Ta’anit Tzedek Conference Call: Journalist Ahmed Moor on the One State Solution

As the prospects for a viable two-state solution for Israel/Palestine grow more and more unlikely, we are witnessing a tentative but growing discussion of a one-state solution in the Jewish community.

Indeed, this concept has already been raised and advocated by respected Israelis. As far back as  2002 a one state solution was publicly supported by famed political scientist Meron Benenisti. And more recently, Israeli journalist Dimi Reider has pointed out:

In light of the ongoing deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, leaders such as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni have raised the specter of a one-state solution. Their intention, of course, is to scare some sense into Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his intransigent coalition partners. But, as this once-taboo idea becomes a legitimate part of political discussion in the region, some Israeli intellectuals are making the case that this is not something to fear, but a path toward a viable resolution to the region’s long-running crisis.

Here in the American Jewish community, however, this sort of discussion is considered to be naive at best and heresy at worst. But as difficult and painful as it might be for us to contemplate, I believe that sooner or later (and probably sooner than later) it is a conversation we will inevitably have to have – regardless of where we might personally stand on the issue.

To this end, I am proud to announce the next conference call sponsored by Ta’anit Tzedek – Jewish Fast for Gaza: “Conceiving of a One-State Solution” with Palestinian-American journalist Ahmed Moor on Thursday, December 15 at 12 noon EST.

Ahmed Moor was born in Gaza and raised in the US, graduated from University of Pennsylvania in 2005 and spent several years as a freelance journalist based in Lebanon and Cairo. His work as been published in numerous publications, including Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He is currently a graduate student of Public Policy at Harvard University.

During our conversation, Moor will share his views on the need and the prospects for one secular democratic state in which Jews and Palestinians live together as equal citizens.  Can we conceive of such a solution and what would such a state look like practically speaking?  What are the political realities that mitigate against it and how could they ever be shifted? What are the prospects that these two peoples could live and govern a state together?

Call Info:

Thursday, December 15 at 12 noon EST
Access Number: 1.800.920.7487
Participant Code: 92247763#

As always, there will be opportunities for questions and answers during the call.

We are looking forward to an informative and respectful conversation. I encourage you to join us.

11 thoughts on “Ta’anit Tzedek Conference Call: Journalist Ahmed Moor on the One State Solution

  1. With more and more settlements being inlarged and created in the West Bank and in Jerusalem, it would seem the only answer is a one state solution ,.
    Thanks for continued current information from Shalom Rav!

  2. Most Israelis view the “one state solution” as a more polite form of saying it’s the “throw the Jews into the sea” solution.

    • Under the current situation, Israelis can choose to live both within the Green Line and in the West Bank. A settler from Modin Illit who wants to visit family in Raanana can just drive straight there, without crossing any borders. In this sense, a one-state solution is already in existence. The same is true economically. It isn’t possible to separate Israel’s economy from that of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, especially in terms of resources.

      There is one state, with two populations. One population flourishes and enjoys a normal life. The other population does not. The two populations have very limited contact, with the suffering population being shut out of sight behind a wall. The first population has limited knowledge of what life is like behind that wall. Some of them get to see it – but only from behind a gun. Most of them won’t ever get the chance for ordinary contact with Palestinian locals, and when they leave the army, they can (try to) forget that they were ever there, even while they shower in water piped from a West Bank aquifer and snack on dates harvested by underpaid exploited workers in Jordan Valley settlements.

      Amongst Israelis who routinely visit Palestinian communities and have friendships with Palestinians, support for a just one-state solution isn’t rare – acknowledgement of injustice, an end to segregation and economic subjection, and equal rights for all residents. Amongst Israelis who have little or no actual contact with Palestinians (which is many), and limited understanding of how deeply the occupation is ingrained in society, there is a lot of fear of such a solution. It’s pretty natural to fear what you don’t know, but it’s not the solution that’s problematic. It’s the fear.

      • Vicky-
        It is VITAL to remember that the separation of the Palestinians from crossing the Green Line was due SOLELY to the suicide bomber campaign that was orchestrated by popular, elected Palestinian leader Arafat which was backed by overwhelimng Palestinian public support. If the Palestinians want to look for the source of the separation wall and the restrictions to Palestinians crossing the Green Line, they need to look in the mirror. BTW-the Israeli Arabs DO cross the Green Line freely, so obviously the restrictions are not “ethnic based”.

      • Movement was restricted prior to the Second Intifada. It got worse during the Intifada, but the West Bank has been under martial law ever since it was occupied, and curfews and closures are par for the course. My friend Omar was once stopped at a roadblock and made to stand for hours in a ditch at the roadside because he tried to defy a closure near Nablus, and that was in the late 1970s. In all the time he was kept there, he was given no water, and when he finally gave in to the need to urinate the soldiers laughed and urged him to drink his own urine. This is the worst story I’ve heard, but it’s not the only one.

        Palestinians are permitted to cross the Green Line if they have an appropriate permit, and those are like gold dust. Near Christmas and Easter, the Christian population of Bethlehem gets worked up into a pitiful frenzy of expectation: who will be given the permit? Who won’t? They are issued quite arbitrarily, and they are used both as a stick to beat ‘bad’ Palestinians and candy to reward ‘good’ ones. If you have been politically active, if you have attended demonstrations, your chance of getting the permit dwindles. My neighbour’s son was placed on the blacklist simply for crossing a street in which a demo was taking place. The army saw him, and they knew his name – that was enough for his permit applications to be barred. Fourteen years have passed since then, and he has yet to get to Jerusalem. It makes me both distressed and angry to see the level to which people are prepared to debase themselves in order to get their hands on that slip of paper – and the arbitrariness with which they are handed out. It’s very common for the military to use the permit system to torment families: a family will apply to go to Jerusalem for Easter celebrations, and everybody but one daughter will be given the coveted paper. That happened to the family I live with this year. She sneaked into Jerusalem illegally instead, determined not to miss out. Other families who are subjected to this routine petty spitefulness don’t dare to risk it. Clearly it is ethnic-based; settlers are not subjected to this.

        As for the wall being vital to Israeli security, thousands of Palestinians sneak round it every day in order to work illegally in Israel, seeing basic survival as worth the risk. Other people sneak round it as a form of resistance, seeing principle as worth the risk. My landlady’s daughter. Me and my friends. It’s porous, so how can it be secure? And if it were for security only, why wasn’t it built on the Green Line? Why has it eaten thousands of acres of land? My neighbours are now cut off from their olive groves. The people of Beit Jala are soon to lose a lot of land to the wall, which will be appropriated by the settlement of Gilo. The nuns who run a daycare centre for special needs children in Beit Jala will lose that work, because the wall is to be constructed right across their property. This is not being done for security reasons. Israel is not trying to protect itself against nuns and disabled kids.

        Furthermore, the wall is not just one construction – there are dozens of other walls and fences sprouting off it, so internal travel within the West Bank is affected as well. There are roads in the West Bank that Palestinians are forbidden to use, forcing them to take long and convoluted routes. These roads are for the exclusive use of Israelis. When we travel south of Hebron in a mixed group, we hide the Palestinian passengers at the back so we’re able to take the swift route. As the roadblock approaches, someone will call out sardonically, “Palestinians to the back of the bus!” It has a double meaning.

        Are you an Israeli, and if so, do you honestly feel any safer because people are being made to live like this?

  3. Shalom All,

    While I don’t agree with his conclusions, Benny Morris offers a well referenced history of this subject in “One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel Palestine Conflict.”

    Shavu’a Tov,
    Biv’racha,
    Jordan

    http://amzn.to/sOEqZz

  4. I am all for this solution. Oneness. It is the only possible bottom line is it not?

    One time I had a vision that the Israel-Palestine Conflict is resolved, by establishing a uniquely balanced Jewish-Islamic state, under Hashem/Allah, and “by our powers combined” the two most politically oppressed peoples, entangled in the most deeply paradoxical conflict, emerge as the leaders of a new global order on an unparalleled scale. So basically Moshiach would come.

    On a serious note, major love for “Vicky” and her comments above. “It’s not the solution that’s problematic. It’s the fear.

  5. The only just and ultimately viable solution is a single, secular, multi-ethnic democratic state. Any state based on ethnicity or religious affiliation cannot by definition offer equality to all citizens. A Jewish-Islamic state, if such at thing could be devised at all, could never be balanced, and does not take into account that the inhabitants of the area consist of far more than just Jews and Muslims.

  6. This conference call was excellent. There IS a current “single state” with one “ethnic group” controlling the entire territory. However, I continue to believe, as one “questioner” pointed out, that the answer to this current inequity is in raising up young leaders in both Jewish Israeli/Palestinian (settlement) communities as well as Arab Palestinian/Israeli (East Jerusalem) communities (such as One Voice or Combatants for Peace) as a new generation of younger citizens who are clear about both the dilemmas as well as the alternatives. Certainly noone wants to go through the type of trauma experienced with the creation of the modern states of India and Pakistan in the violent days of “partition” in South Asia in 1947. However, the creation of two states out of the demoralized and desperate single area from the Mediterranean to the Jordan seems inevitable. Right of return for Palestinians to what is now Israel and from the Settlements to the current Israel while allowing for full citizenship rights for each major ethnic group as well as numerous minorities would seem to be the way of most nations (with, perhaps Canada, Belgium–and even Rwanda [?]) as possible examples of struggling unitary states). I think the “God in Government” documentary of a few years back–focussing on the USA, Israel and India (http://www.videosurf.com/video/god-in-government-home-use-1309231321) handled the problems and promises well.

  7. I returned recently from ten days in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israel. In very little time, you can find yourself in one or another of these areas- all of which are appear as separate areas on paper but are, in reality, all part of one country – inhabited by two peoples. Given that 20% of Israelis are Palestinian and 600,000 Israeli settlers live in the remaining 22% of historic Palestine (approximately 1/3 of the West Bank population), there remains no land for Palestinians to establish a viable, contiguous and sovereign state. Israeli-American anthropologist Jeff Halper claims that the Israeli vision for the future is to “warehouse” the millions of Palestinians under occupation in seven or eight bantustans. That worked in the United States with its Indian reservations but the Palestinian population is one of the fastest growing in the world and it will not be contained forever.

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