Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Will future of Israel-Palestine become multi-ethnic and multi-religious?

In my view, it doesn't really matter if Netanyahu's slap in the face to [US Vice Prsident Joe] Biden derails the proposed indirect [peace] talks, writes the leftist journalist Juan Cole. The Likud-led government has no intention of allowing a Palestinian state, and there is now no place to put one. Israel-Palestine has unalterably entered the era of Apartheid (actually something worse), and it will spell both the end of dreams of peace in our generation, and probably over time the end of Israel as Netanyahu's generation knew it. The Palestinians cannot be left stateless (the legal estate of slaves as well as of Jews under Nazi rule, i.e. people with no legal rights) forever. If they can't have Palestinian citizenship, then they'll have to have Israeli citizenship. The future of Israel-Palestine is likely to become a multi-ethnic, multi-religious state like Lebanon. Ironically, it is Netanyahu who is in no small measure responsible for this likely outcome, the opposite of the one he aspires to.

Israelis claim a 'birthright' to do things like colonize Palestinian territory, based on romantic-nationalist reworkings of biblical narratives. But Canaan was populated for millenia before some Canaanite tribes adopted the new religion of Judaism, and it was also ruled, as Palestine, for centuries by Romans and Greeks, and for 1400 years by Muslims. The Palestinian Jews converted to Christianity and then to Islam, so they are cousins of the European Jews (who appear to have gone to Europe voluntarily as male merchants around 800 CE,, where they took local wives). European Jews are about half European by parentage and all European by cultural heritage, and it is no more natural that they be in geographical Palestine than that they be in Europe (where nearly two-thirds of their mothers were from and about a third of their fathers). From a Middle Eastern point of view, European Jews planted in British Mandate Palestine by the British Empire were no different from the million colons or European colonists brought to Algeria while it was under French rule from 1830-1962. (Algeria had been ruled in antiquity by Rome, and the French considered themselves heirs of the Roman Empire, so it was natural that people from Marseilles should return to 'their' territory. Romantic nationalism, whether French or Zionist, always has the same shape). I don't predict the same fate for Jewish Israelis as befell the French colons. Rather, I think they are likely to more and more resemble in their position the Maronite Catholics of Lebanon-- i.e. powerful and formerly dominant population-wise, but increasingly challenged by other rising communities.

1 comment:

Angel said...

Hi, you know I just started reading your blog, and I just wanted to mention to you something. The Israelis claim to their holyland is long over, they were given the holyland for certain amount of time, however they have no really claim to it now or back then because they were willing to kill their prophets that were sent to them, they were willing to change their holy book the Torah to suit them. Instead they would worship everything but the "God" they claim to worship. To kill women and children to say that they rest of the world allowed the torture of them in Germany, by hitler, but yet look at what they do now. they commit the exact crimes that were committed against them.