Israel-Palestine: 1-2-6-20

By Johan Galtung

Washington and Tel Aviv make a mistake: the conflict between Israel and Palestine is only a small part of a complex between USA-Israel on one side against more or less all Arab and Muslim states and against the clear majority of UN member states in the UN General Assembly vote recognizing Palestine as a non-member state. A serious approach to peace includes Israel-Palestine negotiations without USA as “broker”; USA-Israel with Israel’s five Arab border states and the states bordering on them; and negotiations in UN regional and UNGA, in a Uniting for Peace setting. Peace calls on all levels.

An image of a reasonable solution with secure-recognized borders:

[1] Palestine fully recognized according to international law, as a UN member state, and bilaterally by an ever increasing number.

[2] A two-state Israel-Palestine nucleus with 1967 borders and some swaps, two Israeli cantons in sacred areas on the West Bank and two Palestinian cantons in Northwest Israel, heavily Palestinian before Naqba, capitals in both Jerusalems; defensive defense for Palestine.

[6] A Middle East Community modeled on the European Community of 1958 with Israel and the five Arab border countries, open borders for goods and people; a council of ministers and a commission for issues like water, return, joint patrolling; rule by consensus.

[20] A Conference, becoming Organization, for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East of the six, the countries bordering on them, and some of the countries bordering on them again (including Turkey, Cyprus, Greece) modeled on the OSCE-Organization for Security and Cooperation for Europe of 1975.

No one-state solution. Jews have a right to democracy with Jewish characteristics, but not to a state only for Jews. No modern state is only for one nation; and states are absorbed into regions anyhow.

High acceptance might be possible, except for Israel-USA. Peace does not come by forcing Palestine into a two-state setting with Israeli military-political-economic control and US intervention in the other neighboring countries. Along this road there is no stable equilibrium, only endless strife; today with BDS-Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions; tomorrow? No true friend of Israel would argue this road; nor would they defend Israeli occupation, colonization and expansion, impeding a Palestinian state. But some might have ulterior motives like the old Anglican-Protestant tradition of fomenting an Armageddon for the Second Coming of Christ.

The road to something like 1-2-6-20 peace passes through change in colonialist Israel-USA, separately, and in their relation; the model being apartheid South Africa-USA. Maybe the relation first?

Israeli-Jewish power in the USA has added political-military to their economic-cultural power through alliance with US evangelicals, strong, but far from majoritarian. A minority of much less than 2% – US Jews are increasingly divided – trying to stamp out all criticism as anti-Semitic is unstable and will collapse.

One bad way it backfires is by leading to real anti-Semitism – being against Jews as Jews, regardless of what they think, say and do – which has already reached frightening levels on the internet. This may work two ways: Anti-Semites may get into power – may all gods forbid – or somebody else gets into power to forestall that. That somebody is not Obama – ”lame duck” is too lively to characterize his presidency – but could be Kerry when Israel/Palestine-Syria-Iran negotiations collapse, also due to Israeli sabotage. Or institutional, as a communique announcing that Israel has become a liability; and the USA de facto joins BDS.

No dramatic, highly visible, inner change is needed in the USA for this outer change to happen. In Israel there will probably have to be a regime change from Netanyahu-Liebermann type extremism to moderation; but that can be brought about by elections. “They are all against us” feeds the autistic siege mentality backed by Chosen People and Masada complexes; a reason that BDS should never exclude contact, also in Israel, with peace on the agenda.

Of course there are still moderates, anti-extremists, in Israel who could bring about a change, somewhere under the horizon. BDS does not have to bite economically for that to happen; in South Africa it was the moral message that had an impact. An alternative is needed. In South Africa it was one-person-one-vote, democracy; in Israel it is pre-June 1967 with webs of equitable cooperative relations, democracy. Something like 1-2-6-20.

Just as one way of coming to grips with the Syrian imbroglio is for good forces to join in the struggle against terrorism, state and non-state, good forces should also join in the struggle against the horrors of anti-Semitism, with prejudice and discrimination easily spilling over into hatred and violence. There is a method: disconfirm the stereotypes against Jews in general. The basic stereotype is that Jews, few but well organized, aspire to world dominion by economic means. Goldman-Sachs should be up front denouncing speculation in derivatives in favor of old-fashioned banking based on the difference between rates of interest for loans and deposits. They are not.

Why should they differ from the other 4-5 of that Wall Street magnitude, is that not anti-Semitism, singling out Jews? For the sake of coming to grips with real anti-Semitism. Like whites in the US south, they had extreme prejudices against blacks as such, syphilis in the blood, hating all whites, communists, ugly. Blacks knew it, systematically disconfirmed all this ugliness–and it worked.

Europe and shoa. Europeans, occupied by nazi-Germany but willingly did the unspeakable, the worst country in terms of percentage handed over and killed possibly being my own, Norway. To atone for this some Europeans now commit a crime against Palestinians by acquiescing to Israeli extremism. Two wrongs do not make one right; separate them, try to understand both of them, what happened and how shoa could have been avoided.

Learn from the fourth prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohammed. Instead of getting at the Chinese minority with its strong economic-cultural dominance, lift up the majority Malays through positive discrimination economically, and in education. It worked, as opposed to Indonesia. Demystify, Germans did what others also did; horrible, but remove the causes.

Clean up the past, handle the present better, for equity in the Middle East and an end to anti-Semitism in the (near) future.

This article was originally published here.

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