March 2008

If Michael Neumann’s critics, myself included, have misrepresented his argument, as he suggests, it may be partly because he has been less than helpful in representing it to us. What is clear is that he intensely dislikes any advocacy of the one-state solution, characterising it at best as time-wasting and at worst as dangerous. In fact, it is the very vehemence of his denunciations of the proponents of a single state, published now in two separate articles, that prompted my rejoinder.

If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the world’s most intractable, much the same can be said of the parallel debate about whether it s resolution can best be achieved by a single state embracing the two peoples living there or by a division of the land into two separate states, one for Jews and the other for Palestinans. The philosopher Michael Neumann has dedicated two articles, in 2007 and earlier this week, for CounterPunch discrediting the one-state idea as impractical and therefore as worthless of consideration.

Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai’s much publicized remark last week about Gaza facing a “shoah” — the Hebrew word for the Holocaust — was widely assumed to be unpleasant hyperbole about the army’s plans for an imminent full-scale invasion of the Strip. More significantly, however, his comment offers a disturbing indication of the Israeli army’s longer-term strategy towards the Palestinians in the occupied territories.