Farsakh Comment on Future Vision
Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas may have affirmed that they want a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but it may be more promising to return to a much older idea. There is talk once again of a one-state bi-national solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Oslo peace process failed to bring Palestinians their independence and the withdrawal from Gaza has not (...) Unfortunately, the article's "sense of decency" - or rather Le Monde diplomatique's - doesn't allow for talks about the consociational form of democracy at the heart of the present vision. So you'll better read the Manifesto or any article by Prof. As'ad Ghanem to make quite sure this time it's not about Fatah's old "secular and democratic state."
Time for a Bi-national State
By Leila Farsakh
March 19, 2007
There is talk once again of a one-state bi-national solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Oslo peace process failed to bring Palestinians their independence and the withdrawal from Gaza has not created a basis for a democratic Palestinian state as President George Bush had imagined: The Palestinians are watching their territory being fragmented into South African-style bantustans with poverty levels of over 75%. The area is heading to the abyss of an apartheid state system rather than to a viable two-state solution, let alone peace.
There have been a number of recent publications proposing a one-state solution as the only alternative to the current impasse. Three years ago, Meron Benvenisti, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor in the 1970s, wrote that the question is “no longer whether there is to be a bi-national state in Palestine-Israel, but which model to choose.” Respected intellectuals on all sides, including the late Edward Said; the Arab Israeli member of the Knesset, Azmi Bishara; the Israeli historian Illan Pape; scholars Tanya Reinhart and Virginia Tilley; and journalists Amira Haas and Ali Abunimeh, have all stressed the inevitability of such a solution.
The idea of a single, bi-national state is not new. Its appeal lies in its attempt to provide an equitable and inclusive solution to the struggle of two peoples for the same piece of land. It was first suggested in the 1920s by Zionist leftwing intellectuals led by philosopher Martin Buber, Judah Magnes (the first rector of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Haïm Kalvarisky (a member of Brit-Shalom and later of the National Union). The group followed in the footsteps of Ahad Ha’am (Asher Hirsch Ginsberg, one of the great pre-state Zionist thinkers).
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