The PLO still sees a single state
PLO lawyer Michael Tarazi is taking us back to the fundamental idea that has guided the PLO and is embodied in the Palestinian National Charter - in Palestine there is room for only one state.
Michael Tarazi, a legal advisor to the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), often represents the Palestinian Authority in closed or public forums, verbally and in writing. Last week The International Herald Tribune published an article entitled "Why not two peoples, one state?"
Like the sharp lawyer he is, Tarazi presents the Palestinian argument without being too particular about the facts and the background. Thus, for examples, readers will learn from the article that IDF units last week invaded the Gaza Strip a number of times and caused the deaths of dozens of Palestinians. Why? How come?
A reader arriving from Mars is liable to think that there is unilateral and unprovoked aggression going on here, the entire aim of which is to kill innocent Palestinians; there is not a word of course about the killing of small Israeli children by Qassam rockets in Sderot and so forth.
Tarazi depicts Israel as a racist country. "Zionism is a movement of Jewish supremacy" that does not tolerate Muslims and Christians. He ignores the inconvenient fact that there are about 1 million Muslim and Christian Arabs living in Israel who enjoy freedom and equal rights that their brethren in all Arab states can only dream about.
However, he complains that 3.5 million Palestinians do not enjoy the political and civil rights that are granted to Jews, without mentioning to his readers that all the territories in which those Palestinians live have never been annexed to Israel.
The territories were occupied in a defensive war in 1967, and when in 2000 Israel offered Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat 91 to 97 percent of the territories in the framework of a comprehensive peace agreement, the offer had no positive response from the chairman and now - in large part thanks to Tarazi's article - it is becoming clear why.
Tarazi proposes turning the demographic reality that in his opinion has evolved in Palestine into a political reality: "Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories already function as a single state. They share the same aquifers, the same highway networks, the same electricity grid and the same international borders."
This being so, why not opt for "a one-state solution in which citizens of all faiths and ethnicities live together as equals - most Israelis fear the destruction of the never-defined `Jewish state.'"
Further, he promises, "the one-state solution neither destroys the Jewish character of the Holy Land nor negates the Jewish historical and religious attachment - rather, it affirms that the Holy Land has an equal Christian and Muslim character."
In fact Tarazi is taking us back to the fundamental idea that has guided the PLO and is embodied in the Palestinian National Charter - in Palestine there is room for only one state. For many years, since 1988 or at least 1993, we thought the PLO had dropped the idea of a "secular democratic state," the meaning of which every child understood, and had got used to the idea of two states.
This is apparently a mistake; the PLO is still hoping for one state in Palestine, in which from the outset there will be a Muslim majority - reinforced by hundreds of thousands of Palestinian "returnees" - and the Jews, a minority. It is looking more and more like Arafat's foot-dragging is explained by the profound hope that doing nothing with the addition of time will advance the Palestinian movement toward this goal.
Even though there are a few naive and not so naive Israelis who have latched on to the foolish idea of a "bi-national state" there is no need to go into detail about the absurdity inherent in it. This is not only from the Zionist point of view - most bi-national states have proven to be a sure recipe for instability because of ethnic struggles.
But the "paradise" that Tarazi paints in his article should serve as a warning sign not only to the naive, but also to the Jewish settlers in the territories and their supporters. In their fanaticism they will yet bring about the fulfillment of his boss's vision.