Tuesday, October 18, 2005

There's Something Happening Here
And You Don't Know What It Is
Do You, Mr. Sparks?

Supernatural Blogs lets loose on one Mr. Sparks, who wrote an article claiming the only possible solution to the Middle-East Conflict is a One-State Solution:

The basis of Mr Spark’s article is that the Jewish communities that have been established in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) over the last 30 years have made the prospect of a contiguous Palestinian state impossible and thus the 2 state solution is by Israel’s hand dead.

The only other alternative he concludes would be a secular democratic state with an almost equal Jewish and Arab majority between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea. This is truly a ridiculous argument for the following reasons:

• Firstly, as Steve has so eloquently pointed out, Israel is committed to removing settlements as part of a final status agreement to end the conflict. Their removable nature makes them no threat to Palestinian contiguity.

• Secondly, in a final status agreement those settlements and their Jewish inhabitants could become equal citizens of a democratic Palestinian State. It seems almost supernatural to me that the whole world supports the idea of ethnically cleansing the biblical heartland of Israel (Judea and Samaria) of its Jewish inhabitants. Over a million Arabs are equal citizens of Israel, why could it not be the same for Jews in a future Palestine? It is most inconsistent of Mr Sparks to believe that Jews should be a minority in a Palestinian state from the Jordan to the Med but not in a Palestinian state east of the Green Line.

• Thirdly, Mr Sparks’ article shows a real lack of understanding of the issues in the Israeli-Arab conflict. It is a struggle between two peoples to establish a national homeland on the same piece of real estate. In all polls done on the subject the majority of Israelis and Palestinians want to live in their own states. The idea that after a century of a dead struggle to live apart they will now accept to live together is beyond naive. The South African conflict from which Mr Sparks obviously draws his ideas does not serve as a suitable comparison for the Middle East conflict. One need only compare the ANC’s freedom charter to that of the PLO. While the freedom charter calls for an inclusive multiracial democracy, the PLO charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the establishment of exclusively Arab state. (Granted the Palestinians under Arafat made undertakings to change the charter, the changes have still not been made.)

• Fourthly, Mr Sparks fails to realise that his one state solution is in fact in violation of international law. Security Council resolution 242 and 338 require Israel to return some the territory it captured in the 6 day War in a negotiated settlement. It would thus be illegal for Israel to annex the West bank and declare a secular democratic state between the Jordan and the Med.

• Fifthly, bi-nationalism is not a novel concept in the Middle East. It was tried in Lebanon. The result was not peaceful co-existence but civil war. So even empirical evidence proves Mr Spark’s idea is a mistake.

The truth is Mr sparks takes an ideological position against the notion of an ethno-religious state. While I do not support this position it is certainly a legitimate one. What is not legitimate about Mr Sparks’ article is that he levels his rejection of ethno-religious states only against Israel. Why does he not pick on the 22 ethno-Arab states? What about the Islamic republic of Iran? I cannot recall him objecting to the international sanctioned break up of the former Yugoslavia into Ethno-Religious enclaves. And I certainly do not see him calling for the reunification of the recently divided Czech Republic and Slovakia. This selective criticism of Jewish nationalism alone is what opens Mr Sparks to the claim of Anti-Semitism.

Perhaps it is his affinity for the Palestinian people that fuels his biased criticism against only Jewish nationalism. If this is the case I would then advise him to focus his attention on the political structure of another Middle Eastern country -- the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan. Jordan was originally part of British mandate Palestine. It was illegally separated in contravention of the League of Nations mandate and the British governments' own Balfour Declaration and given to the Hashemite dynasty of Arabia. Today although it has a Palestinian population in excess of 60%, the minority Hashemites dominate. So if Mr Sparks really cared about the Palestinian people surely he would call for a more representative governing system in Jordan? But alas it is only Israel that is called on to commit national suicide.