It is perilous and unbecoming to argue with and contradict the icons of our global society. Those who struggle courageously for the rights of others and speak eloquently with word and deed against war and tyranny deserve praise and comfort. They are beautiful people.
Uri Avnery, journalist, soldier, politician, Knesset member, peace activist, writer, wordsmith, master of the quip and Zionist is one of the nobles who warrants special consideration. Being human, Avnery can be faulted, and his fault is a rigid attachment to Zionism, which strays his thoughts from lofty objectives and guides him to instruct others toward confusion – Isms and harmony don’t go together; Zionism and peaceful relations are separated phenomena.
The failures that Uri Avnery commits in proposing what he calls “the only solution to the Middle East conflict” are similar to those from other individuals and organizations whose thinking is misdirected due to a conviction that the solution must consider Zionism and Zionism leads the solution. His article, The Donkey of the Messiah, published on May 11, 2013, and circulated throughout the Internet, solicits examination and rebuttal, and for more reason than because his arguments don’t add up to his conclusions; the positions reflect a perspective from a broad spectrum of peace thinkers, peace movements, and peace institutions whose thoughts and actions have been salutary but have failed to steer the Middle East crisis to a proper course. Confined outlooks have only reinforced Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, perpetuated oppression of the Palestinian people and threatened the existence of the Jewish community. Spurious strategies that continually lead to cataclysm deserve careful evaluation.
The journalist turned politician turned peace activist starts his article with:
“THE TWO-STATE solution is dead!” This mantra has been repeated so often lately, by so many authoritative commentators, that it must be true.
Well, it ain‘t.
Did not the 1947 United Nations (UN) Partition Plan, Resolution 181, establish a two-state solution for solving the bitter conflict between Zionist settlers and native Palestinians? What happened with that two-state solution? It resulted in decades of turmoil, wars, deaths, injuries, displaced persons and magnitudes more acrimony than existed before Resolution 181. Why would a new partition plan be different? True that the next two-state solution will consider the realities of the situation and be engineered by the involved parties, but by what parties and toward what two states?
Avnery is not talking THE TWO STATES; he is talking A TWO STATES. The displaced Palestinians, who considered that a non-elected agency had no legal right to partition their lands and award parts of them to foreigners, would probably be glad to restore the original Partition plan into THE TWO STATES. The jury is still out on who was responsible for rejection of the Partition Plan – was it confused Palestinians who had no central leadership or the unified Israelis, who formed a government without any Arabs, although their territory contained a 40 percent Arab population, and then proceeded to systematically threaten the Arab populations who did not leave?
It is doubtful that the mass of displaced Palestinians, seated in the West Bank and Gaza, and scattered throughout the world, consider themselves well represented, and approve foreigners still making plans for validating the usurpation of their lands and providing them with a new state. Do the two-staters place the needs of the Palestinians before the wants of the Israelis and do they recommend a viable Palestinian nation on land that can provide sufficient agriculture to feed the population, sufficient water to satisfy their thirst and sufficient area to house those hoping to return to ancestral homes, or are they only legitimizing Israel’s illegal land gains, illegal seizure of Palestinian bank accounts and property and illegal ethnic cleansing? Do they expect that international agencies will maintain the new state, as it does now? Do they propose a real state or only real estate, which is a huge encampment with the trappings of a state?
The use of the words ‘solution’ and ‘conflict’ in the expression, “the only solution for the Middle East conflict” betrays the thinking behind the two-state ‘solution.”
The argument between the Palestinians and Israelis is not a conflict; it is a crisis – a singular crisis in which the Palestinian people suffer displacement, oppression and degradation. It is this crisis that needs a resolution, rather than a solution. Solution satisfies the Israelis – a method to separate themselves from the pesky Palestinians in their midst and purify their tribe.
The very essence of Zionism was to have a state where Jews would be masters of their fate, preferably in all of Palestine.
Note the clause, “preferably in all of Palestine.” Is that slip of the pen, or does it show the Zionists’ true intentions, since Day One?
What mastery and what fate does Avnery have in mind? Do Jewish families have different inclinations, different pursuits, different hopes than other people? How do millions of people get together and master their fate without becoming robotic responders to a totalitarian system and by surrendering their personal fates. This proposition reinforces the concept that Jews are an international conspiracy, who are contemptuous of others and perceive themselves as being uniquely solidified and possessing superior goals.
Has Zionism given Jews a state where they are masters of their fate?
All Israeli Jews have been forced to disregard their past cultures and historical identities, conform to a new culture and establish a new identity – badgered into discarding previous languages, literature, music and religious litany. The Israeli Jews don’t decide their fate but serve masters of a problematic fate – continually governed by a collection of nationalist militarists, Ariel Sharon, Bib Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman, to name a few - behaving as one involuntary organism, serving most of a lifetime in the military reserves, being killed and killing in continuous wars, and seeing themselves pushed around by an orthodox assembly who feeds from their earnings. Not wanting to be bothered by the orthodox ruffians, most Israelis refuse to visit Jerusalem. Nowhere in the world are Jews more compartmentalized, more dominated by a government, more insecure, and less “masters of their fate.”
Has Zionism decreased enmity toward Jews – just the opposite – twenty first century Jews are criticized mainly due to their support for the Zionist incursion into Palestine and its oppressive and warlike actions.
Want to find hatred of Jews – go to Israel, where the secular Jews despise the Orthodox Jews, the European Ashkenazi Jews are contemptuous of the Arab Jews (Mizrahi) and all discriminate against the Ethiopian Falasha Jews. From UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
TEL AVIV, 9 February 2012 (IRIN) — Growing up in Israel, Shay Sium became accustomed to being called a “nigger”. Sium, 32, has lived in Israel most of his life, but says he and other Ethiopian Jews are treated differently from other Israelis: factories do not want to employ them; landlords refuse them; and certain schools turn away their children. “The word discrimination doesn’t describe what we experience. There is another word for it: racism. It is a shame that we still have to use this word today,” he told IRIN. An estimated 125,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, but while they are supposed to be full citizens with equal rights, their community has continued to face widespread discrimination and socio-economic difficulties, according to its leaders. A recent decision – as reported by local media – by 120 homeowners not to sell or rent their apartments to Israeli-Ethiopian families has brought discrimination against Ethiopian Jews in Israel back into the spotlight.
Continuing with Uri Avnery’s article:
THE PEOPLE who speak now of the “one-state solution” are idealists. But they do a lot of harm. And not only because they remove themselves and others from the struggle for the only solution that is realistic.
If we are going to live together in one state, it makes no sense to fight against the settlements. If Haifa and Ramallah will be in the same state, what is the difference between a settlement near Haifa and one near Ramallah? But the fight against the settlements is absolutely essential, it is the main battlefield in the struggle for peace. Other peoples have found it impossible to live together in one state.
The people who speak now of the “one-state solution” are idealists for one reason – although it is probable that the mass of Palestinians will accept the resolution, few Israelis will accommodate the proposal. Here again is an example in which the Zionist only perceive the crisis in terms of the preferred solution for themselves. Despite the fact that the crisis for the Palestinians is a Zionist creation, as long as they have overwhelming power, they are unwilling to sacrifice one shekel to resolve the Palestinian homeless situation.
Yes, if you select particular areas of the world, you will locate other peoples who have found it impossible to live together in one state. This view is a simplification of the total problem and ignores the real driver behind the plea for independence – release from economic domination.
Let us survey the entire world. In Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, United States, Italy, China and many more nations, people of different ethnicities live relatively well together, some perturbations, but nothing to tear the nation apart. The most cited nations of inner turmoil – Spain, Canada, Belgium – despite intense rhetoric, have continued united for centuries, weathering storms of relatively confined protests.
Never cited by the ethnic separators is that the protests don’t specifically originate from ethnic rivalries. The ethnic character is a side issue to the regional characteristics; many nations have been formed by uniting regions that contained specific ethnicities. Regions that are not obtaining a fair share of the economic pie have erupted with demands for more autonomy or independence. It is not the ethnic difference that incites rebellion; it is the economic difference.
Take Catalonia, Spain as an example. Yes, the Catalans have a slightly different language and history than other Spaniards – ethnically similar but not identical. However, those are not the problems. Catalonia is the most prosperous and self-sufficient economic region in Spain – fortunate manufacturing, agriculture and tourism. What gripes the Catalans is that their economic riches support the deficient Madrid central administration and much of other Spain – the return on their own efforts are inconsistent with their efforts. Catalans have concluded they don’t need the others and would be better off if economically separated. Unlike Israel, where Jews hardly traffic with Palestinians and refuse to live among them, in Spain, the Catalans mix comfortably with other Spaniards – Andalucian, Gallego, Basque and Castilian.
If anyone wants to find a place in the world where an ethnic minority does its utmost to live in harmony with the majority, visit Israel – no better place to observe how members of the Arab ethnic minority remain perfect citizens despite the hostility from the majority. By promoting a philosophy that it is the nature of ethnicities to separate, the Israeli Jews, who have no economic conflict, (Israeli Arabs can complain) rationalize their prejudices and apartheid complex.
NO, THE two-state solution is not dead. It cannot die, because it is the only solution there is.
The resolution of the crisis proceeds if the world learns the true history of the crisis and understands where the obfuscation has led – to continuous wars and destruction of the Palestinian people. If the Zionists realized their prominent role in causing the crisis, and made amends, then the course of history might dislodge the impediments to a just resolution. Because its continued mention drowns out discussion on other relevant resolutions, the two-state solution will not disappear until after the Palestinian community fades into history.