Wednesday, December 24, 2003

ei: Can Israel escape a binational future?: "The increasing frequency of calls from some Israelis for measures legally defined as genocide, including 'population transfer,' also reflect the sudden realization that the foundations of the Zionist project are disintegrating rapidly as Palestinians are once again becoming a majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Israel's 'peace camp' has long recognized the inherent incompatibility of democracy and the Zionist notion of a state ruled by and for Jews that controls a substantial non-Jewish, indigenous population. It is mainly the desire to preserve a Jewish-ruled 'democracy' that converted the Israeli left to the cause of partial Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967, and nominal Palestinian statehood in the evacuated areas."

"The chances are remote that any prospective changes will translate into an Israeli consensus that could achieve a workable two-state solution acceptable to Palestinians. Israelis remain divided over what "withdrawal" means. No influential Israeli politician is proposing a full -- no tricks -- return to the 1967 borders and an evacuation of even a majority of the settlers -- let alone all of them. This, accompanied by a blanket Israeli refusal to even discuss the Palestinian refugees' right of return, means that no one is contemplating the minimum it would take to get a majority of Palestinians to sign on to a two-state deal.

"On the right, Sharon and Olmert are advancing bankrupt schemes for "unilateral separation," an idea Sharon reaffirmed in Herzliya on 18 December, which in practical terms translates into apartheid for the Palestinians who will be allowed, as was said of the South African Bantustans, "to police themselves and administer their own poverty." Meanwhile, even the most generous proposal the Israeli left has produced, the so-called Geneva Initiative -- which leaves most settlers where they are, annexes to Israel almost all of Jerusalem and gives Israel a complete veto on the right of return -- cannot find a consensus. The initiative has not only been repudiated by the Israeli right, but even by leading "doves.""

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