The sourcing, as is usual in the Israeli media, is poor. It appears that Maariv’s Eli Bardenstein was on some sort of government junket in Turkey. Over the past few days, other Israeli journalists posted status updates from Istanbul.
The full translation of his report is at the bottom of the post, along with the Hebrew original. Here’s the important section, though it’s difficult to diifferentiate between reporting and analysis.
Israel will not be able to remain over time an independent country, and a bi-national state will be established on all of the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River in which Jews and Palestinians will live,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a number of meetings that he held with journalists and academics, including a number of Israeli academics. Davutoglu’s vision, which he revisited a number of times, is for Turkey to become a dominant force in the Middle East and further, that it will be the protector state of the above-cited bi-national state within a number of years.
Davutoglu, a professor of international relations, is considered to be the principal ideologue of the AKP, the party that is headed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the course of the meetings with academics and journalists, which were held prior to the eruption of the recent crisis between Turkey and Israel in the aftermath of the flotilla to the Gaza Strip and the killing of nine Turkish nationals on board the Mavi Marmara, Davutoglu said he did not believe that Israel would be able to sign peace agreements with its neighbors, including the state that is to be formed in the area of the Palestinian Authority.
The central idea that was put forward by Davutoglu, which he has been trying to promote by means of a number of journalists and Turkish government officials, is that Israel as an independent state is illegitimate in the region and, as such, is destined to disappear. That assessment is rooted in a deeper ideology that aspires to restore to Turkey the historic influence it wielded during the era of the Ottoman empire, which ruled the Middle East for close to 400 years. Davutoglu said on a number of occasions that he believed that peace would be restored to the Middle East only in the wake of deep and substantial Turkish intervention.
In other words, Davutoglu and Erdogan aspire to set a new regional order — Erdogan by means of populist rhetoric and closer ties with Turkey’s neighbors, Syria and Iran; Davutoglu by means of promulgating the ideological basis. This new order, as noted, has no room for Israel as an independent state. Both Erdogan and Davutoglu have been advancing a policy that promotes closer ties with Syria and Iran, and moves away from the West. Davutoglu added in his meetings with the journalists and academics that the historic powers, (Britain and France) which conquered the Middle East from the Ottomans, are the ones that are responsible for the difficult situation that currently reigns in the Middle East, since they drew the borders in a way that suited their own political and military interests, without taking into account the demographic affiliation of the region’s residents.
Eli Bardenstein, Maariv, November 28 2010 [Hebrew original here and at bottom of this post]
Turkey – “Israel will not be able to remain over time an independent country, and a bi-national state will be established on all of the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River in which Jews and Palestinians will live,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a number of meetings that he held with journalists and academics, including a number of Israeli academics. Davutoglu’s vision, which he revisited a number of times, is for Turkey to become a dominant force in the Middle East and further, that it will be the protector state of the above-cited bi-national state within a number of years.
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.
Sheizaf: Settlers and Palestinians to join in protest against the separation barrier south of Jerusalem
Cross-posted from Promised Land.
An unusual protest is scheduled for Thursday in the West Bank: Settlers and Palestinians are planning to march together in protest against a section of the separation barrier Israel is constructing south of Jerusalem.
According to a report on Srugim, a national–religious news site, the protest was initiated by Eretz Shalom, a new pro-peace settlers movement. A handbill distributed by the organization (shown below), claims that the planned fence “will damage the nature in the area, hurt the residents of the [Palestinian] village of Wallaje and their fields, won’t add to the security of Jerusalem, and will be a waste of state money.”
The settlers invite all residents of the area, “Jews, Christians and Arabs”, to meet at the border police checkpoint at 4:30pm and march together in protest.
Is this more than a gimmick? It’s hard to tell. There has been some talk of peace initiatives coming from the far-right recently. Naturally, they all lead to the one state solution, with most of the settlements remaining in place and the Palestinians becoming Israeli citizens. These ideas are yet to be developed, but I wouldn’t dismiss them altogether.
Many people on the left will find it hard to accept the idea of settlers talking about peace, but we should remember that not all the Jews living in the West Bank are like the radical and violent residents of Yitzhar. Some of them are from second and third generation in the settlements, and they really struggle to find a solution that will enable them to live in peace. According to another report on Srugim, the members of Eretz Shalom are not very involved in politics, and view themselves as a grassroots, regional, initiative. I think we should wish them luck. Read more…
Yediot’s Sima Kadmon is second in stature only to Nahum Barnea and this Friday (March 12 2010) her column opened the paper’s influential weekend Political Supplement. Writing in the context of of the current US-Israeli crisis on East Jerusalem, she puts the symbolic, and more importantly, strategic significance (as opposed to the injustice) of Sheikh Jarrah front and center on the mainstream Israeli public agenda (full text at bottom):
But beyond the destruction of the fabric of relations between Jews and Arabs, and beyond the act of penetration and takeover of Arab neighborhoods, the measures in Sheikh Jarrah put Israel into a considerable legal, political and historic bind: if Jews can sue Arabs for ownership of property before 1948, what will prevent Arabs, who own hundreds if not thousands of properties in West Jerusalem, to claim their ownership of them? What will stop them from demanding the eviction of thousands of tenants from properties that were owned by Arabs in Talbiya, Baka, German Colony, Talpiot, Abu Tor and other neighborhoods? In all of those neighborhoods, and not only in them, Jews live in houses that once belonged to Arabs.
Is it really in Israel’s interest to open up the discussion of historic rights to property from before 1948?
The reopening of 1948 is not relegated to Jerusalem. The case of the Shaya family house in Jaffa, which I wrote about here last November, is at the heart of Israel’s metropolitan center. It is also happening on a massive scale in Haifa and the north.
Kadmon asks what will stop the Palestinians from exploiting this precedent to demand their properties in west Jerusalem. The answer, legally at least, is that Israel’s courts recognize only the Jewish “right of return,” an uncomfortable fact that has not yet been the subject of any substantial constitutional judicial debate. That, however, is only a matter of time.
The evicted families of Sheikh Jarrah have deeds to properties in Jaffa and West Jerusalem. They will go to court and work the appeals process all the way up to Supreme Court. Because they are living on the street, the judges it will not have the luxury of dragging a ruling out indefinitely. What will they do, rule that Jews and Palestinians are not equal under the law (the “A” word comes to mind) or create an earthshaking precedent and give the plaintiffs their ’48 properties back? Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
In another time, I would also have added that the Sheikh Jarrah evictions undermine international trust in Israel’s sincerity regarding a two state solution, but I don’t think there is much of that left anyway.
It is important to note that judicial precedent gives the Israeli government the full power to step-in and stop the evictions, the issue of property rights notwithstanding. The supreme court has consistently sided with the government when it asserted that the issue is of “diplomatic importance.” There are a number of cases from the period of Rabin government’s “settlement freeze” in the ’90s.
Perhaps the most poignant, and directly relevant example is the case of Ikrit and Birim. The residents of these two villages in the Galilee were asked (literally) by the IDF to leave “temporarily” in 1948. They have since lived nearby as internally displaced refugees, while their villages remain empty and the local Kibbutzes farm their land. The Supreme Court recognized their right to return, but ruled that the government’s concern for a dangerous precedent overrode that right. A government genuinely concerned with the ongoing destruction of the two-state paradigm, would have made use of this power in Sheikh Jarrah.
Excerpt from column, Yediot Friday Political Supplement, March 12 2010
Make no mistake: from the beginning of his term Netanyahu has been taking various measures that mean increasing friction with the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, and he’s doing it with the help of Mayor Nir Barkat. Barkat, elected with the massive support of the liberal, secular, not to say leftist public, has started to look like the nightmare of supporters of peace and coexistence.
Last Saturday night thousands of Jewish and Arab leftists gathered in the football field of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, to protest against the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes and the entry of settlers in their place. The demonstration was the culmination of weekly protests that took place in the neighborhood over the past months, in constant conflict with the police. The intervention of the Supreme Court forced the police to allow the protest and gave it greater reverberation. What began with a limited number of students got bigger the more the preposterousness became known. Read more…
Future historians will be able to judge whether Israel at the end 0f 2009 was on the brink of an existential crisis or had already gone over the edge. Mainstream political actors find the second option inconceivable. The intellectually honest, however, are no longer willing to waffle, understanding that the status quo is untenable. Thus, a Likud hardliner, MK Tzipi Hotovely, endorses the one-state solution and, below, centrist author and academic Gadi Taub to assert that a showdown between the State of Israel and the fundamentalist settlers is inevitable.
The land or the state
Op-ed, Gadi Taub, Yediot, December 21 2009
Judging by the reports, it appears that the IDF is preparing to enforce the construction freeze in Judea and Samaria as if this were an attack on nuclear facilities in Iran. On the face of it, this would seem to be a serious exaggeration. The security establishment regards the inflammatory rhetoric of the settlers as if this were truly an enemy army numbering 300,000 people. But the rhetoric is far from the reality. The settlers will not try to subdue us by arms. They are used to having the state pamper them, and they believe that the “price tag” policy will deter us. Read more…
“Israeli law should be applied on the Judea and Samaria region,” Hotovely said during a conference in the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and stated she did not rule out granting citizenship to Palestinians.
The MK explained that “Judea and Samaria are a part of the land of Israel,” and blamed the Palestinians for the failure of the political process. “We strongly wish to get a divorce, but the other side doesn’t want to separate.”
Hotovely told Ynet later in the evening, “It’s unthinkable that Jews in Judea and Samaria would live under occupation and under a military regime. The distorted policy, which states that every construction permit must be approved by the defense minister harms the most basic rights.
“It’s time to lift the question mark over Judea and Samaria and view the people living there as citizens with an equal status. Thinking ahead, strategically, we should consider granting gradual citizenship to Palestinians based on loyalty tests.”
And with that, the usually unimpressive Hotovely became the first Likud member to face reality: you cannot settle the West Bank and talk about a solution to the Palestinian problem at the same time, unless you are ready to turn the Palestinians into equal citizens.
The “loyalty tests” part is indeed troubling, but let’s look on the bright side this time: if Netanyahu is talking about two states, and the radical right about a bi-national one, it seems that Israelis are finally realizing that the occupation can’t go on for much longer.
On November 18 I wrote about the State Department report criticizing religious freedom in Israel and the Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg’s amazement at the fact Israelis and Jewish-Americans had all but ignored it. I attached an op-ed by Naomi Chazan that ran in that day’s Yediot, which, for the first time in the mainstream Israeli media, addressed the report, slamming Israeli intolerance for Jewish religious pluralism.
On November 26, Common Ground News Service ran an article by Prof. Menachem Klein, a political scientist at Bar Ilan University, which approaches the issue from the perspective of Jewish-Muslim relations in the Israeli-Palestinian context.
Interestingly, Klein hints at the one state reality currently in place between the Mediterranean and the Jordan
No less important is the question of the return to the land. The Palestinian right of return is denied by Israel offhand. Yet, Israel upholds the principle of Jewish return to the Land of Israel. This is perceived in Israel as an exclusive right. The idea of Jewish return is what motivates the settlements in Hebron and galvanises Jewish groups to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
The wheels of history cannot be reversed, and religion can no longer be separated from the conflict over territorial sovereignty and return.
Full article after the jump.
- November 19 2009 – Jonathan Cook also comments on the ruling.
After Yediot’s legal affairs editor, Judge (ret.) Boaz Okon, dared use the “A” word last week, another mainstream Israeli jurist, Yuval Elbashan, follows suit. Elbashan is a well known name in the mainstream Israeli debate, usually identified with social justice issues. In a Maariv op-ed this morning (November 15, 2009) he praises a rare ruling by an Israeli judge who refused to convict a young Palestinian-Israel rock thrower Based on an argument of “selective law-enforcement” — the fact that Jewish teenagers who commited the same crimes were not convicted. He adds, however, that “until now, however, most of the judges chose to ignore the big picture and practically helped creating judicial apartheid between Jews and Arabs.”
Restoring professional honor
When Justice Shadmi stated that “sectarian discrimination” and “selective law-enforcement” is practiced here, he made the court feel like a hall of justice again. So far, most of the judges chose to ignore the big picture and practically helped creating judicial apartheid between Jews and Arabs.
Op-ed, Yuval Elbashan, Maariv, November 15 2009
Routinely, Israeli courts do not give us too many reasons to be proud of them. The overburdened courts — which often entail intolerable delays of justice, combined with the ill-treatment of the misrepresented poor, and the mediocrity that spread in the system — often leave visitors feeling they are sitting in a Turkish Bazaar, where only the fittest survive, and not in the great halls of justice. Very rarely does a miracle take place in a courtroom that leaves behind a feeling that justice was served, which makes anyone involved in the world of justice feel proud of their profession. This is what happened to me last week, when I read the bold sentence that was handed down by Justice Yuval Shadmi of the Nazareth District Court.
Justice Shadmi rejected the stand of the state, which asked that an Arab minor who threw rocks at a police car be sentenced to time in prison. The parties did not argue about the facts of the case. The minor pelted police vehicles with rocks, protesting the fact that the IDF launched Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. No one disputed the minor’s misdemeanor or the fact that it was perpetrated against an ideological background when he wished to stage a protest against what he called “the killing of children in Gaza.” The prosecution asked the court to issue a guilty sentence and send him to prison. His attorney argued that, in recent years, the Israeli law-enforcement authorities have been employing a “selective enforcement” policy, a discriminating policy that throws the book at Arab minors while showing Jewish minors excessive mercy even when they perpetrate the same crimes, attacking security personnel for ideological reasons.
The state shamelessly argued (as if the lawyers who represented it have never heard that equality before the law is one of the bedrocks of our legal system) that the broad picture should be ignored and that each case should be judged separately because judgment should be “individual” by nature.
Admitting that the state’s argument is tempting for judges because it offers an easy solution, Justice Shadmi stated: “The more I pondered over this, the more I realized that if I accepted that, I would be lying to myself.” He established then that indeed the State of Israel takes different kinds of action when addressing ideologically-based misdemeanors by juveniles. When the accused are Jews — for example, when dealing with national-religious youths who attacked police officers during the disengagement or when buildings in the settlement of Amona were demolished, or when minors of the ultra-Orthodox community attacked policemen during a demonstration against violations of the Sabbath, as they saw it — the cases against them were put on ice or otherwise closed. At the same time, when the accused is an Arab minor who did similar things based on similarly ideological motivations, stay of proceedings, frozen charge sheets, and pardons are tossed out the window and the prosecution shamelessly demands that the court throw the book at them.
Shadmi established that “We should no longer accept the perpetuation of such sectarian discrimination, where the various courts’ verdicts join together to form an ongoing chain of selective law-enforcement.” Therefore, he stated, “If the state believes that ‘ideological’ crimes justify lenient law-enforcement against minors, this should be the practice vis-à-vis all minors, regardless of their national or religious affiliation.”
This was not the first time that Arab defendants raised such claims. Until now, however, most of the judges chose to ignore the big picture and practically helped creating judicial apartheid between Jews and Arabs. The bold verdict of Justice Shadmi no longer allows them and other parties enjoy the privilege of turning a blind eye to such intolerable discrimination which, shamefully enough, was kept alive in institutions that should be the first to defend the persecuted, downtrodden, and suffering.
Friday’s Makor Rishon, a right-wing Israeli newspaper, ran a feature on the Israeli reaction to Palestinian threats of either demanding a democratic bi-national state in the whole of Mandatory Palestine or unilaterally declaring a Palestinian State in the 1967 borders. Minister of Information and Diaspora, Yuli Edelstein, of Netanyahu’s Likud party, was quoted as saying that he doesn’t see a bi-national state as a threat because it doesn’t necessarily imply full voting rights for the Palestinian population.
Excerpt from “And if the Palestinians declare a state”, Makor Rishon Political Supplement, November 13 2009 [page 8]
Yuli Edelstein thinks that the bi-national scenario will not pose a substantial problem for Israel. “It’s a threat that was always waved but there a thousand and one intermediate paths and examples from all over the world that stray from the principle of ‘one man – one vote.” There are all kinds of federations and confederations and other varied arrangements that can provide an answer to the right to vote.”
If this is the line of strategic thinking prevalent among the Israeli right-wing elite, it may help explain why the Jerusalem Post’s hardliner columnist, Caroline Glick, started advocating, also on Friday, the ‘integration of the West Bank’s Palestinian population into Israeli society.’
As Netanyahu knows, there is consensus support among Israelis for his plan to ensure that the country retains defensible borders in perpetuity. This involves establishing permanent Israeli control over the Jordan Valley and the large Jewish population blocs in Judea and Samaria. In light of the well-recognized failure of the two-state solution [horse feathers edited cause I just ate my dinner] … Israel should strike out on a new course and work toward the integration of Judea and Samaria, including its Palestinian population, into Israeli society. In the first instance, this will require the implementation of Israeli law in the Jordan Valley and the large settlement blocs.
- November 15, 2009: Mainstream Israeli jurist: Most Israeli judges helping to create ‘judicial apartheid’
It’s not really news when a well-known Israeli leftist, like poet Yitzhak Laor, calls the Israeli regime between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River “Apartheid”. Even (perhaps especially) if it’s in an Haaretz op-ed.
When a senior editor at Yediot, Israel’s largest circulation daily, dares inscribe the “A” word, it’s remarkable. This morning, Judge (retired) Boaz Okon, former director of the Israeli Court System and now the newspaper’s legal affairs editor, went one step further. In an op-ed, he charged that a recent ruling by the Israeli High Court of Justice, which ordered desegregation of a West Bank road based on utilitarian rather than principled arguments was the first step towards institutionalizing Apartheid in Israel:
The court thus ruled against this specific arrangement, but its ruling was still based on the assumption that segregation is allowed. The apartheid regime has already been implanted in our subconscious minds. All that is left to do now is to check whether it is proportionate…Segregation is charging at us from the territories, where apartheid already exists because there are two judiciary systems there. The court could have quelled that phenomenon by unequivocally ruling against separate roads. It did not, and thus created a situation whereby practical separation has turned into legal segregation.
Yediot’s English-language website hasn’t put up a translation and, based on past experience, it’s unlikely that it will later, so I had the entire op-ed translated. You can read it in full after the jump.