Continued from a previous forum
offered an idea of a two-state solution
discussed rights for Israeli Arabs and Palestinians within the territories
It excites me very much that this discussion is turning towards some substantive (and difficult!) issues. Several of us have recently raised the issue of granting Arab Israeli citizens full, equal rights with Jewish Israelis. It sounds like there is some disagreement on exactly what those rights entail even at this point in time.
A good friend of mine recently spent 6 months in Haifa working for an Arab Israeli rights organization, and then 6 months in Ramallah teaching English to children. She is very politically left, but she believes a 2-state solution with equal rights is utterly impossible for the following reasons:
The Israeli laws on the books right now that discriminate against Arabs are in place to maintain Israel as a "Jewish state" by controlling demographics. These include laws that refuse immigration rights to Arab spouses of Israeli citizens, and the central issue of the "law of return" (for non-Israeli Jews) versus the "right of return" which is not granted to Palestinians/Arabs outside Israel proper. If and when Jews and Arabs have equal rights within Israel, Palestinians will have the right to resettle (and, based on what I've heard from Palestinians, many will resettle) in "Israel proper". Without discriminatory laws that keep Arabs out of government positions, an Arab majority will be in place and Israel will cease to be an ethnically-defined "Jewish state"-- and so there will be no reason for 2 seperate states. This seems to be the inevitable outcome of your 2-state suggestion, Seth, in which Jews and Arabs are free to choose citizenship in either of two politcal territories.
This is not to say that I stand on either side of the above outcome. I'm curious about all of your thoughts on this perspective, especially those of you currently living in Israel and Palestine.
Israelis, would you be willing to live in a non-Jewish Israel in return for peace?
Palestinians, how would you feel about living among Jews with equal rights?
What about living among Jews in a Jewish state if you were given the right of return?
What about in a 2-state scenario--- how do you feel about the presence of Jewish settlers in a Palestinian state based on 1948 borders?
These are not meant to be leading questions... I am truly curious as to everyone's opinion on the above proposition, which certainly challenged my understanding of the conflict.