A Glimmer of Hope in Bleak Palestine

Photo by Jonas Moffat | CC BY 2.0

The Palestinians’ deteriorating conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip makes even long-term optimism difficult. Neither a one-liberal-state nor two-state resolution seems in the offing because (if for no other reason) either would seem to spell political suicide for any foreseeable Israeli government. The one-staters have a good argument against the two-staters and vice versa. Would it really be easier for an Israeli prime minister to evict 400,000 Israeli Jews from the West Bank (leaving aside the more than 200,000 in formally annexed East Jerusalem) than it would be to agree to one secular democratic state in which non-Jews would soon outnumber Jews if they don’t already? I don’t see it.

Pessimism is reinforced by the recently passed Nation-State law, according to which the Knesset made fully de jure what had long been true de facto: that Israel belongs to Jewish people only (whether religious believers or not and wherever in the world they may currently live) and that the minority of non-Jewish Israelis should think of themselves as little more than guests living there at the pleasure of the Jewish supermajority.

“The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people,” the law states.  Another part says, “The state will be open for Jewish immigration and the ingathering of exiles.” Also: “The state shall act within the Diaspora to strengthen the affinity between…

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