Monday, April 03, 2006

A thoughtful review essay: When Doves Cry

When Doves Cry: "The persistence of the 'illegalist' settler-colonial element in Israeli political culture--historically central to the ethos in Labor Zionism and adopted by messianic religious Zionism after 1967--has led some to conclude that a two-state solution will not provide a satisfactory resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. They contend that the thick network of infrastructure and settlements (some of them small cities) established by Israel in the West Bank during nearly four decades of occupation creates a 'matrix of control,' in the words of Israeli activist and anthropologist Jeff Halper, thereby making a contiguous and viable Palestinian state impossible. Even if a Palestinian state were established, Israel would dominate it economically and militarily, and the great majority of Israelis would continue to have the kind of patronizing attitude toward the Palestinians that Ben-Ami expresses. Nor would the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip insure equal rights for the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, now about 19 percent of the population, as long as Israel defines itself as the state of the Jewish people.
The critique of the two-state solution, which has been elegantly articulated by Tony Judt and Gary Sussman, as well as by the late Edward Said, founders on two realities. The first is that neither the one-state nor the two-state solution is on the horizon. The heated polemics on this question more than occasionally evoke the least attractive qualities of an academic seminar. The Israeli government's effort to impose a solution unilaterally has met with approval, as ever, in Washington, and the Palestinian national movement is, for its part, in disarray, with the near disintegration of the Palestinian Authority, the collapse of Fatah's hegemony and the recent el"

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