A Reply to Nick Kardahji

Mehachem Klein


he Geneva Agreement succeeded to demonstrate an Israeli-Palestinian final status agreement that is close to an optional “real game.” Therefore it evoked critical reviews form both sides. Interestingly, both Palestinian and Israeli critics of the Geneva Agreement use the same leading argument: the signers sold out everything for almost nothing in exchange, due to their weaknesses either as negotiators, or their poor national commitments [for a typical Israeli critic from a leftist and former member in the Israeli peace team see   Moti Cristal, “The Geneva Accords: A Step Forward in the Wrong Direction?” Strategic Assessment, Jaffe Centre for Strategic Studies, Tel Aviv University, Vol. 6 No.4 February 2004. A summary of the Palestinian debate can be found in “Palestinian Reactions to the 'Geneva Understandings'”,  MEMERI, Inquiry and Analysis No. 154, November 11, 2003.

Nick Kardahji’s critical review falls into the same category. Indeed his arguments are part and parcel form the domestic Palestinian debate over the 1988 and 1993 historical compromise of the Palestinian national movement, as he admits at the end of his reaction to my article. 

It may be bootlessly to debate with him on details, since his guiding principle is one state while the Geneva Agreement is based on the two state solutions based on the 1967 lines. One can not understand why Kardahji is blind to the dividing factors in Jerusalem between Israeli Jews and Palestinians [in religion, language, culture, history, social belonging, ethnicity, neighbourhoods, education and transportation systems, citizenship, political participation and representation, allocation of resources by the central authorities, communication and media, commercial centres and relation with the hinterland], until he or she reach the end of his article where Kardahji express his alternative. One state calls for having one capital and perceiving Jerusalem in a similar way to the Israeli rightist view: one un-dividable entity.

The principle of one state leads him also to ignore a main political foundation of all the peace processes between Israel and its Arab neighbouring countries—Security Council Resolution 242.  Based on the principle of land-for-peace, 242 enjoys an international consensus and provides international legitimacy to the demand for Palestinian self-determination.

Looking around in Israel and in occupied Palestine I can not see that the two states solution is on its deathbed as Kardahji argues. The will of Israelis and Palestinians to have each its respective ethnic nation state is stronger then ever. The brutal Intifada and anti-Intifada operations show this almost on a daily base.

The debate in Israel between the far left and the Geneva Agreement people is not on the national goal of a state with Jewish majority and domination, but whether the Israeli occupation over 1967 territories is reversible. I and the people who signed and support the Geneva agreement conclude that evacuating most of the settlements and ending the Israeli occupation over 1967 territories is not only reversible option but a must. The vast majority in Israel is unwilling to give up its self determination as a Jewish state. Continuing the occupation means turning Israel to use "Spartheid"--a combination of Greek Sparta security measures with South African Apartheid system. But unlike the later the Israeli discrimination will base on ethnic origins rather then skin color. There is no real option of turning Israel to a bi-national state that is either totally blind to ethnic origins of its citizens or divides its institutions in parity between Jews and Arabs. Given that, it is realistic to assume that in a “Spartheid” state the deprived Palestinian people will revolt for its self-determination over the part of its homeland where it enjoys demographic majority. In other words, we will return to square one with more bloodshed and sorrow. The supporters of Geneva Agreement hope to cut this short for the sake of the two people.