Posted by: sean | December 13, 2008

The two-state shuffle

Often overlooked is what would happen to Palestinian citizens of Israel in the event of a two-state solution. Who needs Sharon and Feiglin if Livni’s going to start playing the transfer game too?

In remarks to school children broadcast on Israeli radio, Ms Livni’s said her solution for maintaining a Jewish and democratic state of Israel was “to have two distinct national entities”.

“Among other things I will also be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel… and tell them: ‘Your national aspirations lie elsewhere.'”

Since I first read this article, it has been updated with clarifications from Livni, who now says:

“There is no question of carrying out a transfer or forcing them [Israeli Arabs] to leave,” she told public radio.

“I am willing to give up a part of the country over which I believe we have rights so that Israel will remain a Jewish and democratic state in which citizens have equal rights, whatever their religion,” she added.

These comments, however, don’t really get to the crux of the issue. Even if they are not forcibly and physically transferred, we’re left to guess what their status will be.

This is something that a lot of people outside the Middle East don’t understand. When many Israelis, even leftist “pro-peace” Isrealis, talk about a two-state solution, they look at the idea as an opportunity to get rid of Israel’s Palestinian citizens. The means vary from person to person, but usually it involves trading Israeli territory with Palestinians on it, transfering Palestinians or forcing Palestinians to either swear an oath to the Jewish state of Israel or lose their civil and political rights.

I think many sober Israelis understand that barring a dramatic change in Jewish birth rates or a massive influx of American, French or Argentinian Jews, even if they get rid of the West Bank and Gaza, they’re still facing a demographic “threat.” This is something that no one ever talks about in the framework of a two-state solution, but many Israelis I’ve spoken to have absolutely no problem with stripping Palestinian citizens of Israel of their citizenship in a two-state deal.

Otherwise, I saw Jimmy Carter last night, who spoke to a packed out crowd at the Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut. With the exception of the news that the Carter Center will probably monitor next year’s elections here in Lebanon, there was nothing really groundbreaking to be heard if you’ve followed Carter’s ideas on the region, but it was good to see him in person.



  1. “many Israelis I’ve spoken to have absolutely no problem with stripping Palestinian citizens of Israel of their citizenship in a two-state deal.”

    They need to be fought. However, what you omit is that in recent years Israeli Arabs have advanced national aspirations of their own – the Future Vision document of late 2006, for example (good commentary at The Forward).

    I find it uncontroversial for Livni to firmly have said that the national aspirations of Arab Israelis should end with the creation of a Palestinian state. I’m not surprised that it’s been wilfully interpreted in anti-Zionist quarters though. Arab Israelis need to grow up, politically, and claim the inclusion that is rightfully theirs. The Israeli left needs their support.

    As for the idea of Arab Israelis being a demographic threat – “demographic threat” is racist when you’re talking about Arabs. You will also hear Israelis talk about the demographic threat from the Haredi (ultra-orthodox Jewish) community with its high birthrate and (characteristically) values which are anathaema to secular life. To consider them a demographic threat is also bigotted. I’m with Gideon Levy on this matter – with an extra observation – a low birthrate correlates with the advanced educational achievement of women.

  2. S’just the way things are. Over 25% of Arabs residing in Israel are Holocaust deniers; over 30% of Arabs who both reside in Israel and hold a university degree are Holocaust-deniers.

    In other words, over 25% of Arabs in Israel are rabid anti-Semites.

    During the last war with Hizbullah, Arabs residing in Israel largely supported the latter. Even when Iranian missiles slammed into their homes.

    And as for the Palestinians… both Fateh and Hamas have the genocide of the Jews and the destruction of Israel as their stated goal. Anyone who voted for them voted to kill me; for all I care, anyone who voted for either is my mortal enemy.

    The Palestinians are openly preaching genocide of the Jews in schools, kindergartens, universities, on TV, on the radio, in papers and books.

    Fuck them. Injustice? We are guarding ourselves from this genocidal bunch by carefully preventing them from slaughtering us while keeping their comfort and human rights at the maximum possible level. Israeli civilians and soldiers die – almost every time they do – because Israel has been careful not to harm the Palestinians too much.

    And as for Arab living in Israel: they will become Israeli or we’ll face a civil war in the next 30 years or so. Then there really will be transfer.

    It’s important to understand – we KNOW that most Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular want us dead. It’s not something we’re unaware of. A few thousand corpses after Oslo we realized that yes, they really ARE out to get us.

    Seems reasonable. They want us dead; we’re willing to inconvenience them in order to stay alive.

  3. Flesh: Thanks for the Forward link. I’m not sure, though, how there is room in a Jewish state for a sizable non-Jewish minority. Something has to give, because if Israel continues to see itself as the state for all Jews worldwide and to give preference to Jews over non-Jews, it’s hard to see what inclusion could possibly be there for Palestinians in Israel. I don’t see how a non-Jew could possibly be Israeli so long as Israel defines itself as a Jewish state. Should they accept being second class citizens who are tolerated only as long as their numbers don’t increase so much as to threaten the idea of Israel as a Jewish state? Is that what you mean by political maturity? You say anti-Zionist, like it’s a bad thing, but while I can understand how one might be a non-Jewish Zionist from the comfort of New York or London, it’s hard to imagine it in Nazareth where the exclusionist nature of the Zionism directly affects your day-to-day life.

    At least people like Abu Sa’ar here are honest, as opposed to some of the Israeli “pro-peace” camp I’ve encountered. He believes Arabs are genocidal anti-semites and as such is willing to have them killed or take away their rights. I find his remarks to be ridiculously uninformed and unproductive, although typical of Israeli tropes of victimhood — we are willing to ethnically cleanse Arabs, but it’s only because they want to commit genocide against us, who in case you’ve forgotten are the righteous, civilized ones. But at least he calls a spade a spade.

    Which reminds me, again, of the Wire, when a black police lieutenant is talking to a white candidate for mayor about an old man who ran a segregated funeral parlor. The old man was asked whether he’d follow the new law against segregation and start burying black people, to which he responded, “sure, but on one condition: that I can bury them all at once.” The black cop looks at the surprised white politician and says, at least with guys like that, you know where you stand.

  4. There are hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish Israelis. I served with Arabs, Circassians, Druze, Bedouins, Gypsies and every flavor of Jew – including a variety of “non-Jews” whose mother wasn’t Jewish (but rather anything from Persian to Cherokee to English). Plenty of people of various additional ethnicities are Israelis: I know Swedish, Japanese, Congolese, Chinese, Russian and Indian Israelis in addition to the various Semitic Israelis.

    They are not hindered by not being Jewish.

    Not even the Arabs among the above.

    They all have equal rights before the law. None of them are “second class” citizens. And all of them are Zionists. Including the Arabs.

    The same way the Swedes in Finland – the descendants of conquering soldiers and violent colonists – could and still can live there today as a distinct ethnic minority in the ethno-national Finnish homeland, so can non-Jews in Israel.

    It’s just a question of not being genocidally antisemitic, you see.

    And about being genocidally antisemitic: please, refute. Oh please, refute, ya sean. This old Raccoon will sleep so much better knowing there is no genocidal enemy a dozen or so kilometers away.

    And then there’s the amusing anecdotal evidence – always good for a few laughs. Like worshiping people whose sole accomplishment was killing some Jewish children. Samir Kuntar isn’t an aberration: he is but one of many and the most visible. Or, say, the celebrations and media fluff pieces on the same Samir Kuntar. Or the education in any Arab majority state on the issue of Jews and Israel. Or the prevailing street-level antisemitism.

    Surely, I am uninformed. Victimhood and all that. Apparently, I am also a racist and equivalent to a guy hoping to genocide the Negro race.

    Impressive reasoning:)

  5. So in your previous comments, Palestinians with Israeli citizenship were genocide mongers, but in this post, they’re Zionists? Hahahah. I’ve been to Haifa and Yaffa and Jerusalem, and I’ve never met a single Palestinian Zionist. The only non-Jewish Arab Zionists I’ve ever met are Islamophobic Maronites like Brigitte Gabriel.

    As far as Samir Kuntar is concerned, I find him and his welcome to be disgraceful. But any country who has elected Sharon to be head of state doesn’t have very far to look for national disgrace at honoring a murderer. (See Qibya and Sabra and Shatilla just for starters.)

    Furthermore, since Finland isn’t a colonial settler state that’s turned millions of Swedes into refugees, I’m afraid your comparison falls short.

    As for the Hamas charter, it’s ridiculous, but Israel really has no one to blame but itself for the creation and success of the group. You guys helped nurture the party from a young age in order to undermine the PLO. Well, it worked, so I suppose you should pat yourselves on the back. Mission Accomplished! By the by, their comments are as bad as those of Fieglin, Likud’s crypto-fascist who seems to think that Hitler was a genius.

  6. Ach, sean, your reasoning only gets better and better. I am even more impressed.

    You do not see the difference between an Arab who denies the Holocaust and is a member of, say, Northern Islamic Movement and an Arab who volunteers to IDF and sees himself as an Israeli?

    You fail to comprehend the existence of both in the same state?

    And such fine differences in meaning as between “some”, “all” and “most” apparently fail to register with you. Again, an impressive feat.

    Do you seriously equate Sharon – who can indeed be accused of criminal negligence in Sabra and Shatila – with Samir Kuntar, who killed a little girl’s father in front of her eyes and then bashed her head in?

    If Israel is a “colonial settler state”, whose colony is it, exactly? Where do these Jews come from? Where is the Jewish homeland?

    Millions of refugees – hmmmm, I always wondered who lived in all these pretty cities we have all over the place; who planted the forests, who pushed back the desert, who built all the infrastructure… now I know – it’s the millions of Arabs the Evil Jooz made refugees. Fear the might of the Jooz – even a handful of Holocaust survivors are so powerful and cunning that they can turn millions of people into refugees!

    And surely, their failed attempt at genocide in 1948 and the decades of non-stop attacks on Jews had no influence on the approx. 700K Arab refugees from Israel?

    Do you seriously compare the official charters of Hamas and PLO – the two largest political organizations of Palestinians (90%+ combined), both openly genocidal – with an unsubstantiated claim about the personal opinions of one idiot with very marginal political influence, namely Feiglin? Especially since he doesn’t advocate genocide or the destruction of any states?

    I congratulate you. Your eloquence created a certain impression. Your reasoning belied that impression. Well done :)

    And yes, the initial Israeli support for Hamas was a mistake. Well, hind sight is 20-20; back in the day it seemed reasonable that one genocidal bunch will duke it out with another genocidal bunch, making them all leave us alone.

    It didn’t work out.

    I predict a few K dead Hamas terrorists – possibly as many as three or four dozen K – is the price we’ll have to pay for not killing a few hundred of them decades ago. NM that, though, I wouldn’t want to sully your shining beacon of morality and reason with such base calculations :)

    Allow me to again express my growing appreciation for you. Such a vivid example of certain human qualities, so clearly expressed; pity that your expression is insufficiently succinct to make into a comfortable case study.

  7. PS

    Hitler WAS a genius. He was also a very sick puppy and a genocidal psychopath. His ability to tap into the zeitgeist was uncanny.

  8. wow, gillar din blogg. Intressant resonemang du for. Det har var det mest rasistiska jag har last fran Racoon, men ta inte at dig. Han roker nog hash.. Vem tror du kommer eftertrada Abbas?

    Abu Saar, it doesn’t suprise me at all that you like Hitler…..Or Sharon. However, as long as you’re only talking, and are not actually out there killing or hurting any arabs, I guess that’s alright. But so far, you only seems to be spewing racist hate rather than anything constructive. Are you to drugged up to have a normal debate with Sean? “Fuck them” ? Also sprach the redneck….
    And don’t talk about Sweden and Finland, since you’re know anything about our countries.

    Helen i London

  9. Helen –

    As said before, you are either mentally impaired or self-delusional. You failed to analyze correctly any of the ideas, facts and theories brought forth. Your conclusions are arbitrary and unrelated to anything but themselves (and your insanity/impairment). Even the infantility of your pathetic insults points at mental deficiency – much like the attempt to order me around without the ability to enforce your cretinous tyranny.

    Alternatively, there is the possibility that you’re just too young to reason or comprehend at an adult level.

    If you’re delusional, I hope you’ll be cured.

    If you’re mentally deficient, I hope you have good caretakers.

    And if you’re a child… well… it’ll pass :)

  10. Calling Hitler a genius is self hate. It pisses me off.
    Sorry, but it’s you have the same black and white world view as a racist kid. You remind of an acquiantance of mine, who have the same paranoid fear of Arabs. Politics to her is a zero sum game, with clear winners and losers. And all arabs, not just the Hamas but all palestinians is secretly after her. She’s the child of Holocaust survivors, and I’m guessing( I could be wrong) that’s why you are the way you are as well.Zionism were supposed to make jews mentally strong and secure. People like you are still scared, still living in the shetl, still carrying the same ghetto mentality. That depresses me a bit.. :(

    Helen in London.

  11. Helen –

    Again, every conclusion you have reached and every guess you made on this particular subject has been not only incorrect but entirely divorced from reality.

    I am not sure how to address it. Inability to draw the most basic logical conclusions is not something I have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. At least not in creatures capable of expressing themselves in writing.

    Another go, then.

    I will now relate to your arguments/statements/conclusions one by one.

    1) Accepting that Hitler was a genius (or rather a savant) and liking Hitler are two unrelated things. Given your previous resilience in the face of reason, I am uncertain as for how to simplify this already simple concept further. A metaphor or an example of non-transitive relations between objects would probably confuse you further.

    2) Your conclusion about me having a dichotomous view of reality is incorrect and has no basis (or reflection) in reality. It is akin to you declaring that I am a high priest of of Ninlil based on my comments. Again, quite impossible to address seriously since it is patently illogical.

    3) Your conclusion that I have a paranoid fear of Arabs: see item 2.

    4) I will take your list of traits of that acquaintance of yours as a critique of yours truly and treat the traits as if you believe they’re mine.

    4.1) Politics as a zero-sum game: politics is every kind of game. Including zero-sum. It depends on the players and situations. Moreover, please see item 2.

    4.2) “All Arabs” is a gross generalization specifically and repeatedly refuted by me. I presume you have difficulties understanding nuances of meaning (such as the subtle differences between all/some) on the basis of this and previous remarks. Suggestion: if you don’t understand something you’ve read, read it again. If it doesn’t help, try dealing with each sentence separately. Otherwise, ask an adult/sane/unimpaired person for assistance.

    4.3) Secretly after: I provided the openly genocidal charters of Hamas and Fateh, in addition to the fact that over 90% of PA voters chose either. I am not sure which bit you’re confused about here.

    5) I am the way I am because I have the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the mind to think.

    6) Scared is an interesting notion. I am a Raccoon. I am by nature very careful but not particularly cowardly.

    7) Living in the Shtetl and carrying a ghetto mentality: see item 2.

    As for your depression: if you’re a child or mentally impaired, it should pass quickly. If you’re insane, well, it depends on your particular problem but I would suggest drug therapy.

  12. Ah, Racoon, I’m glad I’m giving you a new experience then, since you’re unused to stupid people like me. A few points.

    1 You probably don’t understand just how offensive it is to comparing Hitler to a genius. Hitler was not a genius, he was a rat that crawled out of the sewer at the right time. But by all means, continue to admire his genius.

    2 To see Palestinans and their political parties, partically such an umbrella organisation Fateh as “Genocidial”, and indeed, to state that everyone who voted for them “wants to kill me;” I’d call that a false dilemma that you’ve created. Wishful thinking that makes it easier for you overlook the injustice of occupation.

    “we KNOW that most Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular want us dead. ” This is a gross generalisation, and it doesn’t matter that you didn’t wrote “all” still a generalisation.

    4 You have the mind to think like everyone. But you can’t think outside the box. You’re only seeing what you want to see, it’s that informal fallacy of yours. Therefore, you never mention those palestinians that actually want peace, only the warrior minded. Had you been a palestinian, you’d probably believe that jews have horns and tails.

    5. Oh, I’m sure you’re no coward. You probably have great capabality for violene. Mentally, however, you’re very afraid of arabs. You’re bound to be, if you think that every Fateh or Hamas supporter want to kill you. This is what I meant by ghetto mentality, the paranoid notion that most palestinians are genocidial. “Everyone’s out to get you.”

    6 I don’t think you’re qualified to talk about the “nuance of meaning.” Your thinking is about as nuanced as a Rhino with his balls in a blender.

    7. You prescribe drugs for my mental condition? I’ll think about it. You should think about seeing someone, it’d do you good, seriously. I wouldn’ t mind betting on that you’re pretty traumatized. A good doctor can make wonders.

    Helen in London

  13. I’ll give it one more shot.

    Perhaps you have difficulty grasping the definition of certain words?

    Genius is a neutral term, not implying judgment or opinion. It is a trait – same as “blond” or “tall”. The definition is basically “person of abnormally high intelligence” or “person abnormally gifted”. Savant refers specifically to the latter, implying a narrow specialization of ability.

    Exactly 5.13% of PA voters cast their ballots in favor of non-genocidal parties (Independent Palestine and Third Way). With these people I have no beef; they respect my certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. I am happy to respect theirs.

    The other 94.87% of Palestinians voted for genocide. By casting that vote, they voiced their desire. By their deeds – every day IDF prevents dozens of terrorists attacks on schools, malls, kindergartens, buses – they proved their seriousness.

    You are willing to excuse them. If, say, 94.87% of Israelis voted for a party (that cannot and does not exist – our laws prevents it) that had genocide on its agenda, you would not be willing to excuse them.

    Just think what that says about you.

    And I am now done with explaining things repeatedly.

  14. Thanks, Abu Sa’ar, for proving Sean’s point.

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