Wikipedia Commons: Carolmooredc

Stage at ‘The World Says No to Israeli Occupation’ rally at Capitol building, Washington DC sponsored by United for Peace and Justice and U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, 10.06.2007 .

The Context

In what must seem an intractable situation, it would be good to commence by listing what are the various factors that can make for leverage. They may be named as follows:

•It might seem that the Israelis have reached a point (this would seem to have come about in the last couple of years) where on account of their military strength they do not really give a hoot what the rest of the world thinks of them. Furthermore there surely remains some residual desire for recognition on the part of many Israelis; they want to be accepted in the community of nations, indeed accepted as ‘civilised’. For example, Israeli academics wish to have dealings with academics in other countries. Indeed there is evidence that there are those who are deeply worried by what they themselves call the ‘delegitimization’ of Israel on the part of the world community.

•Israel is heavily dependent on the West. It is dependent on the States to a tune of twenty seven million a day for aid and armaments. But it is also in multifarious ways, particularly trade relations, bound up with the countries of the European Union. Israel has a thriving export trade, particularly in diamonds, and in surveillance equipment and nano-technology (used by other countries to control their own populations). It is not, thus, that the rest of the world if it is so minded cannot act. (It becomes all the more shameful that other countries, on account of economic or what they think to be strategic advantage, enable a perpetuation of the present situation.) What is to be remarked upon is that peace and a viable situation can be brought about without recourse to war, so dependent is this tiny country on trading relations with the rest of the world.

•Although it may be constantly flouted there is present in the world (i) a discourse concerning human rights, the ethics of war and war crimes, and crimes against humanity; and (ii), overlapping with this, a discourse about democracy. The first of these has largely been built up since the Second World War, commencing with the formation of an international court for the Nuremberg trials of 1945-49 and the signing of the Geneva Conventions in 1949 (which are highly pertinent to the situation pertaining in Israel/Palestine). In present circumstances it may be of some comfort to consider that no ‘civilised’ European, or European-derived, Western nation has in the twentieth century been able in the end to flout the rights of a section of its own population or those over whom it ruled. The British left India; Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union fell; so did the regimes in Chile and Argentina; apartheid South Africa was not viable; the Blacks achieved civil rights in the USA. This must say something about what kind of a regime the rest of the world will long-term tolerate. It must bode ill for the current Israeli regime. There are of course also those within Israel who hold to Western values; and thus internal allies.

•It could well be argued that it is not in the West’s own strategic or economic interest to have the relationship to Israel that it has at present. The West is highly dependent on the Arab world for oil. Further, in as much as Iran (whether correctly or not) is seen as a present danger, the West presumably needs to maintain decent relationships with other Arab countries (whether or not the West likes some of the policies of those other regimes). Of course ‘the Arab world’ is not a homogenous entity. But even those states whose rulers are more inclined to wish to be on good terms with the West have the pressure coming from their own populace to consider. Thus the Arab world has bargaining cards and it is to their shame that they have not done more to support Palestinian Arabs. It is interesting that (in his Cairo speech) Obama for the first time emphasised that it was in the States' own strategic interest to have good relations with the Arab world: that is a start, however impotent Obama seems to have been in carrying this forward. For what it’s worth the UK coalition government has of late started to speak the same language.

•There is deep determination to on the part of the public in many European countries (it would seem particularly in the UK, but also in Spain, France, Belgium, the Scandinavian countries) that the Palestinians shall have their rights respected. The situation in Germany is for obvious reasons more delicate; though my impression is that many in Germany would welcome it if their government would take a more pro-active stance. It would not seem likely that BDS, as carried out by individuals and groups, can itself bring about change: the situation in relation to South Africa was markedly different. But the populace of European states if determined enough can have an effect both on their own governments and on EU law: it is notable that the EU parliament has been much more forthright than the Council and Commission, and evidence that EU foreign policy may be shifting.

Solutions – and a Fake Solution

It will be good to consider the viability of various outcomes.

A Two-State Solution

In favour of a two-state solution is that it is such a solution to which the world (both Palestinians and some Israelis as well as the outside world) has looked for many years. Even if eventually there is a modification of a two-state solution (see the discussion of a ‘federal’ solution below) it would seem that a two-state solution is a necessary first step in the process that leads to any such more complex outcome. It is important in the first instance that the Palestinians have their state and sovereignty. Given that feelings run as deep as they do between the communities and there has been so much enmity, it would seem good to separate them in two states; but as soon as one says this one recognises the problem with a two-state solution, for they are not separate at all given that there is a large Palestinian population in Israel, and Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

If there is to be a two-state solution it is perfectly clear that it has indeed to be a two state solution. A future Palestinian state must be a viable state and no special requirements are to be demanded of it that are not asked of other states (in particular which are not demanded of Israel). This would seem to involve the following:

•The boundary must be on the ‘green line’, the 1948 Armistice line, not for example the line of the Wall or any other boundary that Israel may wish to create. Of course there could be small, mutually agreed, boundary adjustments. Consider this. The Palestinian population is almost as large as that of Israel and it is reckoned that within a few years it will overtake it. The Palestinian territories consist of a mere 22% of the land that was (British) mandate Palestine; whereas the Jewish state was formed on 78% of mandate Palestine. It is unthinkable that the Palestinians should be asked to give up any more. Besides which the ‘green line’ is the internationally agreed border in law, recognised by the United Nations, the European states and in theory by the USA. This means that Israel must needs abandon its settlements (other than any settlements which, as a result of mutually agreed boundary adjustments which both sides saw as advantageous to them, could be made to fall within Israel).

•It is clear that East Jerusalem will the capital of this future Palestinian state. (Or possibly Jerusalem would be an internationally administered ‘Corpus Separatum’ as envisaged by the partition plan proposed by the United Nations in 1947: perhaps within a federal solution this might make more sense.)

•Palestine will have control over its own resources; for example water, so crucial in that arid country. Palestine will have control of its own cyberspace. 

•Palestine will have the facilities it needs to be a sovereign state; thus an international airport (presumably in Jerusalem), a port (at Gaza), and unhindered access and communication between the West Bank and Gaza.

•Palestine will be a sovereign state, able to conduct its own foreign policy. It will not be demilitarised unless Israel is also demilitarised. Whatever is the situation will presumably need to be guaranteed by the international community. 

One may compare this list with the list of demands that Benjamin Netanyahu has said that a Palestinian state must be denied (see ‘Bantustan Non-Solution’ below): it is almost identical. But this is simply a measure as to how difficult it would seem to be to reach a two-state solution; or alternatively a warning to the international community as to what they will need to enforce against the will of what would seem to be the majority of Israelis. We should be clear as to what is the alternative: namely a one-state solution, or the intermediate situation that a federal situation represents. The alternative is not a Bantustan non-solution. If the Israelis do not wish a two state solution (or have made it impossible through settlement building) then they will have to live with one of these other viable solutions.

There is the question also as to whether Hamas is prepared to live, long-term, with a two-state solution. There is reason to be hopeful that the answer to this is that it would. Given the Hamas constitution, some Israelis could be forgiven for fearing that any truce (hudna) that Hamas offered was as far as it was concerned essentially only an interim arrangement, the aim being to retake the whole of mandate Palestine as occasion allowed. But it should be remembered that – whatever it’s constitution may say – Hamas has of recent years been highly pragmatic, agreeing for example that if, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative, a Palestinian state was to be formed on the green line and a majority of Palestinians were in a referendum to agree with such a peace settlement, then Hamas would fall in behind this. Besides which the international community would be enforcing the boundary line also against any Israeli violation.

Beyond these considerations, a two-state solution clearly has some grave disadvantages (as has been already indicated):

•There would either need to be a major transfer of population (of Palestinians from Israel and settlers from the West Bank), or each state would be left with a sizeable population, which would need to be granted equal rights (in the case of the Palestinians in Israel), or no special privileges (in the case of Jewish settlers in the West Bank). Both states would presumably be multi-ethnic, secular states. This is far from what the Israelis wish for present day Israel. The Palestinians seem more open to this; Palestine was always a diverse population, with a sizeable Christian contingent and a minority of Arab Jews. (The present right-wing settler population would of course be quite a different, and alien, minority who would not readily adapt.)

Q. Is the formation of a single, truly democratic state a possibility?

A. I doubt it very much, there is so much bad blood. I don’t see the Palestinians being accepted as equal human beings, let alone equal citizens. I hope I’m wrong - but I don’t see it working.

Interview with Gideon Levy, courageous Israeli journalist, Palestine News, Aut. 2010.

•Under any two-state agreement Palestinian refugees in the diaspora would presumably only have the option of returning to the Palestinian state; thus not to the towns (for example Jaffa) and villages in what in 1948 became Israel from which they or their ancestors came.

•There might well be considerable unrest on the part of settlers who have made the West Bank their home. We saw what it took to remove a few thousand settlers from Gaza when Israel decided to withdraw. It has been suggested that ideological settlers might forever yearn the land they had given up. 

Given these almost insuperable problems it would seem that at least some form of federal arrangement should be considered, but it will be good first to consider a one-state solution.

A One-State Solution

With the apparent failure to bring about a two-state, on which minds have been concentrated since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, unsurprisingly more and more people have concluded that a one-state solution is both necessary and inevitable. It would seem that Palestinians in the diaspora (many of whom, or whose ancestors, will have come from what is now Israel) have long been of this persuasion. What is interesting is that, with fading hopes in recent weeks that Obama is able to bring off a two-state solution, there are now posters going up in the West Bank advocating a one-state solution. Some radical Jews have long thought that a one-state solution is what is needed; but they must be a tiny minority.

A one-state solution would certainly seem to have a number of marked advantages:

•As anyone who has visited it will realise, the land between the river and the sea is an extraordinarily small area. It would surely be preferable that resources should be held in common and fairly distributed.

•Unless there were to be a major transfer of populations, both Palestinians and Jews would be divided as to the country in which they lived and families split.

•Palestinian refugees would be able to return to wherever they wished or came from. Perhaps in future a ‘right of return’, extended at present only to Jews within Israel, would apply to both Jews and Arabs of Palestinian descent.

It also has to be said in favour of a one-state solution that the rest of the Western world (though not so much the Arab world) does not know of any state that is an ethnocracy (and in the case of Arab countries presumably non-

Jews (the men are wearing skullcaps) quietly walking on the Temple Mount in the early morning light. Entering onto the Temple Mount is strictly forbidden to Jews by the Jewish religious authorities.

Arabs may have full citizenship?). The idea of such an ethnocracy (whatever special circumstances may pertain in the case of Israel) must be to many distasteful. This is discussed further below.

As against these considerations a one-state solution would clearly entail some considerable, though perhaps not insuperable, problems.

•Such a state would initially be faced with a huge disparity of wealth between Jews and Palestinians. One may note how difficult such a situation has been to rectify in the case of South Africa.

•It would look to be very difficult to reconcile the Jewish population to the situation. How could they be induced to treat Palestinians as equal under the law, as having equal educational opportunities and so forth? If a two-state solution would need international policing, it begins to look as though this would also be the case in any imposition of a one-state solution. After the virulent hatred that there has been (and in the case of Israeli Jews, the dehumanisation of Palestinians) is it really conceivable that Jews and Palestinians could live side by side as neighbours?

•The Jews would have been forced to give up their claim to a specifically Jewish state, as also Palestinians (if indeed they have aspired to this) to a Moslem state. The state would presumably be secular and neutral, with freedom of religious expression. (Jeff Halper has suggested that Jews would to switch their emotional allegiance from having an identity that is attached to a state to holding to a Jewish cultural identity.)

There is of course no reason why, within the one state, there should not be built-in checks and balances (as in the case of Northern Ireland) so that each community had a certain security and was represented in the organs of state. Clearly the two cultural identities would remain.

One State Initiative

In April 2011 an appeal went out, signed by prominent Israelis (whether all living abroad I am not clear) and Palestinians, both in Palestine and in exile, inviting individuals to sign a statement calling for a one-state solution and laying out the basis and fundamental philosophy of such a state. See

The ‘Bantustan’ Non-Solution

We turn then to the travesty of a two-state solution, which is in effect a one-state solution with a constitutional underclass. The term ‘Bantustan’ is derived from the situation for which a white supremacist South Africa tried to legislate in which the Blacks were to be held in small, supposedly independent - though in fact highly dependent on the wider economy - enclaves; that is to say racially segregated ghettos or Bantustans. While those in the Bantustans would have some limited control over their own affairs, the Bantustans would be geographically disconnected one from another and thus far from constituting a state. It is such a ‘solution’ which the present Israeli government is pushing for; indeed which the ‘facts on the ground’ which the Israelis have been creating over many years through their settlements, road structure, and the multiple laws which confine Palestinian lives. The Oslo Process in which the West Bank was divided up into areas designated ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ (areas under full Palestinian, joint, and Israeli control) was never intended to be anything other than a interim solution, which should be solved by 1999.

Thus at present we have the following different kinds of situations pertaining in the West Bank. Bethlehem (an area designated ‘A’, under Palestinian control), is surrounded by a high and impenetrable wall,

‘When I looked down at the West Bank, at the settlements like Crusader forts occupying the high ground, at the Israeli security cordon along the Jordan river closing off the Palestinian lands from Jordan, I knew I was not looking down at a state of the beginnings of one, but a Bantustan, one of those pseudo-states created in the dying years of apartheid to keep the African population under control.’

Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party, Canada; a man who has not always been known for his support for the Palestinians.

other than if one has a pass. In Hebron, which had a special status under Oslo, being divided into H1 (Palestinian) and H2 (Jewish) areas, the Palestinians are in a terrible situation; whereas one should have thought that this should clearly be a Palestinian town, in the West Bank and with an overwhelmingly Palestinian population. While in a small town like Ni’lin the inhabitants are divided from much of what was previously their land through the course which the Wall takes; and further the Israelis are thinking to build a network of tunnels and sunken roads to connect the inhabitants of such villages to a major centre of Palestinian population, presumably in the hope that Palestinians abandon their town which would then fall to the Israelis. Jeff Halper has uses the word ‘warehousing’ for what is intended for the Palestinian population: a large, unwanted, populace is confined out of sight and out of mind.

A ‘Bantustan’ so-called ‘solution’ is clearly not viable. In the first place it is morally unacceptable. It represents perpetual Israeli control over Palestinian lives. There is a complete matrix of control: little land, a dearth of employment, little water (which thwarts agricultural opportunities), in many areas the threat of house demolition, and a life governed by passes and restrictions. Moreover there is the ever-present possibility that, if the population revolts, Israeli tanks will roll in once again, as they did in the case of the second intifada causing horrific destruction and loss of life. But secondly the Palestinian population has clearly indicated that they will not tolerate such a situation in perpetuity. Why should they? Thus part of what lay behind the second intifada was the fear that Yasser Arafat might agree to some such deal with the Israelis on their behalf.  Likewise the suspicion with which the present leaders of the Palestinian Authority are often viewed is on account of the fact that they can appear Quislings.  It is not just Hamas that will never accept such a ‘solution’; it is the mass of the Palestinian people. Therefore any attempted ‘Bantustan’ solution must be judged not simply immoral but also inherently unstable.

A Federal Possibility

In these circumstances it could be best to have something which is intermediate between a one-state and a two-state solution, and which is more imaginative in relation to the Middle East as a whole. I follow Jeff Halper in a description of what it might eventually be possible to create as an optimum situation.

In the first instance there needs to be the creation of some kind of a Palestinian state, so that the Palestinians have their state and are sure of this. However, if a second step were guaranteed this could perhaps be less than a fully viable state according to the criteria laid out above for a two-state solution. In the second stage there should then be created some kind of a federal arrangement, in which both the Israeli state and the Palestinian state would give up some of their sovereignty. In particular it could be that a citizen of either state was permitted to live anywhere in either territory (as is at present the case for example in the European Union). This would mean that Palestinian refugees could return to wherever they would. It would also mean that settlers could continue to reside in the West Bank while retaining their Israeli citizenship. Eugene Rogan has suggested (not necessarily within the context of a federal arrangement as here envisaged) that an equal number of Palestinian refugees should be permitted to return to Israel as Israeli settlers remain in the West Bank. (Financial Times, 29 March 2010).  Certainly within a federal context some arrangement like this would be easier.

Further, if there were in time to be some kind of a confederation of the Middle East as a whole, then the animosity between Israelis and the surrounding Arab world would begin to be able to be broken down. Israelis, who at present see no interest in becoming part of the culture of the Middle East but rather think of themselves as a European outpost, need to be encouraged to contribute to and take part in the dynamics of the region. At present an Israeli has no possibility for example of travelling to Damascus: Israel is an isolated entity in the Middle East. This state of affairs cannot be good on a permanent basis; it is scarcely conducive to peace.

Thus, though a federal possibility may look to be the end of the line (or the pipe dream) it would seem to have many distinct advantages as the ultimate solution to the intractable problem which the present Israeli/Palestinian situation represents. Would the Palestinians accept it? Let us recall that, with the Oslo Accords, when it seemed that a state of their own was finally in view, Palestinians who had thought they would never speak to an Israeli other than as an enemy alien presented Israeli soldiers with olive branches. Would the Israelis accept it? Well the international community may need to force them to do so: that is the long and the short of it. It would give Israelis the peace and security for which, purportedly, they long. At the same time they would cease to be a colonial power. It would be incumbent upon Israelis to overcome a mental state whereby they imagine that they always have to be the top-dog, building their security on a ‘deterrence’ achieved by overwhelming military might and domination of the lives of others.

What Can Palestinians Contribute?

Firstly it should be noted that it is rather offensive to be suggesting that that Palestinians should have to contribute anything. It is they who have been wronged; they who have sat and waited while the world looked on at the situation and did essentially nothing to ameliorate it. Nonetheless there is something that the Palestinians could clearly do which would aid a successful outcome (and its acceptance by Israelis if there is ever to be this). It relates to the population explosion among the Palestinians. This is something not unnaturally, that creates enormous fear among the Israelis. (It is also something I am ill-equipped to consider, but which should not be evaded.) I have known it to be brought up by Israeli Jews who were in many ways pro-Palestinian, for example a woman working for the Machsom Watch. At present 60% of Palestinians are under the age of 18. The Palestinian population is doubling every 18 years and the number of Palestinians in the region is set to overtake the number of Jews within the next few years.

The question is, evidently, why it is that the Palestinians have such large families? Is it simply a cultural matter? Does it have to do with the position of women in Palestinian society, where it is still the norm for women to stay at home rather than to work outside the home? - but this is circular, in that if Palestinians have so many children no wonder their women stay at home. It could hardly be said to be a direct and inevitable consequence of the fact that the society is Islamic. Iran has controlled its population; notably so for a developing country. (Whether it makes any difference that Iran is Shi’a and Palestine Sunni I have no idea: in Iran the mullahs simply ruled that birth control was not un-Islamic.) Does it owe to a feeling of helplessness in the society? – is an extended family all someone has in a situation where they can exercise little creativity in the public realm? Or could it be said – if this is not too far-fetched - that having large families is itself a form of resistance, consciously undertaken with a view to Palestinian future prospects?

In regard to this last – rather fascinating – question one may call to mind what is surely the best-known poem of Palestine’s national bard and cultural icon Mahmoud Darwish (1942 – 2008). His ‘Identity Card’ (1964) spread like wildfire. It commences:

Write down!
I am an Arab
And my identity card number is fifty thousand
I have eight children
And the ninth will come after a summer
Will you be angry?

What can certainly be said is that, given the appalling conditions in which many a Palestinian family is at present forced to live, one would have thought (as an outsider) that it scarcely helps the situation that there should be so many mouths to feed. Thus what is one to make of how the poem concludes?

Write down on the top of the first page:
I do not hate people
Nor do I encroach
But if I become hungry
The usurper's flesh will be my food
Of my hunger
And my anger!

Is it the Palestinians’ own business how many children they have? Maybe. Is it understandable that they should do so given the situation in which they are currently forced to live? Yes of course it is. Does it help the current situation, now that they have indeed maintained a large population, both in Palestine and in the diaspora? One must doubt that this is the case, even for their own sake, let alone the fear that it induces in Israelis. If there is to be a one state solution, in an optimum situation there had best be a reasonable balance of power between Jews and Palestinians. Though in a potential one-state solution at present everything is stacked in favour of the Jews, the demographic curve tells us that a very different situation could be in store. Finally one must say that if the international community it to help the Palestinian community in a big way (and one would hope that they would do this), then they are likely to be unsympathetic to a society which (not least in the position women occupy) is so very different to their own and which seems quite unnecessarily to be making the situation worse.

British/ European Responsibility

In the present situation of stalemate when the efforts of the United States - through their own fault one may well say – have got nowhere and the Oslo years are finally drawing to a close, it would be so helpful if the Europeans were to take up the baton. (For detailed discussion of such an estimation see Whither Now?) In this document it may be useful to consider what is the British, and the European, responsibility in this matter.

British Responsibility

I have heard Palestinians respond with astonishment that the children, or grand-children, of those
whom they see as having created the problem with which they faced, appear now to be some of the most adamant and organised in calling for Palestinian rights. In my own case it is but one generation: my father was in the British army that drove the Turks out of Palestine in Palestine during the First World War. It may be difficult for British people today to cast their mind back to what feels like ancient history, but it should be recognised that for many a Palestinian it is very present history, in that they live with the long-term consequences.  Thus some of the party with whom I visited Israel/Palestine had things said to them like ‘it’s you British who caused our problems’.

There are a number of things that should be said here.

(1) It is fully understandable, in the circumstances of the First World War, when the British were fighting for their lives, that they should have wished to drive the Turks out of Palestine (given that Turkey, as my father always maintained, had quite unnecessarily entered the war on the side of Germany).

(2) The Balfour Declaration of 1917 did not set up or even envisage a Jewish ‘state’. It spoke of a ‘homeland’

A young British soldier who served in Palestine during the First World War - father to the author of this site.

for the Jewish people within Palestine. It further specifically stated, as is often forgotten, that this should not undermine the rights of the indigenous population. This is not to say that the British were not minimally naïve, at worst deeply culpable, in having enabled European Jews to emigrate to Palestine.

(3) It is further comprehensible, if wrong, that the British should have made essentially incompatible promises to Jews and Arabs during the First World War.

(4) It could never have been imagined that the circumstances of the Third Reich would pertain, leading to mass emigration of Jews to Palestine.

(5) It is again fully understandable, however unfortunate, that in the circumstances of 1947 when they were utterly broke and the situation in Palestine seemed intractable (the British had more troops committed to holding down the explosive situation in Palestine than they had stationed in India) that they should have made a peremptory get-out from Palestine, simply handing the mess over to the United Nations.

(5) Though it could well be said that the British had identified with the Jews against the Palestinians (to the point, to their shame, of training and arming Jews to quell Palestinian rebellion), it also has to be said that latterly, subsequent to Palestinian rebellion, they had tried to put a brake on Jewish immigration. When after the war the Americans became the main foreign player in the region there were British leaders who were immediately alarmed at their wholesale siding with the Jewish cause.

Nevertheless, even when these mitigating circumstances and facts of history are considered, the British surely have a peculiar responsibility to act to secure justice for the Palestinians. It is of course the case that, in part owing to their past connection with Palestine, the British people cannot be under the illusion (as is apparently the case in the United States) that the Jews came to what was somehow a vacant land! We know only too well where Palestine is and what its history. We need to act. 

European Responsibility

If there is one nation whose actions lie behind what has befallen Palestine that has to be the Germans. Enough said. The holocaust made it seem imperative to nations in the post-war world that they should indeed allow a Jewish state, that Jews might in perpetuity have a place of refuge to which if necessary to flee. While the attempt at wholesale extermination of a race was, naturally enough, not something that registered on the horizon of most German people as a possibility, nevertheless the circumstances of Jewish people in pre-1939 Germany were both terrible and evident enough. The record of other states being prepared to take in German Jews during this window of opportunity is very mixed. In the case of Continental Europeans, there is the further scandal of populations minimally having turned a blind eye to Jews being rounded up, at worst actually having collaborated with German demands to hand over Jews.

All this gives European nations a profound responsibility for the situation of Jews. But this responsibility towards Jewish people surely does not mitigate their responsibility towards those whose land and livelihood was taken over by mass emigration from Europe. Otherwise – exactly as has happened – what was perpetrated on one people is in some way now perpetrated by that people on yet another people (albeit with not quite the same intensity). After the massacre perpetrated in Gaza some Palestinians feel justified in comparing their situation to what befell the Jews. As for post-war Germans, given their country’s past it is of course very difficult for them to speak out. Nevertheless this is no reason for Germans for example to sell arms to Israel. The post-war generation of Germans surely cannot be silenced forever in regard to the present on account of the past. I know Germans who, deep sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, would much like to say more.

In regard to what Europeans together could do, this is discussed on this site under EU/OECD & Israel (particularly the page Calls for Suspension of Agreements) and evaluated under Whither Then? If only they would, Europeans have the economic power to change the situation. The present entanglement of the European Union with Israel is a disgrace. Many are campaigning on these issues and there is evidence that there could be a change of direction. To be effective we need to stop hanging on the coat tails of the Americans. For a start, why not send European navies to lift the siege of Gaza? What do we think we are doing enabling an illegal blockade, indeed an illegal occupation of the West Bank, to continue? Many European citizens are beginning to ask these questions out loud.


- Abunimah, Ali, One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse (NY: Metroplitan Books, 2006).

- Barghouti, Omar, ‘Re-imagining Palestine: Self determination, Ethical De-colonization and Equality’ (ZNet) is a particularly helpful, in-depth consideration, not least of the legal position, arguing for a one-state solution.

- Fisk, Robert, ‘Why does the US turn a blind eye to Israeli bulldozers?’ The Independent, 30 Jan. 2010 (on the circumstances which have made a two-state solution almost impossible).

- Halper, Jeff, Obstacles to Peace, 4th edition (Blue cover). I am much indebted to this text for the consideration of one/two-state and ‘federal’ solutions.

See Further on this Site

  1. -The Palestine Papers

  2. -Whither Then?


This page is best read in conjunction with my page The Present Impasse. Whereas the latter page speaks to the immediate situation with which we are confronted in 2011, this page considers different solutions, or purported ‘solutions’, and their viability. With the breakdown in ‘peace’ talks at the end of 2010 it has become abundantly clear that no solution will be forthcoming from the region itself. A solution can only be enforced on the (unwilling) Israelis by outsiders, whether that be the West or surrounding Arab nations. Nevertheless it is important to think through different options for all concerned. Without a vision we shall find no way to move forward.