Monday, May 7, 2007

Uri Avnery and Ilan Pappe to debate "One State or Two?"

"Bethlehem - Ma'an - Former member of Knesset and head of the Israeli peace bloc Gush Shalom, Uri Avnery, and Israeli historian Dr. Ilan Pappe are to debate "Two States or One State?" in a special public debate organized by Gush Shalom Forum, on Tuesday, May 8, in Tel Aviv.

In a press release published ahead of the debate, Gush Shalom says: "Among part of the Israeli peace activists there is an increasing feeling that occupation and settlement have already passed the point of no return, that for all intents and purposes the territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River is already one state, and that the only remaining question is whether this single state would be an Apartheid state where one people oppress and trample upon the other, or a democratic state where equality prevails.

"Those who support this position, represented by Dr. Ilan Pape, call for the creation of such a democratic political framework by giving the vote equally to all inhabitants between the Jordan and the Mediterranean on the basis of “One Person – One Vote”. This, in the explicit knowledge that thereby the Jewish character of the State of Israel would be abolished and in its place there would be a state of which all institutions will equally express the interests and aspirations of both peoples.

Ilan Pappe is a senior history lecturer at the University of Haifa and author of "A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples" and "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine." He was quoted on March 11 in the Washington Post as saying, "Zionism is far more dangerous to the safety of the Middle East than Islam." Pappe, who has been consistently persecuted over his "revisionist" stance and his support for a boycott of Israeli academics, is leaving Haifa University later this year to take up the post of chair of history at the University of Exeter in England, UK. In regards to critical comments by Pappe that some Jewish university students in the UK had become "ambassadors of Israel," the London-based The Times Higher Education Supplement quoted Pappe on 6 April as saying, "The Semites who suffer racism today are Muslims, not Jews."

Gush Shalom continues in the press release: "The opposing view, expressed by former Knesset Member Uri Avnery, holds that the situation is far from irreversible, that it is possible and necessary to put an end to the occupation, bring about the creation of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders living in peace with Israel, make united Jerusalem the capital of both states and dismantle the settlements. Avnery remarks that the great majority of Israeli citizens have never regarded the Occupied Territories as part of Israel, not even after forty years of Israeli rule, and that among both peoples there is a solid majority supporting the implementation of the two-state solution – which is therefore the only one that can be actually implemented."......"

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