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Beyond the Two-State Solution: A Jewish Political Essay

ISBN: 978-0-7456-6028-8
256 pages
July 2012, Polity
Beyond the Two-State Solution: A Jewish Political Essay (0745660282) cover image
For over two decades, many liberals in Israel have attempted, with wide international support, to implement the two-state solution: Israel and Palestine, partitioned on the basis of the Green Line - that is, the line drawn by the 1949 Armistice Agreements that defined Israel’s borders until 1967, before Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza following the Six-Day War. By going back to Israel’s pre-1967 borders, many people hope to restore Israel to what they imagine was its pristine, pre-occupation character and to provide a solid basis for a long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

In this original and controversial essay, Yehouda Shenhav argues that this vision is an illusion that ignores historical realities and offers no long-term solution. It fails to see that the real problem is that a state was created in most of Palestine in 1948 in which Jews are the privileged ethnic group, at the expense of the Palestinians - who also must live under a constant state of emergency. The issue will not be resolved by the two-state solution, which will do little for the millions of Palestinian refugees and will also require the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of Jews living across the Green Line. All these obstacles require a bolder rethinking of the issues: the Green Line should be abandoned and a new type of polity created on the complete territory of mandatory Palestine, with a new set of constitutional arrangements that address the rights of both Palestinians and Jews, including the settlers.
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Foreword: Yehouda Shenhav's Beyond the Two-State Solution, Lama Abu Odeh page vii

Acknowledgments xviii

Introduction and Overview: The Crisis Facing Zionist Democracy 1

A line drawn with a green pencil 3

Time and space 6

The degeneration of the 1967 paradigm 7

The Zionist-liberal left and the peace accords 15

The liberal new nostalgia 22

Separation 26

The settlers 29

The political rights of the Jews 32

1 The Roots and Consequences of the Liberal New Nostalgia 35

The "no partner" approach 35

Chasing the yellow wind 38

The academic and intellectual discourse 52

2 Was 1967 a Revolutionary Year? 55

The "inevitability" of the 1967 Occupation of Palestinian territories 55

The denial of political theology 60

3 The "Political Anomalies" of the Green Line 68

The refugees of 1948 68

The Arabs of 1948 74

The Jewish settlers 92

The Third Israel and its political economy 106

4 1948 and the Return to the Rights of the Palestinians 116

The Nakba 117

Eradication and denial 122

The present time of the Palestinian Nakba 131

A shared time 140

5 The Return to the Rights of the Jews 146

Post-Westphalian sovereignty 149

The possibility of sharing one space 154

A comment on the role of intellectuals in times of crisis 164

Notes 169

Index 230

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Yehouda Shenhav is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University.

Dimi Reider is an Israeli journalist and blogger, co-founder and contributing editor at +972 Magazine and occasional contributor to the New York Times, Foreign Policy, the New York Review of Books and the Daily Beast website.
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  • An original and controversial essay on the Israeli-Palestine conflict by one of Israel’s most outspoken intellectuals
  • Argues that the Green Line - the demarcation that defined Israel’s borders between 1949 and 1967 - should be abandoned
  • Contends that a two-state solution will do little for Palestinian refugees as well as Jews living in the occupied territories
  • Calls for a new constitutional settlement that address the rights of both Palestinians and Jews
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"America's renewed push to save the two-state solution is going nowhere fast. We need a new paradigm - and Shenhav’s analysis is one of the best places we can start. It has profound implications for how we think of solving the Israel/Palestine conflict."
Mondoweiss

"Poses interesting historical insights and assessments of present-day Israel."
Morning Star

"Offers a meaningful critique to the ideology that the state has become undemocratic only because of the Six Day War."
Jerusalem Post

"Finding it timely and noteworthy for its original insights into Israeli society, Palestinians in Ramallah promptly translated into Arabic this political commentary on the precarious state in which Israel finds itself. This updated version now appearing in English promises to further widen the circle of those who are beginning to realize that relevant political paradigms have undergone radical change, that a classical two-state solution to the conflict is a fantasy (and perhaps always has been), and that new realities require new ideas. This work certainly belongs to a new genre of writing on the conflict."
Sari Nuseibeh, Al-Quds University

"Yehouda Shenhav makes an unusual and unsettling argument ... what appears on its face a 'progressive' position on the question of Israel and Palestine, is in fact censorial and duplicitous. The Israeli left's sanctimonious insistence in the face of the Jewish settlers of the West Bank that the settlements were illegal and that the proper borders of Israel are those of 1967, is nothing short of an ideological manoeuver. The purpose of the manoeuver is to obfuscate the fact that Israel itself is nothing short of a huge settlement project that was founded upon the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and the systematic expropriation of the land they left behind."
Lama Abu Odeh, from the foreword

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'Finding it timely and noteworthy for its original insights into Israeli society, Palestinians in Ramallah promptly translated into Arabic this political commentary on the precarious state in which Israel finds itself.  This updated  version now appearing in English promises further to widen the circle of those who are beginning to realize that relevant political paradigms have undergone radical change, that a classical two-state solution to the conflict is a fantasy (and perhaps always has been), and that new realities require new ideas. This work certainly belongs to a new genre of writing on the conflict.'

Sari Nuseibeh, Al-Quds University

 

'Yehouda Shenhav makes an unusual and unsettling argument...: what appears on its face a ‘progressive’ position on the question of Israel and Palestine, is in fact censorial and duplicitous. The Israeli left’s sanctimonious insistence in the face of the Jewish settlers of the West Bank that the settlements were illegal and that the proper borders of Israel are those of 1967, is nothing short of an ideological maneuver. The purpose of the maneuver is to obfuscate the fact that Israel itself is nothing short of a huge settlement project that was founded upon the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and the systematic expropriation of the land they left behind.'

Lama Abu Odeh, from the Foreword

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