Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Two states for two languages

Arabic state, Hebrew state -
Discard the false visions of a binational state:

M. Abbas with B. Netanyahu (photo: AP)
The time has come to speak to the point. Both the Jews and the Arabs aren’t going anywhere. And in the absence of partition, the conflict will not be solved.

Salman Masalha ||
Two states for two languages


The time has come to speak to the point. The Jews and the Arabs aren’t going anywhere. You don’t have to be a genius to realize that the present situation is intolerable both morally and politically. Anyone who claims that the conflict in Israel is a national one must have enough honesty and intellectual courage to present his own vision of a national solution.

There are some people, both on the hallucinatory right and the equally hallucinatory left, who are thinking about not dividing the country. But in the absence of partition the conflict will not be solved. We won’t reach a situation of “one person, one vote,” but rather a continuation of the occupation and splashing around in the mud puddles of the Jewish and Muslim religions. So we have to put aside the false visions of life in a binational state. Since the absolute majority in each of the Jewish and Palestinian communities wants to live a national life in its country, there is no avoiding a division of the land into two nation-states, with all that entails.

An end to the conflict requires good will among both nations. Such good will demands that both sides internalize, fully recognize and agree on the basic principle: Both nations have a strong connection to this land. Clearly anyone who rejects this fundamental principle is not seeking a genuine solution to the conflict.

It must be emphasized that dividing the land is a diplomatic division into two nation-states: A Hebrew-Israeli one and an Arabic-Palestinian one. The division will be based on the Green Line, not because of any sanctity attached to it, but because it’s the line that enjoys broad international backing. In addition, in order to ensure that the agreement between the two nations will in fact end the conflict, the principle of separation of religion and state must be anchored in a Basic Law in the parliaments of both countries. Such a law is designed to bypass the complications related to the religious, ethnic and national definitions of the citizens of the two countries.

When the State of Israel itself is unable to define who and what is a Jew, it cannot make demands to be recognized as a Jewish state. Even more so when one fifth of its citizens are Arabs living in their country and their homeland. Therefore, if there is insistence on recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state,” it is equally important to insist on it being a “Jewish state and the country and homeland of the Arabs who are citizens of the state.”

It’s clear that the “linguistic majority” in every country is what determines its cultural identity. At the same time, it wouldn’t hurt the majority to learn and know the language of the minority, the language of the next-door neighbor. That’s why in both states the language of the neighboring state should receive official status. Determining the status of the neighbors’ language is required for the education of the coming generations. Because the citizens of both countries are like tenants in a shared house. They are tenants of a shared homeland.

Like any properly administered country, and in accordance with the rules of international law, it should be emphasized that the nationality in both states is no more than a diplomatic-civic nationality. A Jew who chooses to remain under Palestinian sovereignty will be considered a Palestinian for all intents and purposes, like any other Palestinian citizen. The same is true of all citizens under Israel sovereignty. The suggested separation between civic nationality and religious-ethnic nationality is designed to bypass a prohibitively tall obstacle – the demand to define the states based on the ethnic-religious majority of its citizens.

A state, as such, has no religion. The citizens of the state can believe in one religion or another, or not believe in any religion at all. In the final analysis, it is the dominant language that determines the identity of the place. Therefore, what will bring an end to the conflict once and for all is the recognition of Palestine as an Arabic – not a Muslim – state, and of Israel as a Hebrew – not a Jewish – state, and a redeemer shall come to Israel and Ishmael.

Published: Opinions-Haaretz, Mar. 19, 2014

***
For Hebrew, press here



Share:


Facebook comments:
Middle East
  • The Arab world's quagmire

    Only a society that can engage in introspection and self-examination can emerge from its dark past and march confidently to a different future. Otherwise, it will continue to sink into the same marshy swamp.

    Read more

    A Feeble Middle East

    The West learned on its own flesh that this region conducts itself by other codes. Iran has continued to entrench its standing by means of its religious ideology. The toppling of Saddam Hussein shattered the illusion of the existence of a unifying “Iraqi identity” and gave an encouraging shot in the arm to Iran, which is forging ahead.

    Read more

  • The decay in the Arab world

    With great sadness, it can be said that in the absence of a sane civil alternative, the Arab world will continue along this path.

    Read more


    Neither Arab nor Spring

    The vicissitudes that have, for some reason, been collectively dubbed the "Arab Spring" are neither Arab nor Spring. One can say that they are actually living proof of the identity crisis and reverberating bankruptcy of Arab nationalism.

    Read more

  • another title

Israel - Palestine
  • Our troubles come from us

    And so we have reached a situation in which every Arab is concerned with his own problems and everyone talks about what preoccupies him personally – that is, his own troubles.

    Read more


  • Never-ending tragedy

    The Israeli right, in all its forms, wants exclusively Jewish control over all of the Land of Israel. To the Palestinians who live in this space, it promises residency – temporary, of course, on condition that they keep their heads down, accept their designated status and behave accordingly.

    Read more
  • Solomon’s Mosque

    Religion, every religion, is the No. 1 enemy of nationalism. But under conditions of tension, such as tribal warfare, these polar opposites combine into a toxic soup that consumes all common sense.

    Read more


Racism
  • They see not, nor know

    The term "neutralize" is very popular with people who have served in the security and expulsion forces. The question to be asked is, What did the poet who spoke of "neutralization" mean in this plan?

    Read more

    For Jews only

    From the moment the pundits followed in the footsteps of the politicians, both large and small, they carried this noxious melody everywhere. They were part of legitimizing the illegitimate in Israeli politics.

    Read more

  • With yearning soul

    The Zionism that aspired to establish a "Jewish home" in the Jews' "ancient homeland" did not take into consideration the fact that the land was not empty. It thus adopted the principle of population transfer, based on the same ancient biblical tradition.

    Read more

    Rabbis of the Dry Bones

    Racism surfaces when a society loses its self-confidence and turns to seeking ways to defend itself against what is different and perceived as increasingly threatening.

    Read more

  • الحلم

    حلمتُ:
    أنّي في سجن جدران بيضاء
    حيث لا يعرفني أحدٌ، وأصواتٌ
    تختفي في الرّدهات، وأضواء تستنشقُ
    جمجمتي اللّاهثة.
    ...
    تتمة الكلام


Press photo to Email

Classic

***
Jazz




Site Archive

Selected Topics

 
Essays
  • The pit and the pendulum

    In those days, we did not drink four goblets of wine, because everything that gladdens the human heart is not a part of our custom.

    Read more

  • Welcome Back to History

    Islam, like other imperialist ideologies, still needs enemies to flourish. Enemies have served Islam in the past as fuel for its wagons. Without enemies Islam declines and stagnates...

    Read more

  • another title

Poetry
  • Balkrishna Sama

    Man Is God


    He who loves flowers, has a tender heart.
    he who cannot pluck their blooms,
    has a heart that's noble.

    Read more

  • Martin Niemöller

    First They Came

    First they came for the Communists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the Socialist
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist.


    Read More

  • Salman Masalha

    The Song About the Child

    Boston Gospel Choir

    Text: Salman Masalha
    Composer: Stephen Feigenbaum


    listen

TOPICS