Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Some Grounds for Optimism

Moshe Arens, former Defense Minister, and noted Israeli hawk, has endorsed a one-state solution for Israel/Palestine. It can be achieved in a matter of months. Israel should formally annex the West Bank and offer the Palestinians citizenship. As he puts it:

Adding another 1.5 million Muslims, the population of Judea and Samaria, to Israel's Muslim population would of course make the situation considerably more difficult. Would a 30-percent Muslim minority in Israel create a challenge that would be impossible for Israeli society to meet? That is a question that Israeli politicians, and all Israelis - Jews and Arabs alike - need to ponder.

Unlike the dire predictions heard so often, Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria would not be the end of the State of Israel, nor would it mean the end of democratic governance in Israel. It would, however, pose a serious challenge to Israeli society. But that is equally true for the other options being suggested for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This option of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria merits serious consideration.

Of course, Arens is not interested in adding Gaza to the equation; he doesn't care about the former Philistine region from an Eretz Yisrael standpoint, and he doesn't want all those Arabs. The fact that the Palestinian people are located in both the West Bank and Gaza, and in other places around the world, means nothing to him. And it is not as if Arens is giving up on his credentials. The idea not to annex the territories was conceived by the Labor Zionists, and not by Herutniks of Arens ilk. He presumably would keep the same legal mechanisms in place to keep Israel Jewish – the law of return and the nationality law.

Still, there is an element of thinking-outside-the-box, and if the effect of the Arens' piece (he joins Reuven Rivlin here) is to think of different ways to end the Occupation, then that is a blessing in itself.

It sure beats proximity talks.



Anonymous said...

I was waiting to read the part of this post where I would disagree with you on, but alas I found none. Oh well, there's always next time.

Devir said...

Seen from abroad ( outside Israel ) it seems odd that a man from Likud, supposedly in the right of israeli spectrum, comes up with such innovative ideas. I too have found myself wondering for some time whether the one-state would not be the only solution left ( despite my belonging to MPPM the portuguese pro-palestian movement that engages in the two-state option ).
The only problem, as you say, is that leaving Gaza out isn't really a complete "one"-state solution. But it sure poses grounds for optimism.
By the way: my movement ( and 18 others ) will be heldind today ( in 2 hours ) a demonstration in front of the israeli embassy to Portugal, here in Lisbon, against the ravaging of the foltilla to Gaza end to end the blockade ! I'm leaving home now to participate.

BTZalel said...

The prerequisite for a genuine Peace Process is either full unconditional withdrawal and removal of settlements to pre-1967 borders with minor adjustments in Jerusalem or an extension of full Israeli citizenship to all Palestinian residents within the borders of Mandatory Palestine. Only in one of these scenarios can a process of reconciliation proceed on the basis of some semblance of Justice and Equality.

By leaving Gaza out of the equation, Arens makes his proposal really quite insulting and meaningless. If Israel can absorb 1.5 million 'Muslim' citizens whom it will marginalize and keep the Gazans in their open air prison, what's the difference between that and the status quo?

Surcouf said...

After reading Moshe Arens' article in Haaretz it is clear that some fuzzy math are at play here.

According to CIA World Factbook the West Bank has a total population of 2,514,845 inhabitants, and that is without including Israeli settlers which are part of Israeli statistics (7.5 millions).

Adding the 1.5 million Israeli Arabs (20% of Israel) you get 4.0 millions Arab citizens in this 'new' Israel. They will make up 40% of the total population. Furthermore, this scenario makes no mention of the fate of the 1.5 million Gazans.

The question this scenario raise is the following: what kind of Israel will be offered to those 2.5 millions Palestinians? The one already offered to the 1.5 million Arab Israelis where they are second class citizens, or a new one where Israel is the state of all its citizens. The latter will be unacceptable and the former will be the end of the Jewish state.

Judging by the recent Flotilla Incident I don't see how Israelis would be prepared to commit political suicide!

Alex said...

It is refreshing to see something like this, but I wouldn't call Arens's idea particularly progressive. It serves the interests of the "Greater Israel" movement. Period. That said, it is much simpler than a drawn-out process of talking to agree to talk about provisional parameters to another talk about implementing the parameters etc etc. That way has led to failure and void (see, Annapolis), clearly.

Anonymous said...

and the reason why the palestinians on the west bank would be willing to see citizenship under a zionist govt as a permanent solution to their current status of non citizenship with some self government over their internal affairs with voting for the govt only by palestinian arabs is..

why would any palestinian nationalist in his right mind not see the arens "plam" as anything other than "final status" = permanent domination (as 30%) of a jewish state "

you may know jewish studies but your knowledge of politics is zero You certainly know no history. Zionists in the 1930s proposed a zionist autonomous entity within a confederation with the arab world and it was rejected. Why would a palestinian nationalist accept a worse outcome know and see that as preferable to a 2 state solution. I cant think of a conceivable reason why.

man you live in fantasy world

Anonymous said...

Arens is forgetting one small detail. His math is wrong because there would be 3 million Arabs out of 9 million residents and they have an advantage in youth so that within a few years, that 33% would become about 40%. Anyway, if they vote in a bloc or their representatives vote in a bloc, Gaza will also be inducted into Israel very shortly thereafter.

With all due respect to all the people who are thrilled about this, including you, the only real solution remains the Clinton Parameters and variations thereof.