In the following my interview with Jeremy R. Hammond of Foreign Policy Journal. I talked to him about Palestine, journalism, US foreign politics, and about Zionism as a colonialist project.

Jeremy R. Hammond – Israel was a colonialist project from the outset, and so remains today

By Milena Rampoldi

Do you believe the two-state solution is definitively buried?

Israel and the US certainly have been working hard for decades to bury it, but, no, I do not believe they have succeeded. On the contrary, I think right now there is a unique opportunity for the Palestinians to move forward and accomplishing an end to the Israeli occupation, which is essentially equivalent to implementing the two-state solution. The leadership should pursue legal remedy for the Occupying Power’s crimes against the Palestinian people through the international mechanisms that have been available to Palestine since the UN recognized it as a state in 2012; most specifically, through the International Criminal Court (ICC).

What do you believe the next moves of the Trump administration will be in Palestine/Israel and Middle East?

He’ll likely try to pick up the baton from the previous administration and make a feeble and vain effort to restore credibility to the US-led so-called “peace process”. He might, for example, try to persuade the Netanyahu government to implement some kind of limited scaling back of Israel’s illegal settlement activity in the West Bank. The good news is that with Trump in the Oval Office, it seems unlikely the “peace process” could regain any traction even among other governments of the world (it has long since ceased to have any credibility among the publics of the world).

This presents the Palestinian leadership with an opportunity. They must take advantage of the political leverage they gain so long as the “peace process” is dead on account of Israel’s refusal to even limit its illegal activities. If the Palestinian Authority (PA) won’t do what is necessary, the Palestinian people should rise up and dissolve that body – which the PLO has the authority to do – and find new leadership who will.

For me personally, Israel is a neo-colonialist project. What do you think about it?

It is certainly a neo-colonialist project. Going back to the Mandate era, the League of Nations’ Palestine Mandate was literally drafted by the organized Zionists, the aim being to implement an occupation regime that would accommodate their goal of displacing and dispossessing the Arab inhabitants with mass waves of Jewish immigration. The idea was that the right to self-determination of Palestine’s inhabitants wouldnot be respected until the Jews became a majority. This was in keeping with the British and Zionists’ concept of “the democratic ideal” (as discussed between Lord Arthur Balfour and Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann). It was a colonialist project from the outset, and so remains today.

Tell us about your books!

In late 2008, when Israel began its 22-day full-scale military assault on Gaza dubbed “Operation Cast Lead”, I watched with disgust how the US mainstream media waged a propaganda war against the public, a systematic campaign of deception that served the purpose of manufacturing consent for the US government’s support for Israel’s war crimes against the civilian population of Gaza. I became determined to write a book about it to set the record straight. (My coverage of the US’s support for Israel’s war crimes during that conflict resulted in me receiving a Project Censored Award.)

But I didn’t just want to write about that operation. I wanted to explain the whole conflict in context, to help others understand why this conflict has persisted for so long. Only by fully understanding what the greatest obstacles are can we determine how to move forward. What is required is a paradigm shift, a change in the way the public perceives this issue. We need to fight the propaganda and get the truth out. That is why I set out writing Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2016)

But before I could explain contemporary events, I would need to provide the necessary historical background and explain what the root causes of this conflict are. That would require examining the period from the rise of the Zionist movement in the late 1800s through to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 via the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. So I ended up splintering my book idea and writing a short book titled The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination: The Struggle for Palestine and the Roots of the Israeli-Arab Conflict (2009).

Obstacle to Peace presents historical context as necessary in order to understand more recent events (it focuses primarily on the last decade), but readers will even get more out of it if they first read The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination as a primer to understanding how the conflict originated.Obstacle to Peace will then help readers understand why the conflict persists, how the mainstream media serve to help perpetuate it, and what needs to happen for peace and justice to finally be realized.

How to engage for Palestine today as human rights activists, writer and journalists?

Everyone has their own strengths in terms of knowledge and skills, and it’s up to the individual to determine how best to apply those skills toward achieving peace and justice. My own strengths include research, analysis, and writing, so that is where I’ve focused my energy. I can’t advise others how to focus their energy without knowing their individual strengths. Generally, however, we must continually educate ourselves and then share that knowledge with others until a tipping point is reached and the necessary paradigm shift occurs at which point it will become politically infeasible for the status quo to persist any longer.

Which are the main objectives of Foreign Policy Journal?

I established FPJ to serve as an antidote to the propagandistic reporting of the mainstream media, which serve the role of manufacturing consent for government policy. I’m borrowing this phrase from Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, from their book Manufacturing Consent; they were in turn borrowing the phrase from Walter Lipmann, who had written in the early 20th century about the need for the ruling elites to manufacture the consent of the ruled for the policies they wished to implement to pursue their own self-interests (as opposed to the interests of the public).

It’s my goal with FPJ to help others become better informed about the true nature of US foreign policy and international affairs, as this is a task at which the mainstream media have utterly failed us.


Originally written FOR


If the international community cannot come to recognize the State of Palestine before Trump takes office, the State of Palestine may ultimately be reconstituted from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.


The Two-State Solution’s Silver Bullet

By Sam Bahour

If the international community, led by the U.S., is serious about preserving the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the upcoming French-hosted international peace conference is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reframe the way forward. Recognizing the State of Palestine would politically contribute to ending Israel’s nearly 50-year military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. This single act may be the silver bullet to save the two-state solution.

Such an act would acknowledge the asymmetric balance of power on the ground and finally acknowledge in law—prior to a peace agreement—that the international community envisions the end-game ultimately being two states. This could serve as a platform for future actions to engage both parties to act in their internationally-aligned strategic interests. Anything less, or muddying the waters by including this move in a basket of other issues, would likely further delay a real Middle East Peace Process.

In Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent remarks on Middle East Peace he took pride that “The United States recognized Israel seven minutes after its creation” in 1948. This recognition of Israel happened without Israel having a defined eastern border, a supposed prerequisite for statehood. Is it too much to ask the U.S. to support the recognition of the State of Palestine in the same fashion, without a defined western border?” This is exactly what the Palestinian’s request for full UN membership to the UN Security Council in 2011 stated, recognition with Palestine’s western border being “on the basis of the pre-1967 borders,” which is “in accordance with the relevant [UN] resolutions,” along with the need to “resume and accelerate” negotiations of our shared border with Israel.

When the U.S. threatened to veto the 2011 application for full UN membership, the Palestinians, in a strategic move, requested that it be sent to a UN Security Council committee for further deliberations pending a more opportune timing. The following year, on 29 November 2012, a General Assembly resolution was passed that “Decide[d] to accord to Palestine non-member observer State status” and “Expresse[d] the hope that the Security Council will consider favourably the application submitted on 23 September 2011 by the State of Palestine for admission to full membership in the United Nations.” The majority of the world’s countries have unilaterally recognized the State of Palestine and 138 countries upgraded Palestine’s UN status when they voted in favor of Resolution 67/19.

Despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s total rejection of the international community’s efforts to attempt to save the two-state solution, France is preparing to receive some 70 countries on January 15 to convene an international Middle East Peace Conference which aims to preserve the two-state paradigm. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed France’s effort, but for the average Palestinian the news of yet another conference on Middle East peace is like making a groundbreaking announcement that Starbucks sells coffee.

Those living under the daily brunt of Israeli military occupation are right to be skeptical. There is a long list of failed peace efforts all the way from UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine (November 29, 1947), Count Folke Bernadotte proposals (1947-1948), UN Security Council Resolution 242 (November 22, 1967), the Rogers Plan (1969), UN Security Council Resolution 338 (October 22, 1973), the Reagan Plan (Sept. 1, 1982), the Oslo Accords (1993), Wye River Memorandum (October 23, 1998), Camp David 2000 Summit (2000), The Clinton Parameters (December 23, 2000), the Taba summit (January 2001), the Tenet Plan (June 13, 2001), the Arab Peace Initiative (March 28, 2002), the Road Map for Peace (April 30, 2003), the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of 2005 (February 8, 2005), the Kerry Principles for Middle East Peace (December 29, 2016) to name just the main efforts and, sadly, the list seems likely to grow.

To avoid being added to the above list, the upcoming international conference should collectively take the single act of backing a UN Security Council resolution recognizing Palestine. Once Palestine and Israel are both recognized, the countries of the world could start to apply international conventions, treaties and understandings—just as they apply to all bordering states around the world—to the daily hurdles (from movement and trade to the use of airspace and electromagnetic spectrum) facing Palestinian existence under Israeli military occupation—as well as differentiating their own dealings with pre-1967 Israel and its illegal settlement enterprise.

The President of the Arab American Institute, James J. Zogby, recently wrote of Kerry’s end of year speech, “To some, especially Palestinians, this may seem like ‘too little, too late.’ But as someone who has been a part of the effort to create an American debate on Israeli policies, Kerry’s intervention is welcome, validating, and empowering. He laid down markers that should help liberals and progressives define a policy agenda on the Israel-Palestine conflict—exactly what we need as we enter the challenges of the Trump era.”

Given the upcoming “Trump era,” the recognition by the international community of the State of Palestine before it is too late could do much more than “laying down markers.” Such a move could be used to finally hold Israel accountable and levy serious costs—political, economic and otherwise—on Israel to bring it in line with international law and UN resolutions, not to mention common sense.

If the two-state paradigm fails, Palestinians and Israelis will not vanish into thin air. While Secretary Kerry’s 2014 nine-month thrust to restart negotiations was collapsing, the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue in Vienna undertook a serious intellectual exercise with Palestinian, Israeli Jewish and European intellectuals, politicians and activists, to contribute to re-examining the current strategies and paradigms, proposing and exploring new perspectives, visionary discourses and alternatives to partition. A volume was produced along with the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament, titled, Rethinking the Politics of Israel/Palestine – Partition and its Alternatives, which proposes out-of-the-box thinking on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In politics no vacuums exist and this effort reflected just that fact.

If the upcoming January gathering of states fails, the French could just sing C’est la vie as Netanyahu laughs all the way to the next settlement in the West Bank, but yet another generation of Palestinians and Israelis on the ground will pay the ultimate price for their failure.

Originally written FOR

A version of this article was first published in French at Le


Image by Carlos Latuff

 ‘The Final Solution’

Two State "Solution" of Netanyahu & Lieberman

Two State “Solution” of Netanyahu & Lieberman


How Obama Can Save The Two-State Solution Before He Leaves Office

President Barack Obama listens as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 3, 2014. Seeking to keep a pair of delicate diplomatic efforts afloat, Obama will personally appeal to Netanyahu to move forward on peace talks with the Palestinians, while also trying to manage Israel's deep suspicion of his pursuit of a nuclear accord with Iran. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Barack Obama listens as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 3, 2014. Seeking to keep a pair of delicate diplomatic efforts afloat, Obama will personally appeal to Netanyahu to move forward on peace talks with the Palestinians, while also trying to manage Israel’s deep suspicion of his pursuit of a nuclear accord with Iran. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

By Sam Bahour

Palestine will never be a complete nation state if required to negotiate its statehood with its military occupier Israel. Without the immediate altering of the dynamics of the conflict, extremism is almost guaranteed to begin pouring into the Palestinian community and Israel. Any further deterioration of the situation on the ground could lead a future Republican president to send U.S. boots to protect Israel. That would be a colossal mistake.

Recognizing Palestine would not be such a groundbreaking move. In 2013, 138 countries recognized Palestine as a non-member state in the United Nations. Only the United States and eight others have not. Over 130 states have already bilaterally recognized Palestine, including the Vatican. The United States has been on the wrong side of history for so long on this issue it has lost strategic standing in the Middle East and across the globe. It will continue to do so unless it makes an abrupt about-face.

Obama started his presidency with a clear focus on reviving the peace process. One of his first acts as president was to appoint former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell as special envoy for the Middle East. Then Obama traveled to Cairo to deliver a policy speech where he said, “America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.” Next, Obama took on Israel’s non-stop illegal settlement building in the West Bank and in that debate he made clear that “to ensure that Israel is safe and secure” efforts must be made to “set the stage for a Palestinian state.”

All of these initial overtures to restart the peace process were noble ones, but they all failed. Mitchell resigned in utter frustration, America turned its back on Palestine and focused on Iran, and illegal Israeli settlement building picked up its pace.

More recently, in the fall of 2013, Obama deployed Secretary of State John Kerry to make one more attempt to salvage the failed peace process and gave him nine months to make progress. Kerry launched his mission with a bold assessment, stating, “I believe the window for a two-state solution is shutting, I think we have some period of time – a year to year-and-a-half to two years, or it’s over.” Well, we are now entering year three and Kerry was spot on. The two-state solution door is closing, if not already shut completely.

So in the limited time left in his presidency Obama can save his administration’s and his legacy in the Middle East by simply recognizing Palestine, an act in total alignment with the historic U.S. foreign policy principle of two states for two peoples.

Some may think this would be too risky a move for the Democratic Party, given the elections. I disagree.

For starters, and as Obama has repeated publicly, his administration has done more for Israel than any other president. Among other things, he increased financial aid; used the almighty U.S. veto power in the UN Security Council to protect Israel from a growing global frustration with its refusal to end its military occupation of Palestine; and armed Israel to the greatest extent possible. So when segments of the Jewish American establishment cry foul when the United States recognizes Palestine, Obama can make note of which side of the conflict he and the United States have consistently engaged. Other segments of the Jewish American community, possible the silent majority, will support such a move.

When Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu takes to the airwaves, as he surely will, to decry U.S. recognition of Palestine as tantamount to betrayal of Israel’s security, Obama can quote Netanyahu himself supporting the emergence of a Palestinian state to safeguard Israel’s existence.

Then when the Republican Party attempts to make the recognition of Palestine a partisan issue to better its hand in the presidential race, Democratic candidates can point to President George W. Bush as the first U.S. president to call Palestine by its name, for it was he who instilled in his administration’s policy calls for the state of Palestine to finally emerge in order to realize the two-state solution to the conflict.

Why is Obama ideal for this historic task?

First and foremost, as we witnessed in the P5+1 Iran nuclear deal debate, Obama has a gift of oration. A move to recognize Palestine would need a simple but emboldened argument to be undertaken in the public square and no one is better equipped for such a task.

Secondly, Obama’s administration has done serious damage in the Middle East. By focusing on Palestine, Obama would be taking a corrective step in the direction of getting America realigned with the region’s peoples, not the dictators the United States has propped up to date.

Thirdly, Obama was wronged by Israel so many times during his presidency, one would have to be naive not to think he is not itching to place Netanyahu in a checkmate position before he leaves office. However, he can’t do so haphazardly. Thus, recognizing Palestine would be the ideal game-changing move that would bring peace one step closer.

Every act of U.S. support to make the State of Palestine an actuality on the ground, one that will ultimately be free of Israeli occupation, would be a clarion show of support for those in the region and elsewhere who support freedom from oppression, occupation, and extremism. The United States could also leverage this political act by demanding better governance of Palestinians, too, an important ingredient to successful statehood.

There is a window of opportunity for Obama to complete his administration on a high note. If the opportunity for the United States to recognize Palestine is missed, no one should be surprised when the younger generation of Palestinians finally close the door on the two-state solution, once and for all. U.S. inaction now, when needed most, will only feed the breeding ground for regional extremism to continue to grow.

Written FOR


zions mantra in establishing the State of Israel was “A land without a people for a people without a land”.

The mantra of today in reference to a State of Palestine is simply “A land without people”.

The Nakba of 1948 is an ongoing process


Latuff ~~ The ongoing Nakba

Latuff ~~ The ongoing Nakba

Click on the following links to read what has been happening since Israel’s election …

The illegal settlers and the IDF are working hand in hand


And President Obama remains silent

"Not my problem"

“Not my problem”

His silence speaks volumes


That certainly simplifies matters ….. A Palestinian State doesn’t quite fit into zio’s ‘Master Plan’



Image Credit – David Klein


Some 400 hectares (988 acres) in the Etzion settlement bloc near Bethlehem were declared “state land, on the instructions of the political echelon” by the military-run Civil Administration.

Israel Radio said the step was taken in response to the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teens by Hamas militants in the area in June. The notice published by the military gave no reason for the decision.

Hmmm …. I thought that was the reason for the genocide in Gaza



Israel Appropriates West Bank Land for Possible Settlement Use

Peace Now: Biggest Land Appropriation in 30 Years



By Reuters


Israel announced on Sunday a land appropriation in the occupied West Bank that an anti-settlement group termed the biggest in 30 years and a Palestinian official said would cause only more friction after the Gaza war.

Some 400 hectares (988 acres) in the Etzion settlement bloc near Bethlehem were declared “state land, on the instructions of the political echelon” by the military-run Civil Administration.

Israel Radio said the step was taken in response to the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teens by Hamas militants in the area in June. The notice published by the military gave no reason for the decision.

Peace Now, which opposes Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank – territory Palestinians seek for a state, said the appropriation was meant to turn a site where 10 families now live adjacent to a Jewish seminary into a permanent settlement.

Construction of a major settlement at the location, known as “Gevaot”, has been mooted by Israel since 2000. Last year, the government invited bids for the building of 1,000 housing units at the site.

Peace Now said the land seizure was the largest announced by Israel in the West Bank since the 1980s and that anyone with ownership claims had 45 days to appeal. A local Palestinian mayor said Palestinians owned the tracts and harvested olive trees on them.

Israel has come under intense international criticism over its settlement activities, which most countries regard as illegal under international law and a major obstacle to the creation of a viable Palestinian state in any future peace deal.

Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called on Israel to cancel the appropriation. “This decision will lead to more instability. This will only inflame the situation after the war in Gaza,” Abu Rdainah said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke off peace talks with Abbas in April after the Palestinian leader reached a reconciliation deal with Hamas, the Islamist movement that dominates the Gaza Strip.

In a series of remarks after an open-ended ceasefire halted a seven-week-old Gaza war with Hamas on Tuesday, Netanyahu repeated his position that Abbas would have to sever his alliance with Hamas for a peace process with Israel to resume.

Israel has said construction at Gevaot would not constitute the establishment of a new settlement because the site is officially designated a neighborhood of an existing one, Alon Shvut, several km (miles) down the road.

Some 500,000 Israelis live among 2.4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territory that the Jewish state captured in the 1967 Middle East war.


Here’s just one of those settlers ….. would you want her for a neighbour?


And the American response … (Don’t forget who will pay for the new settlements)


US rebukes Israel over claim of West Bank land

State Department urges Jerusalem to reverse decision, calling the move ‘counterproductive’ to efforts to achieve two-state solution; Palestinians say decision will lead to more instability.

Read the full report HERE


Kerry does not seem to realise that it already is one …



“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second class citizens, or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.” 

Kerry faces strong political backlash from pro-Israeli factions for his remarks. Using the term ‘apartheid’ in reference to the Jewish State has long been a point of contention which perhaps reached its peak when former US president Jimmy Carter released his book Palestine: Peace or Apartheid.


Kerry: Israel to become apartheid or non-Jewish 

Recordings document Kerry’s warnings bleak future without peace; Paski: ‘there’s no such thing as a one-state solution’.


US Secretary of State John Kerry warned foreign leaders in private discussions on Friday that Israel will risk becoming “an apartheid state” or losing its Jewish identity if a peace accord with the Palestinians is not reached in the near future, The Daily Beast reported on Monday.

The Daily Beast acquired recordings of the comments which were made to the Trilateral Commission, a group meant to encourage cooperation between the US, Europe, and Japan.

According to the report, Kerry also noted that the failure of peace talks could lead to a rise in violence from Palestinians against Israeli civilians and condemned Israeli building settlements.

Kerry also hinted at his intentions for the near future to lay out a peace deal that Israelis and Palestinians will have to either, “take it or leave it.”

“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second class citizens, or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” said Kerry in the recordings.

Photo: EPA
Photo: EPA

“Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to.”

The Secretary of State also expressed dissapointment is leaders from both sides and said that if, “there is a change of government or a change of heart, something will happen.”

Political Backlash

Kerry faces strong political backlash from pro-Israeli factions for his remarks. Using the term ‘apartheid’ in reference to the Jewish State has long been a point of contention which perhaps reached its peak when former US president Jimmy Carter released his book Palestine: Peace or Apartheid.

During his election campaign in 2008, Barack Obama responded to claims that Israel is an apartheid state saying, “I strongly reject the characterization.”

Israel is a vibrant democracy, the only one in the Middle East, and there’s no doubt that Israel and the Palestinians have tough issues to work out to get to the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, but injecting a term like apartheid into the discussion doesn’t advance that goal,” said Obama.

“It’s emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate, and it’s not what I believe,” he concluded.

Others defended Kerry’s comments including State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki who spoke to The Daily Beast.

“Secretary Kerry, like Justice Minister Livni, and previous Israeli Prime Ministers Olmert and Barak, was reiterating why there’s no such thing as a one-state solution if you believe, as he does, in the principle of a Jewish State,” Paski said.

“He was talking about the kind of future Israel wants and the kind of future both Israelis and Palestinians would want to envision,” she said.

Click HERE for source and short video


It’s time to bite the bullet. We of the critical (non/anti/post-Zionist) Israeli peace camp understand why a liberal Zionist organization like J Street could never consider, let alone accept, the end of the two-state solution. You say it yourselves: the end of the two-state solution is the end of Israel as a Jewish state; it marks the end of Zionism.


An open letter to J Street: Let’s talk

Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street

Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street


It’s time to bite the bullet. We of the critical (non/anti/post-Zionist) Israeli peace camp understand why a liberal Zionist organization like J Street could never consider, let alone accept, the end of the two-state solution. You say it yourselves: the end of the two-state solution is the end of Israel as a Jewish state; it marks the end of Zionism.

We understood why you can’t go there – but the luxury of picking the solution you like regardless of its relevance and do-ability is no longer an option. In light of the collapse of the Kerry initiative (and it has finally collapsed, no matter if Abbas can be persuaded not to go to the UN), you cannot continue to deny the collapse of the two-state solution upon which it was built. That was not a failure of Kerry or of “negotiations” or of “both sides” or even the failed Oslo negotiators like Martin Indyk that you and the American government continue to parade that brought about that result, it was a conscious, deliberate and explicit policy of all successive Israeli governments since 1967 to eliminate a two-state solution.

You might be right that most Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs want a two-state solution. You are right that this is the only way a “Jewish” state can be salvaged. But you hit up against three insurmountable facts of life: (1) No Israeli government – and certainly not the current one – has ever seriously considered a genuine two-state solution, and in fact all have worked assiduously (and successfully) to create “facts on the ground” that prevent the establishment of a truly sovereign and viable Palestine state; (2) the Israeli public has no idea what it means by “two-state solution” and simply does not care; what we call the “occupation” has been rendered a non-issue in Israel and Israeli Jews will not pro-actively overthrow it; and (3) as long as Israel has Congress in its pocket – which it does despite your best efforts – it can thumb its nose at the Administration, the Europeans, the UN, international law, liberal Jewish values and J Street alike, or so it thinks.

The end of the Kerry initiative is a big thing. It represents that fateful juncture that we of the critical left have been speaking of for years: in the next few weeks, perhaps days, Israel will have irrevocably abandoned any opportunity for a just peace with the Palestinians for apartheid or, worse, for the warehousing of Palestinians in permanent ghettos. Israel will unilaterally annex the “settlement blocs,” up to 30-40% of the West Bank, arguing that “there is no partner for peace,” we need to ensure our security and, besides, 95% of the Palestinians live under Palestinian Authority rule in Areas A and B (38% of the West Bank truncated into 70 enclaves) and Gaza. Whether the PA remains as a collaborationist regime or leaves the scene makes no difference. The Occupation is over. Will J Street finally admit that apartheid has arrived, or will it try to make the best of a Palestinian bantustan as a “good enough” two-state solution?

In light of the struggle for a truly just peace between Israelis and Palestinians, of which the two-state solution was merely a diversion, I would suggest that we view the end of the Kerry initiative as a good thing. Finally the fog of the two-state solution is lifted. We finally see reality: naked, raw occupation and apartheid with no pretense of two equal “sides” or genuine negotiations. Now where do we go from here?

If J Street can learn anything from its years of existence, it is that you cannot simply assert a political position. You cannot promote “solutions” like that of two-states merely because you cannot entertain anything else. If there is no more connection between your political stands and the political facts on the ground, your stands have to change whether or not you want to “go there.” In the end, if J Street really wants to salvage something of worth from the rubble of the two-state solution, it must acknowledge what was apparent to everyone on April 1, 2014: Israel itself and no one else turned Israel/Palestine into one indivisible state.

Why am I writing this open letter to you-all of J Street, an oganization that would never allow people like me into its tent? Because a post-two-state-solution J Street could help bridge the gap between critical and liberal supporters of a just and lasting solution. Join with us, critical Israelis, Palestinians and others, in convening a meeting of minds on the one question remaining before us all: now that the two-state solution is gone, where are we headed? This is a question made urgent by the collapse of the Kerry initiative. It is of relevance not only to post-PA Palestinians who must now provide us with leadership, but of anyone concerned with securing a place for Israeli Jews in what will be a common country.

The new chapter opening before us will be infinitely more difficult and challenging than obtaining a two-state solution would have been, but so be it. Israel made its choice. This is the historical moment. Can we all rise to the occasion?

(Jeff Halper is the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).


Dershowitz is adamantly against any form of right of return for Palestinian refugees. Finkelstein’s pronouncements on the matter have been ambiguous, but there is enough evidence to suggest his ultimate rejection of it.

Dershowitz and Finkelstein: comrades at heart?

Steven Salaita 

Man walks by mural of hand holding key reading Returning in Arabic

For Palestinian refugees, the result of Finkelstein and Dershowitz’s positions is the same.

 (Abdel Rahim Khatib / APA images)

Over the last decade, one of the more amusing (though least productive) facets of the culture wars around the Israel-Palestine conflict has been the feud between Alan Dershowitz and Norman Finkelstein.

Dershowitz, a tireless advocate for Israel, has incurred Finkelstein’s contempt, which includes claims of misrepresentation, pandering and plagiarism. Finkelstein, a longtime critic of Israel, failed to achieve tenure at DePaul University in part because of a campaignspearheaded by Dershowitz, who wrote damning letters to various university officials (including its president). The two have argued voraciously in print and in person, occasionally directing insults at one another.

It seems intuitive, then, that the mortal enemies have little in common. In reality, though, the substance of their feud doesn’t broach the fundamental issues of Israel and Palestine, about which Dershowitz and Finkelstein have articulated similar, sometimes identical, positions — often enough, anyway — so much so that we can rightly claim the two enemies in fact share profound political affinities. Let’s take a look at the evidence:

Opposing one state

Both Dershowitz and Finkelstein are vigorously opposed to the so-called one-state solution, which assumes various incarnations but at base advances the belief that a binational state for Jews, Muslims and Christians is the most just and realistic outcome of the conflict. Both men have spoken in favor of a two-state solution.

Finkelstein has said, “the near-unanimous consensus for the past three decades has been that the Palestinian people do have a right of self-determination, to be exercised in the ‘occupied Palestinian territory,’ which consists of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. I see no cracks in this consensus” (“A debate about the two-state solution with Norman Finkelstein,” Mondoweiss, 6 June 2012).

Dershowitz claims to have supported the two-state solution since 1967, though he usually qualifies his position with fantasies of Arab aggression or anxieties about eternally preserving a Jewish majority in Israel (the reason many liberal Zionists desire two states) (“The case against the left and right one-state solution,” The Huffington Post, 21 March 2012).

In 2011, he co-produced a proposal to end the conflict with Chibli Mallat, the conclusions of which sound remarkably like Finkelstein’s, calling for “two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, [to] live side by side, as expressed in Security Council Resolutions 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) and 1850 (2008)” and a commitment “to the principle of nonviolence as the privileged means to effect democratic change in the region and beyond” (“A joint proposal on the foundations of a two-state solution,” The National, 27 October 2011).

Dershowitz and Finkelstein both emphasize the preeminence of Jewish opinion.

Dershowitz: “The American Jewish community is much more supportive of a two-state solution. And, the Israeli Jewish community is much more supportive of a two-state solution” (“Alan Dershowitz and Caroline Glick clash on two-state solution,” The Algemeiner, 1 May 2013).

Finkelstein: “There are major regional changes — what’s happening now between Israel and Turkey that’s part of an Arab Spring … there is a changed political configuration now. There are changes in public opinion. There are changes in Jewish opinion” (“Finkelstein thinks shift in young Jewish opinion means there will be two (viable states),” Mondoweiss, 19 October 2011).

Denying right of return

Dershowitz is adamantly against any form of right of return for Palestinian refugees. Finkelstein’s pronouncements on the matter have been ambiguous, but there is enough evidence to suggest his ultimate rejection of it.

A colleague, for instance, was present in 2010 at Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon, when Finkelstein gave a lecture urging residents, some of them refugees for more than 60 years, to disavow their right of return. (This fits a pattern of Finkelstein admonishing Palestinians to be more reasonable and realistic, what Asa Wistanley calls “marginalizing Palestinians from their own struggle.”)

Dershowitz: “For peace to be achieved, pragmatism must be balanced with principle. The right of return should be implemented so as to protect Israel against demographic annihilation without denigrating the Palestinian narrative” (“Palestinians and the ‘right of return’,” The Christian Science Monitor, 16 April 2007).

Finklestein: “For now, Israel will not honor a Palestinian right of return; to ‘demand’ it is the emptiest of gestures” (“Two critiques of Norman Finkelstein,”Mondoweiss, 23 December 2011).

Finkelstein: “If we end the occupation and bring back six million Palestinians and we have equal rights for Arabs and Jews,there’s no Israel.”

Finkelstein argues that he supports the right of return in principle, but “in order to achieve a political settlement of the conflict, the right of return will have to be subject to negotiations,” whereas Dershowitz is opposed to the right in principle. For Palestinian refugees the result is identical.

Bickering with boycott activists

Because of his opposition to boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), Finkelstein has alienated a significant portion of his audience (and gained new fans among Zionist hardliners). This alienation hasn’t resulted merely because of his opposition to BDS, but also because of the condescending way he has articulated that opposition.

Dershowitz: “It may be enough to say: ‘The boycotters are wrong’ and leave it at that. But the boycotters are not just adopting bad politics derived from faulty thinking. There is an edge of malice to their campaign. Their desire to hurt, to punish, outstrips their ability even to identify with any precision their targets — all Israeli universities without exception? All academics within those universities? Israeli academics in non-Israeli universities? They cannot say” (“This boycott is not just wrong; it’s anti-semitic,” The Sunday Times, via, 14 June 2007).

Finkelstein: “[BDS advocates] don’t want Israel. They think they’re being very clever. They call it their three tiers … We want the end of the occupation, we want the right of return, and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they are very clever, because they know the result of implementing all three is what? What’s the result? You know and I know what’s the result: there’s no Israel” (“Finkelstein, BDS and the destruction of Israel,” Al Jazeera English, 28 February 2012).

Finkelstein has stated on numerous occasions that BDS is a “cult,” though he has never applied the same term to his utterly sectarian worship of some imaginary “international consensus” that risibly simplifies the complexity of the world’s population.

Disrespect towards Arabs

In communities of decolonization, one’s interactions with the colonized party are as important as the opinions one articulates (indeed, a person’s negative behavior generally foregrounds an insidious agenda). Neither Dershowitz nor Finkelstein practices respect when communicating with Arabs.

For Dershowitz, to whom Arabs are little more than a brown mass of existential danger, unsavory interpersonal behavior is no surprise. We might reasonably hold Finkelstein to a higher standard, however.

I’m thinking of Finkelstein’s tendency to lecture Palestinians about their unrealistic expectations and their need to succumb to the inhibitions of Israeli liberals. In early June at a Left Forum panel, for example, he proclaimed of those unwilling to recognize Israel’s right to exist: “That’s pure unadulterated hypocrisy. And, speaking personally, I don’t want to have anything to do with it. And speaking politically, it won’t go anywhere” (“Norman Finkelstein throws wrench in anti-Israel movement’s claim to a rights-based agenda,” Anti-Defamation League, 21 June 2013).

He also admonished Palestinian attorney Lamis Deek (“Israel is a state. It has the same rights and the same obligations as the 190 other states”) and afterward complained to As’ad Abukhalil for criticizing him on the Angry Arab blog: “It’s useful to think twice before joining in a lynch mob.”

Here Finkelstein sounds a lot like Dershowitz when the latter patronized Palestinian novelist Susan Abulhawa at the 2010 Boston Book Festival (“Trainwreck in Boston: Dershowitz calls a Palestinian novelist a bigot and a Holocaust denier,” Mondoweiss, 17 October 2010). Even the language they use is comparable.

Finkelstein recently went on a bizarre, paranoid rant: “Even lectures have significantly diminished because I’ve had major differences of opinion with elements in the Palestine solidarity movement. And they carry on like a cult, and so when the differences emerged, I was blacklisted, too. That’s just a fact.

“Last year I’d probably say about — I’d say between — about 75 invitations to speak around the United States by what’s called SJP, Students for Justice in Palestine. This year I didn’t receive one. I didn’t receive one. They carry on like a cult. And the guru says, ‘You’re out,’ you’re out” (“Finkelstein disowns ‘silly’ Israel boycott,” The Jewish Chronicle, 16 February 2012).

This sort of behavior is typical of certain members of privileged groups who devote themselves to improving the lot of the oppressed. Anybody who has worked in communities of decolonization knows the type: a person arrives and shows himself ultimately uninterested in achieving liberation, but insists on leading the wretched horde to his vision of an acceptable outcome — one that is invariably “pragmatic” and “realistic,” saturated in the language of objectivity and the common good.

Of course, it is but an unlucky accident that these outcomes always happen to favor the interests of the oppressor. When that person is challenged or marginalized, histrionics ensue.

Finkelstein’s comments about Students for Justice in Palestine reveal a man more interested in nourishing a God-complex than in doing anything to help Palestine.

Patronizing and pedantic

Dershowitz and Finkelstein have differences, too. Finkelstein has never plagiarized or supported torture and Dershowitz has never attempted to lead a march on Gaza he would later deem “sectarian” after the people on whose behalf he purported to march demanded a voice in the planning (“Why I resigned from the Gaza Freedom March coalition,” The Jewish Chronicle, 6 September 2009).

Finkelstein acknowledges evidence of Israel’s brutality in the past and present, whereas Dershowitz more or less blames everything that’s ever gone wrong in the Holy Land on the Arabs. Yet Finkelstein’s positions on the right of return and binationalism indicate an unwillingness to accept moral ownership of the brutality he acknowledges. To say that emphasis on justice isn’t pragmatic is to severely underthink the possibilities of decolonization.

Ultimately, on the issues that matter most, those fundamental to the cessation of the Zionist colonial project, there is little disagreement between Dershowitz and Finkelstein, certainly none of significance. There is also little to distinguish in their patronizing and pedantic tone with Palestinians.

Many advocates of Palestine are rightfully upset with Finkelstein, but if I may offer a suggestion, I would advise that we assign Finkelstein the same status we have long accorded Dershowitz, that of a slightly cogent but mostly curmudgeonly white male who occasionally annoys with outbursts of bluster and disdain.

Just as their feud has taken too much time away from important matters, Finkelstein’s discourse of “international consensus” and “cults” and “pragmatism” is so slovenly that we’re better served challenging more sophisticated opponents of Palestinian aspirations.

Finkelstein can be frustrating because he apparently believes that practicality, realism and reasonableness exist within fixed structures of meaning and have nothing to do with definitional commonplaces and political ethos generated and maintained by the ruling classes. He’s made it clear he’s sticking with that discourse. There’s nothing left to do with Finkelstein but hope he reads the Wikipedia entry on the theory of hegemony.

It’s difficult to say whether the Dershowitz-Finkelstein feud will continue. While the two have much in common politically, they differ in motive, and this difference of motivation will likely keep them at odds. For those who care about Palestinian voices, motivation is less important than actual belief; in this area, Dershowitz and Finkelstein are the PeresNetanyahu tandem of American liberalism.

Let us then leave them to their feuding with the understanding that they have nothing really to resolve beyond the antipathy of competing egos. Passionate interpersonal conflicts, after all, often occur with the people with whom we have most in common.



Written FOR


One of the settlement enterprises being discussed is the creation of a “mega settlement” between Arab-East Jerusalem and the colony of Maale Adumim, 4 kilometers eastward.
Decapitating the two-state solution
The new Israeli government, to be elected later this month, with continuing settlement policies, is likely to put an end to the remaining chances for a two-state solution
Khalid Amayreh


ON 22 January, Israel will hold general elections which pundits predict will produce the most extremist and anti-peace government ever since  the creation of the Jewish state more than 64 years ago.

The new government, expected to comprise the most jingoistic and Talmudic-minded elements of the Israeli right, will conceivably kill whatever remaining chances for salvaging a peace deal with the Palestinians based on the two-state solution vision.

Prospects for reaching such a deal look quite bleak as Israel has taken a plethora of decisions aimed at making the Palestinians’ goal of establishing a viable state in the West Bank utterly unrealistic if not outright impossible.

In recent weeks, especially in the aftermath of the recent UN General Assembly resolution, which recognized Palestine as an observer non-member state, the Israeli government announced plans to build thousands of settler units in occupied Arab East Jerusalem as well as the rest of the West Bank.

One of the settlement enterprises being discussed is the creation of a “mega settlement” between Arab-East Jerusalem and the colony of Maale Adumim, 4 kilometers eastward.

The new colony would effectively cut off the West Bank’s northern half from its southern part. It would also hermetically separate Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied territory. In other words, the planned colony would put an end to Palestinian hopes for a territorially-contiguous state, especially one with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Israel has already established so many Jewish-only colonies in the West Bank that very few serious observers still see the possibility of establishing a truly viable Palestinian state.

Israel has also embarked on a rabid campaign of house-demolitions and land confiscations in parts of the West Bank especially in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

Jewish commentators argue rather convincingly that it would be highly unlikely to expect any prospective Israeli government to dismantle settlements, a sin-qua-non for any successful rehabilitation of the moribund peace process. This state of affair is further enforcing by the fact that the Israeli Jewish society is moving steadily to the right.

Lying like breathing

Notwithstanding, Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, never stop claiming a sincere commitment to peace with the Palestinians. However the utter mendacity of such claims is exposed by Israel’s actions on the ground, actions that have drawn strong condemnation by the entire international community, including Israel’s traditional allies in North America and Europe .

Israel claims to really desire and strive for peace. However, the Jewish state aspires to translate this alleged desire for peace by building hundreds of colonies on Palestinian territory, inhabited by the most virulent, racist, and genocidal Jewish elements anywhere.

A few years ago, a settler leader by the name of Daniela Weiss told settlers in Hebron that the proper way of dealing with the Palestinians and non-Jews in general was the Biblical way.

For those who don’t understand the phraseology of the Jewish-Zionist lexicon, the Zionist leader was alluding to genocidal ethnic cleansing, including the physical extermination of men, women and children.

Daniella Weiss and those likely to dominate Israel’s political scene for several years to come, including the explicitly fascist party, Habayt hayehudi, or the Jewish home, offer the Palestinians three choices”: First, enslavement to the Chosen people or Master Race as water carrier and wood hewers. The Second choice is expulsion to the Arabian Desert. And if the Palestinians refuse the two previous choices, then they would have to face the “Joshua option”, namely physical annihilation.

This is not Palestinian propaganda aimed at besmirching the good image of the “only democracy in the Middle East.”

Israeli leaders never really lost an opportunity voicing their nefarious designs against the Palestinian people. Take for example Israel’s former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The former Moldovan immigrant was quoted on several occasions as calling for blanket-bombing Palestinian population centers while leaving the border crossings with Jordan open. He also urged the Israeli army to drown Palestinian political and resistance activists in the Dead Sea.

Interestingly, Lieberman is already the number-2 leader at the Israeli political arena. In a few weeks, the thuggish politician’s powers are expected to increase significantly as a result of the elections.

Open-ended conflict

With the two-state solution reaching real dead-end, the only alternative would be the continuation and escalation of the conflict. The Palestinian Authority is unlikely to survive the recalcitrance of the upcoming Israeli government, especially if the recently-approved settlement projects are implemented.

This means the Palestine question will return to square one, with the Palestinian people languishing under the sinister –Israeli military occupation as they were before the conclusion of the hapless Oslo Accords.

Needless to say, the Palestinian masses would once again resort to passive and active resistance against the longest occupation in modern history. Israel, for its part, would behave characteristically by violently and bloodily repressing any new uprising.

Eventually, there would be a tremendous public pressure on those Arab states that maintain peace treaties with Israel -Egypt and Jordan- to unilaterally cancel these treaties under public pressure. After all, the ordinary man and woman in the streets of Cairo and Amman wouldn’t content themselves with watching their Palestinian brothers and sisters being mercilessly murdered by the ruthless Zionist machine of death.

In fact, Israel has no logical solution for resolving the Palestinian problem, apart from offering Palestinians a deformed state on a small part of their ancestral homeland. But the Palestinians wouldn’t accept the de facto liquidation of their national cause even under the rubric of a state that is not worthy of the name.

Eventually, Israel would resort to a malignant form of apartheid, one designed to drive them away.

However, as 65 years of de-facto apartheid utterly failed to get the Palestinians to leave, the Israeli policy would eventually prove self-defeating. Besides, apartheid and repression in Palestine could pose a heavy moral and political burden to Israel’s guardian-ally, the United States, and might even create a serious rift between Israel and world Jewry.

More to the point, with the possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian state virtually nonexistent due to settlement aggrandizement, the Palestinian would start demanding equal rights in a democratic, unitary and bi-national state extending from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean.

This is anathema for most Israeli Jews since it would make Israel lose its Zionist Jewish identity. And in light of already existing demographic realities, where for the first time since 1948 the Palestinians have a demographic numerical advantage over Israeli Jews, Israeli leaders would have to make really hard choices.

Some of those preferring to see the half-full glass rather the half-empty one might argue that the international community would not allow the conflict in Palestine to deteriorate into a perpetual showdown between Jews and Muslims.

Nonetheless, and given the experience of more than 60 years of peace-making efforts, it is safe to argue that the US and Europe lack the ability to force a manifestly arrogant and fascist Israel to give up the spoils of war.

Indeed, the Jewish domination of American politics is too strong to allow any American administration to say “No” to Israeli whims and vagaries without committing political suicide.

In the last analysis, the US government cannot even force Israel to stop demolishing a single Arab home in the West Bank or East Jerusalem, let alone compel the Jewish state to give up the territories that Israel occupied in 1967.


HaAretz is hands down the best commercial media outlet in the State of Israel. It has a handful of top notch reporters that often offer a liberal or left perspective to what is happening here.
However, at times they stray from the reality of the situations and offer opinions that are not quite rational. My readers should know by now that I have never been a supporter of the One State Solution for Israel/Palestine, but blaming the left As Akiva Eldar does in the following is far from the truth. The left is not to blame for Israel’s woes, to think so is a flight from reality. But, despite my disagreements with his viewpoint, especially the heading of his post, it does offer some food for thought in support of the Two State Solution. That, in my opinion is the ONLY solution.
The desperate leftists propose joining together two hostile communities with a bloodly feud between them and endless prejudices about each other. For 64 years the Jewish community realized the Zionist vision using discriminatory immigration and residential laws, unequal division of resources and hegemony over religious and national symbols. For 45 years a Jewish minority has deprived the Palestinian collective in the occupied territories of political rights and violated the dignity, property rights and freedom of movement of millions of human beings.
One State with a wall between??

The defeatism of the left

A binational state is not a solution, but rather a flight from reality and a recipe for perpetuating a duel between two nations. Anyone who gives up on a peace agreement between two states is gambling with the fate of the State of Israel.

By Akiva Eldar

The settlers are right. Had today’s Zionist left been leading the Jewish community here in the 1940s there is a good chance we never would have had a state. Had those who lay proud claim to being “the peace camp,” who explain how “it’s impossible to evict 300,000 settlers,” been running the show in the early ‘50s, the Yishuv − with its population of 600,000 − would never have taken in one million Jews. The word “irreversible” does not exist in the vocabulary of the settlers. They did not say that the Oslo Accords spelled the death knoll of their enterprise. The settlers adhere to their faith all the way to another outpost and another coalition government, and the left cries all the way to nowhere.

While the settlers build house after house and destroy the peace process stage after stage, the honorable members of the Zionist left announce one after another the capitulation to “the will of the people.” In exchange for the idea of partition, they propose, accompanied by heartrending sighs, that we begin to prepare for a binational state. It’s like a marriage counselor who advises a couple that has been making each other miserable for decades to go on living together in order to avoid divvying up their assets. Instead of helping them to separate amicably, co-parent successfully and build independent new lives, the counselor urges them to perpetuate their misery.

The desperate leftists propose joining together two hostile communities with a bloodly feud between them and endless prejudices about each other. For 64 years the Jewish community realized the Zionist vision using discriminatory immigration and residential laws, unequal division of resources and hegemony over religious and national symbols. For 45 years a Jewish minority has deprived the Palestinian collective in the occupied territories of political rights and violated the dignity, property rights and freedom of movement of millions of human beings.

What will happen when the Palestinian minority in the binational state becomes the majority − in 2020, or 2030, or perhaps in 2050? What will we do then, when the Palestinian majority exercises its right to vote? The model for action already exists: The Palestinian parliament can copy the behavior of Israel’s Knesset in the Netanyahu-Lieberman-Eldad era.

Is anyone willing to guarantee that the Palestinians won’t replace Israel’s Law of Return, for Jewish immigrants, with a law enshrining the Palestinian right of return? Can anyone guarantee that they won’t turn the Jewish National Fund into the Palestinian National Fund; replace the blue and white flag with a black, white and green flag with a crescent moon on the side, and replace “Hatikva” with “Fida’i” ‏(popularly known as “Biladi, Biladi”‏)? Who will light the torches on Mount Herzl on Independence Day? Or perhaps the government of Israstine will ban ceremonies marking the Jews’ temporary victory.

Why wouldn’t they give funding preference for schools in Arab local councils, rename the Israstine international airport after Yasser Arafat and change the name of Ariel University Center of Samaria to the Arab University of the West Bank? We’ve been riding them for decades, why wouldn’t they want to turn the tables on us? At best we’d come out of it with only a few broken ribs.

True, Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin has said he would rather live in a binational state than to divide Jerusalem. So what? Is he genuinely willing to cede his place on the dais to Knesset Speaker Ahmed Tibi and settle for interjections from the Jewish opposition parties’ back benches? True, “United Jerusalem” will not turn into “United Al Quds” during his term; that irresponsible mortgage, taken out by him and his friends on the new Zionist left, will be paid by all of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A binational state is not a solution, but rather a flight from reality and a recipe for perpetuating a duel between two nations. Anyone who gives up on a peace agreement between two states is gambling with the fate of the State of Israel. Leftist, go to the settlers, learn their ways and settle at the doorstep of every Israeli voter. It’s not too late.

Written FOR


Anyone that still believes a One State Solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is viable must read the following….

Is it possible to have one state without reverting to ‘full-fledged apartheid?’**

Israeli Court Rules Israeli Citizenship Based on Jewish Descent not Religion or Birthplace*

Saed Bannoura

Twenty percent of the population of Israel could be affected by a court ruling in Haifa on Tuesday in which a judge ordered that only Jews should be allowed to have Israeli citizenship, and non-Jews, even those born and raised in what is now Israel, should not be allowed to claim Israeli citizenship.


The ruling rejected an appeal by Uzzi Ornan, who claims no religious faith, but was born in what is now Israel. It is unclear what impact this will have on the Christian, Muslim and atheist citizens of Israel, which constitute around twenty percent of the population.

Tuesday’s court decision also brings into question the Israeli government’s claim that it is both a Jewish and democratic state. As the plaintiff in the case, Uzzi Ornan, told reporters Tuesday, “A judge appeals to Jewish law, and the ruling shows that Israel is a Jewish community and not a civilian state.” Orman and others say that this verifies that Israel is a Jewish state, and not a democratic one.

In his ruling, Judge Daniel Fisch appealed to Jewish religious law, and the ‘Right of Return’ which allows anyone born of a Jewish mother anyone in the world to claim Israeli citizenship. The displacement of the indigenous Palestinian population by this and other Israeli laws was not mentioned by the judge.

The state prosecutor’s office stated, “The fact that the petitioner is listed in the Population Registry according to his declaration as a person with no religion does not affect his being a Jew according to halachic test determined in the Law of Return.”

Because Ornan was born to a Jewish mother, he was ruled to be a Jew, despite his claim that he is agnostic, and therefore not Jewish. His citizenship was thus ruled to be based on his religion (Jewish), not the fact that he was born in Jerusalem.



Death of Nation Status?

Bias breeds disillusionment

US pro-Israel bias, evidenced again in Geneva, has even the top levels of the Palestinian leadership thinking about ditching the two-state solution, writes Khalid Amayreh in Ramallah

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has voiced deep disillusionment over the “diluted and duplicitous” American stance towards the issue of Jewish settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Palestinian officials in Ramallah called the American position unacceptable and incompatible with the rule of international law. “The US says it is against settlements and settlement expansion, but what we see on the ground is that the US government is voting against any international resolution critical of the Israeli settlement policy.”

Earlier this week, the US voted against a decision adopted by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva to investigate Jewish settlements. The decision, which also demanded a reversal of the settlement policy, was adopted with 36 votes in favour and 10 abstentions. Only the US voted against it.

Following the decision, Israel decided to cut ties with the Geneva-based council, citing excessive politicisation of the council and rampant hostility to Israel.

The US decision to vote against the UNHRC resolution, though quite expected, may have been influenced by the election atmospherics in the US and meant, at least partially, to appease and woo the powerful Israeli-Jewish lobby in Washington. Castigating the American move in Geneva, a visibly frustrated Saeb Ereikat, chief Palestinian negotiator, urged Arab states to try “to put an end to this travesty that keeps repeating itself”.

“It is time the Arab states spoke in voice to America in a language based on interests and expediency, not diplomatic niceties. America won’t respect us if we don’t respect ourselves.”

Ereikat’s exasperated tone follows US efforts to thwart and frustrate every political and diplomatic effort by the Palestinians to declare statehood and gain international recognition for Palestinian independence from decades of the colonialist Israeli occupation.

Observers in occupied Palestine argue that the ubiquitous proliferation of Jewish colonies in the West Bank, especially East Jerusalem, the contemplated capital of a contemplated Palestinian state, has effectively killed any remaining reasonable prospects for the creation of a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state.

Last week, Ahmed Qurei, who occupied several key portfolios during Yasser Arafat’s era, was quoted as saying that the time for establishing a true Palestinian state had passed.

“We must not continue to deceive ourselves and our people. The chance for the establishment of a real Palestinian state, that would be truly viable and enjoy territorial continuity, is over. We therefore must seek an alternative, namely the establishment of a unitary state between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean in which all people can live equally as citizens irrespective of their religion of ethnicity,” Qurei said.

Palestinian sources close to the Ramallah leadership have intimated to Al-Ahram Weekly that Qurei is not the only one within the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) establishment that is speaking about a one-state solution.

“I believe that everyone has lost hope for the two-state solution. And I think that President Mahmoud Abbas is one of those who believe that pursuing the vision of having a viable Palestinian state has been reduced to a sort of wishful thinking given Israel’s phenomenal settlement expansion. I think the one-state solution will be the Palestinian strategy for the future.”

PA leader Abbas, who is facing a preponderance of internal problems, including a severe financial problem and a seemingly failing reconciliation with Hamas, has been saying that he will send a decisive letter to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The Palestinian leader has not disclosed the contents of the letter, but rumours in Ramallah are that Abbas will send Netanyahu a final warning that “if you don’t put an end to settlement activity, the Palestinians will opt for the one-state solution.”

Some PA pundits have speculated that Abbas might resort to dismantling the PA once and for all and let the international community take care of the situation.

The Obama administration reportedly asked the Ramallah leadership to revoke the letter move, the Americans having been made privy to its contents. The Obama administration is also trying to convince the Palestinians to keep a low profile, at least until November, when the American elections take place.

It is widely believed here in Ramallah that Abbas has received “strong assurances” from the White House that Obama will make “strenuous efforts” to a achieve final peace in the Middle East if he wins a second term in the White House.

However, almost everyone here is sceptical about Obama’s assurances and that very few people if any are willing to give the American president the benefit of the doubt.

Moreover, some Palestinian officials are convinced that the host of internal problems besetting the PA these days, including the crushing financial crisis, are deliberate tactics of pressure and blackmail intended to bully the PA leadership into making far-reaching concessions to Israel.

Also this week, imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti urged President Abbas to halt all forms of security coordination with Israel. Writing in a letter smuggled from the Hadarim Detention Facility and published by the Maan news agency, Barghouti wrote: “The function of our security apparatus is to provide protection for Palestinian citizens, not the occupiers and settlers.”

He added: “All past experience proved beyond doubt that there is no peace partner in Israel. What is even worse is that Jewish settlement tripled or quadrupled in two decades of futile negotiations. In Jerusalem, the de-Arabisation and de-Islamisation is assuming an unprecedented accelerated pace. This is why our people must resist this policy with all means available within the 1967 territories.”

Barghouti also called for a “comprehensive boycott for Israeli products and produces at all levels as well as encouraging Palestinian products in ways that would increase Palestinian employment and invigorate local economy.”

Barghouti is widely taken to be the most popular Palestinian leader in the West Bank. He is serving five life sentences in Israel for his role in the last Intifada.

Written FOR


Israelis should prepare themselves for the next generation of Palestinians, a much more savvy generation interlinked with a global world and a region that values rights over an artificial border. Soon, if the current trajectory continues, Palestinians will tell Israelis: “You win! You get it all–the West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza, the Jordan Valley, the settlements, all the water, and guess what? You get us too! Now, where do we sign up for our health care cards?”
Image by David Baldinger
The Wall Will Fall (Spirit Is Stronger Than Concrete)
The writing has always been on the wall 
Sam Bahour *
The human body is an amazing creation. It’s not only the most complex system known to mankind, but it embodies within it signals that tell its owner that something has gone wrong. A similar signaling system exists in political bodies. Those tasked with reading the signals–be they individuals, physicians or politicians–can choose to consciously ignore the warning signs. The Middle East peace process between Palestinians and Israelis has been emitting SOS signals for decades, but only recently are those signals being received and analyzed for what they are transmitting- -a clear and irreversible message that the entire paradigm of “two states for two peoples” has collapsed. 
Like doctors who peddle medications instead of practicing medicine, many politicians are under the influence of their narrow political interests and prefer not to call situations by their name. After so many years of failure–political, legal, diplomatic and economic–those who are paid to diagnose and treat reality are being replaced with voices from all corners of the world, voices convincingly making the case that the entire premise undertaken by the Palestine Liberation Organization, starting as far back as 1974, is no longer feasible.  
Some will say that the PLO was tricked by the West into a path that was never intended to succeed. Others may claim that the PLO had no option but to acquiesce to the pressures placed upon it to enter, more recently, the Oslo peace process, in hopes that the West (mainly the US) would then pull its weight in bringing Israel in line with international law and UN resolutions. Regardless of the analysis of the past, very few people on the ground who are intimately involved in the attempt to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli “conflict” would venture to spend any additional political credit on the notion that two independent states, Israel and Palestine, remain a way out of this man-made tragedy.  
The measures were many, each of them a warning signal that sounded over and over again, but largely fell on deaf ears. The ignoring of a refugee population. A prolonged military occupation, unaccountable to the Fourth Geneva Convention. The launching of the illegal Israeli settlement project. The continued use of military force against Palestinians wherever they reside: Jordan, Lebanon, inside Israel, or the occupied territory. Assassinations and mass murder of Palestinians, from Lebanon to Tunis to every Palestinian city, in broad daylight for all to see. Seven hundred and fifty thousand Palestinians arrested and detained, many without charge and many tortured. A lopsided peace agreement (Oslo) that merely institutionalized the reality of military occupation. The election of Israeli prime ministers who, one after another, represented political programs that explicitly forbade the emergence of another state between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River. The list goes on and on. Each one of these signals emitted a deafening sound that was heard by all, and ignored by all who could change the course of events.  
One of Israel’s founding ministers of education and culture, Professor Ben-Zion Dinur, said it most sharply, according to the book “History of the Haganah”: “In our country there is room only for the Jews. We shall say to the Arabs: Get out! If they don’t agree, if they resist, we shall drive them out by force.” With this theme as its explicit backdrop, it is no wonder that newly-established Israel had little chance of being a normal state among the community of nations. These words rang out long before the creation of the PLO and long before the unacceptable phenomenon of suicide bombings entered the scene.  
Israel was founded on the infamous fallacy that it was built on a “land with no people, for a people with no land.” Instead of acknowledging that this fallacy is a form of outright racism, Israel is legislating it into its laws. Since its inception, Israel has arrogantly refused to address the most crucial prerequisite of its establishment as a conventional state: accepting the Palestinians, those people that just happened to be living in that “empty” land that Israel was created on.  
After over six decades of conflict and dispossession of the Palestinians, and after two decades of Palestinian political recognition of Israel on part of their lands, the Israeli people choose to sustain the conflict. They are bent not only on keeping their boot of occupation on the necks of Palestinians living under it, but on embarking on an accelerated path to disenfranchise, yet again, Palestinians who remained in Israel and assumed Israeli citizenship.  
Today, Israel seems determined, more than ever, to forcefully prove the original premise of its statehood–an Israel with moveable borders and a Jewish-only population. Twelve Israeli prime ministers before Binyamin Netanyahu, six of them after the signing of Oslo, have failed at this nonsensical endeavor. He, too, will fail. If Israel cannot produce a leader to move the country from being a pariah to being a member of the Middle East, only Israel’s Jewish population will be to blame.  
This should not come as a surprise for Israelis who have studied their own history. Israel’s founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, understood it well when he said, “Why should the Arabs make peace? If I were an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we came here and stole their country. Why should they accept that?” The fact of the matter is: Palestinians even accepted “that” and are still being rejected and punished.  
It is clear that Israel has no plans to reach any form of lasting peace with Palestinians or concede to a two-state solution. Its spread of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory has created new facts on the ground that make it impossible to form a contiguous Palestinian state, even on the 22 percent of historic Palestine that Palestinians have been reduced to and agreed upon.  
In light of this continuing Israeli policy of outright aggression and negation of Palestinian rights, Israelis should prepare themselves for the next generation of Palestinians, a much more savvy generation interlinked with a global world and a region that values rights over an artificial border. Soon, if the current trajectory continues, Palestinians will tell Israelis: “You win! You get it all–the West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza, the Jordan Valley, the settlements, all the water, and guess what? You get us too! Now, where do we sign up for our health care cards?”
*Sam Bahour is a Ramallah-based management consultant.
Written FOR


Right-wing protesters march through Jaffa on March 2, 2011.
Photo by: Tal Cohen
Those who still adhere to the ‘One State Solution’ are living a dream. Civil strife continues to grow in major cities throughout Israel making that concept near to impossible. Ultra Orthodox rulings have virtually rendered the Palestinians (and all other non Jews) to be sub human creatures and have treated them as such. More and more commercial establishments in the Jerusalem area have adopted a ‘Jews Only’ policy, refusing to hire or rent premises to Arabs.
The redundant Palestinian Authority has remained silent on all of the above as not to rock the comfortable boat they are sailing on, a boat that is slowly sailing to oblivion.
The most recent example of the hatred displayed by the extreme zionist elements took place this morning in the city of Jaffa, near Tel Aviv. Jaffa has a population of 46,000 residents of which 17,000 are Palestinian.
I ask one question, if Peace cannot prevail in ONE city in Israel, how can anyone expect it to under a One State Solution? A Palestinian State MUST be founded on Palestinian territory. Palestine MUST be able to govern itself with a government of THEIR choice without the continued animosity of the zionist entity that has been out to destroy them for almost seven decades.
Read the following report from HaAretz before you answer my question…..

Police arrest 16 protesters demonstrating against right-wing march through Jaffa

March is organized by right-wing activists who want to protest ‘Islamic Movement gaining control over [the city]’; Arab residents close businesses in protest.

Police arrested sixteen left-wing protesters who were demonstrating against a right-wing march through Jaffa on Wednesday.

The march, organized by National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari and right-wing activists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel was in protest of what they deemed the “Islamic Movement gaining control over [the city].”

The march comes just a few days after the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality announced a plan to build affordable housing exclusively for Jaffa’s Arab residents.

Police spent the morning preparing the city to prevent confrontation between the right wing marchers and Jaffa’s Arab residents. Roads surrounding the planned route of the march, which began at the city’s clock tower, have been closed to traffic.

The head of the Arab residents of Jaffa said that a symbolic demonstration against the march had been decided on. Leaders of Jaffa’s Arab community gathered at a location close to the march so they could observe what is happening. Arab workers in the city decided to strike during the time that the march is taking place.

“There have always been Jews and Arabs together in Jaffa, in coexistence and with mutual respect,” Tel Aviv councilman Ahmed Mashharawi said on Wednesday. “These people’s march reveals their true ugly face. As long as they don’t harm the routine of the residents, we won’t allow them the pleasure of receiving a headline on our account.”

Jaffa is a mixed city where both Jews and Arabs live; of the 46,000 residents, 17,000 are Arab.


I’m an advocate of a two-state solution. I believe that non-violent opposition to the Occupation is gaining traction and has shown itself to be powerful. I would like to believe that a boycott movement could be directed against the Occupation without at the same time shunning the concept of two states.

Boycotting Israel, boycotting Macy Gray, and a third option

As I ride the hurtling down-elevator, while my Zionist life flashes before my eyes, I’d like to take a moment and seek a fresh take on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions effort.

By Bradley Burston

Macy Gray
Photo by: AP

Macy Gray AP


That familiar sinking feeling in the air, the elevator quietly plummeting at breakneck speed, has a great deal to do with Al-Jazeera’s publication of the potentially game-changing Palestine Papers.

No one can yet know to which floor or sub-basement we’re now descending, nor how shattering our landing. While we’re on the way down, though, this might be a good time to consider the range of options available to that majority in the Holy Land and abroad who want to see occupation end and peace between Palestinians and Israelis finally begin.

Specifically, at a time when Israel is going to be increasingly under the gun as the rejectionist party to the Mideast conflict – and at a time when Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Avigdor Lieberman and Eli Yishai, who may all be in the midst of their final term, seem all too ready to take the whole ship down with them as long as they can still be at the wheel when Israel takes its final dive – there’s at least one thing that can be reasonably foreseen: Calls to boycott Israel will only increase.

Accordingly, on this, the hurtling down-elevator, while my Zionist life flashes before my eyes, I’d like to take a moment and seek a fresh take on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions effort.

A sensible place to look is the shrewd and determined band of revolutionaries at +972 Magazine, who continue to carve their way through the deafening white noise of Israeli journalism by never taking the expected for an answer.

A raft of pieces of particular note landed just at the weekend, among then Dahlia Scheindlin’s discussion of the possible upsides – for Israel and America as well as the Palestinians – of a UN condemnation of settlements, and Roi Maor’s thoughtful response to right-wing U.K. journalist Melanie Phillips’ recent, web-shaking appearance on Israel television.

With the Al-Jazeera reports threatening to reinvent the Mideast as we know it, a piece by +972’s Noam Sheizaf was particularly prescient. In combining radicalism and a helping of common sense, Sheizaf’s out-of-the-box proposal on the fascinating, at times hostile, at times hallucinatory Macy Gray-Israel boycott controversy, has set off new streams of debate on the issue.

The case of the pop-soul singer attracted worldwide attention when Gray asked fans to weigh in on her Facebook page over calls that she boycott Israel, where she’s appeared to warm receptions in the past. “What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is disgusting,” she wrote on her Facebook site, “but I wana (sic) go. I gotta lotta fans there I dont want to cancel on and I …don’t know how my NOT going changes anything. What do you think? Stay or go?”

The discussion, which effectively pitted anti-Occupation respondents – some pro-boycott, some anti-boycott – against one another, turned ugly when Gray announced her decision to appear for the two scheduled shows next month.

Departing from standard debates over the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, Sheizaf proposed that artists who oppose occupation and who do choose to appear in Israel, should insist that a percentage of the tickets be sold to Palestinians in the territories, who suffer from severe, Israeli-imposed travel restrictions.

“If the Israeli organizers of the show refuse or if they are unable to deliver – it will become much harder for them to claim that there is no political problem with the gig, or that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians shouldn’t be compared to Apartheid,” Sheizaf observes. “And if they deliver, the artist gets to play a real part in bringing down the walls between Jews and Arabs. In any case, everyone would know where they stand.”

What follows, in reader responses to the piece, points to one of the primary, and peculiar, elements of the ongoing debate over BDS. Much of the most heated discussion of boycotting Israel – and I am as guilty of anyone of this nastiness and misplaced anger – places a fault line between anti-Occupation activists who favor a one-state solution and anti-Occupation activists who favor two. In this instance, the debate even pits supporters of BDS against one another.

One reader writes, “it’s an interesting idea Noam, but I think it defeats the purpose of the boycott, which should attempt to isolate, marginalize and cut off the Israelis from the rest of the world. That means no international academics, no book tours, no theater, no music, no conferences. Israel must be treated as a pariah state until the Occupation ends. Allowing a few Palestinians to hear Macy Gray is not good enough.”

“Further, we should enhance the effectiveness of the boycott by turning up the heat on those who break it,” the reader continues. “The Macy Grays of the world should be subjected to a concerted campaign of boycott as well. Don’t buy her CDs or attend her shows and spread the word she is persona non grata among conscientious members of the public …”

In this regard, one fundamental question is whether Occupation refers specifically to the land Israel captured in the 1967 war, or if pre-’67 Israel, as a Jewish state, is also viewed as occupied territory. Tel Aviv, West Jerusalem, all of it.

The BDS boycott call to Macy Gray hints at this issue, referring to UN Resolution 194, the basis for demands for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their former homes.

“In 1948 Israel expelled and confiscated the land and property of about 800,000 Palestinians. They and their descendants are still denied return and compensation as sanctioned by the UN General Assembly Resolution 194.”

The Palestinian United Call for BDS against Israel, the ideological underpinning of the boycott movement, goes further in hinting at a goal of a single Palestine replacing a Jewish state. It declares that boycott should continue until Israel ends “its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and respects and promotes “the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. ”
An overwhelming majority of Israelis, including the vast majority of the left in Israel, believes that the Palestinian right of return would spell the end of a Jewish state of any kind in the Holy Land.

“The good news for Israelis is that they maintain a monopoly of violence in the region,” the +972 reader states. “Thanks to the largesse of the United States and its generous donations of fighter jets, armored bulldozers and napalm, no one can militarily challenge Israel. The bad news for Israel is that other than technologies of violence and oppression, it doesn’t produce anything. It has no native culture, so food, music, architecture, literature, film, philosophy…..everything must be imported from the outside world. Cut off this flow of information and the country dries up.”

While I’m still in the reading-while-falling mode, I’d like to add a reader response of my own:

I believe that opposition to Occupation has never been more vital. I’ve seen boycotts work in the past. I understand that the reader quoted above reflects his own opinion alone. Personally, though, I have some questions for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions people.

I’m an advocate of a two-state solution. I believe that non-violent opposition to the Occupation is gaining traction and has shown itself to be powerful. I would like to believe that a boycott movement could be directed against the Occupation without at the same time shunning the concept of two states.

I want two states here. Tell me, please. Does that now mean that I no longer have any place on the left?



The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.


“The US reaffirms strong opposition to any attempt to establish or seek recognition of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians,” the motion says, also stating that “real and lasting peace could only be achieved through direct negotiations between the two sides”.

As things stand there is only ONE side…. Israel. The US Congress should be ashamed of itself!

Fort Knox might as well move its operations directly to Tel Aviv  as the US taxpayer will be paying dearly for this decision 😦

Congress: No to Palestinian statehood declaration  

House of Representatives unanimously decides to remind Obama it supports Israel, passes motion saying US will not recognize Palestinian state declared without Israel’s approval, veto UN resolution to this effect if it is brought forth

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a motion opposing a move being promoted by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, for recognition of a state within the 1967 borders without Israel’s agreement.

The decision, which was reached by general consensus rather than a vote among house members, states that the US would not recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state and would veto any resolution for recognition brought forward in the UN Security Council without an agreement between the two sides.

The Chairman of the House’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Howard Berman, initiated the decision. The precise wording states that the US “reaffirms its strong support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The US reaffirms strong opposition to any attempt to establish or seek recognition of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians,” the motion says, also stating that “real and lasting peace could only be achieved through direct negotiations between the two sides”.

The house mentioned that Palestinian leaders were threatening to make a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and were requesting recognition from the UN and other international forums.

“On November 24 2010 Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas wrote to the Brazilian President requesting that she recognize a Palestinian state, hoping that his actions would encourage other countries to recognize a Palestinian state.”

Following the request, Brazil Argentina and Uruguay recognized a state within the 1967 borders. Berman’s decision includes a call on the government to lead diplomatic efforts to convince other countries to oppose such moves.

The house also called on the Palestinian leadership to cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process, including efforts to gain recognition of a Palestinian state.

It also calls on Abbas to resume direct negotiations with Israel immediately and expresses support for the Obama Administration’s opposition to a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.

Mitchell proposes ‘parallel’ talks

Meanwhile, US special envoy George Mitchell has proposed six weeks of “parallel” negotiations with Israeli and Palestinians negotiators, a Palestinian official said on Wednesday.

Mitchell, who met Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Tuesday, suggested the US administration hold “parallel talks with the Palestinian and Israeli sides separately, and not negotiations,” he told AFP, on condition of anonymity.

Over six weeks from Sunday, the two sides would meet US officials to discuss the issue of security, and from Monday for talks on border arrangements for a peace deal, as well as any other issues requested by the two parties.

“What is discussed with each side will not be divulged to the other, but the aim is for the US administration to form an idea of what the two parties want with a view to drawing up a strategy to re-launch direct negotiations at the time it deems appropriate.”


From other sources…..

U.S. House opposes unilateral declaration of Palestinian state

Resolution urges Palestinians to ‘cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process, including efforts to gain recognition of a Palestinian state from other nations.’

US House opposes unilateral declaration of ‘Palestine’

Resolution introduced by Rep. Howard Berman and adopted by consensus supports negotiated solution to conflict, condemns unilateral moves by PA


It is very important that Israel’s president believes Netanyahu. Of course, we shouldn’t make light of a trusting relationship between the prime minister and the U.S. president. It’s vital, but not enough. We also deserve a prime minister we can believe.

Happy is he who believes

President Shimon Peres does not miss an opportunity to whisper to anyone who happens to be nearby that he has no doubt that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is serious about peace with the Palestinians. Of course, the president can’t go into detail, but take his word for it. They say U.S. President Barack Obama is also convinced that Netanyahu is not deceiving him.

By Akiva Eldar

President Shimon Peres does not miss an opportunity to whisper to anyone who happens to be nearby that he has no doubt that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is serious about peace with the Palestinians. Of course, the president can’t go into detail, but take his word for it. They say U.S. President Barack Obama is also convinced that Netanyahu is not deceiving him.

But the important talks between the U.S. president and the prime minister took place in private. Even the people who write the minutes remained outside. Israel’s diplomatic-security chiefs, including the forum of seven senior ministers, admit they have no idea whether the favorite son of the original right-wing Revisionists has really decided to establish Palestine.

If Netanyahu emerges from the negotiating room with a final-status agreement, I promise to cheer him and even apologize for casting doubt on his declarations of peace. In the meantime, I don’t believe he means what he said in his Bar-Ilan University speech about two states for two peoples, and that what he said at the Washington summit is what he plans to do at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit. So far he has only paid lip service to peace. Likud’s hawks are not getting upset by his speeches, nor are his coalition partners hastening to part company from him. Apparently they don’t believe him.

The politician who did more than any other Israeli to destroy the Oslo Accords in Israeli public opinion certainly knows that compared to a final-status agreement with the Palestinians, that document that did not move a single settlement from its place will look like a standard rental contract. If Netanyahu really does intend to sign an agreement within a year to withdraw from the territories, how is it possible he is not preparing public opinion for that tsunami? We can expect a trauma like Israeli society has not experienced since the Yom Kippur War.

It’s true that the agreement will let Israel evacuate the territories gradually and according to a reasonable timetable, postponing the physical confrontation with the settlers and their supporters on the right. But there is no postponing a presentation of the new partition map and the resulting public and political battle.

Without a map we won’t know which settlements are designated for annexation and are therefore entitled to construction permits and public funds, and for which settlers we have to prepare a roof over their heads and an absorption basket. After all, we can’t decide on security arrangements in Palestine without defining its area of jurisdiction. And how will the Palestinians be able to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people without drawing the line where this state ends and the Palestinian state begins?

In the best (and unlikely ) case that the Palestinians will agree to give up the Ariel panhandle in a land swap and postpone a solution for Jerusalem (which is hard to believe ), the map of the final-status agreement will in effect be an evacuation order for more than 90,000 settlers living in 96 settlements. About two-thirds of them belong to the ideological hard core of generations of Gush Emunim members. This comes on top of 50 outposts with a population of about 3,000. The other settlements are for the most part scattered along the Jordan Valley, a region the public has been told for years is Israel’s “security border.”

For us to believe he is willing within a year to sign a historic agreement that will oblige us to transfer more than 90 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians, Netanyahu must make a modest down payment. Instead of bargaining with Obama about a partial and temporary construction freeze in the settlements, why not transfer to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the settlement areas in northern Samaria that Israel evacuated as part of the disengagement plan?

He could also transfer to the Palestinians a certain percentage of the extensive territories of Area C that Israel is keeping for expanding the settlements. A monitored opening of East Jerusalem to residents of the West Bank could also be a confidence-building measure toward the Palestinians and help skeptical Israelis believe his ostensibly peaceful intentions.

It is very important that Israel’s president believes Netanyahu. Of course, we shouldn’t make light of a trusting relationship between the prime minister and the U.S. president. It’s vital, but not enough. We also deserve a prime minister we can believe.



There has been lots of talk again about a One or Two State Solution here in Israel/Palestine… After you watch the following ‘celebration’ held in Jerusalem’s Old City…. complete with chants of “Death to the Arabs” …. ask yourself one question….
If you were a Palestinian, would you want to share a state with these animals?

HERE’S my answer…..

HERE’S Uri Avnery’s answer…..

And here’s the video.


THE TWO-STATE solution is not the best solution. It is the only solution.

A Fantasy
By Uri Avnery

I ADMIRE Prof. John Mearsheimer. His rigorous logic. His lucid presentation. His rare moral courage.

I was very honored to host him and his colleague, Prof. Stephen Walt, in Tel Aviv, after their book about the Israel lobby in the US provoked a furor.

And I don’t agree with his conclusions.

A FEW days ago, Prof. Mearsheimer delivered an impressive lecture in Washington DC. He presented a profound analysis of the chances of Israel surviving in the long term. Every Israeli who is concerned about the future of his state should grapple with this analysis.

The professor himself sums up his conclusions as follows:

“Contrary to the wishes of the Obama administration and most Americans – to include many American Jews – Israel is not going to allow the Palestinians to have a viable state of their own in Gaza and the West Bank. Regrettably, the two-state solution is now a fantasy. Instead, those territories will be incorporated into a “Greater Israel,” which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa. Nevertheless, a Jewish apartheid state is not politically viable over the long term. In the end, it will become a democratic bi-national state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens. In other words, it will cease being a Jewish state, which will mean the end of the Zionist dream.”

WHY DOES the professor believe that the two-state solution has become a fantasy? Because, in his opinion, most Israelis are not ready to make the “sacrifices” necessary for its implementation. The 480 thousand settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have immense power. Many of them will offer armed resistance to any solution. Binyamin Netanyahu is not prepared to accept a Palestinian state. The Israeli public has shifted sharply to the right. No effective pro-peace party exists in Israel now. No leader of stature, who would be able to remove the settlers, can be seen. And most importantly: “Zionism’s core beliefs are deeply hostile to the very notion of a Palestinian state.”

No salvation will come from Barack Obama. The immensely powerful pro-Israel lobby will crush any attempt of his to exert pressure on Israel. Obama has already capitulated to Netanyahu, and he will continue to do so in the future.

The professor does not hide his opinion that the two-state solution is by far the best. But he believes that it is “dead”. Greater Israel, ruling over all the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, already exists. It is an apartheid state that will steadily become more consolidated and more brutal – until its collapse.

THIS IS a frightening prognosis. It is also very logical. If current developments continue in a straight line, this is exactly what will happen.

But I do not believe in straight lines. There are very few straight lines in nature, and there are no straight lines in the life of nations and states.

In the 86 years of my life, innumerable unforeseen things have happened, and innumerable expected things have not come about. The fate of nations is governed by unexpected factors. They are shaped by human beings, who are by nature unpredictable creatures.

Who foresaw in 1928 that Adolf Hitler would come to power in Germany? Who in 1941 foresaw that the Red Army would stop the invincible Wehrmacht? Who in 1939 foresaw the Holocaust? Who in 1945 foresaw the creation of the State of Israel? Who in 1989 foresaw the collapse of the Soviet Union? Who foresaw, the day before it happened, the fall of the Berlin wall? Who foresaw the Khomeini revolution? Who foresaw the election of a black US president?

Of course, one cannot build plans on the unexpected. But it should be taken into account. It is irrational to discount the irrational.

I do not accept the professor’s judgment that “most Israelis are opposed to making the sacrifices that would be necessary to create a viable Palestinian state.” As an Israeli living and fighting in Israel, I am convinced that the great majority of Israelis are ready to accept the necessary conditions, which are well-know to all: a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, the 1967 borders with minimal land swaps, a mutually acceptable solution for the refugee problem.

The real problem is that most Israelis do not believe that peace is possible. Dozens of years of propaganda have convinced them that “we have no partner for peace”. Events on the ground (as seen through Israeli eyes) have confirmed this view. If this perception is dissolved, everything is possible.

In this, President Obama could play a big role. I believe that this is his real mission: to prove that it is possible. That there is a partner out there. That there is a guarantee for the security of Israel. And – yes – that the alternative is frightening.

CAN THE settlements be removed? Will there ever be an Israeli government that will have the guts to do so? Where is the leader who will undertake this Herculean task?

The professor is right that “there is nobody with that kind of standing in Israeli politics today.” And that “there is no sizable pro-peace party or movement.”

Yet history shows that exceptional leaders often appear when they are needed. I have seen in my own lifetime a failed and generally detested politician called Winston Churchill become a national hero. And a reactionary general called Charles de Gaulle liberate Algeria. And a grey communist apparatchik called Mikhail Gorbachev dismantle a huge empire without a drop of blood being shed. And the election of a guy called Barack Obama.

I have also seen a brutal general called Ariel Sharon, the father of the settlements, destroying a series of settlements. His intentions may be debatable, but the facts cannot be disputed: he challenged the settlers’ movement – which Prof. Mearsheimer describes in all its fearful menace – and won easily. In face of the total opposition of the settlers and their allies, he evacuated some twenty settlements in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Not a single military unit mutinied. Not a single person was killed or seriously injured.

Sure, there is a quantitative and qualitative difference between Sharon’s “separation” and that task in front of us. But it is a big mistake to view the “settlers” as a monolithic structure. They are split into several different sectors – the inhabitants of the East Jerusalem neighborhoods do not resemble the West Bank settlers, the buyers of cheap apartments in Ariel and Ma’aleh-Adumim do not resemble the zealots of Yitzhar and Tapuach, the Orthodox in Modi’in-Illit and Immanuel do not resemble the “Youth of the Hills”.

If a peace agreement is achieved, it will be necessary to approach the evacuation job with determination, but also with finesse. For the inhabitants of the East Jerusalem neighborhoods, a solution will be found in the framework of the agreement about Jerusalem. A large number of settlers near the Green Line will remain where they are in the framework of a fair exchange of territory. Another large part will return home, if they know that apartments are ready and waiting for them in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. For some of them there may be a possibility to find an accommodation with the Palestinian government. In the end, the hard core of Messianic settlers will not give up easily. They may use arms. But a strong leader will stand the test, if the great majority of the Israeli public support the peace agreement.

THE TWO-STATE solution is not the best solution. It is the only solution.

The alternative is not a democratic, secular bi-national state, because such a state will not come into being. Neither people wants it.

As the professor rightly maintains, in the absence of peace, Israel will rule from the sea to the river. The present situation will go on and become worse: the sovereign State of Israel holding on to the occupied territories.

Except for a tiny group of dreamers, who can be gathered in a medium-sized room, there are no Israelis who dream of living in a bi-national state, in which the Arabs constitute the majority. If such a state came into being, Israeli Jews would just emigrate. But it is much more plausible that the reverse would happen: the Palestinians would emigrate long before that.

Ethnic cleansing does not have to take the form of a dramatic expulsion, as in 1948. It can take place quietly, in a creeping process, when more and more Palestinians simply give up. That is the great dream of the settlers and their partners: to make life for the Palestinians so miserable that they take their families and leave.

Either way, life in this country will turn into hell. Not for one year, but for dozens of years. Both sides will be violent. The idea of Palestinian “non-violent resistance” is a pipe-dream. The professor’s hope that in the putative bi-national state, the Palestinians would not treat the Jews as the Jews are treating them now has been disproved by the Jews themselves – the persecution they have suffered throughout the ages has not inoculated them against becoming persecutors themselves.

THERE IS a gap in the professor’s analysis: he does not explain how the violent Israeli apartheid state will “develop” into an ideal bi-national state. In his opinion, this will come about “eventually”, after “some years”. How many”? And how?

OK, there will be pressures. World public opinion will turn against Israel. The Jews in the Diaspora will distance themselves. But how will all this bring about a bi-national state?

Any comparison with South Africa is unsound. There is no real similarity between the situation that prevailed there and the situation that exists – or will exist in the future – here. Except for some methods of persecution, all the circumstances, in all fields, are vastly different.

(To mention just one: the apartheid regime was finally brought down not by international pressure, but by the massive and crippling strikes of the black work force. In this country, the occupation authorities do everything to prevent Palestinians from coming to work in Israel.)

In the end, it is a matter of logic: if international pressure does not succeed in convincing the Israelis to accept the two-state solution, which does no harm to their national identity, how will it compel them to give up everything they have – their state, their identity, their culture, their economy, all they have built in a huge endeavor of 120 years?

Is it not much more plausible to assume that long before their state collapses under all the pressures, Israelis would embrace the two-state solution?

I COMPLETELY agree with the professor: the main obstacle to peace is psychological. What is needed is a profound change of perceptions, before the Israeli public can be brought to recognize reality and accept peace, with all it entails.

That is the main task facing the Israeli peace camp: to change the basic perceptions of the public. I am certain that this is possible. We have already traveled a long road from the days of “There are no Palestinians!” and “Jerusalem united for all eternity!”. Professor Mearsheimer’s analysis may well contribute to this process.

An apartheid state or a bi-national state? Neither. But the free State of Palestine side by side with the free State of Israel, in the common homeland.


Also see a DesertPeace Editorial on this question HERE.

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