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17 March 2010


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Col. Lang:

Thank you for DH's essay. The argument is clear as is the inevitable solution. It would be nice to see this as an op-ed in the MSM. Would that that were possible.


GW Bush's first ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, has an interesting piece about the settlements and their history in the American interest.

Behind the Settlements

The process that create and support the settlements are under Israel law illegal. He therefor comcludes:

In short, the prolonged erosion of the rule of law as it applies to settlements has diminished the state’s authority and the nonpartisan character of military jurisdiction. The government appears not only unwilling to enforce the law with respect to those who break it in support of settlements, but also afraid to confront the settler movement and its various layers of support in the population. In the meantime, the corrosion of civil and military ethics continues, as the authorities continue to turn a blind eye to illegal settlement activity and the IDF continues to invest heavily in the daily tasks of protecting settlements and settlers. The rationale of settlements as helping the security of the state has been turned on its head; the settlements are now undermining Israeli security by eroding the state’s ability to enforce its own laws.

He also thinks that a two state solution is still impossible and that the settlements can be undone.


The future is clear.

Israel will continue the existing colonial enterprise while it continues to lose legitimacy.

At some point, Israel will be forced to either withdraw from the world (a la Burma) or enfranchise all of its Palestinian subjects. I expect it to choose the "one person, one vote" route.

The only real question is whether there will be some attempt to forcibly "transfer" a segment of the population before the enfranchisement occurs.

I also predict that the last name of the Palestinian "Mandela" will be "Barghouti".



Excuse me for saying so but even this "solution" is no solution. You say here are only two possible options, a one-state solution or the Israelis expelling Palestinians from Israel and the occupied West Bank.

I would argue that if possibility 1 was implemented it would be closely followed by the implemantation of 2.

The "two-state" solution was born dead for the simple reason that Arafat signed Oslo from a very weak position. He had just publicly backed Saddam in the invasion of Kuwait and that cost him dearly in financial contributions from the Gulf. He was therefore headed into political obscurity as his entire organisation was at that point entirely dependent on the corruption he had built up in the PLO.

Rabin recognised this and to be fair to him, as an Israeli politician, his move to offer Arafat a straw to grasp was (fatally) brave and political genius.

But the Palestnians have never recovered from that position.

However, the one state solution would be even worse for the Palestinians and I'm amazed that no Israeli politician has had the smarts to do what Rabin did and call for it. In one fell stroke, they would:

- legally acquire the West bank . All land unoccupied by Jews would become what Israel calls "unredeemed land" and the state would actually suddenly have more legal rights over Palestinian lands than it did before.

- Continue to (and now legally) control the water supplies

- Totally quash the whole "right of return" argument

- As new citizens of Israel the Palestinians would also be liable to the same taxes as Israelis and employers to the same duties. These new liabilites would probably negate most reasons Israelis currently employ Palestinians over Israelis and would lead to economic distress, while the newly aquired Arab towns would probably recieve no more funding than they already do.

-Israel could begin to employ the methods they are using in Jerusalem to drive the Arabs out of the West Bank

-Last but not least, it would silence dissent from "Liberal" Zionists (although how you can claim to support the colonial act of ethic cleansing and land theft and claim to be a liberal at the same time is beyond my comprehension)

Israel can do all this because they can. There would be no recriminationsm no sanctions and the Palestinians would yet again be asked to "compromise" - ie shut up and accept what they are offered.

Any Palestinian leader accepting a one state solution without iron clad guarantees that would not cause the above may aswell hang himself from the nearest rafter before ts done for him. Even the uber-collaborators currently running the West Bank cannot be pressed to sign deals that would double up as their death warrants.

Clifford Kiracofe

David Habakkuk, All,

Yes, the Finkelstein interview really seems to capture the situation very well. Goldstone did what an honorable man, whether liberal or conservative, should do: he sought the truth and then was not afraid to express his opinion.

The American Jewish community is generally regarded as traditionally liberal and progressive. But I think what has happened over here is that extreme elements have come to dominate the overall political field since the Biltmore Conference in 1942.

We have now reached the rather dramatic present situation which is a logical historical consequence of that conference. Subsequent lobbying of the Congress and White House on the basis of a single "Jewish State" was called for as part of the "Biltmore Program" and that is what we have been confronting since 1942 (not 1948).

What to do?

I think US Middle East policy needs to move toward a one-state solution and drop the two-state concept which is dead and rotting.

A one state solution would in effect be akin to what Rabbi Judah Magnes had sensibly proposed many decades ago. There would be one state but it would be "bi-national" that is it would contain both Jews (secular and religious) and Arabs (Muslim, Christian, secular) all under "one roof."

In my view, to reorient US policy we really require an "honest" NIE on Israel which would be comprehensive, systematic, and integrated addressing a broad range of issues in Israel and in the dispersion (Diaspora) and so on.

The United States needs a total rethink of policy and such an NIE would contribute to this process. We can call the early part of the process "an agonizing reappraisal" to use a once famous phrase.

US policy today is basically on the same track as from say 1967. I do not see much difference between what Biden and Hillary are saying and the staunchly "pro-Israel" Lyndon Johnson. Same old, same old.

We need an honest assessment of the situation so that we can make a reappraisal which would lead to an effective NEW direction and policy. The objective for Washington should be peace and stability in the Middle East and the protection and promotion of US interests now and over the long term. I would think the UK would have a similar need for a policy reappraisal to protect its own long-term interests.

Clifford Kiracofe

For an interesting academic article per a one-state solution see:
Jenab Tutunji and Kamal Khalidi, "A binational state in Palestine: the rational choice for Palestinians and the moral choice for Israelis International Affairs (London), lxxiii/1 (Jan. 1997), pp. 31-58.

N. M. Salamon

Thanks or the posting. It is appearant for quite a while that the TWO SATATE solution is dead.

With the foreseeable rise in energy prices [and basic commodities] the USA will not be able to support Israel, they will have trouble [unfortunately, so will OECD land] of such proportios that they will devote all energies to themselves - do recall that the IDF operates on USA exported distillates]

China and India [and many others] can live with $120 oil. That level is the same as the death knell for most OECD countires [excluding energy exporters, whose number is dwindling].

So Israel will become a single state, whether by choice [rational decision] or after being totally excliuded from the rest of the world for apartheit, and related issues.
The three rising powers, China, India and Brazil have little or aany interst in the ME's politics. China/ India will outbid mfor marginal oil and other commodities, while Brazil is selkf-sufficient.

Israel will find out that their 200+ aatomic weapons are totally useless againt international pressure [where the international is defined as including all 190+ states, not only the USA and her satraps]

Colin Laney

Israel also has the option of trying for a slow-motion, TV friendly, partial expulsion. Make life miserable enough for the Palestinians that a sizable number of them emigrate.


on st patricks day npr included a report about northern ireland as a model for conflict resolution

the reporter described northern ireland as it is in 2010


catholics and protestants do not want to kill each other

they live separately

two communities side by side in peaceful coexistence

catholic schools and protestant schools

catholic health clinics and protestant health clinics

separate but equal



I'm with MO on the liklihood of any success with a one state solution.

There is too much racism in the Israeli body politic. It would soon be like the Jim Crow American South. No one in Israel is going to be willing to share power with the Palestinians at any sacrifice of their power and wealth. The Palestinians have been beaten down too far.

In all of this, I am reminded of a divorce case I once tried. The jury got so mad at the husband because they thought he was a creep hiding money in secret accounts that they gave my client about 140% of what the husband really had including everything he had hidden thinking they were dividing everything in half. I did not ask them to do it, but they mis-figured it out on their own.

The result, hubby went bankrupt and the wife got little. The jury sank everybody into bankruptcy because the jury thought the husband to be more powerful and rich than he really was. To most of the world, Israel looks much worse than it probably really is. The jury of the world is likely to treat Israel pretty badly if it keeps up its current theft, opression, and arrogance.

In the end for Israel, it may be much like the wife's win in the divorce case who won so much she got nearly nothing. If Israel wins in getting a one state solution it very may cease to exist. In a one state solution, eventually the birthrate in the Arab population will overwhelm the Jews and the one state will be Palestinian.

Memories are enduring in the ME. Before long the Palestinians would get their retribution and power just like Blacks did in many southern states where Blacks are now in control of many of the governments. Over time, the oppressed learn how to escape their oppression and they gather friends willing to help out.

The one state solution is suicide for the Jews. They breed too slowly. The Israelis have so overplayed their hand that they never can win unless they give up the West Bank, including all they have tried so successfully to steal. Now that, as MO says, they believe they can continue to steal the two-state solution away because "they can," they will lose.

No nation that forgets the basic tenets of law, humanity, and justice can survive without being destroyed from the inside.

It is not in the U.S. interests to support their oppression any longer and it is not in Israel's either. Now is the time to force the two-state solution down Israel's throat, both the keep the international jury of nations from taking everything and to give the Palestinians a place where they can exist with the dropping of the second step referenced by MO. Israel's greed in slicing the West Bank and in destroying Gaza have completely proven that they simply cannot be permitted to share any single state with the Palestinians. It just will not work and if it is implemented, it will be the end of Zion. Demographics are on the side of the Palestinians.

Cloned Poster

Posted by: N. M. Salamon | 17 March 2010 at 01:13 PM

That is why Israel is looking for a game changer via your synopsis.

William R. Cumming

My belief is that most Israelis count on US to prevent a second holocaust. My question is why? What is their exact and precise thinking?


Colin Laney,

Israel is already making life in Gaza extraordinarily miserable. Unfortunately for both desperate Palestinians and pro-expulsion Israelis, mass emigration can't happen without a destination.

N. M. Salamon

Cloned Poster:

Interesting remark {quite possible]!

The time limit for such "game Changer" based on oil supplies/prices is at most two-three years. The game changer can not involve war with IRan nor another attempt at Lebanon, the price is too high - for the world and for Isreal respectively.

Now that the USA armed forces stated the obvious: P/I is a military safety problem of the highest order for the USA-s forces in ME land [and most of Asia soon] AIPAC's influence will not be able to match that of DoD and relations.

Uncle Sam can not maintain her Israel bious attitude at the expense of USA soldiers!

May you [Israel] live in interesting times, as the Chinese curse!

dan bradburd

Regarding "Liberal" Jewry in the US, check out JStreet. It is wrestling with the contradictions outlined above. It is not clear where it will go, but it is clear evidence of discomfort with the positions of mainstream Jewish organizations.

Abu Sinan

Edward Said pronounce the two state solution dead years before he died. Anyone who looks at the facts and history objectively would be forced to agree to remain honest.


Thank you David for some fascinating remarks.

What makes me slightly more pessimistic about the situation in the US vs. the UK, is that so much of the 'liberal' establishment press (NYT, WaPo...) remains un-self-consciously Zionist. The contrast to truly liberal Israeli papers such as Ha'aretz is astounding.

A reason for optimism is that many of the younger American Jews I know - like others in their age group - are turning more and more to foreign news outlets and blogs.

The Palestinians should push for the one-state solution, if only as the most effective strategy for getting the two state solution. It is the peace "process" that is killing them. Only when faced with the logical choice between absorbing millions of Arabs into their state, conducting "ethnic cleansing", or maintaining an increasingly untenable apartheid regime, will pressure for the two state solution in Israel finally crescendo - not a process, just a simple deal.

Clifford Kiracofe

To clarify, in a couple of decades at present rates, Israel will be an Arab majority state, experts say.

The demographics tipped toward Jewish favor in Palestine in the 1940s as a result of migration there by Jews from Europe. Obviously, the Nazi war on Europe and the Holocaust situation influenced this.

A one-state solution means a "BINATIONAL" state, that is a state which is multi-ethnic/multi-confessional. This was Rabbi Magnes' vision.

A one-state solution therefore means that the concept of the racial/ethnic purity of a so-called "Jewish State" ends.

For political Zionists, the phrase "Jewish State" is code or, in legal parlance, word of art with specific meaning. US politicians who loosely bandy about the phrase "Jewish State" in reference to Israel are speaking the Zionist language.

A one-state solution means a democratic state.

A one-state solution means that Palestinians can exercise their "right of return." It follows logically that such a return will increase the already increasing Arab percentage of the population. It is going to be majority Arab anyways (barring a genocidal "transfer"/expulsion policy) as said earlier.

If the US, EU, Russia, China and the UN coordinate closely their policies per this populated geographic space, one might conclude it is within their joint power to impose such a one-state solution.

The US, under massive Zionist pressure, effectively forced the partition of Palestine at the UN. Truman, for partisan political reasons in the 1948 election, compounded the problem by recognizing Israel.

We need to keep the 1940s context in mind during an "agonizing reappraisal" of our pro-Israel policy.

The entire world can see the painfully obvious fact that Israel is a failed state not to mention a "rogue state."

For historical context, Michael Grant's excellent book The Jews in the Roman World (New York: Scribner's 1973) is quite useful. Roman policy toward Jews varied from toleration to rather more firm measures. Time for firm measures by Washington these days I would say.


Technically speaking, a two-state solution is still possible. But it would take a determination to negotiate the evacuation of settlements and the swapping of tracts of land here and there. In practical terms, since no such determination is in evidence, and to the contrary much intransigence, yes, the two-state solution is on life-support at best.

I am grateful Gen. Petraeus has framed the issue in terms of the way our policy places American troops at risk. The truth is, however, that 9-11 should have told us that our policy has placed all Americans at risk and not just troops in the ME theater of operations. We can thank our "blind, fawning, enabling support of Israel" (as Greenwald has put it) for bringing Israel's suicide bombers to our own shores.

Clifford Kiracofe

A thoughtful article by a professor at Yale:

"Barack Obama abetted the Israeli drive to bury the Goldstone Report by allowing his government to say it was "one-sided and deeply flawed" and also the subject of "grave concerns." Obama had already shown his loyalty by his silence regarding the actions of Israel in Gaza in January 2009. It all stopped, by apparent arrangement, just before inauguration day. Given that history, what reason had Netanyahu to suppose that Obama would discover the end of his patience last week? There seemed no jerk of the leash to which this American president, like so many others, would not respond obediently. Besides, as Obama knows and as Netanyahu knows he knows, American Jewish liberals who are loyal to Israel are the stamina of the Democratic Party." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bromwich/the-break-on-palestine_b_501630.html

It is useful in light of today's situation to reflect over the Obama policy:

Say nothing about Gaza as candidate and then attack Goldstone Report.

Make a nice rhetorical speech at Cairo but then act in the opposite direction.

Continue the two-state solution charade....via faux "proximity" talks etc.

Do NOTHING about illegal settlements.

There may be hope for Petraeus, one wonders.

I recommend required reading for CENTCOM include Roman history and its imperial Middle East policy including the handling of the "Jewish problem"...Vespasian, Titus, and etc. for the pagan rulers, and Constantine, in particular, for the Christian rulers, and so on. Michael Grant's book is a good start.

We need a little context.
And it is a refreshing break from all the by now tedious stuff about the (very) primitive tribals in the Hindu Kush...


The US has known for a long time that our policies in the middle East have placed Americans at risk.

After the 1995 bombing of the federal building in OK, the authorities identified the prime suspect as being a middle easterner. I remember being astonished at the time that the authorities quickly decided it was a middle easterner and that's when I figured out our policies there were dangerous to us.

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