Fragmentation and other concepts

While the recent brouhaha about the New Israel Fund and Im Tirtzu has highlighted some of the polarisation in Israeli society, it should be contrasted with the fragmentation of Palestinian society discussed by Meron Benvenisti in this recent article.

He states that “the Palestinian Authority ostensibly represents the Palestinian people but, actually, represents only the Palestinian splinter that lives in the West Bank and is struggling, through the “peace process”, to get better conditions for merely one quarter of the entire Palestinian nation. The residents of East Jerusalem want only to be left alone and not to be forced (”out of patriotism”) to forego the privileges they enjoy as Israeli residents; in the debate over detaching peripheral Arab neighborhoods, the residents of East Jerusalem support continued annexation to Israel. The Palestinian Israelis (”Israeli Arabs”) are fighting for recognition as a “national minority” and demand equal individual and collective rights within the Israeli polity. They do not tie their struggle to the struggle of their brethren who live on the other side of the separation fence/wall. The Palestinian Israelis are fighting for “Equality” and “Citizen Rights” whereas the Palestinians in the occupied territories are fighting for “Self Determination”. The Hamas activists in the Gaza Strip are not interested in the implications of their rhetoric on the interests of the entire Palestinian nation. And those in the Diaspora continue to carry around the keys to the homes they left in 1948 and to dream about “The Return.””

Meron Benvenisti, the former deputy Mayor of Jerusalem under Teddy Kollek, has also long written about the idea of a defacto bi-national state.

Although it’s important to have some skepticism about “explanations” of the complexities of what is going on in the Middle East, the concepts suggested in this article are worthwhile to read.

The article is published on the website of the American Task Force on Palestine.  A senior fellow for this organisation is Hussein Ibish whose articles are also worth reading.  He promotes a 2-state solution, with a secular Palestine alongside Israel.  In an interview, Ibish discussed the errors of one-staters, dismissed those promoting a boycott of Israel, and also had a useful perspective on J-Street here.

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