For One Democratic State
in the whole of Palestine (Israel)


FOR One Man, One Vote



One State is not an apocalyptic vision of the Last Days. It is a perfectly doable and mutually profitable development. The Jewish nationalist One-Staters should be encouraged by our side.


The Right Move

By Israel Shamir


- “No, you must finish both the meat and the vegetables; don’t pick the cheese off your sandwich and do not leave bread on the plate” - so we tell to a choosy kid who tries to take his pick and shortcut his way to dessert. Picking and choosing is a troublesome habit at the family table.

This applies to the Israeli settlers and Jewish nationalists as well. At last, at long last, they have begun to recognise the advantages of One State between the Sea and the River, instead of having a Jewish Ghetto and Arab Bantustans. So we have been told by Haaretz writer Noam Sheizaf in a piece with the telling title Endgame. Among new adepts of the One State, one finds the Knesset Speaker Rubi (Reuven) Rivlin, who said, "It's preferable for the Palestinians to become citizens of the state rather than for us to divide the country." and ex-Defence Minister Moshe Arens who is ready to grant Israeli citizenship to the Palestinians in the West Bank. These are heavy guns of Israeli politics, and they are apparently supported by other Likud members like MK Tzipi Hotovely, leading settlers like Uri Elitzur, Rabbis like Rabbi Froman of Tekoa, and to an extent even by the icon of settlers, Hanan Porat.

They speak of granting the two and a half million Palestinians of the West Bank full rights and Israeli citizenship. This is a step in right direction, which should be approved of. This is certainly not enough, but as a first step it would do. However, some of these Jews want to pick and choose. Adi Mintz, a former director general of the Yesha Council, would like Israel to annex 60 percent of Judea and Samaria, whose 300,000 Palestinian inhabitants would be granted Israeli citizenship. This is too little too late. Such a harebrained scheme has no chance of being acceptable to the Palestinians, or to decent people anywhere.

“If you want the land, take it with the people”. This was the answer of Glubb Pasha in 1948. This commander of the Arab Legion was forced to surrender the Valley of Ara to the Jews; the Jews wanted – then as now – to have the land without people. He refused. Eventually the Jews relented, and the people of the Wadi Ara remained in their homes, received Israeli citizenship and prospered. This should be the model – but not “pick and choose”. Otherwise the remainder of Palestine will have a lot of people locked up in tiny enclaves.

All of Palestine and all of the Palestinians living there – this is a doable minimum for the first stage. This is much less than what the Palestinians want, for they reasonably want to see the refugees coming back home from Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. The Palestinians also want to regain property lost under racist laws, notably the Absentee Property Law. However, these demands could be more profitably discussed when there are four to five million Palestinian voters in Israel.

Even the most enlightened and accommodating Jewish nationalists do not want to take Gaza, for it has very little land and a lot of Palestinians. This would preclude a true solution, but probably even the absorption of all the West Bank with the full enfranchising of all of its present inhabitants is acceptable as a first step in the right direction. At the same time Gaza’s re-integration could begin and last, say, a year or two; at the end of this period Gaza would be fully integrated and its inhabitants fully enfranchised as well.

Is it possible at all, or do we encounter here yet another example of “Zionist spin that is planted in our discourse in order to disseminate confusion” as our friend Gilad Atzmon has put it? Proceed with caution, I advise. One State is good for Palestinians, and their majority prefers it to “independence” under Mahmud Abbas or even Ismail Hanie. However, One State is good for Jews, not only for Palestinians. It is good for Israeli business. It is good for half-a-million of Jewish settlers who would be able to remain in their homes. It is good for Oriental Jews who would be re-integrated into their native Arabic milieu. It is good for Russians who are anyway considered ‘second-rate Jews’. It is good for honest Jews, for they will find peace of mind. Their persecution mania will hopefully go away. In short, Jews would not regret the change overmuch, just as white South Africans do not miss the days of apartheid. Peace with neighbours will allow full integration in the region, and integration usually is good for Jews.

One State is not an apocalyptic vision of the Last Days. It is a perfectly doable and mutually profitable development. Why it did not occur until now, is a question of psychology rather than realpolitik. Traditionally Jews have been against intermarriage since the days of Ezra, who expelled all mixed-marriage couples from the nascent Jewish state. With the decrease of Jewish religiosity, nationalist Jews have inherited this trait. Jewish nationalism was informed in the 19th c.; the nationalist (or “proud”) Jews share Hitler’s hate of miscegenation and fear of diluting their ‘pure race’. They correctly believe that peaceful coexistence will bring forth intermarriage, thereby diluting precious Jewish blood, or race, or DNA or whatever you call it. Indeed, in the US, Russia and Europe, intermarriage is more than 50%. If war is the only way to prevent intermarriage, let it be war, they conclude. War is good, for “it keeps the Israeli society from falling apart”, said  Israeli historian Ilan Pappe.

This National-Socialist, warlike Judaism is outdated, and is being undermined by Americanisation of Israel on one side of the green line and by the influence of the land on the other side of it. The settlers, a rough lot, live close to the most charming and delightful places in Palestine. It is not surprising that for some of them the land has become more important than blood. Not only the blood to be shed, but also the blood to be mixed. Actually, the owner of Ha'aretz newspaper, Amos Shocken, wrote in favour of the full integration and the mutual assimilation of Jews and Palestinians. Shlomo Sand’s pioneering book Invention of the Jewish People, which debunks the concept of a pure and ancient Jewish race, had astonishing success among Israeli Jews, who apparently are ready for this message.

A foreign reader might be surprised by the Jewish Nationalists’ support of this idea so rigidly rejected by the Israeli Zionist Left. However, for us Israelis, it is not surprising in the light of organisational and moral collapse of the Zionist Left in recent years. After all, the Zionist Left gave us the Nakba under Ben Gurion and a lot of settlements under Rabin and Barak. The Zionist Left also invented the Wall and the apartheid slogan “we are here, they are there”.

Ali Abunimah correctly reminded us that “in South Africa, it was not the traditional white liberal critics of apartheid who oversaw the system's dismantling, but the National Party which had built apartheid in the first place.” Indeed, liberalism leads nowhere, ditto the wishy-washy leftie attitude. Settlers may contain some very unpalatable elements, but they are hardly worse than average Israeli. Many of them are perfectly human. Their Palestinian neighbours are aware of that. Indeed Raja Shehadeh concludes his wonderful Palestinian Walks by a charming encounter with a young settler who came down to a stream to have his smoke. Shehadeh and the settler pass the joint back and forth, as if it were a calumet of peace.

Gilad Atzmon and Ali Abunima both state that Jewish nationalists are committed to preserving a “Jewish democratic state” as opposed to a “state for all citizens”. True enough. A Jewish democratic state means that it is democratic for Jews and Jewish for everybody else. However, Lincoln and his contemporaries who enfranchised the slaves did not expect that a black man would become the US President one day – yet it happened due to the dynamics they unleashed. Likewise in our case, let millions of Palestinians get on the voter roll, and then these small problems will be taken care of.   

The Jewish nationalist One-Staters should be encouraged by our side. Perhaps this is the right time to do a One State Conference like we did few years ago in Lausanne, but this time with settlers and Hamas, and with everybody else who wants to live in One Palestine, Complete, to use the words of Tom Segev.




From Uri Avnery:


Not so fast Mr. Shamir. There are traps involved.


Shamir responds to Avnery’s arguments:

Before reading explanations and reasoning, look for the bottom line. I have no patience for explanations why the Jewish state is necessary and why Jews are so wonderfully different, why killing an Arab is of no consequence but killing a Jew is ‘genocide’, or why Iran should be bombed. A Zionist is expected to uphold the concept of a Jewish state, and his explanations are of no interest to me.

Uri Avnery is a nice man, indefatigable writer and activist at his late 80s. I respect him and always greet him when I meet him at a Tel Aviv demo or in a Palestinian village visit. But he is a certified Zionist. He sued (AND WON) the guy who wrote that he is not. He is also a certified anti-Communist and admirer of the capitalist system, so his self-description is “being of the Left” is rather a misnomer. He – albeit as a very young man – participated at atrocities of Nakba, at his own account. For him, what Israel got in 1948 is holy and sacred. There is no chance of dew in hell that he’d support One State.

He says that a Jewish state can’t be anything but a supremacist Jewish state; so there is no reason to let poor Palestinians to have Israeli citizenship for they will suffer. It is just a usual Jewish sophistic one should be used to by now.

Lenin, dismissing Uri Avnerys of his time, said of such arguments: “This argument belongs entirely to the realm of obvious fallacies; it is as like as two peas to those arguments which mathematicians call mathematical sophistries, and which prove— quite logically, at first glance—that twice two are five, that the part is greater than the whole, and so on. There are collections of such mathematical sophistries, and they are of some value to school children. But it is even embarrassing to have to explain to people who claim to be the sole representatives of the Jewish proletariat so elementary a sophistry”.

If Israel will have four million native Palestinians enfranchised, the Jews may call it “a Jewish state” or change its name into “A Jewish State of Israel” like “Islamic Republic of Iran”. The meaning would be very different from what it is now.

Within Russian Federation, there is a region officially called the Jewish Autonomous Republic of Birobidzhan. Despite the name, despite its synagogues, Jewish schools and statues of Jewish writers, the Jews there are a minority, but happy and prosperous minority. Within a bigger framework, the Jewish State of Israel will become another Birobidzhan, threatening nobody and discriminating nobody. So the name and the title of “Jewish state” has much less meaning than what is implied by Avnery.

Consider Lebanon, which was created in mid-19th century is a Maronite state. Later, the Maronites extended the borders of Lebanon and lost their majority by grasping Shiite and Druze lands. Very soon their superiority withered away. The same thing will happen to Jews in a big “Jewish state” without Jewish majority.

So I wouldn’t be scared by Avnery’s objections. He does not want the Jewish state to disappear, but we do not mind it to be replaced by a state for all citizens. This is the bottom line.


Salah Sanjak responds:


One state solution is an inevitable solution if we want it to be  If white South Africa were able to abandon Apartheid, it should be much easier for the Jews to give up Zionism.  Yes, we can live in one Middle East the same as we lived for millennia if the Western War Machine and Multi National Capitalist Corporation butt out of the world monopoly. 

Life is too short to be able to punish the guilty.  Most of the founders of Israel are gone, and at we left with is the outcome of their action and their mind set.  Ideology, religion, moral code, laws, etc. mislead people and drive them to commit all sorts of crimes.

One way to look at these crimes is as a manifestation of a disease.  To focus on eliminate the disease and its source is much more affective than concentrating on punishing criminals.  I am not underestimating the important of punishment as deterring factor and as battles to win against the criminals establishments,  but I won’t allow revenge to take over me because I rather be a free of this disease.

Cultural~Social~Economical~Political Revolution is the lab where we can isolate and remove human social illnesses.  Unfortunately, nowadays, revolution is a strange concept and it doesn’t have a beautiful face in people’s mind.  Maybe because it brings out the images of the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China .  Alternatively, we need to win the Cultural~Social~Economical~Political debate, propose a practical short term solutions and visionary long term goals, and prepare to bring down governments and institutioins that host the backwardness of humanity.  Who’s is who is not one entity to decide, instead it’s something we need to arrive at, scientifically.     

Salah Sanjak



Dr. Medina writes:


I agree, though I think that Gaza is indigestible in a 1-2 year time frame.  Maybe never.  But there is always Egypt.


Shamir replies: You say that because you do not remember Israel before 1992: Gaza was as integrated then as the West Bank now.



From Beduin, Singapore


Here is what I think is a suitable response to this one state matter.


(a) It would attempt to make true, this Zionist lie, "Palestine is a land without a people and the Jews are a people without a land". Both parts of the statement are lies, which we collectively cowardly allow.


Second (b) It would legitimise the theft of the land, and all the unspeakable things that are associated with it which were forced on a hapless group of people set up on by the world with indescribable cowardice.


Further (c) It is the final Ploy to get the whole land and the people as underlings and servants to their masters...


More (d) Happily, Palestinians will never accept One State and there will always be war and no one, me you and the cowardly world will never rest easy, or sleep sound, because of this ignominy which stinks to high hell...


You see Shamir...

I am led by the principle that if it is not yours leave it alone...and if you took it and it was not given to you, then give it back, before it is asked of you....

I think you and the one state people are using another principle | I however do not know of it.

Of course that is OK, I cannot know everything and do not....


One State is not acceptable, because it is wrong, no matter how un-economic it may be for the occupiers....

What a bunch of cowards we are.



Shamir replied: well, this position leads nowhere. Meanwhile, Israel can’t be defeated by force of arms. So the choice is rather limited. 


From Eric Walberg

one caveat:

>It is good for half-a-million of Jewish settlers who would be able to remain in their homes.

that's ok?


Shamir replied: Yes. Uprooting of so many people can’t be achieved without massive bloodshed and huge destruction of the land. Eventually some legal owners may be compensated for the loss of land, and the settlements will not be “for Jews only”, but will become villages like every other village in the country. The whole idea of One State is like that: no great reverts, just usher equality; enfranchise Palestinians, do not disenfranchise Jews. I am not aware of a country ready to fight Israel anyway; so this is the best one can get, in my view. And it is fair enough. Read the response of Salah Sanjak above for the Palestinian sentiment.


From Jamie T


Eric makes a good point. The settlers have all their prime real estate. One would be allowing Chomsky's facts on the ground to stand.
I guess that's the sacrifice for citizenship and no wall. (I mean I'm assuming the wall would have to go.)
But wasn't South Africa different in that its whites were not new arrivals, newly deployed into the indigenes remaining land like the Brooklynese.
But perhaps if they legalize marijuana in the West Bank, it'll work out after all.
Jamie T

Hoboken, NJ

Shamir replied: while fully sharing your hope that the weed will be legalized, I am not sure I agree with recentness of arrivals. Though there were Boers who lived in the US since hundreds of years, all other communities, Anglos, Indians, Jews were relatively recent arrivals (from turn-de-sičcle or even after the war).