“One Country” by Ali Abunimah
The Israeli/ Palestinian conflict is one of the most intractable conflicts of the century. Several attempts at resolving it have lead to utter failure. The author of this book believes that political leaders have been adopting the wrong approach. His title just about sums things up, One Country for both people.
Mr. Abunimah believe that the key to resolving this conflict lies not with forgetting the past as most would believe. He believes in remembering a past where in arab and Jews got along together very well. He sights several examples of friendship. He also used the Hebron massacres of 1929 as an example believe it or not. In the massacre 29 Jews in Hebron were killed by arab rioting inspired by Haj Anin al Husseini. Mr. Abunimah believes that the focus should not be on the 29 jews who were killed but on the fact that it was arab neighbors that hid their jewish neighbors in their houses to protect them.
Two state solutions are not viable. While the UN voted for partition something which the Jews accepted and the Palestinians rejected, there was a strong minority in the UN favoring a Bi-National state. Mr. Aabunimah goes on to state two reasons why the partition was rejected. First the Palestinian felt it was their land why should they partition something that is theirs. Next there was a fear that the Zionists would use the part of Palestine they gained as a foot hold to take even more land. Now a days with the increased amount of settlements and by pass road a division of the land into two states is unrealistic. Palestine would carved up into enclave which is not viable for a state and no Israeli government would uproot entire cities that have been built in the West bank since the 1967 war.
The next issue Mr. Abunimah brings to the table is the demographics. As it stands right now in the borders of Israel/Palestine there are more Palestinians then there are Jews. Many Israelis are afraid of the numerical superiority. Several Israeli academics have predicted this and have tried to warn Israeli governments about this. Sharon’s government took notice. That is why they disengaged from gaza. According to the author the disegagement was a smoke screen. While they were showing the world that they were withdrawing for peace they were quietly expanding settlement activity in the West Bank. More over the Israeli academics who warned about this said that pulling out from Gaza would just lead to more injustice.
The only solution then is one state for both people. He used Belgium as an example where in the confederation of autonomous areas band together to form a country. Each area is given control over domestic things like culture, education, trash collection etc and both groups would join together for national elections. Also he advises Arab Jand Jewish kids to take classes in both Arabic and Hebrew. He also advocates learning about the Palestinian Nakba and Israeli independence in the school.
In the last two chapters he uses South Africa as an example of how things worked and he also documents growing acceptance of the one state solution among both Arab and Jewish Circles.
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