Dear Asher,

You write that the Palestinian Arabs are unlikely to get along with Jews as long as they are under the rule of the PLO. Therefore you want to establish one state or a confederation. Somehow you think that in this confederation or whatever, Palestinians will not be PLO dominated. PLO has dominated Palestinian life certainly since 1968, and perhaps it is a good thing if they continue to dominate it. The PLO is the moderate wing of Palestinian politics. The major alternatives are Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Arab and Jew lived in Palestine under the British mandate, with no PLO, and didn't get along very well. The Arabs of Palestine would in any case always be part of the larger Arab culture surrounding them, and would be subject to its influence, which is hardly conducive to good relations with Jews.

In Israel, we already have the example of "coexistence" with Israeli Arabs, in which they are decidedly second class citizens, a situation which is the fault of both sides - they do not always want to be part of our state, and most of us don't really want them to be a part of our state. This does not bode well for any one-state solution.

I think that some of these one-state solutions are well meant. The person who says "Let's do it my way" doesn't realize that they are imposing on anyone. Your idea seems to be that the Arabs of Palestine would live in peace and harmony with the Jews, if it weren't for the PLO, though the PLO didn't exist before 1964, and the Arabs of Palestine didn't love us then. The idea of Arabs advocating a one-state solution seems to be that they could get along fine with the Jews if it weren't for the Zionists. Of course, if it weren't for the Zionists, there wouldn't be many Jews here.

However, Palestinian Nationalism and Zionism represent legitimate aspirations of both peoples. They are organic and democratic manifestations of nationalism, not artificial impositions from outside. They will not go away just by wishing, and any solution that tries to make them go away is not democratic.

Sincerely,

Ami Isseroff


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