip, and do not address the rights of Palestinian 

      And, settlers on land often violently expropriated from Palestinians 
would hardly seem like obvious advocates for Palestinian human and political 

      Although the details vary, and in some cases are anathema to 
Palestinians, what is more revealing is that this debate is occurring openly 
and in the least likely circles.

      The Likudnik and settler advocates of a one-state solution with 
citizenship for Palestinians realise that Israel has lost the argument that 
Jewish sovereignty can be maintained forever at any price. A status quo where 
millions of Palestinians live without rights, subject to control by escalating 
Israeli violence is untenable even for them.

      At the same time repartition of historic Palestine - what they call Eretz 
Yisrael - into two states is unacceptable, and has proven unattainable - not 
least because of the settler movement itself.

      Some on the Israeli right now recognise what Israeli geographer Meron 
Benvenisti has said for years: Historic Palestine is already a "de facto 
binational state," unpartionable except at a cost neither Israelis nor 
Palestinians are willing to pay.

      'Horse and rider'

            The Israeli rights' vision of a one-state solution falls far short 
of Palestinian aspirations [EPA] 
      The relationship between Palestinians and Israelis is not that of equals 
however, but that "between horse and rider" as one settler vividly put it in 

      From the settlers' perspective, repartition would mean an uprooting of at 
least tens of thousands of the 500,000 settlers now in the West Bank, and it 
would not even solve the national question.

      Would the settlers remaining behind in the West Bank (the vast majority 
under all current two-state proposals) be under Palestinian sovereignty or 
would Israel continue to exercise control over a network of settlements 
criss-crossing the putative Palestinian state?

      How could a truly independent Palestinian state exist under such 

      The graver danger is that the West Bank would turn into a dozen Gaza 
Strips with large Israeli civilian populations wedged between miserable, 
overcrowded walled Palestinian ghettos.

      The patchwork Palestinian state would be free only to administer its own 
poverty, visited by regular bouts of bloodshed.

      Even a full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank - something that is not 
remotely on the peace process agenda - would leave Israel with 1.5 million 
Palestinian citizens inside its borders. This population already faces 
escalating discrimination, incitement and loyalty tests.

      In an angry, ultra-nationalist Israel shrunken by the upheaval of 
abandoning West Bank settlements, these non-Jewish citizens could suffer much 
worse, including outright ethnic cleansing.

      With no progress toward a two-state solution despite decades of efforts, 
the only Zionist alternative on offer has been outright expulsion of the 
Palestinians - a programme long-championed by Israeli foreign minister Avigdor 
Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu party, which has seen its support increase steadily.

      Israel is at the point where it has to look in the mirror and even some 
cold, hard Likudniks like Arens apparently do not like what they see. Yisrael 
Beitenu's platform is "nonsensical," Arens told Haaretz and simply not "doable".

      If Israel feels it is a pariah now, what would happen after another mass 
expulsion of Palestinians?

      Lessons from South Africa

      Given these realities, "The worst solution ... is apparently the right 
one: a binational state, full annexation, full citizenship" in the words of 
settler activist and former Netanyahu aide Uri Elitzur.

      This awakening can be likened to what happened among South African whites 
in the 1980s. By that time it had become clear that the white minority 
government's effort to "solve" the problem of black disenfranchisement by 
creating nominally independent homelands - bantustans - had failed.

      Pressure was mounting from internal resistance and the international 
campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions. By the mid-1980s, whites 
overwhelmingly understood that the apartheid status quo was untenable and they 
began to consider "reform" proposals that fell very far short of the African 
National Congress' demands for a universal franchise - one-person, one-vote in 
a non-racial South Africa.

      The reforms began with the 1984 introduction of a tricameral parliament 
with separate chambers for whites, coloureds and Indians (none for blacks), 
with whites retaining overall control.

      Until almost the end of the apartheid system, polls showed the vast 
majority of whites rejected a universal franchise, but were prepared to concede 
some form of power-sharing with the black majority as long as whites retained a 
veto over key decisions.

      The important point, as I have argued previously,is that one could not 
predict the final outcome of the negotiations that eventually brought about a 
fully democratic South Africa in 1994, based on what the white public and 
elites said they were prepared to accept.

      Once Israeli Jews concede that Palestinians must have equal rights, they 
will not be able to unilaterally impose any system that maintains undue 

      A joint state should accommodate Israeli Jews' legitimate collective 
interests, but it would have to do so equally for everyone else.

      Moral currency devalued

            This shift in position may see the Israeli right and left face off 
in unexpected ways [EPA] 
      The very appearance of the right-wing one-state solution suggests Israel 
is feeling the pressure and experiencing a relative loss of power. If its 
proponents thought Israel could "win" in the long-term there would be no need 
to find ways to accommodate Palestinian rights.

      But Israeli Jews see their moral currency and legitimacy drastically 
devalued worldwide, while demographically Palestinians are on the verge of 
becoming a majority once again in historic Palestine.

      Of course Israeli Jews still retain an enormous power advantage over 
Palestinians which, while eroding, is likely to last for some time.

      Israel's main advantage is a near monopoly on the means of violence, 
guaranteed by the US.

      But legitimacy and stability cannot be gained by reliance on brute force 
- this is the lesson that is starting to sink in among some Israelis as the 
country is increasingly isolated after its attacks on Gaza and the Gaza Freedom 

      Legitimacy can only come from a just and equitable political settlement.

      Perhaps the right-wing proponents of a single state recognise that the 
best time to negotiate a transition which provides safeguards for Israeli Jews' 
legitimate collective interests is while they are still relatively strong.

      Transforming relationships

      That proposals for a single state are coming from the Israeli right 
should not be so surprising in light of experiences in comparable situations.

      In South Africa, it was not the traditional white liberal critics of 
apartheid who oversaw the system's dismantling, but the National Party which 
had built apartheid in the first place. In Northern Ireland, it was not 
"moderate" unionists and nationalists like David Trimble and John Hume who 
finally made power-sharing under the 1998 Belfast Agreement function, but the 
long-time rejectionists of Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party, and the 
nationalist Sinn Fein, whose leaders had close ties the IRA.

      The experiences in South Africa and Northern Ireland show that 
transforming the relationship between settler and native, master and slave, or 
"horse and rider," to one between equal citizens is a very difficult, uncertain 
and lengthy process.

      There are many setbacks and detours along the way and success is not 
guaranteed. It requires much more than a new constitution; economic 
redistribution, restitution and restorative justice are essential and meet 
significant resistance.

      But such a transformation is not, as many of the critics of a one-state 
solution in Palestine/Israel insist, "impossible." Indeed, hope now resides in 
the space between what is "very difficult" and what is considered "impossible".

      The proposals from the Israeli right-wing, however inadequate and indeed 
offensive they seem in many respects, add a little bit to that hope. They 
suggest that even those whom Palestinians understandably consider their most 
implacable foes can stare into the abyss and decide there has to be a radically 
different way forward.

      We should watch how this debate develops and engage and encourage it 
carefully. In the end it is not what the solution is called that matters, but 
whether it fulfills the fundamental and inalienable rights of all Palestinians.

      Ali Abunimah is author of One Country, A Bold Proposal to End the 
Israeli-Palestinian Impasse and co-founder of The Electronic Intifada.

      The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not 
necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

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