Is the "Two State Solution" still a viable and
desirable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?
This question is nowadays one of the most nagging and burning
issues bogging and tearing the heart and mind of every honest
Israeli and Palestinian Peace activist and Peace advocate.
Some admit it, others prefer to veil their dilemma and avoid
its consequences. People who have struggled for the best
part of their lives to bring around Arab - Israeli Peace
based on ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian
territories of 67', and the establishment of a fully sovereign
Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel, came to
doubt both the feasibility and the morality of this long
advocated solution. They came to doubt it because the 100
years old and still ongoing Zionist and Israeli expansionism
and forceful colonization of the Palestinian lands, the
wide support for these acts and the lack of any real resolution
and public support to honestly put an end to this process,
give no reason to believe that a Two State solution is ever
going to materialize, let alone on reasonable grounds -
i.e. the 67' borders and a fair and just solution to the
Israel has shown no sign for the readiness needed to recognize
the Palestinians as equal partners and owners in this land.
Therefore, set against the prevailing hegemonic set of mind
of the majority of Israeli Jews, one can hardly assume that
the TSS can solve the core problem at stake: an existance
based on full equality between the two national communities
- the Jewish and the Palestinian - who live here and therefore
must share this land in full partnership and equality. Moreover,
many came to doubt the possibility that the 'Two State Solution'
has the capacity to answer the problematical relations of
the Jewish Majority and the big Palestinian National Minority
within a Jewish State.
Therefore, it is high time to open an honest public debate
concerning the most vital aspect of our existance here -
what should be our vision for Real Peace and how can it
be achieved? Ari Shavit hands us this opportunity. Please
take your time to read his brilliant interview with two
of the most eloquent, innovative and courageous speakers
for the above stated dilemma - Haim Hanegbi and Meron Benvenishti.
Allow me to state honestly that I fully support not only
the positions expressed by these two eloquent speakers,
but also the fact that I share the underlying emotions expressed
and the process of disillusionment they underwent until
they came to their present conclusions. I wish to express
my deepest gratitude to them for speaking out so forcefully
for me too, and to the writer for initiating and creating
Cry, the beloved two-state solution
By Ari Shavit
As negotiations with the Palestinians lurch forward and
the separation wall snakes its way through the West Bank,
two veteran leftists have reached a startling conclusion:
There cannot be two states for two peoples in this land.
1. The groundwater
Meron Benvenisti and Haim Hanegbi did not exchange views.
Benvenisti lives in Jerusalem, on the edge of the desert,
and is trying to write a last book, a summing up. Hanegbi
lives in Ramat Aviv, not far from the sea, and is trying
to formulate a last, definitive, manifesto. Yet this summer
both Benvenisti and Hanegbi reached an intriguing point
in their conceptual development. They both reached the conclusion
that there is no longer any prospect of ending the conflict
by means of a two-state solution. Each of them separately
has come to believe that the time has come to establish
one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean
Sea: a binational state.
On the face of it, they come from utterly different worlds.
Benvenisti's roots lie deep in the old Zionist establishment.
He was the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek's right-hand
man, a candidate of Ratz (the predecessor of Meretz) for
the Knesset. Hanegbi, in contrast, is a retired revolutionary.
He was a central activist in the radical-left Matzpen group,
one of the founders of the Progressive List, a partner in
the leadership of the peace movement Gush Shalom. However,
Benvenisti and Hanegbi also share a deep common background.
Both are from Jerusalem and are graduates of the city's
Beit Hakerem high school, both are Ashkenazi-Sephardi whose
ideas were shaped in the latter stages of the British Mandate
period. And both of them love this land and love human beings.
Both are surging rivers of emotions and stories and sheer
It's precisely because they are not cut of the same cloth,
because they are not from the same ideological circle, that
the parallel, albeit not identical, processes they are undergoing
are so fascinating. True, they are both end-figures, lone
wolves, sensitive sentimentalists who are sometimes perceived
as eccentrics. Nevertheless, each is an original thinker
with finely tuned senses. Both have a knee-jerk aversion
to falsity, whitewashing, and uniform thought. So perhaps
the fact that the two of them arrived during the past year
at the conceptual place they now occupy is of some significance.
Possibly it says something about the groundwater of the
current Israeli reality.
2. Haim Hanegbi
Where did it start? Right after the start of the intifada.
Already then I told [veteran peace activist] Uri Avnery
that I was regressing, I was returning to my origins, that
it might be time to reconsider the dream of a shared state.
But Avnery laughed - that's his way. He said I was dreaming.
Avnery has done a lot in the battle for peace and the battle
against the occupation, but Avnery also has a defect. He
has no psychic mechanism. Just as [pioneer Zionist activist
Joseph] Trumpeldor had only one arm, Avnery is incapable
of relating to people. It's not something evil, it's not
indifference, it's a disability. He simply lacks that emotional
organ. So he laughed at me with a kind of patronizing disdain
and ignored what I said. I didn't respond.
For the next three years we continued to formulate the Friday
messages of Gush Shalom. But at the beginning of the summer
I decided I could no longer remain silent, that I had to
come out with it. So I wrote a text against the occupation
at the end of which I included, for the first time, the
idea of one state for the two nations. A state in partnership,
a binational state.
Avnery went wild. He was furious. He said I was harming
the Palestinian cause and endangering the Palestinian state
and serving the right wing. That I was reinforcing fears
of the "phased theory." When I insisted that the
text be sent to all the members of Gush Shalom, I was told
that it would not be disseminated because it was contrary
to the Gush Shalom consensus. I said, fine, if that's how
it is I'm leaving Gush Shalom. So with one phone call, I
left Gush Shalom. Others also left in my wake. Half of the
hardcore left, so now I am working with a few good people
on disseminating my old-new idea about the renewal of binational
As I wrote in my document, it is plain to me today that
there is no other alternative to ending the conflict. Everyone
with eyes to see and ears to hear has to understand that
only a binational partnership can save us. That is the only
way to transform ourselves from being strangers in our land
into native sons.
The truth is that it all started long ago, in the Mekor
Baruch neighborhood of Jerusalem. When I was 10, at the
end of the Mandate period, our landlord was an Arab named
Jamil. The word "Alhambra" was chiseled in stone
on the house in Arabic and English. And the house next door
was not only owned by Arabs, it was also inhabited by Arabs.
The whole neighborhood from our house west was mixed. And
at my dad's place of work, the Jerusalem municipality, Jews
and Arabs worked together, too. My dad took me on outings
in and around Jerusalem. I remember Palestinian Ein Karem
very well, and Malha and Lifta and Beit Mazmil. So the Arabs
were never strangers to me. They were always part of my
landscape. Part of the country. And I never doubted the
possibility of living with them: house next to house, street
next to street.
At the end of 1947 they disappeared. It was in the winter,
in the middle of eighth grade. And the strange thing is
that it wasn't in the least traumatic. It was all done quietly,
without any dramatics. They just sort of evaporated. I'm
not even sure I saw them packing. I'm not really sure I
saw them collecting their things and melting away down the
slope behind Schneller Camp. But I remember Deir Yassin
well. I remember that we were in our classroom in the Beit
Hakarem high school when we saw the smoke rising from Deir
Yassin [an Arab village on the western edge of Jerusalem
where a massacre was perpetrated in 1948].
So, in the 1960s, when we talked about the principle of
equality in Matzpen, I wasn't just thinking in terms of
socialism or a universal concept. With me it was baladi,
my country, the scents and memories of my childhood. Then
came obsessive collecting of Mandate period maps to locate
the villages that had been erased, the life that ceased
to be. And the feeling that without them this is a barren
country, a disabled country, a country that caused an entire
nation to disappear.
So it wasn't easy for me to adopt the two-state solution,
in the 1980s. It was a tough inner struggle. And I never,
ever, joined the Zionist left. I never abandoned revolutionary
thinking. But when I saw that Peace Now existed and that
there was some sort of movement in the streets I didn't
think it was right to stay cooped up with dogmas. I thought
the two-state idea was a worthy one.
When Oslo came, I thought it was really something great.
I read the accords thoroughly, under a magnifying glass,
and I reached the conclusion that there really was mutual
recognition, that the possibility existed of closing the
conflict file. So in the mid-1990s I had second thoughts
about my traditional approach. I didn't think it was my
task to go to Ramallah and present the Palestinians with
the list of Zionist wrongs and tell them not to forget what
our fathers did to their fathers. I believed in the dynamics
of Oslo. I also believed in [Yitzhak] Rabin. After the assassination
I even joined the Labor Party.
In the past couple of years I realized that I made a mistake;
that, like the Palestinians, I too was taken in. I took
Israeli talk seriously and didn't pay attention to Israeli
deeds. When I realized, one day, that the settlements had
doubled themselves, I also realized that Israel had missed
its one hour of grace, had rejected the rare opportunity
it was given. Then I understood that Israel could not free
itself of its expansionist pattern. It is bound hand and
foot to its constituent ideology and to its constituent
act, which was an act of dispossession.
I realized that the reason it is so tremendously difficult
for Israel to dismantle settlements is that any recognition
that the settlements in the West Bank exist on plundered
Palestinian land will also cast a threatening shadow over
the Jezreel Valley, and over the moral status of Beit Alfa
and Ein Harod. I understood that a very deep pattern was
at work here. That there is one historical continuum that
runs from Kibbutz Beit Hashita to the illegal settler outposts;
from Moshav Nahalal to the Gush Katif settlements in the
Gaza Strip. And that continuity apparently cannot be broken.
It's a continuity that takes us back to the very beginning,
to the incipient moment.
I am now reading a book by Eliezer Be'eri about the beginning
of the conflict and the start of the Zionist enterprise.
At one point, he describes how, on November 3, 1878, as
Yehuda Raab tilled the first furrow in the soil of Petah
Tikva, he felt that "he is the first person to hold
a Jewish plow on the soil of the prophets after the long
years of exile." But look what it says here: "Arabs
also joined Yehuda Raab on the big day when plowing began.
He himself, with his plow harnessed to animals, could not
have tilled an area of hundreds of dunams. He was joined
in the plowing by 12 Arab fellahin."
What does that mean, Ari? You tell me what it means. What
it means is that when Yehuda Raab came to till the first
furrow after 2,000 years of exile he didn't have the strength
to do it alone. He needed fellahin, and 12 of them came
to help him. Reading that, I tell myself that I know all
about Raab and who his descendants were and I know how his
project developed. But I know absolutely nothing about the
12 fellahin. They appear in history as unknowns and disappear
from history the same way, with hardly a trace. They were
removed from history by Zionism. Who were they? Where did
they go? Where are they today?
So the aging revolutionary you see before you has taken
a vow to find those 12 vanished individuals, those 12 abductees
of history. My life mission is to set them free from their
historical captivity and give them names and faces and rights.
Because their whole sin in relation to Raab was that they
lived in this country untold generations before him. Why
should they be punished for that? Why insist on their oblivion?
I don't think this is some private madness. On the contrary:
I think it is an attempt to be released from madness. I
am not a psychologist, but I think that everyone who lives
with the contradictions of Zionism condemns himself to protracted
madness. It's impossible to live like this. It's impossible
to live with such a tremendous wrong. It's impossible to
live with such conflicting moral criteria. When I see not
only the settlements and the occupation and the suppression,
but now also the insane wall that the Israelis are trying
to hide behind, I have to conclude that there is something
very deep here in our attitude to the indigenous people
of this land that drives us out of our minds.
There is something genetic here that doesn't allow us truly
to recognize the Palestinians, that doesn't allow us to
make peace with them. And that something has to do with
the fact that even before the return of the land and the
houses and the money, the settlers' first act of expiation
toward the natives of this land must be to restore to them
their dignity, their memory, their justness.
But that is just what we are incapable of doing. Our past
won't allow us to do it. Our past forces us to believe in
the project of a Jewish nation-state that is a hopeless
cause. Our past prevents us from seeing that the whole story
of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel is over. Because
if you want Jewish sovereignty you must have a border, but
as [Zionist thinker and activist Yitzhak] Tabenkin said,
this country cannot tolerate a border in its midst. If you
want Jewish sovereignty you need a fortified, separatist
uni-national structure, but that is contrary to the spirit
of the age. Even if Israel surrounds itself with a fence
and a moat and a wall, it won't help. Because your fears
are well-placed, Ari: Israel as a Jewish state can no longer
exist here. In the long term, Israel as a Jewish state will
not be able to exist.
I'm not crazy. I don't think that it will be possible to
enlist thousands of people in the cause of a binational
state tomorrow morning. But when I consider that Meron Benvenisti
was right in saying that the occupation has become irreversible,
and when I see where the madness of sovereignty is leading
good Israelis, I raise my own little banner again. I do
so without illusions. I am not part of any army. I am not
the leader of any army. In the meantime our act is that
of a few people. But I think it's important to place this
idea on the table now.
In essence, the binational principle is the deepest antithesis
of the wall. The purpose of the wall is to separate, to
isolate, to imprison the Palestinians in pens. But the wall
imprisons the Israelis, too. It turns Israel into a ghetto.
The wall is the great despairing solution of the Jewish-Zionist
society. It is the last desperate act of those who cannot
confront the Palestinian issue. Of those who are compelled
to push the Palestinian issue out of their lives and out
of their consciousness. In the face of that I say the opposite.
I say that we were apparently too forgiving toward Zionism;
that the Jews who came here and found a land that wasn't
empty adopted a pattern of unrestrained force. Instead of
the conflict foisting moral order and reason on them, it
addicted them to the use of force. But that force has played
itself out, it has reached its limits. If Israel remains
a colonialist state in its character, it will not survive.
In the end the region will be stronger than Israel, in the
end the indigenous people will be stronger than Israel.
Those who hope to live by the sword will die by the sword.
That is perfectly clear, Ari: they will die by the sword.
Don't treat me as a stranger, as an outsider. True, it's
easier for me, because I'm from Hebron and Jerusalem, from
the Old Yishuv. It's easier for me because I never took
part in the killing and the dispossession and the occupation.
All the same, I feel a commitment toward the society I live
in. And precisely because of that, I believe that anyone
who wants to ensure the existence of a Jewish community
in this country has to free himself from the Zionist pattern,
has to open gates. Because as things are now, there is no
chance. A Jewish nation-state will not take hold here.
It's totally clear that it can't be done without recognition
in principle of the right of return, because this is a case
in which a nation was condemned to exile from its land,
not because there was no room, but because it was supplanted
by others. That injustice has not been erased for 55 years
and it won't be erased in another 55 years. But that doesn't
mean they will return to Jamusin, which is in the middle
of Tel Aviv. It doesn't mean they will settle at the corner
of Arlosoroff and Ibn Gvirol.
What it means is that the borders have to be open to them,
as in Europe. It means the establishment of a super-modern
city in Galilee for the 200,000 or 300,000 refugees in Lebanon.
It means the establishment of another Palestinian-Jewish
city between Hebron and Gaza that will both make the desert
bloom and connect the two parts of Palestine.
In general, we have to shift to a binational mode of thinking.
Maybe in the end we have to create a new, binational Israel,
just as a new, multiracial South Africa was created.
There will be no other choice, anyway. The attempt to achieve
Jewish sovereignty that is fenced in and insular has to
be abandoned. We will have to come to terms with the fact
that we will live here as a minority: a Jewish minority
that will no longer be squeezed between Hadera and Gedera,
but will be able to settle in Nablus and Baghdad and Damascus,
too - and take part in the democratization of the Middle
East. That will be able to live and die here, to establish
mixed cities and mixed neighborhoods and mixed families.
But for that to happen, the mad dream of sovereignty will
have to be given up, Ari. We have to forgo that mad dream,
which has caused so much bloodshed here, has inflicted so
many disasters, has generated a hundred years of conflict.
3. Meron Benvenisti
What I have to say is seemingly not new, because at the
beginning of the 1980s I already maintained that partition
was no longer a viable option, that the establishment of
the settlements and the takeover of land had created an
irreversible situation here. And at that time there were
only 20,000 settlers. Today there are 230,000. So it's clear
that the critical mass I was afraid of, which would not
permit a change in the status quo, existed even then. Neither
Oslo nor the separation fence nor talk about a Palestinian
state can change the status quo.
In fact, even today we are living in a binational reality,
and it is a permanent given. It cannot be ignored and it
cannot be denied. What we have to do is adapt our thinking
and our concepts to this reality. We have to look for a
new model that will fit this reality. And the right questions
have to be asked, even if they give the impression of a
betrayal of Zionism; even if they give the feeling that
one is abandoning the dream of establishing a Jewish nation-state
in the Land of Israel.
What is new is that I have reached the conclusion that my
analysis of the conflict was incorrect. For my convenience,
I started with the assumption of the Israeli Zionist left:
that what is taking place here is a struggle between two
national movements for the same land. It followed from this
that the rational solution was two states for two nations.
However, in the past two years I reached the conclusion
that we are dealing with a conflict between a society of
immigrants and a society of natives. If so, we are talking
about an entirely different type of conflict. If so, we
descend from the rational level to a completely basic, atavistic
level that goes to the bedrock of personal and collective
existence. Because the basic story here is not one of two
national movements that are confronting each other; the
basic story is that of natives and settlers. It's the story
of natives who feel that people who came from across the
sea infiltrated their natural habitat and dispossessed them.
The result is that the conquering immigrants are victorious
in every battle because they utilize the technological and
cultural advantages that Western civilization has made available
to them. But these settler immigrants are unable to enjoy
the fruits of their victory. They take over the land but
fail to achieve tranquillity, fail to entrench peace for
For me, that was an overwhelming discovery. It came after
Camp David, after the trauma of 2000, after the two sides
effectively retracted their mutual recognition. When we
went back to seeing the Palestinians as a terrorist collectivity
and they went back to seeing us as outsiders.
Then, as I observed this terrible breakdown, I suddenly
understood that it was impossible to explain our pattern
of settlement and redemption of the land solely in terms
of a national conflict. It is impossible to explain the
suicide bomber phenomenon solely in terms of a national
conflict. Because beneath the rational crust of a national
conflict, something is going on at a far deeper level. We
will never reach a point at which one group will truly renounce
the right of return and the other group will truly abandon
its longing for Beit El. We will never reach a situation
in which the Arabs in Israel forgo their demand for their
own collective rights.
The conclusion is that the seemingly rational solution of
two states for two nations can't work here. The model of
a division into two nation-states is inapplicable. It doesn't
reflect the depth of the conflict and doesn't sit with the
scale of the entanglement that exists in large parts of
the country. You can erect all the walls in the world here
but you won't be able to overcome the fact that there is
only one aquifer here and the same air and that all the
streams run into the same sea. You won't be able to overcome
the fact that this country will not tolerate a border in
In the past year, then, I reached the conclusion that there
is no choice but to think in new terms. There is no choice
but to think about western Palestine [Eretz Yisrael, or
the land of Israel] as one geopolitical unit.
Just as the South African rulers understood, at a certain
point, that there was no choice but to dismantle their regime,
so the Israeli establishment has to understand that it is
not capable of imposing its hegemonic conceptions on 3.5
million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and 1.2 million
Palestinians who are citizens of Israel. What we have to
do is try to reach a situation of personal and collective
equality within the framework of one overall regime throughout
I don't yet have a coherent proposal. I don't have a work
plan. But the direction of thought is clear. The new paradigm
is mandated by reality. What I see is a combination of horizontal
division (sharing in government) and a vertical division
(partitioning of the territory). What I see is a federal
structure that will include all of historic western Palestine.
Different ethnic cantons will exist under that structure.
It's clear, for example, that the Palestinian citizens of
Israel will have their own cantons. They will have their
own autonomy, which will express their collective rights.
And it's clear, on the other side, that the settlers will
have a canton. The executive of the federal government will
strike some sort of balance between the two national groups.
It wouldn't bother me if the basis for the balance is equality:
one for one.
I admit that there is an emotional layer here: my own identity.
I am 70 now, and I have the right to engage in summing up.
And I was part of it all here: the youth movement and the
army and the kibbutz and politics. I am the salt of the
earth and I'm not ashamed of it. I am a proud Israeli Mayflower
person. I won't let anyone tell me I am a traitor. I won't
let anyone say I am not from here - including the Palestinians.
I am exactly what my father wanted me to be: a native. He
wanted me to grow like a tree from the soil of the land.
He wanted me to be a natural part of the landscape. And
he just may have succeeded: I am a native son. But this
is a country in which there were always Arabs. This is a
country in which the Arabs are the landscape, the natives.
So I am not afraid of them. I don't see myself living here
without them. In my eyes, without Arabs this is a barren
This is where I am different from my friends in the left:
because I am truly a native son of immigrants, who is drawn
to the Arab culture and the Arabic language because it is
here. It is the land. And I really am a neo-Canaanite. I
love everything that springs from this soil. Whereas the
right, certainly, but the left, too, hates Arabs. The Arabs
bother them - they complicate things. The subject generates
moral questions and that generates cultural unease.
That's why the left wants this terrible wall, which in my
view is anti-geography, anti-history and anti-human. That's
why the left wants to hide behind this wall, which in my
view is the rape of the land. That's why they are fleeing
from Jerusalem and fleeing from the landscape and the soil
and huddling in Tel Aviv and concentrating only on how to
screw Vicki Knafo, how to lord it over the Moroccans.
Yes, you can tell me that I am a walking mass of internal
contradictions. You can tell me that my recipe is hopeless.
A federal solution hasn't worked anywhere in the world.
But my diagnosis is correct: even within the boundaries
of 1967, Israel is on the way to becoming a binational state.
In another decade, when the Arabs constitute 25 percent
of the population, it will be a binational state. The attempt
to drag more and more new immigrants from every remote corner
on earth is becoming inane. These new immigrants are liable
to cause the implosion of the Israeli society.
So I think the time has come to declare that the Zionist
revolution is over. Maybe it should even be done officially,
along with setting a date for the repeal of the Law of Return.
We should start to think differently, talk differently.
Not to seize on this ridiculous belief in a Palestinian
state or in the fence. Because in the end we are going to
be a Jewish minority here. And the problems that your children
and my grandchildren are going to have to cope with are
the same ones that de Klerk faced in South Africa. The paradigm,
therefore, is the binational one. That's the direction.
That's the conceptual universe we have to get used to.
Could things have worked out differently? Not necessarily.
The Zionist idea was maimed from the outset. It didn't take
into account the presence here of another national group.
Therefore, from the moment the Zionist movement decided
that it was not going to exterminate the Arabs, its dream
became unattainable. Because this land cannot tolerate two
sovereignties. So the options are terribly simple: either
one nation will not be or the other nation will not be,
or one nation will subjugate the other and condemn itself
to perpetual enmity, or both nations will forgo their demand
for full sovereignty. That is what Sharon is now demanding
of the Palestinians. That is what I am now proposing to
both the Jews and the Palestinians on an equal basis.
In 1948, Zionism was truly victorious. It succeeded in consolidating
itself in 78 percent of historic Palestine. But in 1967,
Zionism won one victory too many, and in the 20 years that
followed it sealed its fate by implementing the settlements
project. Paradoxically, the peace treaties with Egypt and
Jordan only exacerbated the situation, because they determined
the outer limit of the borders of western Palestine. They
sealed us into the binational reality of a territory that
cannot be divided. The result is that now Zionism really
can't realize its dream. It is the victim of its victories,
the victim of a terrible history of missed opportunities.
What comes to mind in particular are those Shabbats when
Dad would go on outings with me in the villages around Jerusalem.
He was a tour guide and a high priest of knowing the land.
He would take me into Malha and Beit Mazmil and Ein Karem
and Saris and Deir al Hawa. So their way of life was not
foreign to me; it was part of me.
But in April 1948, I was on King George Street in Jerusalem
when Etzel [the nationalist underground military organization]
held its victory parade through the center of the city with
trucks carrying the survivors of Deir Yassin. When I think
about it today it is terrible, but at the time it didn't
seem terrible. And again, in 1949, when I reaped the harvest
in fields belonging to Palestinians as part of a work camp
of the youth movement, that didn't seem terrible, either.
Their tragedy simply did not penetrate my consciousness.
It was only in 1955, when I was a student and we were carrying
out a survey for the Geological Institute, for which we
examined abandoned Arab wells after the rain, that I arrived
in a village near Beit Guvrin and it suddenly hit me. Because
the whole village was still standing, it was perfectly whole.
Only it had no people. For the first time, I asked myself
where these people were, where had they gone.
Yet even that was a passing moment. It didn't shatter my
consciousness. That happened only in 1967, when I met all
those people who said they were from Malha, from Saris,
from Deir al Hawa. Suddenly I said to myself, here they
are. Here they are. And all that old geography suddenly
hit me: The whole geography of the tragedy came rushing
So today I live their tragedy even though I perhaps caused
it. I feel myself attached to them. Emotionally, I am very
attached to them. But for years I didn't know how to translate
that attachment into political language. Now the binational
mode of thought may give it political expression.
I am not happy about what I am proposing. I know that what
I am stammering to you here is not truly a solution. Because
even if some sort of federal structure is established here
it won't bring peace. There won't be peace here. Even if
there is some sort of binational arrangement, it will do
no more than manage the crisis. The violence will always
occur on its fringes.
But the truth is that the whole situation that has been
created here is one of conflicts and contradictions and
the absence of a solution. So today I am sad and pessimistic.
I live with a deep sense of breakdown. It is not easy for
me to part with my father's dream of a Jewish nation-state.
It's hard for me. For most of my life that was my dream,
too. But I am truly fearful for my grandchildren. Whenever
I look around me I am fearful for my grandchildren. How
will they live here? What am I leaving them? Because I know
that there will not be a Jewish nation-state here and that
there will not be two states for two nations here, I seize
on this faint hope that maybe, after all, something shared
will evolve here. Something neo-Canaanite. That maybe, despite
everything, we will learn to live together. Maybe we will
come to understand that the Other is not demonic, that he,
too, is part of this place. Like these cypresses. Like these
bustanim, these fruit gardens. What the land brings forth.