A Solution for the Israel/Palestine Conflict
There will eventually be one state in Israel/Palestine. There are at least two ways it can come about.
Some propose that breaking up Israel/Palestine into two states is a solution to the current conflict. That is one way to start the process that will end up in one state.
This has been tried in a similar case.
The split of independent India into India and Pakistan was the result of a large Muslim minority from India forming a new state. It resembles Israel/Palestine with Pakistan starting out as two separate enclaves much as the proposed Palestinian state is now divided into the West Bank and Gaza. A war between the two parts of Pakistan ended with East Pakistan becoming Bangladesh. A fanatical Hindu party, the BJP, is prominent in Indian politics and responsible for massacres of Muslims. Pakistan and India have fought four wars.
After or during separation if it occurs Israel will try to trade its Palestinian enclaves for keeping the settlements. If successful this will remove Israeli citizens who are not Jewish from their country. This is inadmissible ethnic cleansing. Palestine will resent the continuation of settlements as making legal what was illegal. International law does not allow permanent civilian settlements on territory acquired by war regardless of the circumstances that brought on the war. The new state of Palestine will be dominated by Islamists. No Jews will be allowed to settle there. Christians will be discriminated against and many of them will leave. This has already been happening under the Palestine authority on the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.
Like Pakistan the new Palestinian state will be in two parts one under Hamas in Gaza and the other under the Palestinian authority on the West Bank. Like Pakistan they will be in conflict. They already are in conflict. Either they will split fragmenting an already tiny state or one will conquer the other leaving resentment and a restive population.
Israel will become more of a garrison state as it will feel threatened by this new neighbour which will be free to arm itself and allow sympathetic Arab armies to enter preparatory to attacking Israel. Palestine will probably become a fundamentalist theocracy. Palestinians will keep shooting rockets into Israel, and displaced settlers will agitate for a greater Israel. Extremists from both sides will commit terrorist acts.
Israel - Palestine. Click for larger version. Image: PBS
Eventually full scale war will break out. Unlike India and Pakistan there will not be four wars. Neither state will be in condition to continue over four wars the way India and Pakistan have done. Either Israel will reoccupy the Palestinian state or Israel will disappear as Palestine and its Arab allies will win. If Israel reoccupies the Palestinian state we will be back where we are now. If Israel is wiped out it will be the end of a nation that has risen from the ashes of a people.
The above scenario may not be followed to the letter, but two states will create a situation more unstable than the present one. It may end in one state by a different route, but it will eventually end in one state. The area concerned is too small to contain two states at each other’s throats.
One cannot ignore the actual attitudes. There is hate, distrust and suspicion. With two states these attitudes will remain, fester and get worse. The stage will be set for more war. It will happen, and it will end in one oppressive state.
That might have happened in South Africa had the Afrikaaners and Zulus separated from the new South Africa. They were not allowed self-determination. As it was South Africa stayed together and is trying to change attitudes.
There are a number of examples of partitions of one state into two in the post World War 2 world. North and South Korea, North and South Vietnam, East and West Germany and India and Pakistan are four examples of creating two states from one. None of them have brought peace, and there is no reason to think it will be different in Israel/Palestine. Of the four examples two have ended in reunification- in Vietnam after a long war, and the other two are in continuing conflict. India is a democratic, pluralistic society, and Pakistan is an authoritarian, Islamist society. North Korea is a
totalitarian dictatorship, and South Korea is a democracy. The conflict is heightened by the disparate social systems in the two countries.
If the land between the Jordan and Mediterranean is partitioned into two states they will most likely have two systems. Israel will remain a Jewish state with many democratic features and a strong fundamentalist presence. Palestine now is split into an Islamist Gaza, and a corrupt, authoritarian
Fatah. The resulting Palestinian state will have few, if any, democratic features.
Once a bad idea has been adopted and repeated ad nauseam it becomes an accepted argument, but it does not become a good argument. Two states for Israel/Palestine is a bad idea which has gained acceptance.
There is a solution which is unpalatable to many of the parties concerned. However, it may have a chance.
To effect that solution the idea of a Jewish or a Palestinian state must be given up, and all parties must work together to create a state which would not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity or religion. One of the virtues of South Africa is that the Afrikaners and the Zulus did not get
self-determination. All parties live together.
Israel has a number of Haredim [ultra-orthodox]. The men in general do not participate in the economy. They spend their time involved with their religious texts except when they produce large families with children who will emulate their life style. They are becoming an increasing percentage of the population and an increasing burden on the state. The schools of the Haredim produce children who know about Talmudic minutiae but do not have the rudiments of science or literature outside of religious texts. Israel has no civil marriage.
As it is now in Israel there are several school systems all subsidized by the government. With Israel continuing the way it is it will perish of its own contradictions without needing a war. There are separate school systems. There are school systems for Muslims, another for secular Jews, another for religious Jews and another for Haredim.
There should be one state with a public school system which integrates all students regardless of ethnicity or religion. If parents want to send their children to other schools they and/or their religious organization must pay the full cost. That is a good idea for Australia, too.
Go to school, work together, live together. There is already too much separation. It is stupid to postulate more separation as a solution.
The religious zealots on both sides will object. Some Muslim religious zealots are Jihadis. “Inside Jihadism” by Farhad Khosrokhaver describes the attitudes of the Jihadis. Jihadis do not recognise any sort of relationship with those who do not accept Islam except submission with a tax acknowledging submission. This option is only open to Jews or Christians. Others must convert or be killed. Those Muslims who favour accommodation with non-Muslims, pluralism, democracy or peaceful coexistence are regarded as traitors and can also be killed.
Israel has developed into a garrison state. An inordinate number of generals use their military reputation to gain office. Israel has departed from Jewish tradition as to militarism.
Both Muslims and Jews have another tradition.
Part of the Jewish tradition is that one should not rejoice in military victories or militarism. That is an old tradition. King David was not allowed to build the Temple because he was a man of war and thus thought unworthy to build a place to worship the Lord.
Chronicles 1 22:7 And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God: 22:8 But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.
The Talmud contains midrashim or stories about portions of the Bible. One of the stories tells when the waters of the Red Sea closed over the Egyptians the angels around the Lord cheered. The Lord wept because the Egyptians were also his children.
Originally the holiday of Hannukah celebrated a victory over the Hellenic forces. The rabbis not wanting to celebrate a military victory emphasised the miracle of the lights. I feel Israel has violated that tradition. I am unhappy that so many of their political leaders have been generals.
The great Australian Jewish General Monash rejected those who would have had him take political power. D. H. Lawrence wrote a highly fictional account of the incident in “Kangaroo.”
A Koranic verse (2:256) states: “There is no compulsion in religion”(in Arabic: la ikrah fi’d-din). It has not always been followed, but it exists.
The Maziyariyya, a Muslim pacifist sect, dropped jihad from their concept of the faith.
In the nineteenth century a central Asian Muslim leader led a non-violent jihad against the czarist occupation. As the Soviets were to do to later dissidents he was confined to a mental institution.
In 1930 the Pathans of Northern India, a people with a tradition of violence, turned to non-violence. Abdul Gaffir Khan, ‘the Gandhi of the frontier provinces’, in 1930 persuaded the Pathans of the power of non-violence. In spite of persecution, imprisonment and executions they kept to their
commitment to non-violence.
Although the violence has been emphasised there has been a tradition of non-violence in Palestine:
In 1902, the inhabitants of three Palestinian villages – al-Shajara, Misha and Melhamiyya – held a collective peaceful protest against the takeover of 70,000 dunums (7,000 hectares) of agricultural land by the first European Zionist settlers.
In 1936 Palestinians held a six-month non-violent industrial strike against the British Mandate’s refusal to grant self determination to Palestine. The ultimate aim of the strike was to make Palestine ungovernable by anyone but the Palestinians themselves.
Fifty years later, in 1986, Hannah Siniora, then editor of the East Jerusalem Arabic Daily, called for Palestinian civic disobedience by boycotting Israel-made cigarettes. This led to a full-scale Palestinian
boycott of Israeli soap, food, water, clothes and other consumer goods.
The 1987-1993 First Intifada was largely conducted non-violently. Palestinians held mass public demonstrations, refused to pay taxes, and sought out local alternatives to Israeli facilities. Community leader Mubarak Awad initiated olive tree planting on Palestinian land about to be confiscated by Israeli settlers. Israeli law prohibited any construction on land dedicated to growing fruit. Awad used non-violent resistance, and Israel’s own laws, to challenge the encroaching settlements.
In http://www.counterpunch.org/baroud04172009.html Ramzy Baroud points out that non-violence should be adopted by both peoples.
http://www.ithacapress.co.uk/Refusing-to-be-Enemies-Palestinian-and-Israeli-Nonviolent-Resistance-to-the-Israeli-Occupation contains a review of “Refusing to be Enemies: Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation.” Some on both sides have already adopted nonviolence.
Hatreds and distrust will not disappear by creation of another state. It will merely continue the separation and suspicion. However, a secular state with opportunities for the differing peoples to get to know each other by living, working and going to school together would give peace a chance.
There have been great changes in the United States since schools and public facilities have been integrated. I visit Tidewater Virginia occasionally since my son is a professor at William and Mary. That area has undergone tremendous changes since WW2. After the war there was real apartheid. Most restaurants and hotels would not let black people in. Those that did were for blacks only. Schools were segregated by race. When public facilities were first desegregated whites would cluster together and blacks would cluster together. Now one can see people of different races mingling and
having a good time together.
It will not happen overnight, but the same process can happen in Israel/Palestine if given a chance.