by Uri Avnery, Peace Activist, Journalist, Writer, Founding Member of Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc), Former Three-Term Member of the Israeli Knesset and the original advocate of the “Two-State Solution” Israel-Palestine Idea
Publisher‘s Note: Of all the ignorant statements I’ve heard from Mitt Romney’s messages put out in the mainstream media is that the “two-state solution is dead”. Either this man has some incompetent foreign policy team (with himself included) who needs a reality check on what is really going on or he simply reads off from Netanyahu and chief Zionist scripts. Since he needs some factual information, TSR has taken the decision to assist him in his brief education straight from the horse’s mouth: The original advocate of the “Two-State Solution” Israel-Palestine Idea who lobbied the solution for decades even before all of you heard of it and were born (like me). I concur with Mr. Avnery: This “one-state solution” is an invented oxymoronic brainwashing and propaganda. What we have is a one-state problem, there is no one-state solution. Furthermore, I would also emphasize that the possibility that two peoples living peacefully “side-by-side in two states, each with its own flag and its own elected government (and its own soccer team), does exist and such ‘co-existence’ can take different forms: from a loose confederation with open borders and free movement to closer forms of evolving structures, like the European Union.” But the greedy are blind to this option and compromise. Why is this concept of living in harmony, peace, fairness, just and common prosperity with one another too complicated for you to understand, Mr. Romney, and esp. Mr. Netanyahu?
September 22, 2012 (TSR) – Once upon a time, President Richard Nixon wanted to appoint a certain lawyer to the US Supreme Court.
“But the man is a complete moron!” one senator exclaimed.
“So what,” answered another, “There are a great many morons in the US, and they have a right to be represented in the court as much as any other sector of society.”
Perhaps the United Morons of America have a right to elect Mitt Romney president. But for the sake of the US and Israel, I hope that this will not happen.
Some people say that Israel is the 51st state of the Union. Some say that it is the first among the 51. Whatever, our lives – and perhaps our deaths – depend to a great extent on the man in the White House.
So, with all my misgivings (and I have a lot) about Barack Obama, I very much hope that he will be reelected.
* * *
IN HIS latest seizure of wisdom, Romney did not only disclose that 47% of Americans are parasites, but also that “the Palestinians” want to destroy Israel. According to him, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has no solution, it will go on forever.
I wonder where he got this last piece from.
In Nazi Germany there was a certain Herr Doktor Otto Dietrich, a functionary of the Ministry for Propaganda. Every day, he would gather the editors of the important newspapers in Berlin and tell them what their headline and editorial were going to be the next day.
That was before the Internet and fax. Nowadays, the Prime Minister’s office faxes a daily ‘page of messages” to Netanyahu’s ministers and other stooges, telling them what messages they are to spread.
I strongly suspect that Romney read this page of messages just before he met his audience, composed of billionaires (or mere millionaires). After all, he couldn’t have invented these astounding pieces of insight all by himself, could he?
* * *
“THE PALESTINIANS” means “all Palestinians”. All nine million of them in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, Israel, not to forget the refugees around the world.
Well, I suppose that if by divine intervention Israel were to disappear from the globe, very few Palestinians would shed a tear. Neither would many Israelis shed a tear if, again by divine intervention, all the Palestinians disappeared. Quite a few Israelis would even volunteer to help God Almighty in this task. Who knows, if Romney’s evangelical friends pray enough, their God may dematerialize all those Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, Iranians and assorted other miscreants.
Alas, such fantasies belong to the realms of dreams and nightmares. In the real world, peoples do not disappear even after gruesome genocides, nor can states which possess nuclear bombs be eradicated by foreign enemies.
I know quite a number of Palestinians, and not one of them believes that Israel can be annihilated. Since Yasser Arafat decided in late 1973 that he must come to terms with Israel, the great majority of Palestinians want a deal that will enable them to set up a state of their own in a part of historical Palestine. This is called the “two-state solution”.
The present government of Israel does not want this, because they are not ready to give up the 22% of historical Palestine which would become the State of Palestine. Since they have no viable alternative, the government’s spokespeople assert that “this conflict has no solution”.
One of the fathers of this slogan is Ehud Barak. After the failed 2000 Camp David meeting, Barak, then Prime Minister, famously declared that “we have no partner for peace”. Since Barak was the main cause for the meeting’s failure, I dubbed him “peace criminal”.
Netanyahu gratefully picked up Barak’s cry, and now the great majority in Israel believes this message implicitly. (Recently I was interviewed by a Danish journalist. I told her: When we finish, stop the first taxi. Ask the driver about peace. He will tell you “Peace would be wonderful. I am ready to give back all the territories for peace. But unfortunately the Arabs will never make peace with us,” An hour later the journalist excitedly called me: “I did as you told me, and the driver repeated your words one by one.”)
“No solution” gives an impression of “everything will remain as it is”. That is a mistake. Nothing remains as it is. Things move all the time, settlements expand, Palestinians will rise up, the world is in flux, the Arab world changes, some day an American president will put the interests of the US ahead of those of Israel. Where will we be then?
* * *
THE GIST of Romney’s message is that the two-state solution is dead. This reminds me of Mark Twain’s famous: “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
It is now in fashion to say so. Quite a trend. However, different people have different reasons for believing that the two-state solution is dead.
Parents, teachers, pedophiles and cannibals all say they love children. But their motives are not the same. This is also true for the would-be undertakers of the two-state solution. They include:
One: Idealists, who wish for people of different nations to live together in harmony and equality in one state. (I would like them to study the history of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Sudan, and the present situation of the French in Canada, Scots in Britain, Flemish in Belgium and Basques and Catalans in Spain.)
Two: Arabs, who really believe that this is a peaceful way to get rid of Israel.
Three: Settlers, who want to turn the whole of historical Palestine into their dominion and, if possible, “cleanse” the country of non-Jews.
Four: Israelis, who believe that the settlements have created a situation that is “irreversible”. (Meron Benvenisti, a former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, coined this phrase already in the early 1980s, when there were less than 100 thousand settlers. I told him then that nothing was irreversible except death. Situations created by human beings can be changed by human beings.)
Five: Anti-Zionists, including Jewish anti-Zionists, who hate Zionism indiscriminately, with all its good and bad aspects, and for whom the very existence of a “Jewish” state is an abomination.
Six: Muslim fanatics, who believe that Palestine is a Muslim waqf (religious grant), so that allowing any part of it to non-Muslims is a deadly sin.
Seven: Jewish fanatics, who believe that all of Eretz-Israel, from the Nile to the Euphrates, has been promised to the Jews by God, so that conceding any part of it to non-Jews is a deadly sin.
Eight: Christian fanatics, who believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ will be possible only after the ingathering of all the Jews in this country (with no place in it for anyone else.)
Sorry if I have forgotten someone.
Some of these people have invented something called the “one-state solution”. That is an oxymoron. There is a one-state problem, there is no one-state solution.
From time to time it is worthwhile to come back to the basic facts of our life:
There are two peoples living in this country.
Neither of the two will go away. They are here to stay.
While the Arab Palestinians living in the country are still a minority, they will constitute the majority quite soon.
Both peoples are intensely nationalistic.
The two peoples have different cultures, languages, religions, historic narratives, social structures, standards of living. At present, after some 130 years of continuous conflict, there is intense hatred between them.
The possibility that these two peoples could live peacefully in one state, serving in the same army and police, paying the same taxes and abiding by the same laws enacted by the same common parliament, is nil.
The possibility that these two peoples could live peacefully side-by-side in two states, each with its own flag and its own elected government (and its own soccer team), does exist.
Such co-existence can take different forms: from a loose confederation with open borders and free movement to closer forms of evolving structures, like the European Union.
I hope that this is not too complicated for Mitt Romney to understand. But this may become irrelevant if – as I fervently hope – he is not elected.
I would hate for an ignoramus to be given the opportunity to learn world affairs on our backs.
AUTHOR: Uri Avnery
Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and founder of the Gush Shalom Peace Bloc Movement and Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, the leading (and often sole) voice in Israel calling for the creation of the State of Palestine in all the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the release of all Palestinian prisoners, the dismantling of all settlements and the recognition of Jerusalem as the joint capital of both states. A member of the Irgun as a teenager, to fight against the British colonial regime, Avnery sat in the Knesset from 1965–74 and 1979–81. Since 1948 he has advocated the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In 1974, Uri Avnery was the first Israeli to establish contact with the PLO leadership. In 1982 he was the first Israeli ever to meet Yasser Arafat, after crossing the lines in besieged Beirut. He is the original advocate behind the “Two-State Solution” idea and an alliance of Hebrews and Arabs for the liberation of the “Semitic Region” (a term coined by him so as to avoid the colonialist term Middle East) from imperialism and colonialism, to create a Semitic community and common market, as a part of the emerging third world. Avnery’s unflinching opposition to the nationalistic, theocratic “Jewish state” created by Ben-Gurion, and his advocacy of a modern, liberal state, belonging to all its citizens, irrespective of ethnic, national or religious roots is still very loud to the present Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He was also the former Owner/Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of mass-circulated Hoalam Hazeh News Magazine, which became a unique Israeli institution and the mouthpiece for aggressive political opposition, and fought for the separation of state and religion, for human rights, the rights of the Arab minority, equality between Jews of European and Oriental descent, the adoption of a written constitution (still lacking), women’s rights, civil rights and much more. It was the first to uncover the facts of the infamous Lavon Affair (concerning an Israeli false flag operation in Egypt), as well as scores of corruption affairs. Since the early 1950’s, it resolutely advocated the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel and support for the Arab struggles for independence (Egypt, Algeria, Iraq etc.) until it got abolished due lack of funds. It also created a new Hebrew style, now adopted by all Israeli media, and served as a school for many of the young men and women who became outstanding Israeli journalists. Its official slogan, which became an Israeli byword, was: “Without Fear, Without Prejudice”. Enemies of Avnery (such as Aharon Amir, a prominent right-wing ideologue) accused him of “poisoning” two generations of Israeli youth, turning them away from the national ethos towards an ideology of “integration in the Semitic Region”. Indeed, perhaps the most important battle won by Avnery was the gradual change in Israeli national consciousness from a total denial of the very existence of a Palestinian people (Golda Meir: “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people!”) towards the general recognition which made the Oslo agreement possible. This was a weekly effort that took some 40 years.