Sunday, December 30, 2007

Democracy: an existential threat?

A single state in historic Palestine, based on equality, is the most promising alternative to the already dead two-state dogma

A Very Good Comment
By Ali Abunimah and Omar Barghouti
The Guardian

"As two of the authors of a recent document advocating a one-state solution to the Arab-Israeli colonial conflict, we intended to generate debate. Predictably, Zionists decried the proclamation as yet another proof of the unwavering devotion of Palestinian - and some radical Israeli - intellectuals to the "destruction of Israel". Some pro-Palestinian activists accused us of forsaking immediate and critical Palestinian rights in the quest of a "utopian" dream......

It is precisely this basic insistence on equality that is perceived by Zionists as an existential threat to Israel, undermining its inherently discriminatory foundations which privilege its Jewish citizens over all others. Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was refreshingly frank when he recently admitted that Israel was "finished" if it faced a struggle for equal rights by Palestinians.

But whereas transforming a regime of institutionalised racism, or apartheid, into a democracy was viewed as a triumph for human rights and international law in South Africa and Northern Ireland, it is rejected out of hand in the Israeli case as a breach of what is essentially a sacred right to ethno-religious supremacy (euphemistically rendered as Israel's "right to be a Jewish state").

Palestinians are urged by an endless parade of western envoys and political hucksters - the latest among them Tony Blair - to make do with what the African National Congress rightly rejected when offered it by South Africa's apartheid regime: a patchwork Bantustan made up of isolated ghettoes that falls far below the minimum requirements of justice.......

This "peace process", not peace or justice, has become an end in itself -- because as long as it continues Israel faces no pressure to actually change its behaviour. The political fiction that a two-state solution lies always just around the corner but never within reach is essential to perpetuate the charade and preserve indefinitely the status quo of Israeli colonial hegemony......

Hand in hand with this struggle it is absolutely necessary to begin to lay out and debate visions for a post-conflict future. It is not coincidental that Palestinian citizens of Israel, refugees and those in the diaspora, the groups long disfranchised by the "peace process" and whose fundamental rights are violated by the two-state solution have played a key role in setting forward new ideas to escape the impasse......"

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