Wednesday, October 20, 2004

 

Tarazi strikes back

Michael Tarazi, who got a lot of attention from his op-ed appearing in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune that approached the idea of a single state for Israelis and Palestinians, is now responding to at least one of the attacks against him. Tarazi takes on Avraham Tal's October 14 Ha'aretz piece that accuses the PLO of lusting after the destruction of Israel and the establishment of a single Palestinian state from the river to the sea. Tarazi comes out swinging:
Avraham Tal's recent article - "The PLO still sees a single state," Haaretz, October 14 - effectively argues that any Palestinian support for a one-state solution is proof that the PLO's real intention is the destruction of the "Jewish" state. This is the logic of a man who kicks a beehive and uses the resulting stings as proof that the bees intended to attack him all along.
Despite the "generous offer" myth (please read some Rob Malley and Clay Swisher's The Truth About Camp David if you still think the Palestinians turned down a good deal at Camp David), Tarazi's analogy, I think, works here. The two-state solution is essentially a concession on the part of the Palestinians. In return for a state, the Palestinians must give up claims on land within the pre-1967 borders of Israel. The problem is that the Palestinians view it as a concession whereas the Israeli establishment views it as a neutral starting point, from which further concessions can be seen as reasonable. To the Palestinians, further demands and humiliations add insult to injury. Tarazi puts it well when he writes:
But Israelis are deluding themselves if they believe that a "one state, one reservation" solution can be repackaged and sold to the Palestinians as a "two state solution". Given the realities of Israel's Wall and incessant settlement expansion, Palestinians not only have the right but the obligation to reevaluate their options.
The truth of the matter is that Israel has the military capabilities to enforce a two state solution. There is no realistic threat that the Palestinians will "push the Jews into the sea." There will be no realization of a Palestinian state from the river to the sea. But the truth of the matter is also this: The Palestinians will not accept a "solution" that denies them dignity, a viable situation, a state to call home, or perpetuates the occupation and the subjugation of the Palestinian people to the military rule of Israel. Essentially, this is Tarazi's argument; and if it cannot be done by creating a separate viable Palestinian state, it can be done by creating a single state that respects the rights of all of its citizens.

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