Issa Khalaf: A Futile Plea for a Two State Solution

By Issa Khalaf

At this juncture in history Israel has most probably managed to render irreversible its incorporation of most of the West Bank, precluding a viable Palestinian state, all the while insisting on its commitment to a two state solution.  Given the massive annexations and the changing demographic trends in historic Palestine, the division of the two peoples along national lines may be unrealistic.  Still, Zionism insists on the moral superiority of its claims and narratives and is on a pre-determined course to both annex the land and separate the two peoples.  This, in fact, has been central to the self-created Zionist dilemma in Palestine-Israel.  The Palestinians will not disappear, nor will they concede their rights and their homeland or the moral legitimacy that Zionism arrogates to itself. 

Such realities have led a growing number of people to call for a unitary democratic state as an alternative to the partition of the land.  While the argument for a unitary state is morally sound and solves a number of enduring problems, including competing historical claims and legitimacies, borders, self-determination, Jerusalem, refugees, and settlements, Zionism is rapidly constructing an apartheid system in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT), and thus keeping the door open to continuing violence that also precludes a peaceful evolution towards a unitary state. 

Israel will not voluntarily or willingly transform itself into a genuine liberal democratic state, which implies the peaceful dissolution of its Zionist state institutions and the loss of Jewish majoritarianism.  It is determined to prevent Palestinian demands for freedom and political and civic rights in a unified state through various means, one of which is the possible unilateral declaration of final borders, thus effectively politically and “legally” separating Israel from Palestine and most probably obtaining American and Western recognition. 

The expected evolution towards a unitary state is faulty and the comparisons with South Africa are overstated.  The Palestinians may not be able to mount an effective peaceful struggle for freedom and equal rights, assuming they can be unified and coordinate such a struggle, because of the extreme physical nature of Israel’s control regime.  The future is likely to bring organized expulsions rather than a unitary state.    

I therefore argue that a two state solution, which would require Israeli withdrawal from the OPT, may still be the most practical option because it allows a gradual evolution towards increasing political and economic cooperation and integration of Palestine-Israel.  It saves Israel from itself and stops the Palestinians’ torment.  Two states allow an Israel at peace to feel secure about its identity, become more democratic, that is, evolve towards real freedom and equality of rights between its Jewish and Palestinian citizens, and serve as a model for a new Palestinian state and other states in the region.  This solution may be the last chance to prevent future convulsions.  Eventually, once it sheds its insistence on an ethnically based Jewish democracy, Zionism may then become increasingly liberalized and peacefully coexist with its neighbors. 

Some critics of Israel argue, not without sarcasm, that Israel genuinely wants a substantive peace but only until Palestinians and Arabs accord it recognition as a racist state within the Green Line and in the OPT.  The implications of this simplistic notion are undeveloped, though it implicitly de-legitimizes Zionist claims and Jewish nationalist aspirations altogether, while ignoring competing interpretations of Zionism.  No single critical interpretation of Israel’s ideological and historical foundations—that it is “racist” or a colonial outpost or a product of anti-Semitism—suffices.

Zionism is a modern political movement expressing Jewish nationalism, whose assumption is that Jews constitute a nation, certainly one people, not merely an ethnic or religious group or globally dispersed and separate ethnic or religious and even racial communities.  Its underlying premise is that anti-Semitism is an enduring human condition and that its only solution is the creation of a Jewish state.  The Zionist movement, or political project, was based on sentiments of attachment to Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel), anti-Semitism, nationalism, and colonialism. 

Jewish ability to sustain a sense of collective identity over millennia, caused by the unique particularity of Jewish history and extraordinary influence of the Hebrews and Judaism on Western culture, including in literature, law, and ethics, and by persisting persecutions, pogroms, and the Nazi genocide, is exceptional indeed.  These factors underlay the emergence of Zionist Jewish nationalism in the late nineteenth century, a sentiment that affected many ethnic-national groups in the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires.   

But because the Jewish population before the immigration of political Zionists in the beginning of the twentieth century was small, largely religious, and located in several towns in Palestine, there was no Jewish national presence or national culture in Palestine since the Jewish population’s dispersal from Palestine in the first century AD.  Recreating a Jewish national presence in Palestine in the twentieth century was by necessity a colonialist act, requiring colonial sponsorship.  The very ability of Zionist Jews to imagine they can actually create a state in the midst of another people beginning to awaken to their own particular nationalism was a reflection of the European colonial mentality of the time.  This historical and foundational reality accounts for the self-perception, behavior, and attitudes of Israeli Jews towards “Arabs” to this day.

Therefore, the Zionist enterprise from the beginning had two, conflicting personalities: a nationalist one and a colonialist one.  While expressing Jewish nationalism among mainly Eastern European and Russian Jews, it also was clearly a colonialist movement, for it lacked certain conditions to qualify as an indigenous ethnic nationalist movement in conflict with another ethnic nationalist group inhabiting the same land for centuries.  Israel’s institutionally discriminatory laws and policies, denial and dehumanization of the indigenous Palestinians, insistent conception of itself as Western and white, not Middle Eastern or Asian, have as much to do with its colonialist foundations as they do with hatred produced by fear, violence, terrorism, and interminable conflict.

Because Palestine was devoid of a longstanding indigenous ethnic Jewish nationalism or national awareness, Jewish nationalism and Jewish nationalists originated from outside, along with their socialist ideas, developing under conditions and circumstances existing in Central and Eastern Europe.  Prior to British sponsored immigration, there was no area in Palestine in which Jews, specifically Palestinian Jews, were historically concentrated in large numbers and therefore in which they formed a core ethno-geographic homeland around which they could historically or morally claim a state.  No equivalent of the Quebecois, Northern Ireland Protestants, Basques, and so on. 

Clearly, Jewish nationalism required immigration and colonial settlement in Palestine; no unclaimed or empty land existed, certainly that which did exist was miniscule for a state.  This was not North America or Australia.  Also, Palestinian nationalism, which struggled for statehood and independence throughout the Mandate period, naturally objected to and was alarmed at immigrants from Europe that would replace them.  The compelling logic of Zionism, of which Zionist leaders in Palestine were clearly aware, was that a Jewish nation-state could not come into being without removing Palestinians to make way for the requisite territory.  Land buying, and the reality of Palestinian presence in every corner of the country, was ultimately not sufficient for a politically viable state.  Therefore the Zionists’ impatience to empty the land of its indigenous people, as they did in 1948, and Israel’s geographical/territorial expansion were inevitable outcomes, as was the country’s exclusionary state institutions. 

Critics have referred to Israel as an ethnocracy rather than a liberal democracy.  This term is devoid of meaning.  An ethnic state is a more precise appellation with comparative value.  However, because of the difficulties which arise in defining Jews as a monolithic ethnic group, and because Israel defines itself as a Jewish state rather than as a liberal democratic state wherein Israeli citizenship takes precedence over Jewishness, Israel as an ethno-religious state is a more accurate reference.  As with the old South Africa, Israel is a group democracy, a democracy that assigns natural and superior moral and political rights to the Jewish individual and collectivity and discriminates against non-Jewish groups, i.e., Palestinian Arab citizens of the state.  The principle of individual moral equality applies to Jews only.  This fundamental principle of Western liberal democracy means that minority rights, equality before the law, and civic rights for non-Jews have little value or real effect.

“Jewishness” is obviously not an inclusive foundation for a liberal democratic state.  “Israeliness” potentially could be but only if Jewish citizens no longer enjoyed moral, institutional, and legal superiority over non-Jews.  Israel as a Jewish state is still democratic, far more democratic and free, including Palestinian citizens’ freedom of expression, representation, and protest, than the surrounding Arab autocracies.  However, “Arabness” as an ethnic-national identity in the modern Arab state, even secular ones that define themselves as Muslim in their constitutions, is not preoccupied with excluding or institutionally discriminating against non-Arabs or, for that matter, non-Muslims.  Individual Arab states—for example, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, or Tunisia—accord individual citizenship and privileges based on the state’s national identity, not the identity of its ethnic or religious majority. 

This is not to deny historical incidents of mob violence against Arab Jewish citizens, largely an effect of the Zionist enterprise in Palestine, and of Arab discriminatory, even anti-Semitic, attitudes towards Jews because of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians; it is to say that, perhaps excluding Saudi Arabia and to a lesser extent certain Gulf principalities, no modern Arab state institutions exist that systematically privilege Muslims over Jews or Christians.  Even highly authoritarian Arab states, monarchic or republican, go out of their way to protect their Jewish citizens.  The autocratic Arab state is an equal opportunity repressor.  Jew, Muslim, or Christian, citizens are Tunisian or Egyptian or Syrian or Moroccan first and are equal before the law, as they are, say, in India, where the inter-communal Muslim-Hindu divide has been historically violent.  The Palestinians themselves understand that, as it had under the Mandate, potential Palestinian citizenship includes Muslims, Christians, and Jews.  There is no assumed political or legal superiority or cultural racism of Palestinian Arabs against non Palestinian Arabs or Palestinian Muslims against Christians or Jews. 

Even Islamic republican states such as Iran, though intolerant and discriminatory to minorities by Western standards, still accord equal rights to non-Muslim citizens whose privileges are based on Iranian citizenship.  It turns out that Israel is a Jewish state as Iran is an Islamic state or Saudi Arabia is a Muslim nation.  However, Israel lacks a historical tradition comparable to the practice of Muslim states according recognition, autonomy, protection, and access to state resources to religious or ethnic minorities.
Israel’s problem is that it has adopted southeast-European style nationalism, which assigns primacy to ethnic-blood origins, and which has led to the kind of inter-communal bloodletting we saw in Yugoslavia.  Western European states tamed the dangers of ethnic or majority nationalism or tyranny by evolving into liberal democracies.  Israel on the other hand is preoccupied with the ideological construction and consolidation of an exclusionary, ethno-religiously based Jewish state, hence its obsession with demography. 

Palestinian citizens of Israel, though able to vote, are socially and economically denied equality and basic human rights by state design, and are not wanted including by most of their fellow Jewish citizens and face the danger of expulsion as a “demographic threat,” a danger that also applies to the OPT because Zionism lays claim to all of historic Palestine.  The strict ethnic separation of Jews and non-Jews in the West Bank, including the “Judaization” policies in Arab East Jerusalem; the seemingly endless siege and brutality against the occupied Palestinians; and the openly racist attitudes of many Israeli leaders and citizens against non-Jews in Israel and the OPT has no equal, certainly in no place styling itself as a democratic, humane Western society. 

There is no question, the Zionist ideological consensus clearly assumes a historical, spiritual, and moral superiority to Palestine, leaving the Palestinian people either as subordinates, there at the sufferance of the Jewish people or, expectantly, not leaving them there at all.  Zionism to this day assumes a natural right to the Land of Israel.  Zionists of all orientations, including Labor leftists, routinely become outraged should one challenge them on their “right” to live anywhere in the Land of Israel, i.e., the OPT.  Implicit in their psychology is that sharing the land or even tolerating the Palestinians bespeaks of Zionist magnanimity.  Withdrawal becomes a painful compromise.  At least right wing parties like Likud and Kadima don’t mince words, unlike Labor’s Janus face.   

The Zionist worldview in itself is astounding to any rationalist, that an essentially recently immigrated people from far away lands would dismiss in one full swoop the rights and claims of another people who’ve resided there for at least fourteen centuries, regardless of the more recent development of their local nationalism.  Arab East Jerusalem and the rest of the OPT are naturally there for Jewish settlement by Jews from America or Britain or Russia.  This Zionist attitude, unconstrained by any outside power, is a source of fear, anxiety, frustration, rage, helplessness, and impotence among the Palestinian people who’ve historically watched their homeland ineluctably shrink; they, either expelled or concentrated into ever smaller areas.

Israel has still not genuinely and unambiguously shed its rejection and delegitimization of Palestinian peoplehood.  This reality explains the apparent lack of acceptance of the moral, human, political, historical, and diplomatic equality of the Palestinians.  The Zionist impulse has determined its schizophrenia regarding the OPT and the issue of peace generally.  Israeli behavior in diplomacy, negotiations, peace plans, cease-fires, and wars, while on the one hand reflecting fears for security and feelings of vulnerability, encirclement, and imminent destruction, on the other hand is guided by the unwavering objective of aggressive territorial expansion and its internal outcome, the state’s manipulation of the public’s existential fears.

Israel’s territorial ambition is to control the West Bank but physically separate Jews from Palestinians.  The West Bank is forever a provisional territory, undefined, borderless, to be settled, an extension of Israel’s flexible borderlines.  While this political-psychological dynamic can be interpreted as an impulse of unsatisfied security ambitions, it can more convincingly be viewed as unsettled ideological impulse in tension with the imperative of definitive security borders whose corollary is the use of security planning to do what Zionism has always done: establish facts on the ground.     

Provisional diplomacy is an extension of provisional territory and borders. The pattern is familiar: accept temporary solutions, such as partition in 1947, or peace initiatives for the OPT while waiting for conditions to change or working determinedly to sabotage them, especially through inciting Palestinian violence, a tactic Ariel Sharon ruthlessly perfected.  The intent since at least the late1970s but clearly discernable since the start of the Oslo process in the early 1990s, was identical: thwarting genuine compromise by marking and annexing maximum territory in anticipation of a final settlement that presumably could not indefinitely be avoided.  This has been a characteristic of Labor and Likud in the OPT for decades, the first conceiving plans for large scale annexations and settlement, the latter taking these policies to their extreme ends.  No question Labor laid the irreversible foundation—through the annexations and control matrix, including plans to build a wall and unilaterally “disengage”—for Kadima and Ehud Olmert’s “convergence” plan. 

The Zionist paramountcy is establishing a Jewish state in all of Palestine, not a fair and equitable peace and coexistence with the Palestinians based on UN resolutions and international law.  While the Labor Party was and still is ostensibly open to territorial compromise as a road to peace, Likud opposes withdrawal altogether, while Kadima may be willing to make minimal withdrawals.  Unlike Labor, Kadima is ideologically unable to let go of the OPT, its desire for the land is voracious, it rejects the idea of a (truly) independent Palestine, and it prefers current apartheid conditions in the hope that the unbearable pressure will force many Palestinians to leave or future conditions will lead to expulsions. 

Like Labor, however, Kadima, largely because of Ariel Sharon’s foundational strategy, is willing to consider final border setting because it perceives that it cannot prevent the Palestinians from engaging in a peaceful anti-apartheid struggle for enfranchisement without a political and sovereign separation of Israel from Palestine.  Kadima’s will to implement its “convergence” plan, however, is uncertain because of its right wing Zionist sensibilities, that is, its ambivalence towards some withdrawal, dependence on extremist allies, and weakness in the aftermath of the summer 2006 debacle in Lebanon. 

Zionist liberalism towards a Palestinian-Israeli settlement therefore is a matter of degree, with leftist Zionists and peace groups being the most liberal in their advocacy of equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, human and civil rights in the OPT, and willingness to support Palestinian national aspirations and commit to withdrawal from the OPT (though, with few exceptions, they’re unwilling to readmit the Palestinian refugees and are anxious to support even a faulty two state solution).

Prevailing Israeli-Palestinian relations remain unchanged: Israel continues, even after the Mecca accords of February 2007, and the 2002 Arab League proposal for Arab-Israeli peace before it, to undermine peace proposals and Palestinian unity and rights by insisting on conditions (recognizing Israel’s right to exist, stopping terrorism, and fulfilling past agreements) that Israel itself has violated and for which it remains unaccountable.  Clearly, Israel under Olmert is behaving in accordance with its ideologically driven goals—that is, forestalling by appearing to engage in substantive initiatives towards real peace to consolidate and render irrevocable territorial gains being implemented under “convergence.”  

As of this writing, Olmert’s openness to the current diplomatic initiative from the Arab League which revives the 2002 land for peace formula reflects both his domestic weakness and American pressure—applied on Israel also because of George W. Bush’s need for a Middle East success—to open a “political horizon” or hope for a Palestinian state.  The Israeli Prime Minister’s reluctance regarding the land for peace formula is clear, however, in his precondition to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas that Jerusalem, borders, and refugees are not for discussion.  Obduracy towards genuine peace with the Palestinians, and recently towards a willing Syria that in secret negotiations offered Israel reasonable starting points for a settlement, is steadfast.  

And so today’s Israel, like its proto-state movement, cannot make up its mind: to live in peace with the Palestinians and Arab states with less than all the territory of historic Palestine (78 percent), or to have it all.  It insists on occupation, oppression, and expansion, postures which guarantee continuing warfare, while also insisting on its right to peace, security, and acceptance.

The enduring Zionist dilemma of choice is to: 1) Preserve an exclusive Jewish state; 2) Grant the right of immigration and automatic citizenship to Jews only; 3) Legally and institutionally define the Land of Israel as the inalienable property and right of the Jewish people; 4) Reject political and territorial compromise on sharing the land; 5) Apply discriminatory laws and institutions that privilege Jews over non-Jews; 6) Sustain a national security state combined with state propagation of existential threat of annihilation; 7) Live with a permanent state of war and threat of war.

The predictable consequences of this ideological dilemma include: 1) Systematic policy to incorporate most if not all of historic Palestine and implement the apartheid structure in the OPT; 2) Fears of a Palestinian “demographic threat” and unrelenting efforts to drive Palestinians out from Palestine-Israel by violence, penury, and economic, political and social fragmentation of Palestinian society; 3) A historical strategy of temporary compromise and avoidance of genuine peace and of peace initiatives that require Israel to withdraw from the OPT, appearing to engage but working to undermine such initiatives; 4) Reliance on absolute power over rationality in Palestine and elsewhere in the Middle East; 5) Preventing and distorting, through the organized political activity of Jewish-Americans, a balanced and fair U.S. policy in the Middle East; 6) Pursuing a policy of political fragmentation and instability in the Middle East and maintaining military and nuclear hegemony as a route to security if not peace.

In light of Zionism’s inability to create a genuine liberal democracy at home and to let go of the OPT, what are the alternatives?  During the Mandate, the British career officers brilliantly and in detail laid out the options which are today being debated, though obviously under different conditions: a democratic, independent, unitary Palestine with proportional legislative representation for the communities; a bi-national, federal-type Palestine allowing independent but also overlapping governance; and two national states achieved through partition.  Today, either a unitary state or a bi-national state would have the virtue of muting ethnic nationalism, allowing national and cultural expression by both peoples, maintaining all existing settlements, and allowing the return of Palestinian refugees.

On the face of it, left Zionist orientations, including within Labor, can theoretically accept coexistence and accommodate Palestinian demands for a viable Palestinian state, but these are a small minority with little societal or party base.  The Zionist consensus, in government and in society, not only clings to Zionist claims over historic Palestine and is in fact spawning even more extreme right wing parties, but the political and electoral systems are unable to allow the emergence of a secure coalition that substantially (at least 95 percent) withdraws from the West Bank, including Arab East Jerusalem. 
Though in the current, apartheid reality a two state solution already sounds archaic, even anachronistic, it is Israel’s last, best hope for survival as a liberally reformed Jewish state at peace with its neighbors.  True, the Palestinian refugees’ right of return is morally and politically unassailable, but it cannot be implemented without war and defeat of Israel, an event that would portend a horrific outcome for all.  Creative conceptual and practical reworking of compensation, restitution, and repatriation, including permanent resettlement that do not compromise Jewish majoritarianism and Israeli Jewish viability, are for now the only options. 

A two state solution would require complete Israeli territorial withdrawal from the OPT, with mutual territorial adjustments and innovative models for sharing sovereignty over a unified Jerusalem.  Israel must: 1) Evacuate all settlements in the OPT and the Syrian Golan Heights; 2) Withdraw from the OPT, the Golan Heights, and Lebanon; 3) Dismantle the wall and the matrix of control in the OPT and establish a corridor between Gaza and the West Bank; 4) Accept peace with the Palestinians, Syria, and Lebanon based on UNSC resolutions and international law; 5) Allow real equality and democracy for all its citizens inside the Green Line.   

This will lead to a liberalization of Zionism, that is, a more liberal Jewish nationalism that is non-expansionist and allows for equal rights for minorities based on the principle of individual rights.  

Advocates of a unitary (or bi-national) state are morally, politically, and in fundamental respects analytically correct.  However, even though I do not see any resistance to a unitary state among the Palestinian people, who in fact may welcome it, Israeli elites and Jewish society are unwilling to peacefully transform the Zionist ideological foundations and institutions of the state, to abdicate Jewish majoritarianism (even if that majoritarianism were guaranteed in a bi-national rather than a unitary state).  Given the immense political, psychological, and cultural divide between Israelis and Arabs generally, a two state solution which includes Israel’s integration and leads to free movement of ideas, goods, and labor in the region, is the only option that will allow for a gradual and consensual evolution or transition towards increasing cooperation and integration of Palestine-Israel.  The Arab League proposal of 2002 is a starting point. 

Furthermore, Israeli democracy in these circumstances will have a positive moral and practical effect on Palestinian democracy and on the surrounding Arab states such as Syria and Jordan.  There is very little option or viability for Israel and the Palestinians except for long term regional political, economic, social and cultural cooperation and integration.  In this scenario, Palestinian refugees should be resettled and integrated where they live, be allowed to return to the Palestinian state, and eventually be free to move between Palestine and Israel.

Unitary state advocates, inspired by the South African experience, also overstate the evolution they see towards the one state ideal.  The differences between Israel and South Africa at the end of apartheid include the following: 1) South Africa was 75 percent black and 14 percent white, of whom 60 percent were Afrikaans speaking; 2) Apartheid South Africa did not enjoy a position of moral and political support as Israel does in the West; 3) There was little to no sympathy for the whites, certainly for the Afrikaners, who could never have hoped to educe the sort of empathy Jews do throughout the Western world; 4) Afrikaners do not have a Holocaust narrative nor do they have the sort of standing Judaism has in Christian theology and the Western-Christian imagination: 5) The Afrikaners do not enjoy the considerable organized political power and influence of Jews in the United States or in Western countries; 6) The Afrikaners do not enjoy the awesome, unconditional military, political, and economic support and protection that the U.S. grants Israel; 7) A unitary state does not have even the remotest support among America’s politically influential Jewish community.

Israeli leaders at this time in history are unable and unwilling to change to save Israel and the region from further extremism, terrorism, interminable violence, and war, relying on hegemony and power, including military and nuclear superiority.  Israel has rejected the two state solution, and has apparently committed the country to annexation of most of the OPT, as advocates of a unitary state clearly understand.   

The rational assumption is that the practical and conceptual basis of the struggle will experience a paradigm shift.  Palestinians will have no choice but to mount a civil struggle for equal political and economic rights and enfranchisement in what would effectively be one state.  Rationally, incorporation of Palestine into Israel through “convergence” undermines the Israeli goal of preempting this eventuality. 

Israel’s “solution” is an extreme form of apartheid even by South African standards: separate Jews from non-Jews by pushing, penning and walling the Palestinians into physically atomized areas that would allow for minimum to no Palestinians inside of the annexed areas. These areas would effectively constitute Israel’s final borders, hopefully with Palestinian submission and who would then have their own token state.  

But it’s unclear how this grand plan will work.  If Israel’s parties manage to cooperate and unilaterally set the country’s borders in violation of international law, a move that would most probably elicit American and Western political and legal support and sanction, Palestinian resistance would be dubbed terrorism across the “borders” of a legitimately constituted state that would not be under any moral, political, or legal obligation to enfranchise the Palestinians.  As in 1948, what is lost will not be regained.

So whether the Palestinians can effectively wage a peaceful anti-apartheid struggle is problematic.  Certainly, established Palestinian leadership is historically distinguished for its infighting and short-sightedness.  Regardless of the outcome, however, it would seem that Zionism’s dilemma will not disappear.  Geography and ethnicity will not allow Israel to permanently subjugate the Palestinians and deny their rights within Israel and in the OPT, and so the former’s survival will always be at stake.  The land is too small, the populations physically too close.  Defensible borders cannot be achieved by annexation and control of others; peace and security can be won through a mutually acceptable political settlement.  

The end result of this self-imposed dilemma?  My prognostication, even though such things are dangerous, is that in the next five to seven years, violent oppression, resistance, and terrorism may lead to a major Israeli military offensive in the West Bank, including organized expulsion campaigns, perhaps from both within Israel and from the West Bank.  

The Afrikaners led a peaceful democratic transformation of South Africa for several complex reasons, including the leadership of Nelson Mandela.  A principal cause for Afrikaner pragmatism was the demographic reality—Afrikaner whites, along with support from English whites, constituted a tiny minority.  There was no future other than a violent end to the racist, oppressive system.  Israeli Jews since 1948 have constituted the majority within pre-1967 borders and, until recently, the OPT.  The “demographic threat” loomed with more urgency in recent years as the Arab-Jewish population of historic Palestine began to tilt in the Palestinians’ favor. 

But even if hundreds of thousands more Palestinians are expelled to the surrounding Arab states, the dilemma will not go away: because Palestinians are ethnically and culturally virtually the same as the adjacent Arab populations, Israel will remain as South Africa was, that is, a minority population surrounded by tens of millions of Arabs.  A permanent state of hostility and war is an absence of Arab-Israeli peace.  Palestinians, any more than Jews, will not forget their historic patrimony nor will the periodic crushing of an Arab state, such as Iraq, or the occasional peace treaty with this or that Arab state, guarantee a secure and permanent state of peace and coexistence, the pre-condition for which will remain a just and equitable peace in Palestine-Israel.  

-Issa Khalaf has a Ph.D. in political science and Middle East Studies from Oxford University. 

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
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1 Comment

  1. An excellent article.
    Unfortunately the Israelis are drunk on their success to date and will continue on their current coarse knowing that the United States will continue to protect them from any effective action by third parties. They have managed to convince many Americans that Israeli’s Palestinian victims are the cause of of the problems in the Holy Land.

    Articles like this inform those who have an interest in the subject and who have some sense of justice. Something which is lacking in the Zionist mind.

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