[Marxism] Uri Avneri on the single state solution

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jul 28 17:01:11 MDT 2010

Rosemary’s Baby

SINCE I witnessed the rise of the Nazis during my childhood in Germany, 
my nose always tickles when it smells something fascist, even when the 
odor is still faint.

When the debate about the “one-state solution” began, my nose tickled.

Have you gone mad, I told my nose, this time you are dead wrong. This is 
a plan of the Left. It is being put forward by leftists of undoubted 
credentials, the greatest idealists in Israel and abroad, even certified 

But my nose insisted. It continued to tickle.

Now it appears that the nose was right, after all.

THIS IS not the first time that a kosher leftist plan leads towards 
extreme rightist consequences.

That happened, for example, to the ugliest symbol of the occupation: the 
Separation Wall. It was invented by the Left.

When the “terrorist” attacks multiplied, leftist politicians, headed by 
Haim Ramon, offered a miracle-solution to the problem: an impassable 
obstacle between Israel and the occupied territories. They argued that 
it would stop the attacks without recourse to brutal actions in the West 

The Right opposed the idea vehemently. To them it was a conspiracy to 
fix the borders of the state and promote the two-state solution, which 
they saw (and still see) as an existential threat to their designs.

But suddenly the Right changed its tune. They realized that the wall 
offered a wonderful opportunity to annex large tracts of West Bank land 
and turn them over to the settlers. And that is what happened: the 
wall/fence was not put up along the Green Line, but cuts deep into the 
West Bank. It takes away large areas of land from the Palestinian villages.

Nowadays leftists are demonstrating every week against the wall, the 
right is sending soldiers to shoot at them, and the two-state solution 
has been set back.

NOW THE rightists have discovered the one-state solution. My nose is 

One of the first was Moshe Arens, former Minister of Defense. Arens is 
an extreme rightist, a fanatical Likud member. He started to talk about 
one state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, in which the 
Palestinians would be granted full rights, including citizenship and the 

I rubbed my eyes. Is this the same Arens? What has happened to him? But 
this apparent mystery has a simple solution.

Arens and his companions are faced with a mathematical problem that 
seems insoluble: turning the triangle into a circle.

Their aim has three sides: (a) a Jewish state, (b) the whole of Eretz 
Israel, and (c) democracy. How to combine these three sides into one 
harmonious circle?

Between the sea and the river there now live about 5.6 million Jews and 
3.9 million Palestinians – a proportion of 59% Jews to 41% Palestinians 
(including the inhabitants of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East 
Jerusalem and the Arab citizens of Israel.) This number does not 
include, of course, the millions of Palestinian refugees who are living 
outside the country.)

Several “experts” have tried to dispute these numbers, but respected 
statisticians, including Israelis, accept them with tiny changes here 
and there.

The proportion, alas, is rapidly changing in favor of the Palestinians. 
The Palestinian population is doubling every 18 years. Even taking into 
account the natural increase of the Jewish population in Israel and the 
potential immigration in the foreseeable future, one can predict with 
almost mathematical precision when the Palestinians will constitute the 
majority between the Jordan and the sea. It’s a matter of years rather 
than decades.

The inescapable conclusion: one can reconcile between any two of the 
three aspirations, but not all three at once: (a) a Jewish state in the 
entire country cannot be democratic, (b) a democratic state in the 
entire country cannot be Jewish, and (c) a Jewish and democratic state 
cannot include the entire Eretz Israel.

Simple. Logical. One does not have to be Moshe Arens, an engineer by 
profession, to see this. Therefore the Right is looking for another 
logic that would allow the creation of a Jewish and democratic state in 
the entire country.

LAST WEEK Haaretz published a stunning sensation: prominent 
personalities of the extreme Right – indeed, some of the most extreme – 
accept the solution of one-state from the sea to the river. They speak 
about a state in which the Palestinians will be full citizens.

The rightists quoted in Noam Sheizaf’s article do not hide their reasons 
for adopting this line: they want to obstruct the setting up of a 
Palestinian state alongside Israel, which would mean the end of the 
settlement enterprise and the evacuation of scores of settlements and 
outposts throughout the West Bank. They also want to put an end to the 
growing international pressure for the two-state solution.

Among some leftists in the world, who advocate the one-state solution, 
the news was greeted with great joy. They pour scorn on the Israeli 
peace camp (leftists enjoy nothing more than deriding other leftists) 
and heap praise on the Israeli Right. What magnanimity! What readiness 
to break out of the box and adopt their opponents’ ideals! Only the 
Right will make peace!

But if these good people would read the texts, they would discover that 
it ain’t necessarily so. To be precise, it’s the very opposite.

ALL OF the six rightists quoted in the article are united on a number of 
points which deserve consideration.

First: all of them exclude the Gaza Strip from the proposed solution. 
Gaza will no longer be a part of the country. Thus, the number of 
Palestinians will be reduced by 1.5 million, improving the menacing 
demographic balance. (True, in the Oslo agreement, Israel recognized the 
West Bank and the Gaza Strip as one integral territory, but the 
rightists consider the Oslo agreement anyhow as the tainted product of 
leftist traitors.)

Second: the one state will, of course, be a Jewish state.

Third: the annexation of the West Bank will take place at once, so that 
the building of settlements can go on undisturbed. In a Greater Israel, 
the settlement enterprise cannot be limited.

Fourth: There is no way to grant citizenship to all Palestinian forthwith.

The author of the article summarizes their positions thus: “a process 
that will take from about a decade to a generation, and at its 
conclusion the Palestinians will enjoy full personal rights, but the 
state will remain, in its symbols and spirit, Jewish…This is not a 
vision of ‘a state belonging to all its citizens’ and not ‘Isratine’ 
with a flag combining the crescent and the Star of David. The one state 
still means Jewish sovereignty.”

IT IS worthwhile to listen well to the explanations provided by the 
initiators themselves (emphasis added by me):

Uri Elitsur, former director general of the Judea and Samaria Council 
(the leadership of the settlers, known as “Yesha”): “I speak of a Jewish 
state which is the state of the Jewish people, and in which there will 
exist an Arab minority.”

Hanan Porat, a founder of Gush Emunim (the religious settlers’ 
leadership, and the man who called upon the Jews to rejoice after the 
Baruch Goldstein massacre in Hebron): “I am against the automatic 
citizenship proposed by Uri Elitsur, which is naïve and could lead to 
grievous consequences. I propose the application of Israeli law to the 
territories in stages, first in the areas in which there is (already) a 
Jewish majority, and within a time-span of a decade to a generation in 
all the territories.”

Porat proposes dividing the Palestinians into three categories: (a) 
Those who want an Arab state and are ready to realize this by terrorism 
and struggle against the state – they have no place in Eretz Israel. 
Meaning: they will be expelled. (b) Those resigned to their place and to 
Jewish sovereignty, but not ready to take part in the state and fulfill 
all their obligations towards it – they will have full human rights, but 
no political representation in the institutions of the state. (c) Those 
who declare that they will be loyal to the state and swear allegiance to 
it – they will be granted full citizenship. (They will, of course, be a 
small minority.)

Tzipi Hutubeli, a Member of Parliament on the extreme fringe of Likud: 
“On the political horizon there must be citizenship for the Palestinians 
in Judea and Samaria…That will happen gradually …This process must take 
place over a long time, perhaps even a generation, in the course of 
which the situation on the ground will be stabilized and the symbols of 
the Jewish state and its character will be anchored in law…The question 
mark hovering over Judea and Samaria will be removed…First comes my deep 
belief in our right over Eretz Israel. Shiloh and Bet-El (in the West 
Bank) are for me the land of our ancestors in the full meaning of the 
term…At this moment we speak about conferring citizenship in Judea and 
Samaria, not in Gaza. Let it be clear: I do not recognize political 
rights of Palestinians over Eretz Israel…Between the sea and the Jordan 
there is room for one state, a Jewish state.”

Moshe Arens: “The integration of the Arab population (inside Israel) 
into Israeli society is a prior condition, and only afterwards can one 
speak about citizenship for Palestinians in the territories.” Meaning: 
Arens proposes focusing on the integration of the Arab citizens of 
Israel – something that has not happened in the last 62 years – and only 
afterwards thinking about the question of citizenship for the West Bank 

Emily Amrussi, a settler who organizes meetings between the settlers and 
the Palestinians of the neighboring villages: “Don’t describe me as one 
pushing for the ‘one state’. In the end we may arrive there, but we are 
still very far from there. Let’s talk first about one country…We don’t 
talk about citizenship, but in terms like relations between neighbors… 
First let them become my good neighbors, and then we shall give them 
rights…In the far future, it will be necessary to move towards 
citizenship for everybody.”

Reuven Rivlin, Speaker of the Knesset: “The country cannot be divided…I 
oppose the idea of a state belonging to all its citizens or a 
bi-national state and am thinking about arrangements of joint 
sovereignty in Judea and Samaria under the Jewish state, even a regime 
of two parliaments, Jewish and Arab…Judea and Samaria will be a 
co-dominion, held jointly…But these are things that take time…Stop 
waving demography in my face.”

THE REGIME described here is not an apartheid state, but something much 
worse: a Jewish state in which the Jewish majority will decide if at 
all, and when, to confer citizenship on some of the Arabs. The words 
that come up again and again - “perhaps within a generation” - are by 
nature very imprecise, and not by accident.

But most important: there is a thunderous silence about the mother of 
all questions: what will happen when the Palestinians become the 
majority in the One State? That is not a question of “if”, but of 
“when”: there is not the slightest doubt that this will happen, not 
“within a generation”, but long before.

This thunderous silence speaks for itself. People who do not know Israel 
may believe that the rightists are ready to accept such a situation. 
Only a very naive person can expect a repetition of what happened in 
South Africa, when the whites (a small minority) handed power over to 
the blacks (the large majority) without bloodshed.

We said above that it is impossible to “turn the triangle into a 
circle”. But the truth is that there is one way: ethnic cleansing. The 
Jewish state can fill all the space between the sea and the Jordan and 
still be democratic – if there are no Palestinians there.

Ethnic cleansing can be carried out dramatically (as in this country in 
1948 and in Kosovo in 1998) or in a quiet and systematic way, by dozens 
of sophisticated methods, as is happening now in East Jerusalem. But 
there cannot be the slightest doubt that this is the final stage of the 
one-state vision of the rightists. The first stage will be an effort to 
fill the entire country with settlements, and to demolish any chance of 
implementing the two-state solution, which is the only realistic basis 
for peace.

In Roman Polanski’s movie “Rosemary’s Baby”, a nice young woman gives 
birth to a nice baby, which turns out to be the son of Satan. The 
attractive leftist vision of the one-state solution may grow up into a 
rightist monster.

More information about the Marxism mailing list