“The One State Solution” by Elie Elhadj

[Comment by Landis] Increasingly, educated Palestinians and some Arabs are calling for a one state solution to the Jewish-Palestinian problem. I have never given much thought to this because it strikes me as impractical. Jewish Israelis have no reason to want it and the vast majority of Palestinians are nationalists who want a Palestinian state and not one that would surely be dominated by Jews, who are better organized, educated, plugged in, and richer than Palestinians. All the same, Elie Elhadj articulates an important argument.

“Why the Only Solution for Jews and Palestinians is a One State Solution”
by Elie Elhadj, author of The Islamic Shield
January 2009 for Syria Comment

For a durable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Bible and the Quran must be de-politicized. In political terms, de-politicization means a single secular democratic state for Jews and Palestinians.

De-politicize the Bible and the Quran
The Arab Israeli conflict has become a religious war. Politicizing the Bible’s Genesis 15:18 politicized the Quran. Genesis 15:18 declares: “The Lord made a covenant with Abraham, saying, unto thy seed have I given this land from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”

Defeated in 1948, powerless and humiliated in every war since that time, Arabs took refuge in Islam. They invoked hostile Quranic Verses (such as chapter 2: verse 65, 2:120, 5:51, 5:60, 5:78), recounted purported stories of the Prophet Muhammad’s troubled relationship with the Jewish tribes in Medina (Banu Qurayza, Banu Al-Nadir, and Banu Qainuqa), and drew lessons from the symbolism of substituting Friday for the Sabbath and of changing the direction during prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca. Other Quranic verses urge jihad against Muslims enemies (2:191, 2:193, 8:60, 9:5, 9:29) and promise (2:82) the martyred the delights of paradise; wine (47:15), beautiful women (44:54), silk, brocade, and gold (18:31), etc… Combined, these verses made a jihadist’s career worthwhile. In the hands of jihadist leaders, these verses transformed political frustrations into religious crusades and the jihadists into walking bombs.

For thirteen centuries, however, these were non-issues. Hundreds of thousands of Jews lived harmoniously among Muslims in Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.

Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, Britain’s first and thus far the only person of Jewish parentage to reach the premiership (1868 and 1874-1880), described in his novel Coningsby the “halcyon centuries” during the golden age of Muslim Spain in which the “children of Ishmael rewarded the children of Israel with equal rights and privileges with themselves.” Disraeli described glowingly how Muslims and Jews alike “built palaces, gardens and fountains; filled equally the highest offices of the state, competed in an extensive and enlightened commerce, and rivaled each other in renowned universities.”

In 1492 the Muslim Ottoman Sultan Bayezid-II (1481-1512) encouraged great numbers of Jews to settle in the Ottoman Empire following their expulsion from Spain and Portugal.

Islam venerates Judaism. Arabs believe they share a common ancestry with the Jewish people going back to the sons of Abraham, Ismail and Ishaq. The Quran praises Abraham as the first Muslim, describing Islam as the Religion of Abraham. The Quranic Chapter 14, with its 52 Verses is named after Abraham and to Joseph the Quran names Chapter 12, with its 111 Verses. Muslim men are allowed to marry Jewish women, without the need to convert them to Islam (the children must be Muslims). Today, Jewish-derived Arabic names like Daoud, Ibrahim, Ishaq, Mousa, Sara, Sulaiman, Yacoub, Yousef, Zakariyya are common in every Arab society.

Politicizing the Bible politicized the Quran. A vexing religious confrontation has been created pushing the moderates among Arab Muslims into orthodoxy and the orthodox into Islamism and Jihadism. The victory of Hamas in the January 25, 2006 parliamentary elections in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as the popularity of Islamic Jihad, are reminders that this conflict has been delivering the Muslim masses into the hands of the Islamists. History suggests that this religious war could go on for a20thousand years. Military action alone against the Jihadists will breed more Jihadists. Experience suggests that, like its previous victories, Israel’s latest battle against Hamas in the Gaza strip that started on December 27, 2008 will strengthen jihadism.

Unless the Arab Israeli conflict is resolved politically and quickly, Islamism and Jihadism will continue on their march. Avraham Berg, speaker of Israel’s Knesset in 1999-2003 and former chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, articulated in sobering terms what Israel should do in order to bring peaceful coexistence between the Jewish and Palestinian peoples.

The Bible and the Quran Must be De-politicized

For a durable solution to the Arab Israeli conflict, a single democratic and secular state for Jews and Palestinians needs to evolve. A single state promises a more durable long-term solution than the two-state solution, currently in vogue. The two-state solution is inherently unstable for four reasons:

1. First, demographically, a purely Jewish state is impossible to attain. Had Palestine been uninhabited at the time of Israel’s creation a refugee problem would not have arisen and a purely Jewish state could have been possible. However, around the time of Israel’s creation Palestine was a home to around 1.4 million Palestinian Arabs.

The Zionist dream of creating an exclusive state for the Jewish people in Palestine is unsustainable in the long-term. Presently, 1.4 million Palestinians are estimated to be citizens of Israel, or a quarter of Israel’s Jewish population. Due to their high population growth rates the Palestinian-Israelis will eventually become the majority. The Palestinian-Israelis are in addition to the 4.2 million Palestinians who live under Israel’s occupation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Outside Palestine, 2.6 millions are registered in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, plus 1.5 million scattered worldwide.

Unless the Palestinian-Israelis somehow vanish, Israel’s Jewish population will eventually become the minority and the Palestinian-Israelis the majority; the population growth rate of the Palestinian-Israelis is much greater than that of Israeli Jews. The number of Palestinians in Israel in 1948 was about 150,000. If Israel would allow the future Palestinian-Israeli majority full citizenship rights, they’ll control the government. If Israel subjects the majority to an apartheid regime, the system will eventually unravel. Apartheid regimes have short lives: Witness Rhodesia and South Africa.

2. Secondly, intractable issues stand in the way of a two-state solution: Jerusalem, borders, security for Israel and for Palestine, water rights, settlements, and the refugees’ right-of-return. Since the signing of the Oslo Agreement on September 13, 1993, none of the thorny issues has been resolved. When Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak, and Yasser Arafat attempted in July 2000 to tackle these issues at Camp David, the negotiations collapsed, leading to the second intifada and to Hamas’ gains in the 2006 parliamentary elections, which culminated by the take-over by Hamas of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, and Israel’s devastating war against Hamas eighteen months later.

3. Thirdly, even if a miracle patches up a two-state agreement the extremists on both sides would undermine the agreement. The extremists believe that they are divinely ordained to keep-up the struggle until they control the entirety of the land.

4. Fourthly, the Arab masses w ill shun a Zionist state. Judging from Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt (March 26, 1979) and Jordan (October 26, 1994), relations among the Egyptian and Jordanian masses and Israelis failed to develop beyond small diplomatic missions.

Western democratic and secular ideals should inspire the development of a single, democratic, and secular state for Palestinians and Jews. There are three reasons in support of such a development:

1. First, the intractable obstacles that have bedeviled the two-state solution would disappear.

2. Secondly, a single state will commingle Palestinians and Jews into an inseparable mix. The Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, estimated at about half a million in more than 125 settlements, could become instruments of integration between Palestinians and Jews, not segregation; a mixture of Jews among Arabs as difficult to unscramble as removing the Palestinian Israelis from Israel. A single state would lead the Arab governments to recognize the new state. Muslims everywhere, Arabs especially, would no longer have an excuse to boycott their Jewish “cousins.” Economic, cultural, educational, and social interaction would follow. The two sides would quickly learn=2 0how much they could benefit from one other.

3. Thirdly, a single state solution would allow Arabs and Jews full access to the entirety of Palestine.

The secular democratic one-state solution has been gathering pace. A well attended conference by Arabs and Israelis at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) was held on November 17-18, 2007 to address the various aspects of this concept.

Arab and Jew Can Live Together in Peace

Around the time of Israel’s creation, more than 850,000 Jews migrated from Arab countries, 600,000 going to Israel. The charge that the Jews migrated because of Arab maltreatment is an unfair political expediency. The migration happened in the course of Israel’s creation. During this period, 531 Palestinian villages were depopulated and 805,000 refugees lost their homes, according to Palestinian sources (650,000 to 700,000 refugees, according to Jewish sources).

Had Zionism adhered to the stipulation in the 1917 Balfour declaration: “Nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,” the Muslim/Jewish conflict would not have developed.

Durable peace and the long-term prosperity of the Jewish people in the Arab World require the genuine welcome of the Arab masses. Smart bombs and nuclear weapons cannot force Arab peoples’ acceptance of a Zionist Israel. The 600,000 Jews, who had lived in Arab countries for centuries and are today a major proportion of Israel’s Jewish population, could become a positive link with the Arab World. They share with the Arab peoples many customs, habits, values, food, music, dance, and, for the older generation, the Arabic language.

Whether it would be a good bargain to exchange a partial and declining Jewish exclusivity in an unstable two-state solution for a durable single state embracing Jews and Muslims is a question Israel’s Jewish people alone can answer.

In provoking the enmity of their age-old Muslim friends, Zionism has disserved the long-term interests of the Jewish people.
Elie Elhadj
* Elhadj is the author of Elie Elhadj, author of The Islamic Shield: Arab Resistance to Democratic and Religious Reforms, and many articles which can be read here:www.daringopinion.com

Comments (79)

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

In fact, early Zionists ( not all, but many ) thought about a one state option. Until the 1936 riots, when the Mufti started to preach his religious B**lS***t.

Depoliticizing the religions? what a brilliant and unheard of idea..!!
Start with depoliticizing Islam. We’ll follow..

January 19th, 2009, 3:07 pm


EHSANI2 said:

I have had the pleasure of reading most of the work of Elie Elhadj. His dedication to secularism and De-politicizing religion is admirable. Elie is a fine thinker who I have had the pleasure to have known and to communicate with recently.

Amir in Tel Aviv,

This is precisely what Elie has long advocated. You ought to visit his site and read his articles on the subject.

January 19th, 2009, 3:14 pm


Observer said:

I have two comments to make

First on who won in Gaza. The question should have been who lost more. There are no winners in my opinion in this debacle

Second, Bret Stephens has an op ed today in the WSJ about the No State Solution. It is worth reading.

Although I do believe that the age of enlightenment ideas should be at the forefront of the debate about the ME in general and the conflict in particular, the PLO advocating a secular state was called by the Zionists a call for the destruction of the state of Israel. They insist on an apartheid state. It boggles my mind how slow suicide is being committed. If anything, the latest round in Gaza shows that there is no military solution not even a temporary one for electoral gains or for deterrence.

The whole Arab project and that of Turkey and the Shah of Iran were experiments in secularism. Now many minorities in the ME are calling for more secularism but in effect they are the last to want to have a true secularism. They are asking for the secularizing of political Islam while each community would like to retain its particular religious or ethnic affiliation and exception intact.

I do believe in a full secular state of affairs but it has to be genuine and full. This means that you cannot have a Maronite minority controlling Lebanon or an Alawite state within a state in Syria, or a family controlling countries like Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

I do not know what to do with extremists that are in control of the debate right now. Moderates have been completely marginalized.

I fear also that if moderates are represented in some of the Christian minorities in the Levant they will be scape goated by militants.

One final observation:

The debate now is not whether to De politize Islam, it is either a school tha advocates modernizing Islam and another that is advocating Isalmizing modernity. That is the real arena of the debate: whether you agree or not, Elhadj is beside the point.

January 19th, 2009, 3:49 pm


Akbar Palace said:

[Comment by Landis] Increasingly, educated Palestinians and some Arabs are calling for a one state solution to the Jewish-Palestinian problem. I have never given much thought to this because it strikes me as impractical. Jewish Israelis have no reason to want it and the vast majority of Palestinians are nationalists who want a Palestinian state and not one that would surely be dominated by Jews, who are better organized, educated, plugged in, and richer than Palestinians. All the same, Elie Elhadj articulates an important argument.

Amir in Tel Aviv,

Here’s a nice website showing how the Israelis are dominating Israeli Arabs (aka Palestinians).


Now all you have to do is allow Hamas and Hezbollah into Israel to complete the One State Utopia we’re all dreaming of.;)

January 19th, 2009, 4:12 pm


Observer said:

Here is a nice anaylsis from the NYT, an organ of the press that is widly read

This analysis clearly shows that Hamas was looking beyond the campaign on the ground for a campaign to win the elections in the West Bank and undermine Fatah. I think that when Abbas is calling for a unity goverment he knows that he and his faction are in big trouble.

He is the one that was adamant about removing Hamas from Gaza

January 19th, 2009, 6:03 pm


EHSANI2 said:

By watching the speech of the Saudi King, one cannot but concede that Damascus won big this morning.

It is no longer that Syria is responsible for Arab divisions. The King admitted that it was everybody’s fault “without exception”.

Israel’s attack on Gaza left the Saudi King with no option but to cut his loss and redeem the little credibility that he, Egypt and Abbas have left when it comes to their silence.

As usual, Damascus proves its superior understanding of the region’s geopolitical realities.

January 19th, 2009, 6:24 pm


Alex said:


We have three countries in the Middle East that will continue to produce regional or international problems periodically … Iran, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. The Shia, the Jewish and the Wahabi Sunni states.

More specifically, I believe that the one state solution canbe possible at some point in the future when the whole region opens its borders to some degree, and not only the Palestinian and Jewish states.

Another challenge for the one state solution … assuming the Palestinians happen to be the majority and a Palestinian Muslim is elected to lead that state … will he be trusted to control Israel’s current 300 nuclear weapons?

Probably not… before there is a one state, Israel will have to dismantle its nuclear weapons.

January 19th, 2009, 6:50 pm


Alex said:


Better late than never … the king should have made that speech a year or two ago, but fine.

As for Syria’s choices of allies … I think one of the most valuable ones was Syria’s alliance with Qatar …. in effect Syria got Aljazeera on its side.


The Saudi King was surely aware of the damage he was sustaining on a daily basis throughout the Arab world as Aljazeera covered the Egyptian and Saudi positions on the Gaza massacre. Opinions of guests were increasingly frank and negative… and you could feel the anger mounting againt the two US allies.

Mubarak still can not stand Bashar by the way. His body language was quite negative at the meeting. he kept looking to the other side (not Bashar’s side)


January 19th, 2009, 6:56 pm


Observer said:

Another post worth reading, as I said before, it was sheer stupidity to launch this war

January 19th, 2009, 7:11 pm


n.z. said:

The Terrorist’s problem is not Hamas or Hizbullah, Arabs or Muslim, it’s its ideology, namely zionism, a proxy entity that serves colonial powers around the world, these powers call themselves the civilized nations .

January 19th, 2009, 7:20 pm


idit said:

“Hundreds of thousands of Jews lived harmoniously among Muslims in Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.”

Hmmm…not really.

From:a history of the dhimmi Jews from Arab countries: Une si longue presence by Nathan Weinstock.

The dhimma Covenant: Following the Arab conquest, under dhimma rules devolving from the 8th century Covenant of Omar, Jews and Christians were banned from riding a horse or camel, conducting religious ceremonies in public, carrying weapons, converting Muslims to Judaism or Christianity, building new places of worship or testifying against Muslims. They had to pay a special tax to signify their status of inferiority for rejecting Muhammad as the final prophet of Allah’s revelation. In return they were given a modicum of credit as People of the Book, and the ruler gave them physical protection.

Although some rulers turned a blind eye to the dhimma in certain times and places, Weinstock argues that the strength of majority prejudice was such that even in modern times a benevolent Bourguiba of Tunisia or Mohammed V of Morocco could do little to prevent the flight of the Jews. The ultimate humiliation was the creation of Israel, a dhimmi state in the very heart of the Arab world.

‘The very existence of Israel represents an unbearable narcissistic attack on the Arabs. If the Palestinians had had another enemy, they probably would have met with the same polite indifference shown by their Arab brethren to Algerians whose throats were cut by Islamists of the FIS and GIA, the Saharans crushed under the Moroccan boot or the population of Darfur martyred by militias and killer gangs.’ (p.296)

The emancipation of the dhimmis: Ottoman empire finally yielded to western pressure for the emancipation of its Christian and Jewish subjects in the mid-19th century. Non-Muslims began to break through the dhimmi barrier. The Jews of Algeria, offered French citizenship rights under the Decret Cremieux, were able to escape the dhimma altogether. The Jews in Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere in North Africa, looked to the European colonial powers to safeguard their rights under the Capitulations system. The poor treatment of individual Jews gave France and Spain a pretext to go to war in Algeria and Morocco, and for Britain to exercise ‘gunboat diplomacy.’ Jews acquired foreign nationality where they could: thus, in the minds of the Muslim population, Jews became conflated with colonialists.

After 1860, Jews were hauled out of misery and ignorance by the Alliance Israelite Universelle education system introduced throughout the Ottoman empire. Under the British and French protectorates and mandates, the Jews were prized for their new western skills and languages. The Arab Muslims simply could not compete with their former underlings, and the hitherto unheard-of phenomenon of the Arab maid to the Jewish bourgeoisie emerged. The humiliators had become the humiliated. The Jews had broken the cardinal rule of the dhimma: to know one’s place.

One of the few regions where the emancipation of the dhimmis did not occur was Palestine. Nineteenth-century travellers attest to the utter wretchedness of the majority-Jewish population of Jerusalem, although the dhimma had by 1855 been abrogated. Weinstock records Muslim anti-dhimmi riots against the Christians in Nablus in 1860. It is forgotten that well into the 20th century Jews paid tributes to the Muslims each time they entered or left Jerusalem, and for access to the Western wall. In the 1920s they were still not allowed to sound the ram’s horn.

One field demands greater explanation, but appears beyond Weinstock’s scope: why did the Jewish and Christian dhimmis respond so very differently – the Christians bending over backwards to assert their loyalty to the Arab nation, and a few, like Michel Aflaq, becoming prime movers behind pan-Arab nationalism? Except in Egypt, the Jews on the whole did not identify with Arab nationalism. Weinstock’s explanation is that Christians internalised the dhimmi mentality and acted accordingly. Why not the Jews?

It is undeniable that much persecution of Jews in Ottoman lands originated with their economic rivals, the Christians. According to Bernard Lewis, the Damascus blood libel of 1840 led to no less than 18 other blood libels in the late 19th century. To Weinstock, the key point is that their Muslim overlords did nothing to stop it.

Politics by pogrom: Weinstock sees the periodic murders and rioting targeting the Jews as part and parcel of the ‘humiliations’ borne by the dhimmi. He does not mince his words:

“One would be wrong to consider these repeated raids into the Jewish quarters as manifestations of western-style anti-Semitism. They were more like ‘little white man’ knee-jerk reflexes because the ‘arrogant’ Jews had stepped out of order, a reaction as spontaneous and natural as beating a recalcitrant donkey. (p.133)

January 19th, 2009, 7:45 pm


idit said:

This is a link to the full article, since it’s way too long for me to post here.

For those who are interested in further reading.


January 19th, 2009, 8:03 pm


idit said:

[Comment by Landis] Increasingly, educated Palestinians and some Arabs are calling for a one state solution to the Jewish-Palestinian problem. I have never given much thought to this because it strikes me as impractical. Jewish Israelis have no reason to want it …

Can you elaborate as to why you think Israeli jews have no reason to want it?

Thank you.

January 19th, 2009, 8:10 pm


Alex said:

From Uri Avnery’s article:


The media devoted several hours to the fall of a Qassam missile on a home in Ashkelon, in which three residents suffered from shock, and did not waste many words on the forty women and children killed in a UN school, from which “we were shot at” – an assertion that was quickly exposed as a blatant lie.

The firepower was also used to sow terror – shelling everything from a hospital to a vast UN food depot, from a press vantage point to the mosques. The standard pretext: “we were shot at from there”.

This would have been impossible, had not the whole country been infected with blunted sensitivities. People are no longer shocked by the sight of a mutilated baby, nor by children left for days with the corpse of their mother, because the army did not let them leave their ruined home. It seems that almost nobody cares anymore: not the soldiers, not the pilots, not the media people, not the politicians, not the generals. A moral insanity, whose primary exponent is Ehud Barak. Though even he may be upstaged by Tzipi Livni, who smiled while talking about the ghastly events.

January 19th, 2009, 8:11 pm


qunfuz said:

The two-state solution that Blair and Bush and Olmert want is not that different from what we have now – Palestinian bantustans, economically unviable, with some sub-sovereign autonomy. As soon as these ghettoes get out of line, they’ll be besieged and bombed.

Even with a two-state solution, the ‘Arab Israelis’ now make up 20% of the Israeli population. Their birthrate is higher than the Jewish birthrate. This is Zionism’s ‘demographic problem.’ Zionism has to see the reproduction and social development of the natives as a ‘problem’. At some point in the future, there will have to be a further ethnic cleansing, or a disenfranchising, of the Arabs in order to keep the apartheid state pure. The current attempt to ban Arab parties from running in elections is a sign of this. The fact that many Arabs live in ‘unrecognised areas’ and therefore have their houses destroyed and their land confiscated, shows the mood for keeping these people in cantons which can later be given ‘autonomy’ or cleansed is already present.

Only the one state solution can put an end to the racist and irrational ideology of Zionism. Only a one-state solution will lead to an integration of Israeli Jews into the region. With a one-state solution, Palestinians can live in the villages they were expelled from, and feel that they own all Palestine. And Jews can live at holy sites on the Wewst Bank, and feel that they too own all Palestine.

The One State solution certainly requires a great deal of creative thinking. The state’s constitution must include the protection of community as well as individual rights, to avoid the Jews being voted out of existence once they become a clear minority, and to protect the Arabs who are, as Joshua says, poorer, less educated and less-organised than the Jews.

It is refreshing to see that the one state solution is for the first time being widely discussed. Even in the West, it is now on the very edge of the agenda. I’ve noted a lot of initiatives by Western Jews calling for a one state solution in recent days.

It would be foolish to say that Hamas has won a victory in the way that I would argue Hizbullah won in 2006. It may be that the scale of this barbarity will deter Palestinian resistance of the rocket variety for a while. But dear me, Israel has lost a huge amount politically. It has weakened its ridiculous friends in the region profoundly. It will take some years to see the extent of this weakening. It has at least half-lost its Turkish ally. Erdogan was responding to deep and widespread disgust with the Jewish state by the Turkish people. It has made millions of Arabs, including those who had supported ‘peace’, desire the destruction of Zionism as much as they desire anything. And in the West, I detect a shift. Not nearly enough, not yet, and not of course at leadership level, but a real shift in opinion which will cost Zionism very dearly indeed in future years.

January 19th, 2009, 8:14 pm


Elie Elhadj said:

You are correct. Shiism’s exploitation by Iran, Judaism’s exploitation by Zionizm, and Islam’s exploitation by Saudi Arabia represent a toxic mix.
Religious extremism turns political frustrations into religious crusades. Religious extremism and political frustrations are like fuel and fire. If the spark of political frustrations disappears, religious extremism would moderate.
Hamas is a product of frustration and despair. If Israel replaces Palestinians’ despair by optimism and hope, Hamas’ appeal would rapidly diminish, I believe.
As for Iran, did the US invasion of Iraq not hand Iraq to Iran on a silver platter and by that strengthened Iran’s hand? It is difficult to see how lifting the lid on Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic tensions could lead to anything but to Iranian domination over southern Iraq, to Shiite emboldenment everywhere, and to endless long-Term Shiite/Sunni conflicts spilling rivers of blood and breeding hoards of Jihadists until the Sunni leaders in the region, led by Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, would either accept Iran’s hegemony or succeed in stopping the march of Shiism.


January 19th, 2009, 8:16 pm


offended said:

i think aside from the rumours about prince Megrin conspiracy to topple the leadership in Damascus, Syria and Saudi Arabia aren’t adversaries in principle. And all the disagreement can be worked out. And I don’t know what could SA have done better during the crisis of gaza. Egypt was a different story of course. So all in all I can’t say I am unhappy about the reconciliation between Syria and Saudi Arabia…

My two cents.

January 19th, 2009, 9:18 pm


why-discuss said:


From the interesting article you posted from the NYT, it appears that Hamas deceived the Israelis and instead of destroying Hamas, Israelis killed civilians and destroyed infra structure that could be rebuild. In the article, Israeli soldiers said they thought “they were fighting against ghosts, and in a another related article they said “they were surprised at the light resistance from Hamas”. Such naive and stupid remarks coming from soldiers coming with tanks and planes against a guerilla! And such a clever Hamas strategy.
It does look while the cities were destroyed and civilians killed, Hamas won the war by keeping its organization alive and well, exactly the opposite of what Israel wanted.

January 19th, 2009, 9:20 pm


ugarit said:

Why Israel won’t survive

Israel, its true nature as failed, brutal colonial project laid bare in Gaza, is extremely vulnerable to such a campaign. Little noticed amidst the carnage in Gaza, Israel took another momentous step towards formal apartheid when the Knesset elections committee voted to ban Arab parties from participating in upcoming elections. Zionism, an ideology of racial supremacy, extremism and hate, is a dying project, in retreat and failing to find new recruits. With enough pressure, and relatively quickly, Israelis too would likely produce their own de Klerk ready to negotiate a way out. Every new massacre makes it harder, but a de-zionized, decolonized, reintegrated Palestine affording equal rights to all who live in it, regardless of religion or ethnicity, and return for refugees is not a utopian dream.

It is within reach, in our lifetimes. But it is far from inevitable. We can be sure that Western and Arab governments will continue to support Israeli apartheid and Palestinian collaboration under the guise of the “peace process” unless decisively challenged. Israeli massacres will continue and escalate until the nightmare of an Israeli- style “peace” — apartheid and further ethnic cleansing — is fulfilled.

The mobilizations of the past three weeks showed that a different world is possible and within our grasp if we support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Although they will never get to see it, that world would be a fitting memorial for all of Israel’s victims.

January 19th, 2009, 9:33 pm


norman said:

To all of you , I have a question ,I hope you will answer for me.


We have to know.

January 19th, 2009, 9:37 pm


N.Z. said:

To Norman,

Because Humanity Will Prevail.

January 19th, 2009, 11:00 pm


trustquest said:

Ehasi, Alex,
Is Elie Elhadge is the same person who has the water studies, from the water Study Group, at the school of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)/ king’s college, University of London?

January 19th, 2009, 11:14 pm


Sami D said:

SC fellows,

It is refreshing to see a general return of the use of the terms “Zionism” and ”One State” as respectively the root of conflict and its end, to the SC discourse. In part, Israel’s barbaric destruction of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, helped open many eyes that Israel’s “collateral damage” in Palestine over the past 60 years, may just be Israel’s actual goal — destroying Palestinian existence or reducing it to backwardness and misery, hoping for migration of the natives. This is, after all, only the expected outcome of Zionism, which has the exclusive Jewish control of Palestine -–hence bloodshed– at its core. Throughout, the proponents of Zionism cite the reaction of the natives to their dispossession as the cause of Zionism’s conquest – reversing cause and effect to excuse more conquest and inhumanity against Palestinians. A concomitant to recognizing that Zionism should be back on the hot seat is the solution to Zionism, and the way to real peace: The One State solution. One State means the end of Zionism, and end of conflict. It means that Israeli Jews, and finally the Palestinians, will live as equals on the whole of Palestine. With that in mind, please note the important two-day conference in Boston around March to discuss that very issue, if you happen to be in that area:



January 19th, 2009, 11:27 pm


EHSANI2 said:


You can also read this by Mr. Elhadj:



Its under articles on the above site

January 20th, 2009, 1:03 am


Observer said:

This article by Atwan is interesting, I have not heard the speech of the King of SA, but more importantly I read the pro Saudi papers and it is now clear that he is being portrayed as the Unifier of the Arab states and the reconciliation guru.

If this leads to concrete unified action and Egypt follows through with SA, then my hat to Barak, Livni, and the Olmert troika for unifying the Arab fold. It is a big IF, but let us wait and see


By the way the number of homeless in Gaza is estimated at 50 000 and the number without water is 500 000. If this is victory for the IDF, then as Uri Avnery wrote the “picture” of victory that Israel is seeking to revive like that of 67 is long gone. Now the world knows who is David and who is Goliath.

One final note: Alexander Solzhenistin once wrote that the worst crimes are perpetrated by those that have the most righteous zeal for doing good. Zionism’s zeal to “liberate” the Jewish people, matched by the “seared consciousness” of centuries of persecution, and the “terror” of becoming assimilated in secular open liberal democracies where Rabbinical laws are subservient to enlightened secular laws drives the current Israeli population as we witness on this post by some.

It seems that whenever the one state solution is mentioned it conjures visions worse than those of the Holocaust. It truly brings forth a visceral hatred and fear of a single truth: the religious norms and laws that govern the livelihood of the Jewish people are no longer capable of satisfying the society it pervades. In this they are exactly and fully in agreement in every aspect with the rigid fundamentalists in Political Islam who know deep down inside that there is no such thing as ” Islam is the Solution” where every aspect of life and every challenge has already been addressed by 7th century Arabia; or who think that modernity should be stopped lest it contaminates the purity of the pristine and imaginary perfect society that the prophet created in Medina. A society that they long to re establish.

Zionists should know better that you can never and forever cow a people into total submission short of exterminating them as it happened in Uruguay and Paraguay where the entire native population was killed in a single battle. Bolivia’s Morales is another example where a native born politician was elected for the first time since 1592 to the presidency. It took that long but it did happen.

Great is the day when the people of the single state will elect a Palestinian prime minister who will answer to the people of the one state in full.

Great will be the ME when the Jewish people are full members of the diversity of the land and where your religious affiliation leads you to show the greatest tolerance, the utmost gentleness, and the competition to do beneficence and uphold justice.

January 20th, 2009, 2:00 am


Joseph said:

Everybody is talking about the “Gaza massacre”, “destruction of Gaza” and so on, how comes nobody here tried to see how the Damascus regime dealt with the muslim brotherhood in Hama? Thanks for an answer.

January 20th, 2009, 2:28 am


Rumyal said:

For me, it is extremely interesting to consider the one-state solution. It definitely has the appeal of justice—a shared democratic state is the standard of enlightened countries all over the world, why not in Israel/Palestine. However, the proponents of one-state solution on this blog do not deal with any depth with how this solution is to come about and add some detail to what the state may look like. e.g., when Joe M. says that all is needed is a signature, I don’t know whose signature, on what document, with the backing of whom and how did these people realize that this is what they needed to do.

Maybe the first question to ask, is do you expect to achieve one-state through mostly-peaceful persuasion of the Jews (e.g., as was the case with SA where divestment did the trick), or through military conquest? The latter of course will not get international backing and in my opinion is plain wrong, will not work and will not lead to a one-state solution (it may lead to nuclear disaster though).

There is a very big secular population in Israel that wants nothing but a secular life-style but they dread the one-state solution. The reasons that were brought here for this behavior are mostly true. But there is one additional very real reason that nobody here seems to acknowledge (potentially because it requires some self-criticism) and that is that if people need to extrapolate what life would look like in economical and personal liberties terms in a shared state solution, it would be logical to assume that they can take a median between current Israel life standards (for the Jewish population) on one hand and Egypt or Syria on the other hand. For example, if an Islamic party takes 70% of the Arab vote and that makes it the biggest party in the shared state, what does that do to the education system, to women’s rights, to gay rights, to religious rights? Put this in other terms, if Israel looked around to their neighbors and saw prosperity and enlightenment all over that would remove at least one obstacle to the Jews agreeing to a one-state. I beseech the commentators here not to interpret this as a shifting of blame. Some would be quick to blame Israel in the current state of Arab countries etc. I am not interested in this discussion. What is more of interest to me is whether the one-state solution and the road to it can be cast in realistic and peaceful terms and answering the above question would be one of the milestones in getting there. Here are a few possible solutions to the above argument:
1. The one-state supporters could argue that religious parties would be banned. This may create a coalition of secular Jews and Arabs in support of the program.
2. It could be argued (and proven through opinion polls and demographic and economic studies) that the one state would be more successful than “the average of its constituent parts”.
3. It could be argued that the problems in Israel/Palestine are acute enough that a solution to the problem of unproven maturity of governance on the Arab side necessitates “taking a chance” (as was the case with SA).

Another aspect to consider when/if trying to gain Jewish mindshare for such a program would be whether a shared state solution achieves the original goals that called for (exclusionist) Zionism. This I believe includes two main components:
1. Shelter from persecution. The main impetus behind Zionism was the provide protection against European anti-Semitism. It is extremely important for Jews to know that there will be a place that would accept them if they are persecuted again. Can a one-state solution answer this requirement without being “racist”? I think it can. Here are a few option. First, an immigration policy with explicit provision for refugees of religious persecution, much like the one of Canada, might be good enough. It is important to understand that providing a shelter doesn’t necessarily mean “giving instant citizenship to every Jew”. This is something that many seculars in Israel already understand that needs to be fixed. If this solution is too “inclusive” for the Jews’ (or Arabs’) liking then it can be narrowed down—e.g. shelter will be provided to anybody who has “roots in the land” and that can include both people with proven ancestry or people with “spiritual linkage”.
2. Autonomous Jewish life. This means not only (or primarily) life as Jewish individuals (which most Israelis pay very little attention to anyway) but rather as a community. For example, Hebrew as a spoken and official language. Jewish holidays as official state holidays. This is definitely not an insoluble problem, but still one that can cause friction if not handled with thought and creativity.

To summarize, I think it is extremely important for Israelis to go at least through the intellectual exercise of tracing the true roots of their rejection of the one-state solution and clearly articulating why it could or couldn’t work. If you read Uri Avnery’s presentation from Gush Shalom on the history of the conflict it all makes sense and adds up nicely up until you get to the two-state recommendation which comes without a lot of justification. The same is true of the HADASH party which also endorses the two-state solution without much explanation as to why is it preferable, based on its own agenda, to a one-state solution. So I don’t know who’s going to pick the glove on the Israeli side, but I have a feeling it will not be long before somebody on the radical left calls for consideration of a one-state solution openly.

January 20th, 2009, 3:27 am


Joshua said:

Dear Rumyal,

I sympathize with your desire to hear your Arab counterparts sell a one state solution that does not sound like revenge or a defeat for Israeli Jews. This is perhaps not the time to get a proper answer as emotions are so raw and anger so acute.

Your last few lines about some party on the radical left of Israeli politics raising the banner of the one state solution is fraught with legal complications. Isn’t it illegal for a political party to form on an anti-Zionist platform?

My understanding is that Arab-Israeli parties are free to organize and contest elections so long as they embrace the laws of the Jewish state and tenets of Zionism, which they naturally reject.

January 20th, 2009, 4:11 am


MAJID said:

EHSANI2 said “By watching the speech of the Saudi King, one cannot but concede that Damascus won big this morning.

It is no longer that Syria is responsible for Arab divisions. The King admitted that it was everybody’s fault “without exception”.

Israel’s attack on Gaza left the Saudi King with no option but to cut his loss and redeem the little credibility that he, Egypt and Abbas have left when it comes to their silence.

As usual, Damascus proves its superior understanding of the region’s geopolitical realities.”

Are you serious? I think you should review Assad’s press conference after this beard-kissing event and then come up with such very inflated assessment. You really think the King has few options? I think it is the other way around, Mr. EHSANI number 2, and it is Bashar who is heading towards the wall with very few options left for him. Today he lost Hamas and you may as well forget about any dressings you could throw into the mess to self-console. Do you think Egypt or Israel, for that matter, will ever allow exiled Hamas leaders to have any say in Gaza from now on? I bet you are going to say he still has Hezb to play with. I do however admire (sarcastically of course) your pompous audacity, crude as it may look and sound, in daring to indulge yourself in such self congratulatory nonsense.

January 20th, 2009, 4:16 am


norman said:


In Palestine/ Israel, you have to divide it to unite it , you give everybody his space then you show them how they have to live together and like a husband and wife who are fighting and can not stand each other , so you give each their own room and show them the family where there is the only TV in the house,
after a while they start communicating and plan things to do together and the they find out they they really live in the same house and that if one of them leaves the oven on and the house gets burned they both will have nothing left , all this will make them understand that their destiny is one .

And that is my take ,

By the way , where is Shai, I miss him.

January 20th, 2009, 4:38 am


EHSANI2 said:

I am sorry that my comment was filled with “pompous audacity, crude as it may look and sound, in daring to indulge” myself “in such self congratulatory nonsense”.

I was merely trying to describe the fact that the Saudi King blamed everyone without exception for the recent Arab rift. This meant that it was not only Syria’s fault. In turn, this meant that Damascus is out of its isolation.

It is clear that my analysis of the speech did not sit well with you. I would be keen to hear your precise take on it.

At a minimum, I would expect it to be less pompous and more serious.

January 20th, 2009, 4:49 am


Alex said:


I have a better idea … let’s wait for President Obama and see who has options and who does not.

Majid, this is just a personal opinion, there is no science here … but I think Bashar again put the leaders of the “moderate Arab” countries on the defense big time.

Eh … did you count how many times Hosni said “I” in his speech?

Or … did you notice that his public position now is quite different from the one he held just before the invasion of Gaza?


Remember how Bashar absolutely refused to shake hands with Olmert in Paris??

January 20th, 2009, 5:17 am


offended said:

With respect to the one state solution; how are we going to, in practical steps, depoliticize Torah and Quran?

Look at the current situation in Arab countries; no matter how ‘secular’ regimes try to suppress political Islam, it floats to the surface some way or the other.

January 20th, 2009, 5:27 am


jad said:

I do miss Shai too, where and how is he?
Shai, could you please come back and let us hear your take on that.

January 20th, 2009, 5:46 am


Rumyal said:

Dear Joshua,

You said:

I sympathize with your desire to hear your Arab counterparts sell a one state solution that does not sound like revenge or a defeat for Israeli Jews. This is perhaps not the time to get a proper answer as emotions are so raw and anger so acute.

Okay, sorry for the rudeness. I’m out of here in a sec.

Your last few lines about some party on the radical left of Israeli politics raising the banner of the one state solution is fraught with legal complications. Isn’t it illegal for a political party to form on an anti-Zionist platform?
My understanding is that Arab-Israeli parties are free to organize and contest elections so long as they embrace the laws of the Jewish state and tenets of Zionism, which they naturally reject.

These are the requirements to participate in elections and that would indeed won’t be possible, but the first step would be for prominent intellectuals to simply shed some rational light on the discussion through e.g. pieces in Haaretz.



My worries about the two-state cooling-off period are similar to the ones voiced here before. In a nutshell, it still pits the two sides one against the other, every extra resource that one side acquires, the other side has to forfetit.


Jad, Norman,

Shai is taking a break. I will tell him you asked about him.

January 20th, 2009, 6:27 am


Joe M. said:

Dear Rumyal,

Let me start by very quickly clarifying my previous comments about the one-state solution needing only a signature to be accomplished. Obviously, I don’t mean this in the sense of its political feasibility (as I know that this is incompatible with Zionism), but in reference to the literal requirements. In this respect, there are primarily three possible tracks to create a single democratic state in Palestine: 1) the constitutional track and the 2) traditional legal track (through normal legislation), 3) through the Supreme Court of Israel redefining the nature of “citizenship.”

In 2003 the Zionist Parliament began a formal process to write a new constitution for Israel. You may or may not know, but Israel has no formal constitution, but relies on its “Basic Laws.” As this is the first time that Israel has tried to write a constitution, it is unclear what is required to make the finished product binding. That process is still to be determined, but would likely to include a combination of some super majority of parliament members agreeing (This is one major reason the Zionists keep trying to kick the Arab parties out of the Parliament, they are scared that Palestinian parties will gain enough Parliament members such that all decisions will have to be decided on the basis of a simple majority, and that does not provide enough consensus for them to justify tough decisions in a fractured political system), the signature of the president of the Zionist government, and probably a public referendum of some type. Obviously, it would be hard to do this because a one-state solution is not popular with Zionists.

The other method would be similar to what happened in South Africa, where the ruling government simply forced through legislation that started a process of creating equality. There is no reason to believe some visionary leader in Israel could not get this process going, to the point that it became inevitable. In South Africa, Mandela was freed years before the Apartheid system was destroyed and South Africa had elections where all people could vote equally. The momentum simply became unstoppable. And under this scenario, I think this could be accomplished through merely the proposal of a bold piece of legislation by a major political figure (say, if someone who favors a single state solution like Avram Burg was still Labor Party leader and Knesset speaker, and personally proposed legislation that would give all Palestinians citizenship in Israel and established full sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza.). But even if that is not realistic, and such legislation would require more generalized support, such a “stroke of the pen” could also occur through a more formal process, with the building of public institutions (Some people at Arab-Jewish center at Haifa University are already trying to do this, so is Adalah – “the Legal Center for Arab Minority Right in Israel” – and other institutions).

The last method i will mention here, is through a redefinition of citizenship via the Israeli Supreme Court. This method was indirectly discussed in an article by Bernard Avishai in Harpers Magazine several years ago:
I have not read this article in some time, and remember that I was very disappointed by the article. That it is not a very ambitious or bold project. Yet I do remember it indirectly providing a potential outline for how a one-state solution could be created through the Israeli Supreme Court.

Also, I don’t think the argument of Landis below is particularly important:
“My understanding is that Arab-Israeli parties are free to organize and contest elections so long as they embrace the laws of the Jewish state and tenets of Zionism, which they naturally reject.”
I say this because this too is just a legal issue, and only matters to the level of its enforcement. Just like in any country, the formality of the law is only as powerful as its enforcement. And this can work both ways, 1) if a political party is excluded, they can organize for their rights, 2) if they are not excluded, they can organize within the system. So, it is not particularly important what the formal law says, and even how the law is enforced can provide an important organizing opportunity.

Anyway, ignoring the exact logistics of how to create a one-state solution, which can happen many ways (including ways I didn’t discuss), my essential point by saying that it could be accomplished by a stroke of the pen is to emphasize that the current Zionist Apartheid is primarily a legal formality. That, unlike a two-state solution, there would not need to be significant changes to the “facts on the ground” for a one-state solution to be accomplished. For example, removing settlements is fundamental to even the least ambitious two-state solution, but it is not necessary within a one-state solution. In a one-state solution, settlements are no longer settlements, they are technically just neighborhoods which are open to anyone, rather than exclusive to Jews alone. This can similarly be said of all major “final status” issues, such as viability/contiguity, Jerusalem, right of return (same as the Zionist “Law of Return”), water rights…. and on and on… I don’t claim that there would be perfect tranquility in personal relations among all the citizens of this single state, but that would hardly exist if two-states were created either (or in any state). In practical fact, a one-state solution is simply an acceptance of the “facts on the ground” while a two-state solution is an attempt to legitimize Zionism and reconcile it with the impossibility of its existence.

Also, economically speaking, and EHSANI2 can speak more to this, the one-state solution actually provides more opportunities economically than would be available in a two-state configuration. Although this is not my economic ideology, the high technological and manufacturing expertise in Israel combined with access to a relatively educated/skilled but impoverished Palestinian population would provide Israel the opportunity to explode economically. Ireland, for example, was called the “Celtic Tiger” over the last decade or so because it utilized exactly this formula.

And just to specifically answer your two bolded points:

1) Shelter from persecution:
I agree with you generally. But in addition I would just say that there are numerous configurations possible to a one-state solution, including bi-nationalism under a federal authority. Under this configuration (which I not personally like, but is closer to what Alex and SHAI seem to prefer), Israel could create two “states” (like American states, say, Pennsylvania and New York State) that have distinct identities and policies, but exist mutually under the same federal government (again, like the USA). Both states could have broad autonomy, but would be bound together by some basic federal principles (like freedom to travel, non-discrimination, freedom of religion). There have been many proposals of this nature. And this could, potentially, provide the basis for a more universalist one-state solution in the future. Thus, under a bi-national one-state solution, it is possible for there to be two-independent but generally equal states (Israel and Palestine) under the jurisdiction of a federal government. As such, the “state of Israel” could still exist and have rules that explicitly provide protection for the world’s Jews, even as the Federal government could provide more general statements as you described.

2) Autonomous Jewish life:
As above, a bi-national confederation as basically described above could eliminate that as a problem. I do not prefer this configuration because I much prefer pure equality, at the least on simple humanistic grounds. But it may be necessary for a bi-national confederation to come into existence first, before a true one-state solution can be put into place based on full equality.

Additionally, about the question of depoliticizing the various religions, my only answer is that the conflict itself politicizes them. Thus, by definition, if you create a single state that recognizes the equality of all the people and all the religions, races and creeds of people, you will depoliticize religion naturally. Religion is politicized in Palestine because it is a uniting force to fight political battles. Eliminate the political battles, and provide people democratic institutions to directly fight each other, and you will succeed in depoliticizing religion in both Israel and Palestine. And, of course, that is different than the reason that religion is politicized in the other Arab countries. In those countries, my only hope is to provide safe transitions to popular rule, and gave the Islamist movements a stake in maintaining the fairness of those institutions. And if the Islamists rule well, and popularly, they deserve to rule. And if they rule poorly, they will lose power as any other political movement. But creating confrontation with them is a recipe for extremism and a transfer to religious theocracy with no room for individual rights. Because they will only get more extreme and popular and conditions get worse, and the repression of Islamists gets more violent…

Lastly, I will just point out that I think that the one-state solution is far off because it requires Zionists to show humility, which there is no sign of them having these days. I do not think a one-state solution can be imposed on Israel, as history shows they would be more likely to put all the Palestinians in a concentration camp (and then bomb it to the ground) than live with them/us. But I personally have no doubt that Israel has signed its own death warrant with this latest war. I feel that either it can integrate the Palestinians as equals, or the Jews will be forced to leave. I think this war was a turning point, and unfortunately, Israel shows no sign of understand that. Because, if it continues to act as it does currently, it will just be further confirming the most violent views of the most crazy extremists in the Arab world, and all the while solidifying its inevitable destruction. The only question is whether it will be laid to rest peacefully of violently. My hope is peacefully through a one-state solution.

I apologize that this is such a long response. i did not fully proof read it, so excuse my mistakes.

January 20th, 2009, 6:54 am


jad said:

Please send Shai my regards..
Do you really live in Seattle? we are close, we should meet at some point, I never meet anybody from SC and I’m curiouse to see the real people behind those names.. 😉

January 20th, 2009, 7:23 am


Majid said:

EHSANI said:”It is clear that my analysis of the speech did not sit well with you. I would be keen to hear your precise take on it. ”

I already answered your request. You have access to media outlets. Search for assad’s press conference and hear from his own mouth what he had to say about this “beard-kissing” event. What does it matter you on how your ‘analysis’ sat with me?

Geopolically speaking, hamas is a lost cause for Damascus – it is as simple as that. Gaza is now a no-mans land for Syro/Iranian bickering. And this fact is sealed on the ground as well as Internationally. I wonder how will this reconcile with your POMPOUS assertion “As usual, Damascus proves its superior understanding of the region’s geopolitical realities.”
What other options Bashar has with his so-called resistance strategy? I think you should explain.

Now for what the King said. Let the King speak for himself and let’s not quote him out of context:

كلمة خادم الحرمين
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم.
والحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على خاتم الأنبياء والمرسلين.
صاحب السمو الشيخ صباح الأحمد الصباح أمير دولة الكويت الشقيقة رئيس القمة..
أيها الحضور الكرام..
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته.

إننا نأمل ومعنا شعوب الأمة العربية في نتائج واضحة لهذه القمة الاقتصادية تبشر بمستقبل من الأمن والرخاء للمواطن العربي والمسلم في كل مكان إن شاء الله.
لكن الاقتصاد مهما كانت أهميته لا يمكن أن يساوي الحياة نفسها ولا الكرامة التي لاتطيب الحياة بدونها وقد شاهدنا في الأيام الماضية مناظر بشعة ودامية ومؤلمة ومجازر جماعية
تنفذ تحت سمع العالم وبصره على يد عصابة إجرامية لامكان في قلوبها للرحمة ولا تنطوي ضلوعها على ذرة من الإنسانية.
لقد نسي القتلة ومن يناصرهم أن التوراة قالت..
إن العين بالعين..
ولم تقل التوراة..
ن العين بمدينة كاملة من العيون.
إن على إسرائيل أن تدرك أن الخيار بين الحرب والسلام لن يكون مفتوحا في كل وقت وأن مبادرة السلام العربية المطروحة على الطاولة اليوم لن تبقى على الطاولة إلى الأبد.
أيها الإخوة الكرام.. إننا نحيي شهداء غزة ونحيي أبطالها وصمودها ونحيي كل من بذل
جهده وفكره لوقف النزيف خاصة أشقاءنا في مصر بقيادة أخينا الرئيس حسني مبارك،

وتقتضي الأمانة هنا أن نقول لأشقائنا الفلسطينيين أن فُرقتهم أخطر على قضيتهم من
عدوان إسرائيل..
واذكرهم بأن الله عز وجل ربط النصر بالوحدة وربط الهزيمة بالخلاف مستذكراً معهم قوله تعالى
“واعتصموا بحبل الله جميعا ولا تفرقوا”.

إخواني قادة الأمة العربية.. يجب أن أكون صريحا صادقا مع نفسي ومعكم فأقول.. إن خلافاتنا السياسية أدت إلى فرقتنا وانقسامنا وشتات أمرنا وكانت هذه الخلافات ومازالت عونا للعدو الإسرائيلي الغادر ولكل من يريد شق الصف العربي لتحقيق أهدافه الإقليمية على حس
اب وحدتنا وعزتنا وآمالنا.

إننا قادة الأمة العربية مسؤولون جميعا عن الوهن الذي أصاب وحدة موقفنا وعن الضعف الذي هدد تضامننا، أقول هذا ولا أستثني أحدا منا لقد مضى الذي مضى واليوم أناشدكم بالله جل جلاله ثم باسم الشهداء من أطفالنا ونسائنا وشيوخنا في غزة، باسم
الدم المسفوح ظلما وعدوانا على أرضنا في فلسطين المحتلة الغالية، باسم الكرامة والإباء، باسم شعوبنا التي تمكن منها اليأس أناشدكم ونفسي أن نكون أكبر من جراحنا وأن نسمو على خلافاتنا وأن نهزم ظنون أعدائنا بنا ونقف موقفا مشرفا يذكرنا به التاريخ وتفخر به أمتنا.
أخواني الكرام..
قبل أن أختم كلمتي هذه أعلن نيابة عن أشقائكم شعب المملكة العربية السعودية عن تقديم ألف مليون دولار مساهمةً في البرنامج المقترح من هذه القمة لإعادة إعمار غزة مدركا في الوقت نفسه أن قطرة واحدة من الدم الفلسطيني أغلى من
كنوز الأرض وما احتوت عليه.

والسلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته.

A very brief and straight to the point speech. Notice the special mention and thanks for Egypt and Mubarak in particular with regards to his constructive efforts regarding the Gaza war. Notice also the immediate reference that followed to inter-Palestinian fighting – a clear implication to their failure to abide by their oath that they took in Mecca couple years ago. Notice also the complete absence of Syria and its President from the speech. It is as if Bashar doesn’t exist even though he is supposed to be the presiding member for this year. In fact the King addressed the Emir of Kuwait as such. So please explain to me the geopolitical genius of this Syrian regime that was fashioned in a mould that was immediately broken thereafter in order to make it a one of a kind as you and the rest of this Syriacomment orchestra continue to deluge yourselves.

Are you selectively refering to the section of the speech in which the King appealed in general terms for solidarity and ignoring the rest of the speech? This is the most common kind of talk in the Arab world that you hear from everybody and every Arab would like to hear. Should we say plainly it is meant for public consumption?

And we shouldn’t forget that he was the most generous contributor for reconstruction of Gaza (1 Billion Dollars) without asking for any acknowldgement. What did Syria offer to repair the damage it indirectly caused?

January 20th, 2009, 7:47 am


Rumyal said:


I told Shai already that you have Shai-separation-anxiety 🙂

So you’re close-by?! Cool! I’d love to meet you… drop me an e-mail any time. Alex has my address….

January 20th, 2009, 7:51 am


Qifa Nabki said:


Shai is on my blog, fighting with AIG. 🙂

You see, I have learned a few tricks from the Zionist entity: I’m allowing our enemies to fight amongst themselves, sow discord and division, while I sit back and chuckle maniacally.

mwah ha ha ha ha ha ha

Seriously though, don’t you think it is a bit ridiculous to talk about who came out of this conflict “on top”?

Do we have elections in the Arab world such that contemporary events have any bearing on the power of our leaders? No.

January 20th, 2009, 8:42 am


Akbar Palace said:

Everybody is talking about the “Gaza massacre”, “destruction of Gaza” and so on, how comes nobody here tried to see how the Damascus regime dealt with the muslim brotherhood in Hama? Thanks for an answer.


I call the Great ME Doublestandard. It is what fuels ME terrorism. Arabs can do what they want to harm and/or kill other Arabs without a drop of criticism.

Israel, OTOH, is put under a powerful microscope and will never be allowed to defend herself.

Get used to it.

January 20th, 2009, 12:15 pm


Shami said:

Turkish Prime Minister Says Hamas Authority Must Be Respected

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday described the violence in Gaza as a “tragedy” and urged the international community not to marginalise Hamas after its war with Israel.
He also criticised Israel for having showed a lack of respect in keeping Turkey, their main regional ally, in the dark over the Gaza offensive.

Erdogan, speaking on a visit to the European Union headquarters in Brussels, said the militant Islamist group had clearly won elections in Gaza in 2007 and this had to be respected.

“We should not be squeezing them into the corner,” he said.

Hamas should be left the time to show if it was capable of improving conditions in Gaza, he said.

“If they are not successful they will lose the next time,” Erdogan said in a speech at a European Policy Center conference.

“If we are to move towards democracy in that region then we should respect the decision of the people who went to the ballot box,” the Turkish premier, whose ruling party comes from Islamist roots, added.

The European Union and United States have Hamas on their terrorist lists and refuse contacts with it until the militant group recognises Israel’s right to exist and renounces violence.

Erdogan again denounced the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip and the fact that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had given them no warning of the coming offensive.

“I have to say we have been saddened by what went on. Israel did not really respect us in that process,” he said.

Erdogan said he had had six hours of talks with Olmert at the end of December, during which they had discussed indirect talks with Syria — in which Turkey had been acting as an intermediary — and other matters.

“But no mention was ever made during these discussions with Mr. Olmert about Gaza, and three or four days later he should have contacted me,” he added.

“Not only did he not contact me, but we then discovered, December 27, that Israel had started to bomb Gaza.

“This lack of respect is something that Israel has to remedy.”

But despite his denunciation of Israel’s offensive in Gaza, which he described as “savagery”, he said there was no question of breaking off relations with Israel.

“We cannot talk about revenge and hatred,” he said. “We will continue to have talks at different levels.”

Hamas has agreed a ceasefire with Israel after a 22-day war in Gaza which left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead.

Erdogan said his Justice and Development Party had faced similar international reprobation at the start.

“There were many things that were said against my people, but democracy is not confined to the definition of the elites. Within a democracy everyone votes, is equal. If one can respect the result, then one is a democrat,” he said.(AFP)

Beirut, 19 Jan 09, 13:03

January 20th, 2009, 1:31 pm


Idit said:

Erdogan can kiss goodbye any hope of joining the EU.

The Europeans may not (maybe) like Israel, but they like raving Islamic Lutanics even less.

January 20th, 2009, 2:00 pm


norman said:

1/20/2009, 8:20 a.m. EST
The Associated Press

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — The deeply divided Arab League failed on Tuesday to come up with a plan to reconstruct the devastated Gaza Strip and could not agree on whether to back Egyptian peace efforts to end the crisis.

The violence in Gaza has split Arab countries into two camps — one supporting Hamas’ hard-liners who rule the coastal territory, and the other — mainly Egypt and Saudi Arabia — hoping to lure the Palestinian militant group toward more moderation. The political division could affect the stability of the fragile cease-fire between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, which was in its third day Tuesday.

Despite urgings from both sides to end the rift, the Arab leaders could not come up with a unified statement about how to end the crisis in Gaza at the end of a two-day summit in Kuwait. Instead, the final statement only focused on criticism of Israel and vague pledges to help the Palestinians in Gaza.


“The leaders stressed their determination to offer all kinds of aid to the Palestinian people and the reconstruction of Gaza,” said the statement, read by Arab League chief Amr Moussa. So far, only Saudi Arabia has pledged $1 billion for rebuilding efforts, though it was unclear how and to whom the money would be distributed.

Earlier Tuesday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, without naming specific countries, said leaders were unable to reach a consensus.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t reach a final result because of time limits and because some are entrenched in their positions,” Zebari told state-owned Kuwait Television.

The failure to agree came a day after Saudi King Abdullah urged Arab leaders to end their differences and warned Israel that an Arab peace initiative proposed by the kingdom would not remain on the table forever.

The king, who along with Egypt have been pressuring Hamas to be more moderate, even invited his Arab rivals — the leaders of Syria and Qatar — to lunch at his Kuwait residence. Following the meal, Qatar’s prime minister expressed optimism that both camps could work together, and local media praised the gathering as a historic “Arab reconciliation.”

But Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak took a veiled swipe at Syria by criticizing Iran’s ties with some Arab leaders — indicating that the two sides were still divided. The Persian country and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah are two of Hamas’ main backers and both have strong relations with Syria and Hamas.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia, both staunch U.S. allies, initially blamed Hamas for the Gaza crisis. Later, as the Gaza death toll increased and public pressure in the Arab world to support Hamas mounted, the two Arab powerhouses shifted their accusations toward Israel.

More than 1,250 Palestinians and 13 Israelis have been killed during three weeks of combat in Gaza, which Israel said it launched to halt Hamas rocket fire.

But the divisions between Arab countries grew deeper last week when Qatar hosted a summit on Gaza. Egypt and Saudi Arabia led a boycott of the gathering, which Qatar had called to take a united stance on Gaza but ended up being dominated by supporters of Hamas.

The two sides also are divided about what should be done with the Arab peace initiative — first proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and relaunched in March 2007.

At the summit in Qatar, Syria called for putting the peace initiative on hold — a more radical position than the one outlined by Abdullah on Monday.

The Arab peace initiative offers Israel collective Arab recognition in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from territory it occupied during the 1967 Mideast war, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees.

Israel initially rejected the initiative in 2002, but in the past year has said it could be a starting point for discussions.

But prospects for Arab-Israeli peace seem dim following the Gaza offensive and continued divisions among Hamas and its Palestinian rival, Fatah, which controls only the West Bank. Hamas seized control of Gaza in June 2007 and the two Palestinian groups have been unable to come up with a power-sharing agreement.

© 2009 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
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January 20th, 2009, 2:34 pm


Alia said:


Erdogan is no raving Islamist lunatic, he is a realist whose religion happens to be Islam.

If Turkey does not enter the EU it would be more due to the rise of right wing conservatism in Germany: Combination of the CDU and CCU parties in leadership than anything else he Erdogan says.

They have been leading the resistance to Turkey’s entry in every possible way because of the “difference in culture” : understand : religion…so this would be just another excuse. But you know what, with Germany going into a deep recession ( and the spineless Merkel taking a beating about it) the EU may not be Turkey’s best bet. It may be much better for Turkey to turn East and ally itself with China, India, the Gulf countries and kiss ( or Kick) the EU goodbye.

These are changing times and in changing times, there are new opportunies.

January 20th, 2009, 3:47 pm


Alia said:

EHSAN 2 or anyone,

I read the article on Martin Luther of Islam/ ie, Hadith reform. I cannot figure out if Mr. Elhadj is a Muslim or not. Is he ?

The question has only relevance for me in trying to imagine what kind of response the Islamic Scholars may have to someone coming from outside the religion to give a critique (constructive as it may be). We are all familiar with the charges of Orientalism that are used in such cases etc…even Tariq Ramdan got his hand slapped (figuratively) when he dared to invite for a moratorium on Hudud( Sharia rules related to corporal punishment).

January 20th, 2009, 4:27 pm


Idit said:


Thank you for the information.

I actually thought that Greece was the loudest opposition.

Didn’t know about Germany.

Since The Global economic crisis is, well, global.
Both China and India are just as effected, even more so.

January 20th, 2009, 6:01 pm


Shai said:

Dear Norman, JAD, Offended, QN, and others,

I’m sorry I haven’t been available to comment on SC lately. I decided to self-impose silence upon myself for a while, in light of the current situation. After hearing much of the comments on SC, both those that were very legitimate, and those I thought were less so, I found I had nothing really to add. And that, as a (resident) Israeli on this forum, I could probably do more harm than good. After all, how could I still maintain that my people are peace-loving human beings, while Gaza took place? Indeed I couldn’t. And yet, I still believe I know my people well enough, to know that the majority still long for a peaceful future in our region, not as a colonialist power, but as a nation amongst nations. But being unable to resolve this contradiction here and now has made me not wish to further engage in a charade of self-defense.

I do, however, wish to make one final comment to clarify a few points about the One-state solution many of you have been discussing. Afterwards, I will again retreat to dealing with our issues out in the “real world”, more so than here in the virtual one. I think some time must pass before I can once again achieve the confidence I may have gained amongst some of you in the past year. I do not blame anyone for losing faith in Israelis, including me. And I hope one day that too will change.

As for the one-state vs. two-state or no-state, I’ll begin by sharing with you my feelings today, as I watch on TV the inauguration of America’s first African-American president, Barack Hussein Obama. I grew up in the U.S., and from early age, I learned about and experienced freedom and democracy. While the U.S. is certainly far from being prefect, also in this regards, of all the nations I’ve ever been to or lived in, it is still in a certain class of its own. There is something about America, that you just can’t find in other Western democracies. I guess only people that have lived in both can understand what I mean. And today, I’m perhaps more proud of that nation I once lived in than ever before. If there was ever a demonstration of the power of freedom and democracy, today’s inauguration of a minority citizen is such a case.

And when I think of Barack Hussein Obama, I can’t help but wonder when Israel will elect its first Arab, Muslim or Christian, Prime Minister or President. Indeed that too will be one of the finest moments in a nation’s claim to freedom and democracy. But, as it seems today more than ever, that may be light years away. And certainly, few would argue that without a one-state solution, such a dream is very unlikely in the near future. Like Rumyal, I too find the one-state solution a very interesting one to consider. Having lived as a minority for a good part of my life, I’ve seen that it is possible to exist and thrive as a Jew, without experiencing anti-semitism all around me. My existence was never threatened (I could easily argue that my existence as a Jew has always been more threatened in Israel, than anywhere else…) So I am far less afraid of a future for Israel under non-Jewish rule, than most Israelis might be.

I don’t wish to get into another argument over Zionism’s goals. But I hope most agree that the Jews that came to inhabit this land did so first and foremost out of fear for their existence, and out of wishing to create a safe nation for Jews around the world to escape to, should ever the need arise. It was to be the only place on earth where Jews could feel safe. When my grandparents came here, they didn’t wish to come as conquerors, as violent colonialists intent on removing the indigenous population from their homes and land. But, they ended up doing just that. There is no doubt whatsoever that the state of Israel was created at the expense of others, the Palestinian people. There is also little doubt that if ever true justice was done, only the one-state solution could return to the Palestinians what was taken away from them.

While many here have been arguing for a one-state solution, and while indeed Joe M. does raise a good case for it, I remain convinced that at the moment, in the near future, it is simply not a likely possibility. Not because it can’t happen, but because it won’t. For the one-state solution to be “signed for”, most Jews in Israel must first shed their deeply ingrained fears of being a minority once more, under non-Jewish rule. They must rid themselves of the paranoia that accompanies them to this very day. And that, I believe, is far more difficult to overcome, than any of the “practical” processes that some have mentioned here. At the moment, rational or not, most Jews still fear and distrust most Arabs. That will not change overnight. It will take a generation or two, at least. And also that, only if we first separate. For Jews to begin to understand that the people who surround them are not the demons we have grown up believing in, we will first have to live apart, and see that destruction of the other is not our ultimate goal. This will have to be prove, by one side towards the other.

But clearly, any next-step solution will also entail a very close relationship, indeed interdependency of both peoples on one another. Especially economically, but most likely also in other ways, including energy, water, infrastructure, trade, etc., Israel and Palestine will be required to work together to forge a better future for both nations. This too will be part of the “therapy” that is so desperately required. Without this necessary step, I believe we will end up either in another horrific regional war, or in a continued, and well-established Apartheid rule for decades more. Soon enough, when the citizens of Israel begin to understand that the demographic balance is not in their favor, they will think differently about the territories they continue to hold on to. And when that happens, I cannot see any possibility (realistic likelihood) for them to accept a truly free and democratic one-state, shared between Jews and an Arab majority. It is too soon for them. It will not happen next.

January 20th, 2009, 6:25 pm


Rumyal said:

Dear Joe M.,

Thanks for the detailed scenarios and references. I am not doubting that once the political will existed, the formalization of equality and unification will follow one way or another. The core question is what forces would create this political will and what would make it the rational choice for Israeli Jews and for Palestinians. I agree with Shai that there doesn’t exist a political will in Israel for a one-state solution, but I disagree with him that there does exist political will for a two-state solution that will provide “therapy”. There is no political will for any type of solution. When this is the case, both solutions should be considered based on their merits and chances of realization.

The two-states solutions that Israel accepts *in theory* include all sorts of humiliations for and domination over the Palestinians and will leave many problems unsolved. Hence the Palestinians (or some of them) will find it appropriate to continue their armed struggle and no peace would be possible. At the same time, the Jews inside Israel will feel more justified in classifying their state as a “Jewish state”. As Livni (the liberal) has said (paraphrasing) “once the Palestinians received their state you Israeli Arabs will have to realize your national ambitions over there”. So Israel will have tenuous relationships both with Palestine and with the Arabs “inside” and of course those two tenuous relationships will reinforce each other in a negative feedback loop.

Now all of that would happen *in theory* if Israel accepted and implemented a two-state solution which currently it looks like it won’t. So this brings us back to square one: if Israel won’t *implement* either a one- or two-state solution, what kind of pressure should be applied on it, in what direction and by whom. I’ll start with the “whom” part first. The most important party that has to make up its mind is of course the Palestinians. They have to say what they want loud and clear and preferably they need to be coordinated both inside Israel and in the territories. But that requires Haniyeh and his buddies to say “I would like to be an equal citizen of Israel” and of course he doesn’t have the intellectual latitude to say anything like that. He can only express himself in terms of religion and tribal pride and honor.

Once the Palestinians unified and called for annexation and equal rights within Israel, then, and only then, will they be able to start enlisting the international community to help their cause. If and when pressure starts mounting Israel will be very happy to negotiate a two-state solution, on a much better terms than are available today. Whether this should be accepted or not is a good question that depends on the exact terms. The pressure should be just economical, there is no need for anything else, as the SA case has taught us.


Why is this scenario less realistic than a two-state solution? It is possible that Obama will try to force everybody’s arm into accepting a Bantustan of Palestine during his term. But that of course doesn’t mean that the two-state solution is more practical. Rather than providing security and prosperity to all it will explode in our faces like Oslo did. The reason for that being that much like Oslo there will be no evacuation of settlements, no resolution to the refugee problem, not resolution on Jerusalem and no free passage between Gaza and the West bank. It is impossible for Obama with the current power constellation to achieve anything substantially better for the Palestinians compared with what Clinton did.

Ok, I’ll grant you this: it is more likely that a two-state solution will be *attempted* next. I predict that it will not succeed.

January 20th, 2009, 8:49 pm


Shai said:


I believe that most Israelis (i.e. more than 50%) could still be convinced to support the agendas that both Sharon and Olmert presented, wanted to implement, and were elected on. But indeed that is unlikely right now, as long as we continue to suffocate Gaza, settle the West Bank, and while there is Hamas on one side, and Fatah on the other. Personally, I’d even prefer a Hamas takeover of the West Bank, only to have a single partner to talk to.

But I’ve always claimed that the Palestinian issue is far more complicated than, say, the Syrian one, and have therefore advocated first resolving that conflict. I still believe that Syria can help us greatly with the Palestinians (as well as with Hezbollah). If we make peace with Syria and Lebanon, I think the general mood will change significantly, and will perhaps create a different basis for consideration of various solutions vis-a-vis the Palestinians. I am not outright dismissing the one-state solution, and neither do I claim the two-state one is easy or at the moment acceptable (to either side). But if Israelis feared the Arabs less than they do today, perhaps we’d be willing to look at the West Bank differently. Though I’m not suggesting this is on the table (it’s not, at least not today), but who says all three large settlement blocks have to remain intact? Who says Israel can’t be forced to accept a different two-state solution, than the Bantustan one we know of? I know of various plans that have been suggested in the past, including ones connecting Gaza to the West Bank, though clearly they are quite ridiculous when you think of the geography at hand.

I agree with you and also with Joe M. – that the one-state solution does seem to remove so many of the existing problems. Joe M. isn’t exaggerating. If Israelis agreed with him, it is almost a matter of a “mere signature”. But you and I both know that today Israeli Jews fear more being under non-Jewish rule, than they do keeping Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim, and Kiryat Arba. Just as Ariel Sharon “suddenly” woke up when his Geography professor buddy from Haifa University showed him an updated demographics map, so too will most Israelis, when the next leader, or the one after, will explain to them why they must opt for a two-state solution, rather than one.

Obama will hopefully end Israeli Apartheid once and for all. What the resulting product will be, whether a one-state or a two-state solution, we have yet to see. But I’m almost positive it won’t be the former. Not in the next 10-20 years.

January 20th, 2009, 9:18 pm


SimoHurtta said:

If Turkey does not enter the EU it would be more due to the rise of right wing conservatism in Germany: Combination of the CDU and CCU parties in leadership than anything else he Erdogan says.

Turkey has one strong weapon in EU talks. Oil and gas lines.
Turkey may rethink Nabucco if EU talks stall

Without Turkey EU has very slim possibilities to get oil and gas lines which are not under Russian control.

If EU abandons Turkey it will most likely push it nearer the Russia & China camp make Turkey to rethink is Nato the right club for it. It can also cause that Turkey takes a much bigger role among Muslim countries and warms its alliance with Iran. Turkey is the real key player in the region, not Israel.

January 21st, 2009, 12:51 am


Joe M. said:

SHAI and Rumyal,

So we all agree that a one-state solution could be accomplished with the stroke of a pen. Good, we are on the same page there.

We have many differences, but strategically, where i differ with you in terms of the one-state v. two-state debate is when you say stuff like this:
“I believe that most Israelis (i.e. more than 50%) could still be convinced to support the agendas that both Sharon and Olmert presented, wanted to implement, and were elected on.”

There are so many problems with this statement, that I don’t know where to begin. But to make things as obvious as possible, I do think that Sharon and Olmert did implement the plan they were elected on, and all the war and destruction is the natural result. Thus, I don’t think it matters whether 50%+ of Israelis support that plan, because we have already seen it and it has been a nightmare. I don’t think those wars and the division among Palestinians and the siege were an accident, but the result of the incompatibility of the israeli view of “peace” and the minimum demands of the Palestinian people. If Israel continues to push for this type of “solution” where they are not willing to accept Palestinian demands for justice, and if Obama tries to enforce some “solution” like this, there will only be more war. It’s as simple as that. Israel’s idea of “peace” is simply incompatible with the minimal Palestinian demands, and it creates more violence and instability.

That said, Rumyal, I do not think it requires Hamas to participate for there to be a one-state solution. Granted, we are years away from any solution now, whether one or two states… So that’s the starting point, both are far off. So the question is what it takes to make a one-state solution (even if a weak one like a bi-national confederation). And I think it only takes two major things. 1) it takes a solid and credible alternative Palestinian voice to demand it. this could come from within Israel, or it could come in the form of a group of establishment Palestinians demanding it (for example, if sari nusseibeh, mustafa barghouthi, a couple major Fatah figures, and even some important international academics) started making this call, then it would naturally gain momentum. Even now, over the last few days, I have seen the NY Times write two stories about the one-state solution (something I never thought I would see in my life). This is a sign that the potential for momentum is there. if there was some form of official embrace, it would only make the momentum all the more powerful.

Let’s not forget how honestly possible these things are. it only took 4 years, from 1988 to 1992 for the PLO to make an official (though inherently flawed) deal with Israel. The same could happen in terms of the one-state solution.

From where i stand, the two-state solution is officially dead. no one believes in it, no one will fight for it, and no one can accept the “solution” that israel is willing to offer. So it is inevitable. Just as the current war(and guaranteed wars to come) was the inevitable result of the failure of the two-state policy. Thus, it’s just a matter of time, and not a particularly long time as well.

January 21st, 2009, 1:12 am


Dan said:

Sorry to break it to everyone, but the one state solution is a pipe dream. It’s suggested by people who ignore the right of the Jews to have one country of their own, in which they don’t fear antisemitism or a repeat of the past 2,000 years of history. They may have to fight for their existence where they are now, but at least they’re not doing it as powerless sheep being led to slaughter. And even ignoring moral arguments, there’s no reason for Israelis to accept it when they’re the stronger party. The two state solution would require much less concessions on their part.

January 21st, 2009, 3:20 am


norman said:


There are anti discrimination laws in the western countries in housing and employment, does Israel have similar laws ?.

Do you think that Jews around the world should be treated the way Christians and Muslims are treated in Israel or should they be asked to leave these countries and go to settle in Israel.

By the way , I agree with you , I do not see any chance for one state solution at this time . israel should think of a way to pacify the population that live around her and what it is doing will never make her safe , Israel and the Israelis have to show that they care about the Palestinians if it wants them to care about the Jews and the Israelis.

January 21st, 2009, 3:45 am


Dan said:

I agree with the need to show more compassion towards the Palestinians.
Regarding the first issue – the answer is yes.
Take a look at the Israeli Antidiscrimination Legal Center website:
For example:
“The Israeli Law strictly prohibits discrimination in Products, Services and Entry into Places of Entertainment and Public Places (The Prohibition of Discrimination in Products, Services and Entry into Places of Entertainment and Public Places Law of 2000).”
With respect to gays and lesbians, for example, Israeli law is much more progressive than the US.

January 21st, 2009, 4:08 am


Shai said:

Joe M.,

You are wrong. You’re choosing to look at certain things, and conveniently misinterpreting or ignoring others.

You will not convince me, or most in Israel, that when Sharon withdrew from Gaza, long before Hamas clashed with Fatah and took control by force, he already planned its siege. You will not convince me that Olmert was elected to carry out operations like Lebanon 2006 or Gaza 2009. You’re making a convenient assumption that these horrific events are a consequence of these two leaders’ agenda, and you’re dismissing the positive consequences that could have resulted, and perhaps were even intended by both. That you’ve lost any faith in Israeli leaders other than Uri Avneri is more than clear. But that is also your handicap, and it will continue to cloud your analysis of what goes on in Israel.

I don’t know where you get statements like “Thus, I don’t think it matters whether 50%+ of Israelis support that plan, because we have already seen it and it has been a nightmare.” from. But for me, and also for you, it should certainly matter what 50%+ Israelis will support, and what they won’t. To you, only nightmares can come out of Israel. In essence, there’s nothing more to talk to you about. If this is your final conclusion, what’s the point to talk about anything else?

And of course I disagree with your statement: “Israel’s idea of “peace” is simply incompatible with the minimal Palestinian demands, and it creates more violence and instability.” Everything points to the opposite. A number of Palestinian leaders have accepted, on behalf of the Palestinian people, numerous “solutions” that are far less than the one-state solution. If to you, “minimal demands” is the one-state solution, then you’ve just taken yourself out of the equation. Realistically, politically and diplomatically, you’re completely irrelevant. Even if in the end a one-state could take place, your approach is unrealistic, and will not be adopted.

Joe, I don’t wish to continue this argument further. You think “stuff” like mine has so many problems that you “don’t know where to begin”. And I think “stuff” like yours has so many problems, that I no longer wish “to begin”. Let’s leave it at that, shall we?

January 21st, 2009, 4:55 am


jad said:

Nice to see you back Shai, I was worried that you left to the moon with the Chinese wihout me…

January 21st, 2009, 5:50 am


Shai said:


Wallahi, believe me I think I can be more useful on the Chinese lunar mission than I can here on SC right now… 🙂 If you get a chance, please meet Rumyal. I haven’t had the pleasure to meet him (yet), but if anyone here represents Israel’s best interests, it’s him.

January 21st, 2009, 6:08 am


jad said:

You are useful and a very important person on moon as on earth, SC is not the same without your views and comments (not the lengthy ones) 😉 ….don’t go anywhere and leave us…be honest, was QN good to you?

I’m sure about Rumyal, hopefully will manage to meet.

January 21st, 2009, 6:14 am


Shai said:


Thank you for your kind words. Yes, QN was as always very nice to me. Apologies for the lengthy comments… 😉

January 21st, 2009, 6:23 am


jad said:

Did you finish your comment already? That was a first… 🙂
I was bugging you Shai, keep writing..
I better stop…let’s keep SC pages for the serious people to write not socialising as I’m doing now..

January 21st, 2009, 6:28 am


Rumyal said:

Joe M.,

You said:

And I think it only takes two major things. 1) …

What is the second major thing?

I agree with you on the first one. Hamas endorsement may be nonessential. Sari Nusseibeh (that you enjoy discrediting so much) called for annexation in ’87. He was deemed a lunatic and a traitor by the Palestinians at the time. If all Palestinians were so “inconsistent” and “undisciplined” you’d have a 20 year head-start on your struggle by now.

BTW, have you read this book? (Have you written it? 🙂

One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse
by Ali Abunimah


January 21st, 2009, 6:36 am


Shai said:


I know you were joking. I also have to go do some more useful things… Btw, don’t underestimate the significance this “socializing” aspect can have. To be honest, I’m not sure which contributes more to peace, our “rational, educated” discussions, or our silly “to the moon” ones. And I’m quite serious about that… The former all too often highlight our differences (which is of course ok and necessary), but the latter demonstrates our similarities and helps break down emotional barriers that are at the root of our conflict. If only most people in my country could see what goes on here, on SC.

January 21st, 2009, 6:43 am


Qifa Nabki said:


Trust me, Shai is always very welcome at my blog. I serve him coffee and baklawa, and he keeps AIG busy for me.


January 21st, 2009, 7:23 am


jad said:

I have no doubt of your generosity.
I honestly think that you deserve a trophy for being so tolerant having AIG writing whatever he likes on your website…God be with you..

January 21st, 2009, 7:38 am


Joe M. said:


It’s a simple fact that sari nusseibeh is not popular among other palestinians. But I heard a recent interview with him where he discussed potentially running for mayor of Jerusalem as the beginning of a one-state project. Start a one-state project by making Jerusalem the focal point. And i forget the exact demographics at the moment, but a significant Palestinian vote in the next mayors race could be enough to win (or at least, kick state a major one-state campaign). Of course, like i said, Sari has no popular support among Palestinians because he is too accepting of zionism and too close to Israelis. But even so, he is fairly principled and clean, and makes all his interactions and views known. So i don’t consider him much of a threat to Palestinian nationalism (where Fatah is, as they are working directly for zionism in an underhanded way, and thus splitting the Palestinians in the name of realism).

Just to finish this point, the Arab parties in Israel could be a significant player in a one-state call. As their political status is continuously threatened, and they are finally starting to emerge as a unifying Palestinian voice. azmi bishara has been a strong voice for a one-state solution for some time, and he gained credibility in the eyes of Palestinians when he was kicked out of Israel. But as the Palestinian citizens of Israel are increasingly threatened by zionist nationalism, in reality the zionists are just connecting the dots of a Palestinian arch that has been broken for too long. and those connections could be key in the medium term.

Anyway, the #2 that i forgot to write is that Palestinian rejectionism needs to strengthen. Of course, SHAI is clinching his teeth as he reads this, but Palestinian rejectionism will just legitimize the one-state solution. And that is why i don’t care what the Israelis think, because we are fighting our own struggle. And there is a zero-sum game between the one and two state solutions. So, the more the two-state solution is discredited, the more the one-state solution will gain in popularity. And this can even be done by violent resistance if necessary, because the one-state advocates are not those using violence to promote their cause. And at some point in the near future, when Israel’s occupation is even more deeply entrenched, those at the Council on Foreign Relations and on the oped pages of the major papers will have no choice but to ask, “can democracy work”? And then you will have good old sari nusseibeh there waiting to answer “what other choice do we have?”

The Zionists will reject it. But look at their society, it’s cracks are growing by the day. in you read the comments of yonatan mendel below, which I think are quite accurate of Israel’s condition, their choices are limited:
And at some point, it will just take the voice of someone like the Avraham Burg to push the snowball down the hill.

January 21st, 2009, 7:39 am


Joe M. said:

I just wrote a more lengthy comment, but it mysteriously vanished.

so let me just make my point more quickly this time

the #2 that i forgot in the above comment was that I think there needs to be an increase in Palestinian/Arab rejectionism. And this can be accomplished violently or simply with rejectionism. The two state solution is already dead and those how have advocated it for so long are increasingly discredited. So if there is an organized movement to reject the occupation, or even a violent campaign that continues to make clear how the two-state solution is impossible, all that will be left is the one-state solution.

(and SHAI, I am not necessarily advocating violence, but just pointing out that there is likely to be violence for some time yet, and this is a defacto rejection of the current situation, in which the only answer to the question, “can there be peace?” is to answer with a two-state. The violence is tied to the two-state solution, as it is legitimized by seeing the other side as competing nationalisms. While those who advocate the one-state solution will necessarily be free of that type of violence, as it doesn’t make sense to kill the people you want to live with.)

January 21st, 2009, 8:06 am


SimoHurtta said:

You will not convince me, or most in Israel, that when Sharon withdrew from Gaza, long before Hamas clashed with Fatah and took control by force, he already planned its siege. You will not convince me that Olmert was elected to carry out operations like Lebanon 2006 or Gaza 2009. You’re making a convenient assumption that these horrific events are a consequence of these two leaders’ agenda, and you’re dismissing the positive consequences that could have resulted, and perhaps were even intended by both.

Shai Sharon never indented to let Gaza to be an independent region. It was clear to him and his followers that Gaza will stay under Israeli military control.

Every Israeli leader is elected to perform such operations like Lebanon 2006 and Gaza 2009 always when Israel wants to do them. And the Israeli public loves those operations. Of course Israel political establishment has clear plans and programs. The reality is that those plans and programs are to dangerous to be published even to the own public. Israel does its best to hide its real aims, which are naturally capturing West Bank and minimizing the Arab population on its area. Publishing such policy would the “Mein Kampf” of Israeli political establishment, but the policy clearly exists. Naturally Israelis, even some of the peace doves, deny it because knowing such “Nazi policy” exist would be to much for any decent human being.

Shai it would be worth for you to listen to a new Noam Chomsky’s lecture about this and other subjects.

January 21st, 2009, 11:12 am


Shai said:


I really don’t wish to again get into a useless argument with you. You assumptions about what Israel votes her leaders to do or not do, and the hidden Israeli “Mein Kampf” that cannot be published even to the Israeli public, are rather “amusing” (to use your phraseology).

When you suggest “The reality is that those plans and programs are to dangerous to be published even to the own public.”, I’m beginning to think that perhaps you’re the one working for some Zionist Intelligence Agency. Your information and conclusions are certainly impressive…

Let’s please stop this charade. You and I both know you’re not exactly open to thinking otherwise. Hence, the discussion has ended long ago, hasn’t it?

January 21st, 2009, 12:06 pm


SimoHurtta said:

I really don’t wish to again get into a useless argument with you. You assumptions about what Israel votes her leaders to do or not do, and the hidden Israeli “Mein Kampf” that cannot be published even to the Israeli public, are rather “amusing” (to use your phraseology).

Shai what is then your function here to express views if you do not allow others to express counterarguments to your views. You seem to like that Chinese moon rocket style “lightweight talk”, but what is the function of such personal chatting for the larger audience. I could equally exchange comments with Akbar in style “Have you been ice-skating?”. Akbar would answer “There is no ice in Florida”. Who is interested of that discussion?

If you are tired to discuss about Israel,of its problems and its role in Middle East then you should continue your brake. You claim that Israel has no plan, I claim that it has but that plan is to dangerous to put on paper in a public political program.

A quote of John J. Mearsheimer’s latest article in American Conservative

But these are not the real goals of Operation Cast Lead. The actual purpose is connected to Israel’s long-term vision of how it intends to live with millions of Palestinians in its midst. It is part of a broader strategic goal: the creation of a “Greater Israel.” Specifically, Israel’s leaders remain determined to control all of what used to be known as Mandate Palestine, which includes Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians would have limited autonomy in a handful of disconnected and economically crippled enclaves, one of which is Gaza. Israel would control the borders around them, movement between them, the air above and the water below them.
Arnon Soffer, a prominent Israeli demographer who also advised Sharon, elaborated on what that pressure would look like. “When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.”

Surely you as an Zionist living in Zionist country understand that those strategies and advices described in the quote can not be on paper as a political party’s or government’s program. It would make Hamas look good. But on those strategies has every Israeli government acted.

I’m beginning to think that perhaps you’re the one working for some Zionist Intelligence Agency. Your information and conclusions are certainly impressive…

Well you seem to need more tranquillizers to get over with the Gaza events. Your knowledge and analyses of Israel seem not to be “very impressive”, but who is able to see his/her country real ugly face. I suggest that you listen to that Chomsky’s lecture I linked.

January 21st, 2009, 2:08 pm


Shai said:


As I’ve mentioned to you on more than one occasion, you’re the last person I feel a need to explain anything to. If I felt you had even the tiniest inclination to truly listen, or God-forbid change your mind about anything, I might reconsider this. But you’re not here to listen – you’re here to be heard. So keep talking, but to others please. I’m just not interested, sorry. And thank you for the patronizing suggestions on how and what I should talk about on SC. If I feel I need your advice in the future, I’ll know where to reach you.

January 21st, 2009, 2:48 pm


Elie Elhadj said:

To all,
1. As SAMI D indicated, a conference on the logic and feasibility of the single-state solution will be held on March 28 and 29, 2009 at the University of Massachusetts in Boston:

2.It has been brought to my attention that a person carrying my name has published in ELAPH a couple of days ago an article in Arabic. I must say that until I was alerted to the ELAPH piece I have never heard of ELAPH. I did not write that article. I’ll certainly try to identify the individual involved.

Elie Elhadj

January 21st, 2009, 4:22 pm


Elie Elhadj said:

To all,
1. As SAMI D indicated above, a conference on the logic and feasibility of the single-state solution will be held on March 28 and 29, 2009 at the University of Massachusetts in Boston:

2. It has been brought to my attention that an individual carrying a name similar to my own has published a couple of days ago in ELAPH an article in Arabic. I must emphasize that I never heard of ELAPH until two days ago, that I have no idea who the author of the ELAPH article is, and that I never published any article in Arabic anywhere. I’ll certainly try to identify the individual involved.

Elie Elhadj

January 21st, 2009, 4:37 pm


Rumyal said:

Joe M.,

The upcoming Bibi term will be a rerun of the Shamir term from the late 80’s. It will be characterized by a declared willingness to negotiate on the basis of allowing some form of self-determination for the Palestinians while at the same time deepening the settlement enterprise. Whomever thinks that the two-state solution is still possible will have new facts on the ground to contend with in 3-4 years from now. While there’ll be a lot of suffering involved, mostly for Palestinians but also for Israelis, the bluntness of Bibi’s and Liberman’s ideology will hasten the realization in world view that the situation in Israel requires a treatment similar to that of SA.

January 21st, 2009, 5:33 pm


Peter H said:

In theory, I am sympahetetic to the idea of a binational state, particularly the federation that Joe M talks about. I think it could be a potentially far more solution than a 2-state solution, which has clear flaws (no right of return, a weak & physically divided Palestinian state).

On the other hand, the experience of binational states in practice has been dismal – at best. Look at Lebanon, where the consociational democracy completely broke down in the 1970\’s, and is only tenously holding together now. Look at Cyprus or Yugoslavia, countries that were once extolled as models of multiethnic cooperation in the past. Even Belgium, which has nothing like the history of interethnic violence that Palestine/Israel had experienced, almost fell apart a couple of years ago.

I think it\’s imperative for advocates of a 1-state solution to explain why the problems that have beset binational states elsewhere would be handled in Israel/Palestine.

January 21st, 2009, 7:48 pm


Joachim Martillo said:

The problem of Zionism does not lie in the politicization of scripture and cannot be solved by a commitment to secularization and depoliticization of the Bible and the Quran.

Before any solution can be discussed, the E. European politics on which Zionism is based must be understood.

E. European Ethnic Ashkenazim imported an extremely vicious dangerous form of ethnic fundamentalism or (in the case of Jabotinskians) ethnic monism to Palestine.

Historically, no path has ever been found to peaceful coexistence with ethnic fundamentalists or ethnic monists.

In addition, the difficulty of negotiating with Zionists is exacerbated by the complexity of political authority with in the Zionist system.

These two hyperlinks explain the issue: Introduction: The Virtual Colonial Motherland as Political Innovation and Peninsulares Versus Criollos.

While the foregoing political analysis is important from the standpoint of developing a more comprehensive understanding both of Zionist history and also of political science in general, economics has rendered obsolete the issue of one state versus two states.

The US and world economies cannot be fixed as long as the Zionist system remains intact. The following two blog entries discuss the problem: Corrupt Jewish Social Networking Rules! and Israel: A Giant Ponzi Scheme.

February 2nd, 2009, 5:36 pm


Karin friedemann said:

I think this analysis is a good start. But, it shrinks from the true moral obligation of Jews: to consider if Islam is, perhaps true. After all, many verses in the Quran are addressed directly to the Children of Israel, the People of the Book, and so on. Clearly this prophet believed he was your prophet. If you rejected him, you may have rejected God, your soul, and all future hope.


February 3rd, 2009, 2:18 am


Tal said:

Can someone ask a Palestinian how he calls his people in Arabic?
Or maybe ask him about his collective cultural heritage?
o i know ask him since when people started to see them as a different people from the Arab nation?
answers plzz

February 7th, 2010, 3:30 pm


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