One cannot help admiring the persistence and capacity of many people who continue on with their message of justice-based peace for all in Israel/Palestine. They do so in spite of their full knowledge of the brutal reality of the founding premise, the continuously asserted nature, the policies, the laws, and the practices of the state of Israel. Those informed people understand the cannot-be-any-clearer premise behind the concept of establishing the state of Israel. Zionists want peace indeed, except they want it for the Jewish citizens of the state of Israel (period). Zionists also claim that they want peace for non-Israeli Jews. However, peace for others does not make it to their list of priorities. Those others include all non-Jewish others, including Palestinians regardless of whether those Palestinians are Israeli citizens or otherwise. Peace for those others would be nice to have, but it is not a priority on the Zionist political program.
In addition to the expansionist nature of the Zionist project in Palestine, the leadership of the Zionist movement has not been convinced yet that the two-state concept can bring them peace; not even a temporary one. They trust no one outside their circle, and that is why they insist on having total control over any potential “Palestinian State” that might emerge. They would not accept any substitute for Israeli control; not American, not European, and not United Nations – only Israeli direct control. To ensure that outcome, Israeli leaders made sure that all requirements for creating a viable, contiguous, and independent Palestinian state are eradicated. The possibility of establishing a Palestinian state still exists, but realities on the geography have been imposed in a manner that any such state would not be viable, contiguous, or independent. Such Palestinian state would be geographically fragmented and economically and developmentally dependent on the state of Israel. In other words, it would be part of the Israeli sphere of influence, to put it mildly, or it would be under indirect Israeli occupation, to put it bluntly. Palestinians, including Fatah and Hamas leaderships, are struggling – through negotiations and/or otherwise – to make those limiting and restrictive conditions a little more palatable in order to be able to “sell” them to their respective constituencies. All this talk about two states will soon mean to be looking for a way to legalize Israeli control (i.e. indirect occupation) over Gaza and the West Bank.
I share the dream (and today it is just that; a dream) of transforming the lands composed of today’s state of Israel and so-called Palestinian Territories into one democratic state over the whole of historic Palestine, where all citizens (Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others) are equal, secure and feel at home; living in a state whose foundations are rooted in the International Declaration of Human Rights, and where majority rules while minority rights are protected and secured. As to the refugee problem, it is simple – apply international law and implement UN Security Council Resolution 194 of December 11, 1948; more specifically, paragraph 11 of that Resolution.
The practical problem with establishing the one-state, be it bi-national or otherwise, is that it is not being adopted as a Political program by any significant Israeli or Palestinian political party. Therefore, until this one-state concept earns sufficient support among Palestinians and Israelis, it remains to be an elusive dream shared among some Palestinians and fewer Israelis. In the meantime, Palestinian leadership, including that of Fatah and Hamas, continue with their attempts to make the lives of Palestinians a little better here and there. In that regard, one must say that reduction of Palestinian suffering is welcome, and it goes without saying that such reduction of suffering must never have a negative impact on Palestinians’ right to live as equal human beings.
Since international consensus was shaped around the agreement on resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the two-state concept, no significant Palestinian or Israeli political party dared to offer a political program that includes the creation of one state for all. Until Palestinian and Israeli political leaders find the courage to confront reality and put the creation of one-democratic-state-for-all on their political programs, the dream continues and I share it.
Hope is the stuff from which life is made!