The One State – A Critique
Israel and the Palestinian Authority share a common belief. Each has a conviction that the long reach of history is on their side; the Israelis believe that future generations throughout the world will be detached from the illegal and oppressive acts committed against the Palestinians and only be aware of their present situations; the Palestinians believe that Israel has no place in an Arab world, will constantly face enemies and hostility from Arab and Muslim nations, and these nations will one day achieve sufficient power to force their dictates on what they perceive as a Zionist regime.
With its historical view, Israel proceeds to ignore Palestinian and international pleas to halt its oppression and continues with plans to fulfill the mission proposed by the Zionist Organization at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference — gain control of the land, obtain the aquifers, and create a greater Israel from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, and maybe further. For the contemporary Israeli government, the Palestinian community is only an encumbrance that will slowly disappear.
The Palestinian Authority proceeds with continuous compromises, with hope that an Israeli government will recognize the Authority’s efforts to achieve an arrangement that satisfies Israel’s wants and preserves the Palestinian community within the former British Mandate. The stoic nature of the Palestinian people, after decades of violent aggression against them, is remarkable. Observing the Palestinians enduring the daily criminal, scheming, vicious, brutal, and violent attacks and still maintaining their presence is a tribute to human resourcefulness, a remarkable achievement that deserves praise from the entire world.
Due to their lack of competitive strength, the Palestinians have gone from attempts to reestablishing themselves to a commanding position, to trusting an autonomous role, and finally to accepting a diminished second state. Stoicism and commendable behavior do not move oppressive regimes that have the tools and forces to control the agenda. Israel remains recalcitrant. Nothing left for the Palestinians but to prove that Israel’s recalcitrance will work against its goals - with several millions of Palestinians within its borders, Israel will be a de facto binational state. Why not make it official and in accord with an agreeable plan?
With that in mind, Jonathan Kuttab, co-founder of Nonviolence International, offers a thoughtful, provocative, and commendable proposal, outlined in a book, Beyond The Two-State Solution. A brief summary of Jonathan Kuttab’s propositions:
Essential Elements of the New Order
1. Right of Return
The availability of this right is a serious requirement for Zionists, which Palestinians must accept. On the other hand, Palestinians, who have been forcibly denied access to their homeland, also must have a recognized right of return.
2. Equality and Non-discrimination
Public institutions, lands, funds, and resources must be utilized in the interest of all citizens, and discrimination must not be tolerated. Arabic, which is currently formally recognized as an official language in Israel, will need to be deliberately incorporated into public life, on a par with Hebrew.
3. Freedom of Movement
Restrictions of travel between the West Bank, Gaza, the settlements, Jerusalem and pre '67 Israel must be removed, as well as the Wall and the checkpoints
4. Relations with the Arab world
Palestinians need to reevaluate their pan-Arab identity, and adjust it to reflect the reality that their state now is both Jewish and Arab to its very core.
The new State may require that the Minister of Defense, as well as a majority of the top brass in the army be Jewish as a matter of permanent constitutional law. Palestinians, however, must be free to join the army on the basis of equality, while all citizens who wish, must be free to demand exemption from military service for reasons of conscience.
6. Legal Protections
In addition to a constitution that embodies strict guarantees that safeguard the interest of either group, the “Protection Clauses” must be safeguarded from alteration by requiring that they can only be altered by high majorities “Protection Clauses” will remove the ‘demographic threat’ and ensure that a group which has numerical majority will not be able to oppress a numerical minority, or that a future change in the numerical balance between the two communities will not make the minority vulnerable to oppression by the majority.
7. Ministry of Cooperation and Coexistence.
This ministry will promote understanding of the history, culture, and language of each community by the other. It will also promote joint activities and programs intended to heal the hurts of the past and build understanding and tolerance between the two communities.
8. Civil Law
New civil laws must be promulgated that will ensure the rights of secular individuals, mixed couples, and religious communities that are not currently recognized. These include Reform and Conservative Jews, as well as Evangelicals. Without derogation from the existing rights of religious courts, individuals who choose not to be so governed should be allowed to follow their conscience and not be forced to submit to religious courts of their particular religious community.
9. Name, Character, Public Holidays, Symbols and Flags
Careful thought and creativity with input from both sides are required to have these elements of national identity reflect the desires of both communities without exclusivity or discrimination against the others.
Aware that the One-state is a contentious issue and no plan will satisfy a majority of contenders, Jonathan Kuttab solicited comments to his book’s proposals. Here they are:
Only an Israel government that believes in political, economic and social equality for all persons, regardless of religion or ethnicity, that is guided by principles of peaceful coexistence, human rights, inclusion, and social awareness can implement Jonathan Kuttab’s design. That Israel does not exist, has never existed, and is unlikely to come into existence in the future. This does not mean that Jonathan Kuttab has submitted a fantasy proposal that is doomed to failure; he has pointed a way for the proposal to achieve success, and not only for the Palestinians and Israelis but for the entire world, which is that the only way to resolve the Middle East crisis is for Israel to change from a militarist, nationalist, and oppressive country into a truly democratic, peaceful and caring nation - a beacon to the world.
Since the aftermath of the 1967 war, Israel has had total control of the situation and does what it wants, with no consideration of damage it inflicts upon others. Palestinian bodies cannot wrest control and change Israel; only international bodies can accomplish the tasks, and they will only do that when they recognize that Israel is not only a threat to the Palestinians and nations of the Middle East but a threat to the entire world – assuredly the provocateur of the next genocide and potential instigator of the next nuclear war. Why governments and their citizens continue to tolerate a United Nations’ member that commits the most grievous and well-documented crimes without compunction — maiming, killing, harassing, unlawfully seizing property, destroying property, and rendering homeless innocent people — defies comprehension.
Jonathan Kuttab has been idealistic and presumptive in expecting that this Israel will give attention to his well-formulated plan. Idealism is excusable. Less excusable is his carelessness in agreeing with nonsensical, spurious, and ahistorical statements consistently made by Israel’s promoters as a deceptive supportive mechanism for the Zionist incursion in the Middle East. Jonathan Kuttab may not believe these deceptive narratives and felt it wise to appease those who could react angrily and scuttle the entire plan if the narratives were contradicted. Big mistake. Any time a Palestinian affirms these narratives, Zionist supporters cite their acceptance as a valid appraisal of their mission. It is dangerous to agree to anything with Israel that does not warrant agreement.
Being Jewish and familiar with Jewish history, I am disconcerted and surprised that a Palestinian intellectual would repeat the ahistorical nonsense perpetrated by Zionists and their followers. I disagree with many of his statements regarding Jewish thought, sense it is important to highlight these disagreements in detail, and have my responses serve as thoughtful retorts to others who express similar beliefs. Jonathan Kuttab writes:
Zionism assumed several forms and constructed many purposes. During Herzl’s time, Jews were being emancipated, becoming integrated citizens of western nations, acquiring educational benefits, and achieving economic success in many countries. The principal reason for Zionism was not as Jonathan Kuttab suggests – just the opposite – due to their rapid advancements, Zionists felt that Jews would lose their attachment to Judaism and the Jewish community would wither. Few Jews at that time expressed sympathy with Zionism.
Nations that have a Right of Return give that right to previous nationals and usually their children. The Israeli Right of Return permits Jews from any nation to immigrate freely to a state that has no borders and from which neither they nor ancestors had any previous citizenship. Arabs who were previous Israeli nationals in the last decades, and whose children can claim direct descendant from an Israeli, have no right of return.
Immigration quotas that favor entry from certain nations and restrict entry from other nations are considered discriminatory. Israel goes full length, not allowing anyone from any country to immigrate, except a Jewish person. Israel's self-absorbed and patronizing attitude of being the official protector of world Jewry imposes problems for Jews in other nations and violates the sovereignty of their home countries.
This is an exaggeration used by the Israeli government to convince the world that its oppressive attitude has a defensive reason. The inquisition, which affected other non-Catholics more grievously than it affected Jews, occurred 600 years ago in a primitive Europe. Why relate those ancient happenings to today? Anti-Semitic Christianity and pogroms were also happenings of the past. I never met or ever knew any Jewish person who felt insecure because of the Holocaust or other occurrences. Do African-Americans fear being returned to slavery? Do British Catholics fear the United Kingdom and American South will return to persecute Catholics again? Security is Israel's excuse for rationalizing every oppressive and offensive action.
Jonathan Kuttab is talking about a small segment of the Jewish community. Most Jews were Reform or secular before Israel realized it could entice many Jews to its shores by reclaiming the Orthodox. Half of world Jewry lives in nations that do not have an official Shabbat, and more than half of Israeli Jews do not need or want to have their weekend activities restricted. Relatively few Jews strictly observe the Sabbath.
A common people have a common language. To make the Israeli Jews become a unique people the Zionists discarded English and recreated the Hebrew language. Linguists debate if Israeli Hebrew is a continuation of an ancient language or is a new language called Modern Hebrew that contains some Hebrew syntax. Because there was not extensive literature, poetry, philosophy, and history in a Hebrew language, the necessity for mass knowledge of the Hebrew language did not exist. English, which had become the international language, sufficed and was preferable. Creating a new language, Modern Hebrew, suited nationalist, chauvinist, and propaganda mechanisms.
The most recognized archaeologists, Israel Finkelstein, director of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, William Dever, professor of Near Eastern archeology and anthropology at the University of Arizona, Ze'ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University have shown that the biblical history of an ancient Israel is mostly myth until the era of Omri in the 9th century B.C., one century after descriptions of David and Solomon. Although Jews lived in the Levant and controlled a portion of the area during the short reigns of the Hasmonean kings, ancient Hebrew contributions to civilization and verifiable history are sparse and biblically contrived. For contemporary Jews, a proven relation to an Eretz Israel is “zero.” Some remains of Jewish dwellings, burial grounds and ritual baths can be found, but few, if any, major Jewish monuments, buildings or institutions from the Biblical era exist within the "Old City" of today's Jerusalem. The oft-cited Western Wall is the supporting wall for Herod's platform and is not directly related to the Second Temple. No remains of that Temple have been located. Archaeologist William G Dever, in his book, What Did the Biblical Writers Know, and when Did They Know It?: What Archaeology Can Tell Us about the Reality of Ancient Israel, writes, “By the beginning of the 21st century, archaeologists had given up hope of recovering any context that would make Abraham, Isaac or Jacob credible historical figures.” Jewish connection to Hebron remains a mythical story.
Despite extensive recitations , no evidence exists of world wide anti-Semitism in the late 19th century, during the era of incipient Zionism. A few isolated groups in France and Germany accused Jews of attempting to dominate the economy and culture. Some attacks, organized to halt Jewish emancipation, occurred early in the century in Germany (Hep-Hep riots) and others, related to exaggeration of acts by Jews and the assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881, happened later in Russia. The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, an English-language reference work on the history and culture of Eastern Europe Jewry, prepared by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and published by Yale University Press in 2008, is an objective and authoritative source. Excerpts from their work can be found at https://yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Pogroms.
Anti-Jewish violence in the Russian Empire before 1881 was a rare event, confined largely to the rapidly expanding Black Sea entrepot of Odessa. The first Odessa pogrom, in 1821, was linked to the outbreak of the Greek War for Independence, during which the Jews were accused of sympathizing with the Ottoman authorities. Although the pogrom of 1871 was occasioned in part by a rumor that Jews had vandalized the Greek community's church, many non-Greeks participated, as they had done during earlier disorders in 1859.
The pogroms of 1881 and 1882, which occurred in waves throughout the southwestern provinces of the Russian Empire, were the first to assume the nature of a mass movement. Violence was largely directed against the property of Jews rather than their persons The total number of fatalities is disputed but may have been as few as 50, half of them pogromshchiki who were killed when troops opened fire on rioting mobs.
In all of Europe, from what I have been able to confirm, less than 100 Jews were killed and possibly a few thousand were injured in anti-Jewish riots during the 100 years of the 19th century that witnessed the establishment of political Zionism. For context, compare those figures to other atrocities during that time, all of which are rarely mentioned.
9,492 - 120,000
Amerindian population in California declined by 80% during the period
3.3% to over 50% of the aboriginal population was killed
90% to 97% of total Circassian population perished or deported by Russian forces
Statistics on casualties to Israeli Jews (https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/total-casualties-arab-israeli-conflict), compared to 19th European Jews at the time of the Zionists, demonstrate that the gathering of the Jews has not made them more secure or safe in Israel.
From the start of the British mandate in 1919 until the year 2019, 71 years after the founding of Israel, 24,060 Jews had been killed and 36,260 had been wounded in the Levant. Due to identification of the Jews with Israel, attacks on Jews in the western world are increasing. Sheltered by high walls and a strong military, Israeli Jews have been able to defend themselves against embittered enemies. If ballistic missiles make the walls superfluous and Israel's adversaries become militarily strong, the Zionist mission will turn into a modern Sicarii, repeating the activities of those who claim to speak for Jewish people and bring them to eventual decline.
Safety from persecution.
Extensive reports demonstrate prejudices by Israeli authorities against the Middle East and North African Jews, Yemenite Jews, and Ethiopian Jews (Falasha), and the difficulties these groups experienced to integrate themselves in Israeli society.
In the year 2013, 60 years after the Middle East and North African Jews came to Israel, government studies conducted in conjunction with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that "a job applicant with an Ashkenazi-sounding name has a 34 percent higher chance of being hired by an employer than a person with a Sephardi-sounding name applying for the same position, [and also that] over 22% of employers openly stated that they actively discriminate against applicants with Arab-sounding names." (https://employmentdiscrimination.foxrothschild.com/2013/08/articles/employee-hiring/discrimination-in-israel-against-applicants-with-sephardi-or-arab-sounding-names/)
The Middle East and North African Jews who came to Israel were Arabs; the Ashkenazi were European; the Falasha were Ethiopians; and the Yemenites were from the Arabian Peninsula. Israel replaced the differing languages, dialects, music, cultures, and heritage of these ethnicities with unique and uniform characteristics, and created a new people, the Israeli Jews. Destruction of centuries old Jewish history and life in Tunisia, Iraq, Libya, and Egypt accompanied the creation of a new people. The Zionists, who complained about persecution of Jews, wiped out Jewish history, determined who was Jewish, and required all Jews to shed much of their ancestral characteristics before they could integrate into the Israel community. Their actions showed that the dominant authority rarely allows others to compromise its dominance, and they were no different, and certainly not better, than others they accused of preventing advancement of Jewish communities.
During the last 70 years, disturbing and violent acts against Jews, more in Israel than the rest of the world combined, including the murder of Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, have been committed by a variety of Jewish groups, considered religious terrorist organizations in Israel.
Brit HaKanaim was a radical religious Jewish underground organization, which operated in Israel between 1950 and 1953.The movement's ultimate goal -- establish a state run by Jewish religious law.
The Kingdom of Israel group was active in Israel in the 1950s. Members of the group were caught trying to bomb the Israeli Ministry of Education in May 1953, because they saw the secularization of Jewish North African immigrants as a direct assault on the religious Jews way of life and a threat to the ultra-Orthodox community.
Keshet (1981-1989), an anti-Zionist Haredi group, focused on bombing property without loss of life.
Sicarii, an Israeli terrorist group founded in 1989, plotted arson and graffiti attacks on leftist Jewish politicians who proposed rapprochement with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Lehava, an extreme religious minority, used terror to implement their views of how the society should look. Former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni stated, "This organization works from hatred, racism, and nationalism, and its goal is to bring an escalation of violence within us."
Sikrikim, an anti-Zionist group of ultra-Orthodox Jews, committed acts of violence against Orthodox Jewish institutions and individuals who would not comply with their demands.
The Revolt terror group claims the secular State of Israel has no right to existence; they hope to create a Jewish Kingdom in Israel. Arabs will be killed if they refuse to leave.
On the day of UN Resolution 181, partition plan of the British Mandate, the post-World War II United States/Allies undertaking to create a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous world based on international cooperation through multilateral institutions, became exposed as a futile fraud. Each nation did best for itself, including willingness to be coerced or bribed, regardless of the damage done to an innocent population.
The criminal acts committed against the Palestinian people cannot be countered by words or deeds. The course of history pursues one trajectory with two possible outcomes — a huge conflagration between Iran and Israel, which leaves a devastated Middle East, or an inability of any nation to contend Israel, which leaves a devastated Palestinian population.
Only a new Western World Order, in which inclusion, social, political, and economic quality, regard for human rights, and moral resposibility are binding resolutions and not hypocritical catchwords, can contain the Israeli aggression. Making Israelis, their supporters, and an inattentive world aware that they promoted outsiders to enter a land and subjugate an indigenous people and they are party to one of the greatest thefts and oppressions in history will aid in constructing the road to the New World order. The salvation of the Palestinians is the salvation of all.
december 15, 2020