A right-wing one state solution?
Ben Dror Yemini, a senior columnist at Maariv, likes to position himself as a “centrist” by regularly and viciously attacking what he considers the “illegitimate left.” Occasionally, he also finds something he considers beyond the pale on his right. He is now positively horrified by a new trend: Right-wing ideologues calling for a one state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From his Friday (May 7 2010) column (full text at bottom of post):
Whatever we think of a Palestinian state or any other arrangement, the present situation cannot go on. Tough decisions have to be made. Either separation or granting citizenship. Either separation or one state. Until now the ideological right supported the Whole Land of Israel. One state. But the right has evaded the question of citizenship for the Palestinians. No longer. The emerging trend is not just one state but also citizenship.
What apparently set off Yemini’s alarm bells was a recent statement by Knesset Chairman Reuven Rivlin:
Referring to the possibility that such an agreement [two states] could be reached, Rivlin said: “I would rather [have] Palestinians as citizens of this country over dividing the land up.”
Rivlin is an ideologue, one of the few true disciples of Jabotinsky left in the Likud caucus. Partition is not part of their ideology. Liberalism is, however:
“In every Cabinet where the Prime Minister is a Jew, the vice-premiership shall be offered to an Arab, and vice-versa” (Ze’ev Jabotinsky, 1940)
Rivlin is also intellectually honest. When faced with the “tough question” — partition or Apartheid — he does not dodge and answers: ‘Neither. Equality in one state.’
Dimi Reider has put together a comprehensive review of revisionist thinking on partition, across the Israeli spectrum.
Excerpt from column, Ben Dror Yemini, Maariv Friday Political Supplement, May 7 2010 [page 6; Hebrew original here]
For a few years it seemed to be trial balloons. The right, especially the ideological right, started to issue statements about the need to annex Judea and Samaria, while granting the Palestinians certain rights. A group identified with the right began at the same time to issue demographic assessments saying that there is actually no demographic threat, and that the Jewish majority between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River is guaranteed.
The years went by and these are trial balloons no more. Israel is accused of apartheid and even right-wing circles are feeling guilty. Even they understand that the present situation, the deadlock, of neither here nor there, can not go on forever. Whatever we think of a Palestinian state or any other arrangement, the present situation cannot go on. Tough decisions have to be made. Either separation or granting citizenship. Either separation or one state. Until now the ideological right supported the Whole Land of Israel. One state. But the right has evaded the question of citizenship for the Palestinians. No longer. The emerging trend is not just one state but also citizenship.Let’s not take these statements lightly. These are not the reckless hilltop dwellers. These are not your petty racists. These are thinking people who are aware of Israel’s status in the world. They are seeing the process of delegitimization. They know it is an industry of lies. They watch disbelievingly “apartheid week” being celebrated not just one week a year but everyday. They understand there is a problem. They understand the old slogans don’t work anymore. They know that a new reality is emerging. It might be irreversible. They know that the partial or mass expulsion of Palestinians, contrary to the incitement of demagogues, will put a final end to Israel’s legitimacy. “A nation dwelling unto itself” has its place in mythology but it doesn’t work on the ground. We are neither Iran nor North Korea nor do we want to be.
So that a trend is evolving. It is not only Uri Elitzur, who may have been the first to say it, and not only MK Tzipi Hotoveli, a lawyer, who understands there is a problem and is therefore willing to grant citizenship to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, in stages. Now it is also Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who has good chances of becoming president. He is no marginal figure. He is not a backbencher. He too has said lately that between disengagement from the territories and annexation that includes granting citizenship, he prefers the latter.