"People of conscience in
Israel, Palestine, the U.S., etc. all desire and work for peace
and justice. It is the imperialist elements within
our own governments and institutions that foment war."
--Lisa Dollar, Lysistrata Project
"When a larger power rules
a smaller nation, some form of violent resistance is to be expected."
--Matti Peled, Former Israeli General
are some things that only governments can do, such as negotiating
binding agreements. But there are some things that only citizens
outside government can do, such as changing human relationships."
--Dr. Harold Saunders, Former Asst Sec. of State,
Negotiator of Camp David Accords
Excerpt:"Especially after the people
of occupied Palestine were so unruly as to elect a Legislative Council
in which Hamas won the majority of seats –that was in January
of 2006– Israel imposed a siege on Gaza. And after Hamas
blocked an American-inspired coup d’etat by Fatah in Gaza
to try to eliminate the Hamas government–the democratically
elected Hamas government, according to all international observers
who were present for the election– the siege was, in fact,
intensified. So that means that currently, or before the current
fighting, Israel was allowing less than one truck of exports from
Gaza per day. ... Israel destroyed the airport and the seaport of
Gaza back in the early 2000s and has not permitted them to be rebuilt.
Israel regulates to a very very low level the amount of cement that
can be imported into Gaza because it is afraid it will be used to
build fortifications but that also means it can’t build a
seaport or an airport, which in any case Israel has said it would
bomb if that was attempted. Israel has been severely controlling
the import of food into the Gaza Strip. One of Ariel Sharon’s
advisors called this ‘putting the people of the Gaza Strip
on a diet’, that is to say, the intention is not to starve
them to death but to keep them alive just at the level above starvation." –
Joel Beinin 072714
ethnic cleansing, driving
all Palestinians into the
desert for the goal of a
“Greater Israel” cover-
ing all of Palestine,
some extremists have
called for annihilation.
Recently, on June 30th,
a leader of the Jewish
Home Party, part of
coalition, posted a call
for the destruction of
the Palestinian people
including “its elderly
and its women, its cities
and its villages, its
property and its
that Israel should also
not exclude Palestinian
mothers because they
give birth to “little
of viewers responded
--Ralph Nader, Pounding
"Every candidate for Congress at that time had a pledge.
They were given a pledge to sign..." ... "You make
a commitment that you would vote to support the military superiority
of Israel, that the economic assistance that Israel wants that you
would vote to provide that." ... “You sign the pledge.
If you don’t sign the pledge you don’t get
money.” ... “I made it public. And then the excuse was,
‘well, those were just overzealous advocates for Israel.’
So then the tactic changed. But this is what is done for
535 members of the United States Congress. 100 senators and 435
members of the House of Representatives have to now write a
paragraph which basically says the same thing. So it’s not
a pledge but it’s a paragraph and you post it. And there
are these forums you have to go to at the synagogues or whatever
. And if you don’t perform appropriately, then you do not
get money to run your campaign." –
Cynthia McKinney, in an interview
with Press TV, May 22, 2011
There are three major reasons why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
is one of the most intractable conflicts in the world: the disparity
in power between the warring parties, the essential nature of the
Zionist enterprise, and the underlying psychological dynamics of
The US has not only provided Israel with enormous amounts of financial
and military assistance to the tune of tens of billions of dollars,
but it has also provided Israel with total diplomatic immunity by
exercising its Security Council veto to ensure that Israel is never
held accountable to the many General Assembly and Security Council
resolutions condemning its occupation and oppression of the Palestinian
Throughout the long and tortuous so-called peace process, US involvement
has never been that of an honest broker as demonstrated by Rashid
Khalidi in his book Dishonest Broker. In reality the US has continuously
served as Israel’s lawyer, allowing it to continue its massive
settlement construction in the occupied territories even as the
peace process limped along. The US never put any serious pressure
on Israel to conform to international law while continuously insisting
the Palestinians concede more and more to Israel’s demands.
It was as if the two warring sides were sitting down to divide a
pizza while one side was already eating it. Since the signing of
the Oslo Accords in 1993, roughly 600,000 Israelis have been settled
in the occupied territory of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in
violation of international law.
Many argue that this special relationship between the US and Israel
is because Israel serves US strategic interests in the region. To
whatever extent that remains true, one cannot discount the overwhelming
influence of the Israel Lobby on US policy towards Israel. Due to
the power of the Israel Lobby—comprised of AIPAC, The Conference
of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and the numerous
Christian Zionist organizations that comprise a major part of the
Republican Party base—Congress has essentially become Israeli
occupied territory. No member of Congress, not even the President,
dare challenge it. To do so is to do it at one’s own political
A second major reason for the intractability of the conflict is
the nature of Zionism itself, the ideological movement established
to remedy Jewish victimization and powerlessness. The founders of
the Zionist movement were secular Jews who nonetheless appropriated
God’s promise in the Bible to legitimate their colonization
of Palestine even as they sought to secularize Jewish life and free
it from the grip of religious orthodoxy. The Israeli historian,
Ilan Pappe, once wryly observed that the founders of the Zionist
movement did not believe in God, but the God they did not believe
in nonetheless promised them Palestine.
Since its inception as a political movement, Zionism aimed at the
creation of a Jewish state in a land populated by another people
who had been living there continuously for many centuries. Political
Zionism, as acknowledged in the writings of virtually every major
Zionist politician prior to the establishment of the state of Israel,
saw itself as a colonizing movement that could only succeed if the
Palestinian people were dispossessed from the very land eyed as
the future Jewish state. Inasmuch as the Jews were a small minority
and the Palestinians, Muslim and Christian alike, comprised the
vast majority, expelling them was a necessity built into Zionism
from the beginning. Vladimir Jabotinsky wrote about this most candidly
and since then every major Israeli political party has seen its
task as acquiring as much land as possible while ridding it of as
much of the indigenous Palestinian population as possible. Today
we call this ethnic cleansing. The famous Zionist rallying cry,
“a land without a people for a people without a land,”
was pure nonsense and sophistry, designed for internal consumption
and to win support from the outside world.
The tragic truth is that the Zionist movement, created to remedy
Jewish victimization, ended up victimizing the people of Palestine
who had nothing to do with the centuries long anti-Semitism Jews
had experienced throughout Christian Europe. To put it crudely,
the Zionists solved their European problem on the backs of the Palestinian
Thus any just and sustainable solution to the conflict would require
Israel to abandon the very essence of the Zionist project because
it is incompatible with compromise and sharing the land. This de-Zionization
would be tantamount to Israel abandoning its birth mother and this
dilemma accounts for Israel’s bad faith and intransigence
in its negotiations with the Palestinians. Abandoning one’s
cherished identity does not come easily and requires much courageous
soul searching and internal education.
Zionism is riddled with many complexities and contradictions that
at the time stirred up deep controversy in the Jewish world that
continues to this day. Some Jews saw Zionism as a national liberation
movement intended to remedy the long history of Jewish victimization
and powerlessness. However, if it was a national liberation movement
it was a most unusual one. Typically we think of national liberation
movements as revolutionary movements that seek the national independence
of a country from a colonial power. But in this case, the Zionists
saw themselves as a nationality seeking independence through the
establishment of a state, but which under the circumstances could
only be accomplished with the aid of a colonial power. One cannot
fully comprehend Zionism without acknowledging the contradictory
elements of colonialism and East European nationalism that reside
Other Jews rejected Zionism as imposing an undemocratic solution
on the Palestinian people and feared it might stir up more anti-Jewish
sentiment in the world. Some Jews opposed Zionism on theological
grounds while others feared it was creating a civil religion that
in emphasizing the more tribal and nationalistic elements in the
Jewish tradition was undermining the universal values found in the
prophetic tradition of Judaism. Still other Jews were more attracted
to various forms of socialism and political struggle in their home
countries rather than embracing Zionism as a solution to the problem
of Jewish powerlessness. The Palestinians, on the other hand, saw
Zionism as the actual colonizing movement that the various Zionist
leaders acknowledged it was in their internal writings.
In so far as the Zionists understood their movement as a colonizing
enterprise, the state it created is best understood as a settler
colonial state, much as the US, Australia, and South Africa prior
to the ANC’s rise to power, were originally settler colonial
states. However, Israel is an unusual kind of settler colonial state
in that its colonists did not come from a single mother country,
but were gathered from countries around the world. Nonetheless Zionism
from the very beginning sought and ultimately acquired the assistance
of an imperial power and found it in Great Britain with the Balfour
But unlike the US that long ago accomplished its goal of manifest
destiny by committing genocide against the native peoples who bravely
but in vain opposed the theft and conquest of their land, Israel
arrived late on the scene. Consequently it is still in the process
of implementing its own version of manifest destiny by relentlessly
seeking to acquire the entirety of Palestine from the Jordan River
to the Mediterranean Sea at the expense of the Palestinians living
In many respects Israel is similar to apartheid era South Africa.
But whereas the white ruling elite of South Africa saw the South
African Blacks as a captive labor pool to be exploited for profit
and gain, the Zionists primarily saw the majority Palestinians as
a demographic threat and an obstacle to the goal of a Jewish majority
state who had to be either driven out by force of arms or persuaded
to leave by virtue of the intolerable conditions under which they
are forced to live. Given the historical context in which Zionism
arose, it was inevitable that for it to succeed, deep-rooted elements
of racism, chauvinism, militarism, and an aggressive expansionism
were tragically built into its DNA. Thus the state it ultimately
created is best understood not as a democracy, as Israel likes to
call itself, but rather as an ethnocracy, since it privileges by
law and custom the rights and benefits of its Jewish citizens above
those of its Palestinian citizens who comprise some 20 percent of
A third reason that contributes to the intractability of this tragic
conflict is the psychological dynamics that undergird, complicate,
and perpetuate it. One of these factors is the dynamic of shame.
Shame has many sources, but fundamental to it is a sense of helplessness
and impotence that causes one to feel weak, inadequate, and defective
in one’s essential being. Shame is a deeply painful emotion
because it casts a cloak of unworthiness over the entirety of who
we experience ourselves to be.
The experience of the Shoah, or the Holocaust as it is typically
called, has seared itself into the Jewish psyche. Whether consciously
or unconsciously, this has created fears, despair, rage, and shame
due to the helplessness Jews experienced before the overwhelming
might of the Nazi regime, a condition which ultimately led to their
extermination. One way in which Israelis compensate for that shame
is to become tough, aggressive, and hardened as if to say, “I
will become so powerful that no one will dare mess with me. I will
become so powerful that I will never again be helpless and vulnerable
and allow what happened to us in Europe happen to us again.”
It is a way of attempting to purge the shame, to purge that defect,
to rid oneself of it by becoming tough, strong, and so militarily
powerful as to never show weakness.
Inevitably Israel’s overwhelming military might and its brutal
occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people understandably
produces among Palestinians that same helplessness that leads to
despair and rage. As a result a mutually reinforcing cycle of violence
fueled by fear and rage on both sides is then let loose with tragic
consequences for all.
Psychologists call this mutual “projective identification,”
a concept that operates unconsciously that elucidates one of the
core dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If one sees oneself
exclusively as a victim of the other’s violence, it is all
too easy to believe in one’s essential innocence and the goodness
and purity of one’s cause and point of view. We then become
blind to our own hostility, violence, and aggression and attempt
to rid ourselves of these disowned parts of who we are by projecting
them onto the other. We then see in the other what we refuse to
see in ourselves and behave toward the other with that very aggression
that evokes the defensive and retaliatory behavior of the other
that is then used to confirm our picture of them as essentially
hostile, violent, threatening, and ultimately evil.
As someone Jewish, I feel more confidant exploring how these psychological
issues impact the conflict with respect to American and Israeli
Jews. As mentioned previously, I believe it is a safe generalization
that virtually all Jews grow up under the shadow of the Holocaust.
Jewish consciousness is shaped by it and Jewish identity is steeped
in it. Consequently there is a kind of collective wound in the Jewish
psyche. Many Jews carry within their historical DNA the trauma of
the persecution Jews experienced in Christian Europe—systematic
discrimination, the Inquisition, forced conversions, mass expulsions,
pogroms, and ultimately genocide.
For many Jews this has resulted in a kind of psychological sickness,
a deeply felt conviction that they are the eternal victim, that
has resulted in an inability to reflect honestly about their own
behavior toward the Palestinians and their other neighbors in the
region. The understandable resistance of the Palestinians to the
Zionist theft and conquest of their land, whether done violently
or non-violently, is experienced by the Israelis as unjustified
aggression and confirms in their mind fearful images of the Jewish
After the Holocaust and the refusal of the Western countries to
take in the desperate Jewish refugees in substantial numbers, many
Jews sought a safe haven where they could live in peace and security
that found expression in their attraction to Zionism. Sadly this
collective wound in the Jewish psyche has resulted in a deep-rooted
moral blindness that has prevented all too many Israeli and American
Jews from understanding the very real suffering that Palestinians
have experienced at the hands of the Zionist enterprise.
Palestinians could not understand why they were expected to give
up their homeland to pay for Europe’s anti-Semitism and the
horrible crimes committed against the Jews prior to and during the
Holocaust. While most of the Jewish refugees preferred a safe place
other than Palestine, had the Zionists who came to Palestine been
merely seeking sanctuary as guests in another people’s home,
they more likely would have been welcomed. But once it became clear
that they intended to establish a state of their own by dispossessing
the Palestinians, conflict became inevitable. Understanding this
grievance is fundamental to understanding the tangled roots of the
It is essential that we Jews face this inner sickness and heal
it. As long as we wrap ourselves in the self-righteous mantle of
the eternal, innocent victim, we will be unable to take responsibility
for our part in creating and perpetuating this tragic conflict.
When and if we have the courage to do this, I believe this will
go a long way to finding a just and sustainable solution to this
conflict, regardless of whether what is ultimately worked out is
a two-state, one-state, bi-national state, or regional federated
Regrettably there are those in Israel and the larger Jewish community
who cynically use the Holocaust to play on Jewish fears and suppress
legitimate criticism of Israel. Jews who voice such criticism are
often slandered as self-hating Jews, and non-Jews who voice such
criticism are often slandered as anti-Semites. This manipulative
use of the Holocaust to disingenuously cast Israeli aggression into
acts of self-defense desecrates the sacred memory of all those who
perished in the ghastly inferno of that Nazi hell.
The late renowned Edward Said once famously observed that it is
the tragedy of the Palestinians to be the victim of victims. While
this is true, we must not let Israel off the hook. We must be careful
not to view the powerful state of Israel simply as a victim. Many
Christians understandably feel a sense of guilt and embarrassment
over the way Jews were historically maligned in Christian theology
leading to their deplorable treatment at the hands of the Church.
Nonetheless if Christians are to be fair-minded, it is important
for them to speak out when there is legitimate criticism of Israel.
Keeping silent not only betrays their own faith, it neither helps
the Palestinians nor ultimately the Israelis, both of whom deserve
to live in peace and security.
Finally, when and if the Palestinian political leadership overcomes
its deep divisions and comes together in the same powerful manner
as has Palestinian civil society, then the hope for a just and sustainable
peace will be closer at hand.
David Glick is psychotherapist and member of Jewish Voice for
"This wall constitutes a psychological
barrier between us, a barrier of suspicion, a barrier of rejection;
a barrier of fear, of deception, a barrier of hallucination
without any action, deed or decision. A barrier of distorted
and eroded interpretation of every event and statement. It is this
psychological barrier which I described in official statements as
constituting 70% of the whole problem." --Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat in an address
to the Israeli Parliament on November 20, 1977
"A state ruling over a hostile population
of one million people will necessarily become a Shin Bet state,
with all that this implies for education, freedom of speech and
thought and democracy. The corruption found in any colonial regime
will affix itself to the State of Israel. The administration will
have to suppress an uprising on the one hand and acquire Quislings,
or Arab traitors, on the other."
--Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz - in 1968, one year after the beginning
of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
Acknowledging the long and bitter legacy of
persecution and displacement that tears at the hearts of both
Jewish and Palestinian civilians, we grieve with both... and
bless the swelling tide of those choosing peace.
Hear O Israel intoned our forefathers
swaying back and forth in their crowded shtetls
to the beat of thousands of years of history
to countless arguments
and prayers of gratitude
addressed to the Holy One.
But what O Israel
have you become?
The Nazis made me afraid to be a Jew
but you have made me ashamed.
Over thousands of years
you grew and matured
from the fierce tribalism of our youth
to the universal teachings of our revered prophets
their uncompromising demand
for justice and peacemaking.
With deaf ears you've turned your back on them.
Yours is a different calling
a tearing apart rather than a gathering together.
Your bulldozers demolish Palestinian homes
and unroot ancient olive trees.
Your young soldiers humiliate old men and women
at your horrid checkpoints.
Your rubber bullets maim
your tanks and F16s and Apache helicopters
terrorize and brutalize
a people yearning to be free
and to live in dignity.
The Star of David is stained with blood.
You drew the wrong lesson
from our long history of oppression
from forced conversions and ethnic cleansing
pogroms and genocide.
What happened to us
must never be the fate of another.
This is the sacred lesson to be learned
this is the stern obligation to be carried
into this sad and broken world.
It is time now for truth telling
time for courage
time to confront the darkness we have become.
When it comes to the Holocaust it is Never Forget
but when it comes to Deir Yassin it is Never Mind.
This must never be.
The Star of David emblazoned
on your tanks and fighter planes
has become a badge of shame.
This wretched war over land and identity
belongs in the dust bin of history.
Hear me O Israel
you claim to speak for me
but you don't.
Yet still I carry your shame in my bones.
Make me proud once again.
Heed the call of justice and compassion
heed the cries of those you have oppressed.
Do it for Amos and Micah
do it for all the beautiful Palestinian and Israeli children
who yearn to laugh and play together as cousins.
Do it before a new generation is saturated
in this madness of hatred and fear.
Do it before
one more home is toppled
one more tree felled
one more innocent child is maimed
and scarred for life.
Do it because it is right.
One Palestinian prisoner writes that the
bravery in the Oscar-nominated
documentary, denounced by the Israeli government as slander, affected
even militant inmates, suggesting they could benefit from exposure
to nonviolent literature
By Amira Hass | Apr.07, 2013
The Palestinian security prisoners incarcerated in Hadarim Prison
in Even Yehuda recently had the opportunity to watch the Oscar-nominated
documentary “5 Broken Cameras,” about the protests against
the separation fence in the West Bank town of Bil'in, not once but
twice: on Israel's Channel 2 as well as on the Palestinian television
One of those prisoners did in fact watch the movie on both channels.
Walid Daqa a 52-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel from Baaqa
al-Gharbiyeh, followed, somewhat amused, the discussion over whether
the documentary – which was co-directed by an Israeli and
a Palestinian and criticized by Culture and Sports Minister Limor
Livnat as slandering Israel – qualified as an Israeli or Palestinian.
But most of all, he was interested in the reactions of his fellow
prisoners, as he wrote in a letter to his friend Anat Matar, a philosophy
lecturer at Tel Aviv University and his pen pal of several years.
At a time when Palestinian prisoners are in the headlines for their
deaths, whether during interrogation or due to cancer, hunger strikes,
protests or stone throwing, Daqa’s letter to Matar (written
in Hebrew) offers a glimpse of the world of Palestinian prisoners
from a different angle.
“The prisoners are a masculine society or subculture that
praises and glorifies the values of aggressiveness and sees nonviolence
as feminine,” wrote Daqa. “If a man espouses nonviolence,
he is thought of almost as gay, as someone whose place is not among
the freedom fighters. And of course, they don't see any contradiction
between being freedom fighters and [supporting] the repression of
a man's right to live how he wants, whether it's a gay man or anyone
He continued, “The film has exposed the prisoners to something
new. They suddenly discovered that the struggle of these 'yuppies,'
these 'spineless' people from Bil'in and Na'alin, isn't simple at
all, but demands faith and sacrifice, and bears with it not a little
risk. And suddenly they discovered that standing exposed to the
barrel of a rifle, without any means of defense, reflects courage
and bravery that are far greater than the bravery required to stand
behind a rifle. And I would add that in order to stand behind that
rifle and be a good gunman, all you need is to be a coward and a
person who lacks ethics and values.”
Daqa has been in jail for 27 years, since March 1986. In 1987,
a military tribunal in Lod gave him a life sentence for his membership
in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine cell that killed
an Israel Defense Forces soldier, Moshe Tamam, in 1984.
Daqa has admitted to belonging to the cell, but continues to deny
any connection to the murder. A fellow member of the cell who incriminated
Daqa during questioning by the Shin Bet security service has since
retracted this part of his statement, but the military tribunal
dismissed Daqa's request for a retrial.
Over the years, Daqa has reached the conclusion that his social
and national aspirations can be best expressed through membership
in a group that is active in Israel – the Balad political
party. He won a legal battle to get the Israel Prison Service to
remove his classification as a member of the Popular Front, and
his sentence was recently commuted to 37 years.
An “elder” who has been imprisoned for almost three
decades, Daqa noted, “The movie changed the minds of many
of the prisoners regarding the nonviolent popular struggle. From
my perspective, the movie could be Israeli or Czech; what's important
is that it shook up the prisoners' macho culture and militaristic
“The question that remains unanswered and that prevents people
from adopting the concept of a nonviolent struggle is whether such
a struggle can advance [their] objectives and reach [their] goals,”
he wrote. “There is a ton of literature in the jails that
explains and glorifies armed struggle, but there aren't any books
about Mahatma Gandhi, for instance, or the struggle of African-American
citizens – Martin Luther King and others.
“If I were in the shoes of the Israeli culture minister,
instead of condemning and attacking the movie and the directors,
I would fund the purchase of books and studies about nonviolent
struggle and flood the libraries of Israeli jails with that literature,”
Daqa continued. “This movie can help prevent killing and fresh
graves [from being dug] in this land.”
Israeli TV programs are one of the windows through which Daqa keeps
up to date on Israeli society. On March 4, he wrote to Matar about
watching the evening news, clicking between channels 2 and 10.
“Over the course of the news broadcast, during half an hour,
incidents of racism were reported that, taken individually, were
not sensational stories, but the mass [of such reports] on its own
is frightening,” he wrote.
Daqa listed several news items: the attack on an Arab woman in
Jerusalem by passersby; the attack on an Arab laborer in Tel Aviv;
the similar attack two days prior on an Arab sanitation worker from
Jaffa; the walkout of hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans from a soccer
stadium when the team's Chechen Muslim player scored a goal, and
the separate public transportations for settlers and Palestinian
workers from the West Bank to Israel.
“If that's what made it into the headlines, it's reasonable
to assume there are hundreds of incidents of racism that aren't
reported, not to mention the demolition of homes in Jerusalem or
the settlers' attacks on West Bank residents,” wrote Daqa.
“This is a situation that requires urgent Arab-Jewish efforts.
Not to come out with joint statements of condemnation and certainly
not to use these incidents for political taunts, but to find the
most practical ways of reducing the level of violence and making
the majority see it as something contemptible.”
“This kind of discourse should not define the Israeli-Arab
conflict,” he wrote. “Such a discourse is very popular
among and welcomed by religious forces on both sides. Through such
wordings, an extreme religious discourse is being imposed, and it
overrides common sense and repels every possibility of resolution.
Fascism, all fascism, thrives on hatred and the absence of rational
thought and rational politics.”
The Egyptian people's courageous struggle for freedom and democracy
is a source of hope and inspiration. The overthrow of a brutal
dictator through a non-violent people's movement is a stunning
moment in history to be celebrated by lovers of freedom everywhere.
For Israel, Mubarak's departure is a dangerous opportunity.
It is dangerous if Israel persists in its brutal and illegal
occupation precisely when the winds of resistance to authoritarian
rule are sweeping the region. There was no anti-Israel rhetoric
that accompanied the massive demonstrations in Egypt. What the
people wanted was to be able to live in freedom and dignity in
their own country.
But we can be certain that any new government will be more sympathetic
to the Palestinian cause. This then is precisely the right moment
for Israel to extend a genuine hand of friendship to the Palestinian
people, especially if it cares more for its own security than
its ambitions of territorial expansion.
Whether the ultimate outcome of deliberations is two states
living side by side in peace or one secular democratic state,
let us pray that this singular moment in history is not ignored
to the detriment of the desires of both peoples to live in peace
David Glick is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace and the
Marin Peace and Justice Coalition.
June 9, 2010
Whatever one's view of the legitimacy and historical necessity
of the creation of a Jewish state after the Holocaust, one must
in all honesty conclude that today's Israel has become a rogue
state flagrantly violating international law and ruthlessly oppressing
the Palestinian people. Israel's recent murderous attack on a
peaceful flotilla of boats carrying human rights activists and
humanitarian relief to the besieged people of Gaza reveals a poisonous
cruelty that has infected Israel’s national consciousness.
The attack, which occurred in international waters, resulted in
the deaths of nine peace activists by Israeli commandos who dropped
onto the lead ship from helicopters in the dark of night. Many
others aboard the ship suffered serious injuries at the hands
of the commandos. It was a clear and simple case of state terrorism
and piracy that rightly occasioned an outcry all around the world.
The question must be asked, "How can a people once the
object of such horrific persecution become, in turn, the persecutors
of another people?" While this is a question for psychologists
and philosophers, there is a more urgent and immediate question
facing all of us. It is U.S. unconditional support--military and
diplomatic together with some $3-5 billion annually in our taxpayer
money—that sustains Israel. We, then, are unwitting accomplices
in Israel's brutal and illegal treatment of the Palestinian people.
The recent Goldstone report documents that Israel committed war
crimes during its 2008-09 attack on Gaza. Israel's colonial settlement
of Palestinian land is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention
and numerous UN resolutions. And Israel's use of American provided
military weapons in acts of aggression is a violation of U.S.
law under the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance
Act of 1961.
The failure of the Obama administration to forthrightly condemn
the Israeli attack and demand an independent, un-biased international
investigation is shameful. It is time for this administration
to develop some backbone and moral clarity and cut off all military
and economic aid until Israel ends its siege of Gaza and the entirety
of its occupation of the West Bank and allows for the creation
of a sovereign and viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and
Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital, together with a negotiated
resolution of the Palestinian refugee crisis.
As far back as 1991, a prominent military officer, General Matti
Peled, was quoted in the Progressive Magazine as saying, “The
(Israeli) expansionists, the annexationists, are deliberately
working against every possibility of solving the conflict. So
those of us who believe that this is an unacceptable development
must think of radical and unprecedented steps. And since they
cannot go on implementing their annexationist policies without
American money, I think it is our duty to call upon the United
States to stop giving money to Israel.”
While many mainstream Jewish organizations like AIPAC claim
to be simply defending Israel from its enemies, they are, in reality,
actually taking sides in a struggle within Israel itself, supporting
its rightwing government against the forces for peace within Israel.
Given that AIPAC is in reality a lobby for a foreign government
shaping public opinion and working to elect pro-Israel members
of Congress, the U.S. Justice Department should, under the law,
require it to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
According to the act passed in 1938, its purpose “is to
insure that the American public and its lawmakers know the source
of information (propaganda) intended to sway public opinion, policy
It has long been a triumph of Israeli propaganda that it has
been able to couch its acts of aggression against the Palestinian
people as acts of self-defense by exploiting the memory of the
Holocaust to justify its actions. This manipulative use of the
Holocaust to disingenuously transform Israel’s aggression
into acts of self-defense desecrates the memory of those who perished
in the ghastly inferno of that Nazi hell. Nonetheless, in recognition
of this tragic history of the Jewish people, the noted Palestinian-American
cultural critic, Edward Said, once said, “It is the tragic
fate of the Palestinians to be the victims of victims.”
Consequently the sorrowful history of the Palestinians at the
hands of Zionism is seldom given the recognition it deserves in
the shameful and biased pro-Israel coverage of the mainstream
media. Despite this fact, a growing worldwide movement of boycott,
divestment and sanctions against Israel has grown up as a non-violent
response in support of Palestinian human and national rights.
The question for our government and for all of us is this--what
side are we on--that of the Palestinian people and the Israeli
peace forces or Israel's fanatical right-wing forces. Our silence
is complicity in the continuing oppression of the Palestinian
people and a betrayal of those courageous individuals in the Israeli
and Palestinian peace camps who have worked tirelessly for justice
for the Palestinians, security for Israel, and reconciliation
between them. The fate of the Palestinian people and peace in
the region hangs in the balance. Moreover a just solution to the
Palestinian crisis will eliminate a major grievance tragically
fueling anti-Jewish sentiment around the world and increasing
hostility toward the U.S. as Israel’s benefactor.
More than ever Israel is in a defiant, bunker mentality blind
to how its own aggression is fueling anger and hatred toward it
around the world. This then seems to confirm the belief that the
world is unalterably against them and the Jewish people. This
vicious circle has by now become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If
this dilemma is not soon resolved and Israel continues with its
settlement activities and its siege of Gaza, the fast disappearing
chance for a two state solution will soon be history and the only
remaining remedy will be a single bi-national state, secular and
democratic, with equal rights for all its citizens, Israelis and
David Glick is a member of the Marin Peace and Justice Coalition
and Jewish Voice for Peace.
A Letter To My Fellow Jews
What, I ask, has come of us? “There is no humanitarian
crisis in Gaza,” say Israeli leaders Simon Peres and Tzipi
Livni. Have we, who historically have been subjected to such horrific
prejudice, persecution and even genocide, become so callous that
we are now morally blind to the violence and oppression that Israel
is inflicting on the people of Palestine, a large number of whom
are innocent civilians?
We, who once were the victims of the Nazi genocide, which murdered
six million Jews while the world was silent, have now become the
perpetrators of violence. After the experience of the Holocaust,
“never again” quite understandably meant that we Jews
would never again allow ourselves to be so vulnerable that we
would go to the slaughter like lambs to the kill.
But “never again” must never be the sole possession
of the Jewish people. That cry belongs to the world—to all
who suffer under the boot of an oppressor who visits violence
and death upon them.
It is the great tragedy of the Palestinian people that they are
the victims of victims. Consequently the crimes and suffering
they have endured have gone unacknowledged by all those who disingenuously
use the Holocaust to justify whatever Israel does as self-defense.
That manipulative use of the Holocaust desecrates the memory of
all those who perished in the ghastly inferno of that Nazi hell.
The killing of innocent civilians is deplorable, whether by Hamas
rockets or Israeli fighter planes and helicopter gunships. But
let’s be honest. Enough of the lies and self-deceptions.
Israel’s aggression against Gaza is not a legitimate act
of self-defense. The rockets being fired upon Israel are an understandable,
if regrettable, act of resistance born of the despair of an ongoing
illegal occupation that is at the heart of the conflict.
Israel argues that it evacuated Gaza two years ago only to have
Hamas rockets rain down upon its civilian population. But let’s
be honest. Israel imposed a ruthless siege on Gaza after Hamas,
like it or not, won a fair and honest election monitored by international
observers. In response Israel turned Gaza into a virtual open-air
prison by totally sealing off its borders and cutting off supplies
of food, water, medicine and electricity. Israel’s current
bombing and invasion have magnified that crisis into what the
UN has called a humanitarian disaster with a dreadful loss of
life and limb among Palestinians, with more casualties mounting
daily. As of this writing, the dead include13 Israeli soldiers
and over 1300 Palestinians, most of whom are innocent civilians,
including over 400 children. In addition over 5800 Palestinians
have been seriously wounded in this high-tech slaughter, again
the vast majority innocent women and children.
Israel’s collective punishment of the people of Gaza, its
excessive, disproportionate use of force, and its indiscriminate
bombing of civilians are war crimes under the Geneva Convention.
We Jews who criticize Israel do so out of the values of our Jewish
moral heritage. It is high time that we Jews reach back and embrace
our proud tradition of social justice and honestly admit to ourselves
that the Zionist enterprise, in its urgency to find a sanctuary,
made the Palestinians pay the price for Europe’s anti-Semitism
and the horrible crimes committed against us prior to and during
Palestinians could not understand why they had to give up their
homeland to remedy something for which they were not responsible.
And so one tragedy was heaped upon another. Let us be big enough
to acknowledge this reality and ask the Palestinians for their
understanding and forgiveness and in return genuinely commit to
seek as just a remedy as possible.
To that end there are only two realistic solutions to this terrible
tragedy. One is for Israel to completely end the occupation and
evacuate all settlements, return to the pre-1967 armistice lines
and support the formation of a truly viable and independent Palestinian
state in the West Bank and Gaza along with a negotiated settlement
of the right of return. The other option is to agree to one secular
state in all of Israel/Palestine, with equal rights for all its
Let no more children die, whether Israeli or Palestinian, when
the solutions are apparent to all people of good will.
David Glick is a psychotherapist in Fairfax, CA and a member
of the Marin Peace and Justice Coalition and Jewish Voice for
Two States on the Same Land with Bilateral Governance
Juggling the conflicting claims of two nations for the same piece
of land is a major challenge. All existing proposals for peace
between Jews and Palestinians leave one side or the other feeling
shortchanged with respect to the land and its resources. This
proposal, called the Parity for Peace plan, starts by asking what
people in each nation want and then seeks to meet as many of these
wants as possible in the fairest possible way.
Clarification of Words Used in This Proposal
What People on Each Side Want
Shortcomings of Existing Proposals in Terms of Wants
The Basics of the Parity for Peace Plan
An Elaboration of the Parity for Peace Plan
Why This Proposal Is Better Than the Others
Questions and Answers
Clarification of Words Used in This Proposal
1. Proposal here does not mean an official offer
but an idea for a solution.
2. This proposal stretches the conventional notion of statehood;
it is out of the box.
3. This proposal distinguishes between Israelis and Jews because
20 percent of Israeli citizens are of Arab (Palestinian) ethnicity
and their interests are not the same as those of Jews. Furthermore,
Israel is designed to serve the interests of Diaspora Jews as
well as those who have Israeli citizenship.
5. Mandate Palestine refers to the geographic area
called Palestine during the British mandate, that
is, land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
6. Palestine in this proposal refers to the state
that is envisioned for the Palestinians.
What People on Each Side Want
1. Control over their destiny after centuries of persecution
and discrimination culminating in the Nazi Holocaust. (Never
2. Physical and economic security.
3. A geographical place where they can express their nationhood.
4. In an ideal world, physical possession of all of Mandate Palestine
(the Land of Israel), with its historical and religious
6. Control over sites that are sacred to Jews.
5. International acceptance.
1. Control over their destiny after centuries of occupation and
2. Physical and economic security.
3. A geographical place where they can express their nationhood.
(If they were not formerly a nation, they are now.)
4. Recognition of Israels role in the creation of the Palestinian
5. Israeli recognition of the right of Palestinians to return
to the homes they lost when Israel was created (and subsequently).
(the right of return)
6. Compensation for property lost to the Israelis.
7. In an ideal world, physical possession of all of Mandate Palestine.
8. Control over sites that are sacred to Islam.
9. International acceptance.
Thesis: The best way to produce a lasting peace is to satisfy
as many of these wants as possible.
Shortcomings of Existing Proposals in Terms of Wants
A binational, secular, democratic state:
1. Jews would soon be outnumbered by Palestinians and would thus
lose control over their destiny in a democratic state.
2. The Jews would no longer have a Jewish state.
Transfer of Palestinians to a state to be carved out of one or
more Arab states:
1. No Arab state has offered land to the Palestinians, nor is
one likely to do so.
2. Palestinians do not want their state to be outside the territory
in which their forefathers lived for many generations.
3. Forcing millions of Palestinians to move would be extremely
expensive and traumatic.
4. Many in the international community would consider the wholesale,
forced transfer of Palestinians to be morally unacceptable (in
contrast to the transfer of settlers out of land the settlers
knew from the beginning was in dispute).
Two states, with enforcement of UN resolutions:
1. If all refugees who wanted to return were allowed to do so,
it would upset the demographic balance in Israel, and Israel could
not then be both democratic and Jewish.
2. If Jews were required to withdraw to the pre-1967 border,
they would lose control over the heart of their ancient kingdom,
with its historical and religious associations.
3. If Jews were to withdraw to the pre-1967 border, Israel would
be vulnerable to attack, both along the Green Line and from the
hills overlooking Jerusalem.
4. Relocating settlers would be very expensive and traumatic.
5. Palestinians would be left with 22 percent of the land they
once thought of as theirs; the division would seem unfair.
6. Israel would lose control of the aquifer and of fertile land
along the Jordan River.
7. Israeli Palestinians would continue to live in a Jewish state
in which they are second-class citizens because they are not Jews.
Two states along the lines of the Geneva Accord (an unofficial
1. Palestinians could return to Israel only in token numbers,
thus being unable to exercise fully their right of return.
2. Jews would be giving up the heart of their ancient kingdom,
with its historical and religious associations.
3. Israel would lose control over part of the aquifer.
4. Relocating settlers would be very expensive and traumatic.
5. Palestinians would not have full control over their borders
6. Palestinians would have only 22 percent of Mandate Palestine;
the division would seem unfair.
7. Palestinians would be asked to trade fertile land for desert
on a 1:1 basis.
8. Israelis of Palestinian ethnicity would continue to live in
a Jewish state in which they are second-class citizens because
they are not Jews.
Two states as apparently envisioned by Sharon:
1. Palestinians would be left with an even smaller fraction of
Mandate Palestine (1015% instead of 22%), making the division
of land seem extremely unfair.
2. The Palestinian state would likely not be viable: (a) There
would be insufficient land to absorb refugees. (b) Palestine would
be dependent on Israel for water (Israel would control the aquifer)
and electricity (which would also be true of other two-state plans),
both of which could be cut off or rationed at will. (c) Palestines
borders and airspace would be controlled by Israel, making it
difficult to conduct commerce. (d) Movement between different
parts of Palestine would be by very narrow corridors (roads),
which could be cut off at will by the Israelis, further impeding
the free flow of commerce. (e) Because Israel has expropriated
the best farmland, because so much Palestinian infrastructure
(farmland, orchards, commercial enterprises, housing) has been
destroyed, and because Jerusalem and its associated jobs (including
jobs in the tourism industry) would belong to Israel, it would
be difficult for Palestinians to make a living.
3. Because of Palestines small size, and because movement
to, from, and within Palestine would be controlledor could
easily be controlledby Israel, Palestinians are likely to
feel imprisoned and harassed.
4. The Palestinian claim to a right of return would be met, if
at all, in only a token way, leaving many Palestinians unsatisfied.
5. Israelis who live on the Palestinian side of the Wall or Fence
would feel isolated and vulnerable; the same would be true of
Palestinians living on the Israeli side.
6. Moving settlers from Palestine to Israel proper would be very
expensive and traumatic.
7. Jews who feel that God has given all of Mandate Palestine
(the Land of Israel) to the Jews as a birthright would
8. Palestinians who feel that God has given all of Mandate Palestine
to the Arabs would feel bereft.
9. Israelis of Palestinian ethnicity would continue to live in
a Jewish state in which they are second-class citizens because
they are not Jews.
In sum: Implementing existing proposals would leave major groups
unsatisfied. The conflict would remain unresolved, and violence
would likely continue.
The Basics of the Parity for Peace Plan
(1) Two statesIsrael and Palestineon the same land
(each state encompassing all of Mandate Palestine) (2) with bilateral
governance in which each state has equal power regardless of the
size of its population but (3) with economic resources allocated
on a roughly per capita basis, taking the population of the two
states as a whole, (4) with management of religious sites to be
determined by the clerics of the religions involved, (5) with
Palestinians who lost their homes and businesses being compensated
for their loss and having the right of first refusal to buy them
back, (6) with amnesty for all political and military prisoners
who agree to live in peace, and (7) with a publicly funded program
to heal psychological wounds, arrive at common understandings,
and promote goodwill so that the two nations can be reconciled.
An Elaboration of the Parity for Peace Plan
(1) Two states on the same land: The psychological and practical
benefits to each nation of being able to claim the whole of Mandate
Palestine for its state are tremendous. Jews and Palestinians
could now rejoice in what they have rather than lament over what
they have lost or are about to lose. Because the boundaries of
each state would be internationally recognized as going from the
Mediterranean to the Jordan, Jews and Palestinians could now settle
anywhere, subject to land laws agreed to between the states. Jews
could retain the heartland of their historic kingdom, and Palestinian
refugees could reestablish themselves in or near their former
homes. Two of the biggest obstacles to peace would thus be removed.
Each state could express its nationalism through the usual trappings:
flag, song, holidays, the issuance of passports, and so on. Jews
could call the whole place Israel and sing Hatikva.
Palestinians could call the whole place Palestine and sing their
own national anthem. No longer would Israels Arab citizens
of Palestinian ethnicity have to sing Hatikva; they
would now be citizens of Palestine and have a national anthem
they could identify with.
Each state would have a legislature, a president, and representation
in the United Nations. The legislature of each state could pass
laws where uniformity with the other state is not required, such
as laws on marriage. Within narrow areas, people might even be
able to choose between sets of laws. In Israel today, people can
choose to be tried under Jewish religious law or under secular
law. Palestinians could be offered the choice of being tried under
Islamic law or secular law. This possibility might satisfy Islamists.
Children of mixed marriages could choose which state they wanted
to belong to.
(2) Bilateral governance in which each state has equal power
regardless of the size of its population: Because of the intermingling
of the populations, the two states would have to agree on laws
affecting everyone, for example, laws regarding traffic, commerce,
taxes, natural resources, land use, the environment, immigration,
and government expenditure. To ensure equal application of the
law, executive and judicial branches of the bilateral government
would need to be fully integrated, with power shared as equally
as possible at all levels.
As in other institutions of international governance, for example,
the General Assembly of the United Nations, each state would have
equal power regardless of the size of its population. Each nation
would thus have sufficient power to protect its interests. Jews
would no longer have to worry about demographics. They would retain
enough power to continue to be a haven for Jews and a place where
Jews would never again be at the mercy of a government that chose
to discriminate against them. Some mechanism, such as international
arbitration, could be worked out if there were a true deadlock
between the two states, but on the crucial issue of human rights
(Never again!), it could be assumed that international
arbitration would decide in favor of human rights.
Laws could be passed in one of two ways: the two legislatures,
which would be of equal size, could meet jointly and pass laws
with a simple-majority or higher-majority vote, or a system could
be set up whereby a bill would have to be passed by both legislatures
to become law. The former is less likely to lead to gridlock.
Although it would be up to the Jews and the Palestinians to decide
how to organize the government, the following is suggested:
At fixed intervals, say, every four years, each state would select
a prime minister from a slate of candidates presented by the other
state. This would encourage moderation. The two prime ministers
chosen would rotate positions, say, every six months, with the
alternate serving as deputy prime minister during the same period.
The prime minister, deputy prime minister, and presidents of
the two states would then select the ministers and deputy ministers
of each ministry, subject to the approval of the joint legislature.
The rotation principle could apply here and to lower executive
levels as well.
Foreign policy would be handled jointly by the two states because
of the need for uniformity in immigration, trade, and matters
of war and peace. Israel would benefit from the special relationship
Palestinians have with the European Union and the Arab states,
and Palestine would benefit from the special relationship Israel
has with the United States.
To avoid the influence of big money or money from outside interests,
campaigns for elections in both states would be paid for by state
(3) Economic resources allocated on a roughly per capita basis,
taking the population of the two states as a whole: This is a
matter of equity and is fundamental to an enduring peace. Water
resources have to be allocated so that each person gets his fair
share. Israelis and Palestinians as individuals would have equal
access to state land, currently 80 to 90 percent of the entire
area of Mandate Palestine. Offering Palestinian refugees state
land would help to compensate them for the economic losses they
incurred in 1948 and 1967 and would enable them to reestablish
their villages if the land were still available and they agreed
to live in peace. Peace would free up money for bringing water,
sewers, schools, and other essential services to Palestinian areas.
(4) Management of religious sites to be determined by the clerics
of the religions involved: The clerics know what is involved to
make the sharing of religious sites work and are probably more
inclined to be conciliatory than the politicians are, assuming
they are people of the Spirit. Furthermore, clerics have the ability
to make whatever they decide (if they need to bend some rules)
sound as if it were Gods will, thus bringing the people
with them. They are better able to lead in religious matters than
the politicians are; politicians look over their shoulder and
try to figure out what will be tolerated, whereas clerics can
set policies and get people to follow them.
(5) Palestinians who lost their homes and businesses being compensated
for their loss and having the right of first refusal to buy them
back: This seems fair to both Jews and Palestinians. No Jew would
be kicked out of a home or forced to sell a business, but before
either the home or the business were put on the open market, the
original owner would have the right to make an offer on it.
(6) Amnesty for all political and military prisoners who agree
to live in peace: This would follow the customary practice of
releasing prisoners at the end of a war and would signal a new
(7) A publicly funded program to heal psychological wounds, arrive
at common understandings, and promote goodwill so that the two
nations can be reconciled: This would entail Living Room Dialogue
Groups on a massive scale, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission,
the pairing of Palestinian and Jewish families, and a conscious
effort to develop skills in compassionate listening and forgiveness.
Such programs already exist, but they need more funding to make
a difference. Both in schools and in society at large, Palestinians
would be taught the Jewish narrative, Jews would be taught the
Palestinian narrative, and every attempt would be made to come
up with a common narrative about the history that has affected
both peoples. To facilitate communication, all schoolchildren
and government workers would be taught Arabic, Hebrew, and English.
Language courses would be available to other adults as well.
Why This Proposal Is Better Than the Others
This proposal recognizes the rights of both nations to the land
and asks the same concession of each: that each nation give up
exclusive control of the land in exchange for peace. By meeting
the key needs of each nation and coming up with a solution that
is fair, the causes for the conflict are removed. As a result,
Jews and Palestinians can expect a peace that endures. This proposal
also recognizes the current reality: an intermingling of populations
in the West Bank that makes it impossible to divide the land in
a way that does not leave tens of thousands of people on the wrong
Questions and Answers
1. What if there is a bloodbath?
If key wants for land and self-determination are met on both
sides, there is no need to destroy the other to achieve these
wants. Once the plan is agreed to and implemented, anyone who
continued to resist, or who sought revenge through killing, would
be apprehended and dealt with through the courts. People are less
likely to kill others if there is another mechanism for settling
disputes, which the judicial system provides. One advantage to
an integrated police force and judicial system is that people
who harm and harass other people would be more likely to be arrested
and tried than is now the case: for example, injury and harassment
of Palestinians by settlers is largely ignored by the Israeli
police and military officials; this would not be the case if Palestinians
had the power to arrest them as well. Taking care of conflicts
as they arise would help to keep them from blowing up into larger
conflicts. A publicly funded effort to heal psychological wounds,
arrive at common understandings, and promote goodwill (the last
element of the plan) would help to reduce the hostility that now
exists. Agreement to the plan would in itself bring a great feeling
of catharsis among those who feel victimized and would replace
despair, which leads to violence, with hope. If both sides can
see steady progress being made in implementing the plan, the frustrations
that have led to violence could be avoided. Special care would
need to be taken at the beginning to prevent possible exuberance
from descending into lawlessness. The presence of a large number
of trained, nonviolent peace workers could help with conflict
resolution, especially during the transition phase. Respect for
each nations sensitivities would have to be a part of the
framework. For example, drawing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed
or drawing swastikas would need to be outlawed from the very beginning.
2. What is to persuade Israel, which now has the upper hand,
to agree to the terms of this proposal?
Precisely because Israel now has the upper hand, any willingness
on the part of Israel to come to a truly fair settlement would
gain Israel tremendous respect in the international community.
Fairness is a key value in Judaism, and a policy that embraced
this principle would be in line with Judaisms teachings
to love the stranger and to treat the stranger justly.
Israel would gain by having legitimate, internationally recognized
access to all of the Land of Israel that was in Mandate Palestine;
Israel would no longer be regarded as an occupying power: its
obligations to the Palestinians under international law would
be met. Working with the Palestinians as partners in governance
would hasten the Palestinians skills in governance, leading
to more stability in the region.
Israel would be safer under this plan than under other two-state
solutions. With other two-state solutions, Israel will always
be worrying about a possible attack from Palestine and other Arab
states. If the borders of Israel and Palestine are the same, Israel
will have better control over what comes in and what goes out,
and other Arab states will have to think twice about attacking
Israel, because an attack on Israel would also be an attack on
Palestine. Most important, however, is that this plan provides
so much of what the Palestinians want, they will likely have no
more incentive to resist. They would have a governmental mechanism
for dealing with their grievances and the incentive to help apprehend
people who were not willing to live in peace. If Palestinians
were to accept this plan, so, surely, would their international
supporters, including other Arab states and Iran.
3. What is to persuade Palestinians, who never agreed to the
Zionist enterprise, to agree to the terms of this proposal?
Israel is a fait accompli; it is not going away, and a one-state,
one-vote solution is simply unacceptable to Jews unless Arabs
are transferred out. More than any other two-state proposal, this
proposal restores what Palestinians lost when Israel was created:
both states will now have access to all of what was Mandate Palestine.
This plan is the only plan that provides parity between the two
states in terms of borders and power while treating individuals
equally. Palestinians will gain world esteem by granting Jews
the political power they need to provide a haven against anti-Semitism.
4. How can such a tiny area absorb the return of Palestinian
refugees, especially considering the shortage of water and the
Jews own need to have Israel be a haven for Jewish refugees?
As part of an overall settlement, other countries could offer
citizenship to Palestinian refugees, reducing the number of refugees
returning to Israel-Palestine. Israel is currently using workers
from many different countries. With the end of the conflict, Palestinians
could just as easily fill these positions and the foreign workers
sent home. As stakeholders in Israel-Palestine, Palestinians might
feel motivated to reduce the size of their families, as has happened
with other families around the world when their economic and political
conditions improve. Israels recruitment of Jews to Israel
for demographic purposes would no longer be necessary, because
Israel would have 50 percent of the power regardless of the size
of its population. Israel could continue to be a haven for Jews
who are persecuted, but perhaps only a temporary haven. The best
course of action is to work for human rights for Jews and other
minorities in every country of the world so that there is no need
for a haven. Anti-Semitism arising as a response to Israels
policies would be reduced if there were a fair settlement of the
5. Why should power be shared 50-50 instead of on the basis of
Because Jews have experienced centuries of state-sponsored (or
state-allowed) discrimination and persecution, culminating in
the systematic extermination of 6 million Jews, they feel the
need for a place where they have political control. Admittedly,
sharing power 50-50 does not give them absolute control, but at
the same time it does not allow them to be controlled. Were a
true impasse to occur, and arbitration sought, the international
community would favor human rights. Palestinians would gain international
esteem for generously recognizing the Jews need for control
of their destiny. The Palestinians, themselves having experienced
powerlessness, also need a place where they can control their
destiny. A 50-50 solution is the only one that will give each
group the assurance it needs not to be dominated. Giving each
state equal power has precedent in the setup of the General Assembly
of the United Nations. Parity between Palestinians and Jews as
nations was even suggested by some Zionists before the creation
6. Arent we really talking about a binational state?
The concept of a binational state has changed since some Zionists
first proposed it in the 1920s and early 1930s. Back then, when
Jews were a minority, parity between the Jews and Palestinians
was as an inherent aspect of the proposal for a binational state.
More recently, any mention of a binational state assumes a one-person,
one-vote arrangement within a single state. The Parity for Peace
plan recognizes the psychological importance to Jews and Palestinians
alike of each nation having a state of their own and does not
call for the destruction of any state that already exists. Allowing
each state separate representation in the United Nations gives
each state legitimacy as a state.
One could argue that shared sovereignty belies the notion of
a state, but sovereignty is shared in a federal system, and a
federal system is a relatively new concept in statehood. When
the thirteen colonies in America broke away from England and established
themselves as states, they first tried working together as a confederation.
They soon found that they needed a stronger union. Thus the federal
system was born. All human institutions arise to meet a need.
Just because there have never before been two states with the
same borders and a shared government does not mean that this political
framework cannot be instituted. The conflicting and legitimate
demands posed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are unique and
call for a unique response. Two people can maintain separate identities
while owning a house and sharing in decision-making related to
the house. As our world becomes more integrated, nations are already
giving up some of their sovereignty for the sake of world order.
7. Doesnt the cartoon controversy (the worldwide Muslim
uprising over Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed) show that
nations with different value systems cannot live and work together?
Both nations will have to show sensitivity to issues that inflame
the other. Some countries have laws against hate crimes
or incitement to violence. Palestinians and Jews could
do the same, specifically stating what actions will be considered
unacceptable. Sensitivity must include a willingness to hear the
other sides grievances. The cartoon controversy became a
worldwide uprising because Danish officials initially refused
to meet with local Muslims who were upset about the publication
of the cartoons.
Both the Jews and the Palestinians have qualities that bode well
for living and working together in spite of diversity. The Jewish
community in Israel includes people from many different cultures
and with very different interpretations of what it means to be
a Jew. Furthermore, 20 percent of the population of Israel is
Muslim and there are, as well, a good many residents from other
countries. Despite all this diversity, society functions. Historically,
Muslims have been relatively tolerant and hospitable. Before the
advent of Zionism, Jews were better treated in Muslim countries
than in Christian ones, and in pre-Mandate Palestine, Jews, Muslims,
and Christians lived harmoniously. Justice is an important value
for all three religious groups as well as secularists and can
be a unifying principle.
8. What if Palestinians and Jews simply dont want to live
Palestinians and Jews have both experienced what it is like to
live in ghettos. Under the Parity for Peace plan, forced segregation
would not be allowed, but people may naturally choose to live
with people of their own nationality. An active program to promote
understanding and goodwill at all levels of society would help
to break down psychological barriers. If such a program were publicly
funded so that it could be done on a massive scale, Israel, together
with Palestine, would indeed become a light unto the nations.
This plan is a work in progress. It was last updated on March
17, 2006. We welcome your suggestions and comments. Post them
on the forum
feedback to the writer-editor of this site. We will not open
attachments. The mailing address is Parity for Peace, P.O. Box
381, Fairfax, CA 94978, U.S.A. Please identify yourself as a Jew
(J), Palestinian (P), or Other (O). Further identification would
be helpful, such as whether you live in Israel, another country,
Gaza, or the West Bank.
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