“Israel/Palestine, what is a just solution?” – a note for the coming AJDS workshop on this subject

“Israel/Palestine, what is a just solution?” This is the subject of a workshop that the Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) is holding in Melbourne on Sunday 30 April. The announcement says the following topics will be covered: the two state versus one state solution; the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign; and the right of return of Palestine refugees.
I would have loved to attend, but my health condition prevents me from traveling to Melbourne. So I’m posting this note on how I see this subject, in the hope that some of those attending may read it & may want, in the course of the workshop, to relate to points made here.

palestine hor bottomup

Talking about a just solution may seem utopian in the present circumstances.

Yet making this the subject of our contemplation is surely a most important moral choice: it is, first of all, taking a clear stand: What we seek, above all, is a just solution.

& articulating what is necessary for a just solution is surely a precondition for achieving as much of it as is achievable at any given stage.

If the goal is a just solution, it must be just to all concerned, no matter what their racial, ethnic, religious, national, or gender identity.

It seems to me that of “the topics to be covered” only the third, the right of return, really touches on the main subject. The second, BDS, is a question of strategy, not of a solution. The first, one state or two states, addresses the question of a just and equitable arrangement for the future harmonious co-existence of Palestinians & Israelis. But a just solution must surely also address past & present injustices. Not only for moral reasons, because otherwise the solution cannot be just, but also for pragmatic reasons: for people to believe in the possibility of a just future co-existence, they must also feel that justice will be done with regard to the past.

Thus any just solution must first of all acknowledge & attempt to redress the injustices that have been done and are still being done by Zionism and the Zionist State to the Palestinians whose homeland they have colonized.

Injustices perpetrated by people dispossessed or oppressed by colonization, in acts of resistance or revenge, cannot be justly considered as equally unconscionable as the acts of dispossession or oppression that prompted those responses.

The dispossessors & oppressors will need to acknowledge that
• The Zionist colonization, oriented to turn Palestine into “the Jewish State”, was from the outset unjust.
• The Balfour Declaration was unjust.
• The ethnic cleansing begun after the UN GA’s November 1947 recommendation for partition, & extended with the implementation of “Plan Dalet” on 1 April 1948, was unjust.
• The establishment in 1948 of the Zionist “Jewish state in Palestine, to be called Israel” was unjust.
• The continuing existence of the Zionist State ethnocracy in Palestine within the “Green Line” is unjust.
• The continuing military occupation, since 1967, of the West Bank and the continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip are unjust.

Each & all of these general injustices entails countless particular injustices to individual people: to non-Jewish Palestinians, obviously – but also, if less obviously, to “Israeli” Jewish Palestinians who have grown up in a regime that indoctrinates them to Zionist nationalism & forces them to serve in &/or be complicit in the continuing unjust occupation &/or exclusion from residence &/or full citizenship rights of non-Jewish Palestinians in their homeland.

Responsibility for all these injustices rests firstly on the Zionist movement & all its agencies & supporters, but also on the powers that have made the Zionist colonizing enterprise possible – from the Ottoman Sultanate, through Great Britain, the League of Nations, the United Nations, all the countries that have recognized, accepted &/or supported the Zionist State as a legitimate entity in Palestine, &above all the USA, & the multinational corporations that profit from the status quo….

All these injustices must be acknowledged before a viable solution can even be considered.

What must be guaranteed in a just solution?
• People who were exiled must be allowed to return to their homeland, & together with people now living in Palestine who were dispossessed &/or unjustly oppressed by the Zionist state &/or its “Israeli” settlers, must be allowed to repossess their homes or be adequately compensated.
• People who have no moral right to become residents of the country must no longer be granted automatic citizenship on their arrival there. The Zionist “Law of Return” which allows all Jews automatic citizenship must be revoked.
• The country, named Falastin in Arabic, & Eretz Yisrael in Hebrew, is by now the homeland of people who identify with two distinct nations & speak two different (if related) languages. In any just solution it can no longer be the state of only one of these nations. It can no longer be called Israel – a name that the present “State of Israel” was never entitled to, since the name “Israel” has for millennia been a name for all Jewry, all Jews in the world.
• In any just solution each of these nations must have equal rights to cultural autonomy, with educational & cultural institutions in the country’s two equal official languages.

re the two-state vs one-state solution:
Two states may then be an option, if majorities on both sides still want that. But that would be a kind of Grand Apartheid, & an anachronistic enhancing of conflicting nationalisms. It seems much more just & advanced to advocate for a binational state that grants full cultural autonomy to both nations.

re BDS: in terms of strategy, I think Ran Greenstein (Facebook, March 29 at 4:01pm) nails it:
‘Yes, a boycott definitely will help. But no, in South Africa boycott helped because it was triggered by and in turn amplified the mass struggle of millions on a daily basis, in the streets, factories, communities, schools, churches. Boycott without mass struggle is good, but let’s not delude ourselves that it could force change without an internal uprising.’
This doesn’t answer whether BDS is a just strategy.
But whether it is or isn’t, it will continue as long as the unjust Zionism regime continues to rule Palestine.
& Ran is right, it alone cannot bring about change: there needs to be an internal uprising.
But not of the non-Jewish Palestinians alone.

Without a change of heart among the “Israeli”-Jewish populace, a just solution cannot come about. There needs to be an internal uprising of this populace’s conscience, & it is towards this that the advocacy of Diaspora Jewry needs to be oriented: ‘Pursue justice, justice!’: Tzedek, tzedek tirdof!צֶדֶק צֶדֶק, תִּרְדֹּף

Raising the visibility of this issue at this time (1)

Posting this first “Raising the visibility” meme today. Featured is the cover of the report.
The entire report can be read here.

ESCWAr cover meme

The other day I posted a “Shame the UN” meme on my Facebook page:

shame un meme

My ‘desired fate/solution for half of the Jews living on earth today – those who live in Israel?’?*

My ‘desired fate/solution for half of the Jews living on earth today – those who live in Israel?’?*

Desired fate: I wish them peace, I wish them life, I wish them freedom from being oppressors, exilers, occupiers, besiegers & dispossessors of another people in their homeland.

Desired solution: a free, secular, democratic Palestine (Israeland), as I described it in lines I wrote about a year and a half ago & am now publishing here as a meme:

i-want-to-call-out-meme

That’s my desired solution, still, but of course it depends on enough people wanting it, on both sides.
& if they don’t, well then, each individual “Israeli” Jew in Palestine will make their own decision: whether or not to continue living as a citizen of the colonialist Zionist State whose very existence depends on the continuing dispossession & oppression etc of the country’s native population; whether or not to continue living in false consciousness, bad faith, denial that there is an occupation, that there are Palestinians, that there is a Palestine that for non-Jewish Palestinians is not “Israel”…

I’m not religious, but I’m with the rabbi who said that when there is persecution we should be on the side of the persecuted, not on the side of the persecutors. Or, to bring that down to basics: if your privileged life depended on your having to abuse and oppress someone else every day, would you choose to continue with that, or give up your privileged position?

You may think that because I’m a Jew my solidarity should be with the state where ‘half of the Jews living on earth today’ live. Well, it isn’t, not as long as that state continues to be an oppressor. My solidarity is with the oppressed & their struggle. Palestine must be free. & when the Arab Palestinians are freed from the Zionist oppression, the Hebrew Palestinians too will be freed from having to be the agents of that Zionist oppression.

___________________
* I was asked this question in a comment to a comment I  made to another post: ‘The Zionist State that occupies Palestine is based not on dignity & compassion but on Israeli-Jewish (& still primarily Ashkenazi) supremacy & privilege. & it can have no “democratically elected leader” when around half of the population of the country does not have the right to vote.’

Mahmoud Darwish محمود درويش מחמוד דרוויש: Two strophes آيتين שני בתים

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English, Arabic, Hebrew below:

O you who pass between fleeting words
From you the sword — from us the blood
From you steel and fire — from us our flesh
From you yet another tank — from us stones
From you tear gas — from us rain
Above us, as above you, are sky and air
So take your share of our blood — and be gone
Go to a dance party — and be gone
As for us, we have to water the martyrs’ flowers
As for us, we have to live as we see fit.

O you who pass between fleeting words
As bitter dust, go where you wish, but
Do not pass between us like flying insects
For we have work to do in our land:
We have wheat to grow which we water with our bodies’ dew
We have that which does not please you here:
Stones… or shame
So take the past, if you wish, to the antiquities market
And return the skeleton to the hoopoe, if you wish,
On a clay platter
We have that which does not please you: we have the future
And we have things to do in our land.

أيها المارون بين الكلمات العابرة
منكم السيف – ومنّا دمنا
منكم الفولاذ والنار- ومنّا لحمنا
منكم دبابة أخرى- ومنّا حجر
منكم قنبلة الغاز – ومنّا المطر
وعلينا ما عليكم من سماءٍ وهواء
فخذوا حصتكم من دمنا وانصرفوا
وادخلوا حفل عشاء راقص.. وانصرفوا
وعلينا، نحن، أن نحرس ورد الشهداء
وعلينا، نحن، أن نحيا كما نحن نشاء

أيها المارون بين الكلمات العابرة
كالغبار المرِّ مُرّوا أينما شئتم ولكن
لا تمرّوا بيننا
كالحشرات الطائرة
فلنا في أرضنا ما نعمل
ولنا قمحٌ نربيه ونسقيه ندى أجسادنا
ولنا ما ليس يرضيكم هنا
حجرٌ.. أو خجل
فخذوا الماضي، إذا شئتم إلى سوق التحف
وأعيدوا الهيكل العظمي للهدهد، إن شئتم
على صحن خزف
لنا ما ليس يرضيكم، لنا المستقبل
ولنا في أرضنا ما نعمل

הוי העוברים בין המילים החולפות
מכם החרב – ומאתנו הדם,
מכם פלדה ואש – ומאיתנו בשרנו,
מכם עוד טנק – ומאיתנו אבנים
מכם גז מדמיע – מאיתנו גשם
מעלינו, כמעליכם, שמים ואויר
אז קחו לכם את חלקכם של דמנו –
והסתלקו !
לכו למסיבת ריקודים – והסתלקו !
ואנו, עלינו להשקות את פרחי נרצחינו.
ואנו, עלינו לחיות כפי שנראה לנו.

הוי העוברים בין המילים החולפות
כאבק מר, לכו לאן שתרצו, אך
אל תעברו בינינו כחרקים מתעופפים
כי לנו יש עבודה לעשות בארצנו:
לנו חיטה לגדל ולהשקות עם טל גופינו
לנו מה שלא תרוו ממנו נחת פה:
אבנים… או בושה
אז קחו את העבר, אם תרצו, לשוק העתיקות
והחזירו לבולבול את השלד, אם תרצו,
על מגש של חימר
לנו יש מה שלא תרוו ממנו נחת: את העתיד
ולנו יש מה לעשות בארצנו.

[I’ve edited  here English & Hebrew translations I found online, using the knowledge & tools available to me. Any informed suggestions for changes or corrections will be welcomed.]

Forget ‘legal’ & ‘legitimate’: The Zionist State’s sovereignty ‘within the pre-1967 borders’ is morally wrong & indefensible

I’ve just now shared the post below on Facebook:

& I want here to relate to & to take issue with what Professor Blatman says in the second of the following four paragraphs:

In Israel, as in other places that developed through colonialist settlement and dispossession (North America, Australia, South Africa, Namibia), this colonialism did not begin with aspirations of sovereignty. The early Jewish settlers came here for economic reasons, to escape anti-Semitic persecution, or out of some romantic fantasy of building a new society.

But their descendants, as well as other groups that arrived over the years, saw the place as their homeland and wanted to be sovereign there. This Jewish demand received support and recognition after the Holocaust. Today no international body, including the Palestinian leadership, denies the legality and historic legitimacy of this sovereignty within the pre-1967 borders.

But since that year there has developed a colonialist project of dispossession in the occupied territories; it is still unfinished because it has not yet used the most extreme tools of colonialist dispossession, namely ethnic cleansing or genocide. It has, however, reached some very advanced stages that characterized similar efforts in the past – uncontrolled land seizures, economic, political, and cultural strangulation of the local population, terror and violence to which state officials turn a blind eye, ethnic separation and in particular, the conveying of an unequivocal message that this colonial presence is not temporary but permanent.

The local population gets the message and is waging a desperate struggle to reclaim what it senses it is about to lose forever. It resists, rebels and uses terror. In Namibia, North America and Australia, the response to this resistance was genocide.

No, it’s not untrue that ‘Today no international body, including the Palestinian leadership, denies the legality and historic legitimacy of this sovereignty within the pre-1967 borders’. Not untrue. But surely not right! Not moral! What motivates this almost universal non-denial is not justice or morality but Realpolitik. No humanitarian concern for the fate of Holocaust survivors & the fate of endangered Jews anywhere survivors can justify such universal non-humanitarian unconcern for the fate of Nakba survivors & the fate of exiled & displaced Palestinians everywhere. What is ‘legality’ but the making of laws by not-disinterested parties? What does ‘historic [I think the word intended was ‘historical’] legitimacy’ mean?  Only that it has been in the interests of those who by recognizing a state accord it ‘legitimacy’ to do so. Being possibly (no more) a distant descendant of someone who was exiled from a country some two millennia ago can by no moral criterion be seen as according ‘legitimacy’ to the forcible  dispossession and usurpation of the land of someone else, or to the sovereignty of the “returning” Jews over the native non-Jewish population of Palestine.

& I could add to Professor Blatman’ first par that many of the first & later Jewish settlers came because of deep emotional feelings for Palestine, with a profound sense of self-fulfillment as Jews if they could live in Eretz-Yisrael, the Land of Israel, Israeland. That has been the country’s name in Hebrew for millennia, & it is an important element in Jewish identity. But this too is not a justification for sovereignty. What evidently swayed many of the Jews in the Yishuv to accept the Zionist leadership & to support their unilateral declaration of “a Jewish state in Palestine to be called Israel”, was the argument “If we don’t drive most of them out & rule over the rest, they will kill us all”. Which, by the way, may have been a fair estimation at the time, given how the Zionists had been relating to the non-Jewish Palestinians until then.

You colonize, you displace, you dispossess, you deprive of jobs, you disrespect, you humiliate, you provoke resistance, & you have your pretext of self-defense.

No, the Zionist State, which has occupied Palestine by military force, first the greater part of it in 1948-49, & the rest in 1967, has no moral right to its sovereignty ‘within the pre-1967 borders’. The only right it has is the right of might: its own coupled with that of the powers that support/ed it.

& Israel’s sovereignty over Palestine is only the latest of hetero-male patriarchalist colonizations that (among their other crimes against humanity & the ecology of our planet) have wreaked & are still wreaking destruction & oppression to indigenous populations worldwide.

& Israel’s sovereignty over Palestine is – with Indonesia’s sovereignty over West Papua, & China’s over Tibet – one of the three major military occupations that today are continuing the dehumanization, dispossession & disenfranchisement & more of many millions of subalterned human beings, & this is all morally wrong!

Can these right by might sovereignties & occupations be ended?

Not until enough people choose to go with what is moral rather than what is or seems to be good for themselves even if it’s at the cost of the others’ suffering. choose right tather than might, humane rather than inhumane – good rather than bad.

As I’m thinking of saying in a post I’m preparing (you can take this as a teaser):

how do we do this? I haven’t the faintest idea, but I do think it has to begin with some kind of reVOLITION: enough of us have to WILL A WORLD THAT IS GOOD TO & FOR EVERY BEING IN IT, & to find ways to spread this volition, this willing. to more & more of us – because we all do have good in us, somewhere…

blaman

From today’s Facebookings

they-told-me-meme

Of all my Facebooking moments today, the above I think pierced me the deepest (it’s from the 5th of the posts below), & so I’ve headlined the quote & memed a bit of the story

Richard Flantz shared Umar Al-Ghubari’s post.
42 mins ·

‘OUR NEIGHBOURS AND US’: MORE FROM UMM AL-HIRAN,
this a time a pic & a pithy paragraph by Umar Al-Ghubari, some of whose incisive writings in Hebrew exposing & analyzing the criminal Zionist occupation of Palestine I have been glad to be able to translate
:
“A pile of books near a pile of stones by a demolished house. One book, a civics textbook in Arabic for grade four, called ‘Our Neighbours and Us’, was in the pile. For real. I photographed it. The neighbours that destroyed the house kept the body of the deceased, who was killed by the neighbours a week ago, for the sake of neighbours who don’t want us as neighbours. Let the education ministry make up lies all it wants. The real school is reality. This time the name of the school is Umm al-Hiran.”
– Umar Al-Ghubari of Zochrot
(happy tp be able to share this English translation of his Arabic & Hebrew that I found in this post by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society)


Tamar Goldschmidt
5 hrs ·
A translation into English by Tal Haran

Tamar Goldschmidt:
On January 14, the boy Ahmad Shabir died. He did not die. He was murdered. By the Shabak (Israeli General Security Services).
I am translating the disturbing article written by Talal Al Nabih of the Palestine Communication Center in Gaza:

“Ahmad Shabir – the martyr who thwarted the Shabak.

Some justify it, necessarily, as ‘human’. But in Ahmad Shabir’s vocabulary this is totally negative, and he considers it treason, an assault on the dignity of life… ‘A life and death struggle’… This was the obsession that took over his mind for two years, and finally he decided. And chose to die standing.

‘Dad. come, I’ll sum this up. They have asked me to collaborate and I told them I’d rather die in Gaza and not sell them myself cheap, or harm any of my countrymen and homeland’. This is the essence of those 12 hours which 17-year old Ahmad Hassan Shabir spent in a holding cell of the Zionist Shabak, haggling – over receiving treatment and collaborating, or returning to Gaza to die.
Ahmad had foregone the surgery he was supposed to undergo in recent months, taking leave of life and leaving behind his story – ‘love of one’s homeland’, his dream – ‘healing hearts’ buried along with him, and he will from now on be named ‘martyr of the siege’.

Shabir’s story:
Young Shabir suffered congenital cardiac flaws. Throughout his life he traveled 40 times to receive medical treatment. However, for the past two years his attempts at such travel were refused by the Zionist authorities. Attempts to extort collaboration from him failed as Ahmad was determined, and preferred to return to Gaza untreated rather than becoming a traitor-collaborator.
The son’s position was repeated by his father. As the Israeli Occupation attempted to take advantage of the latter’s fatherly feelings, tempt and trick him. But all the authorities’ attempts failed as Hassan answered, ‘I refuse to sell my soul cheap and harm my own countrymen. Just as you are committed to what you call your country, so am I committed to my own state and homeland.’

About Ahmad’s illness and death, father Hassan Shabir told the Palestine Communication Center that his son suffered four congenital heart flaws, but had always been patient and hopeful to be cured. He lived his life in hope, travelling on occasion to hospitals inside Israel to get treatment.
The security check:
Apparently the first 17 years of Ahmad’s medical treatment were unhampered. However, for the past two years, 2015-2016, Ahmad and his family were fated to a via dolorosa of haggling with the Occupation authorities which made their life impossible.
The father explains: ‘the first time Ahmad and his mother were offered the possibility of medical treatment in return for collaboration by the Occupation authorities at the Bet Hanoun/Erez Checkpoint was on March 22, 2016. They refused but were still allowed to proceed.’
The father continues: ‘After their return, Ahmad and his mother traveled again on April 18, 2016 and the doctors set a date for cardiac catheterization surgery in September.
Again in Gaza, as the surgery date approached, they applied for permits to travel but were surprised to receive the Occupation authorities’ refusal, as they were now declared ‘denied entry’.
The security meeting:
On October 10, 2016 the parents came with their ill son to the Bet Hanoun Checkpoint after agreeing to meet with the Zionist Shabak, ‘which then began haggling in order to obtain security collaboration as the price for medical treatment’.
During this meeting, lasting from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., the Shabak agents destroyed Ahmad’s medication, while negotiating ‘collaboration’. He was interrogated about members of the ‘Palestinian resistance’, his neighbors and friends, says his mother.
The mother, in her forties, tells the Palestine Communication Center, tears in her eyes, that her son refused the tempting offers made by the Shabak official, leaving him for long hours alone and in an impossible state of mind, but her on was patient, entrusting his fate to God.
The mother says that the Shabak official summoned her as well and suggested she ‘collaborate’, but she persistently refused and told him: ‘I am a housewife, we have no interest in such matters. The only thing we care about is the medical treatment that Ahmad should receive, so that he can be cured and live like any other youngster in this world’.
She recalls her son’s dream, which he shared with her a few days before his death:
‘I hope to live another six months and complete my matriculation exams’. And she continues: ‘He dreamed of treating hearts (specializing in heart surgery), but after his final meeting with the Shabak, the gates closed and his health deteriorated, parting with this life on Friday, January 14, 2017, after praying at the mosque, reading the Cave Sura, speaking with us and helping me to hang some laundry to dry’.”

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