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The Only Democracy? » Victories for Democracy » Real Dialogue happening in the Israeli Knesset?

Real Dialogue happening in the Israeli Knesset?

By Jesse Bacon

Or at least in Foreign Policy magazine. Dimi Reider has a great article about far-right and far-left members of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. See if you can guess which person quoted is Likud speaker Reven Rivlin and which is Palestinian Israeli Member Ahmed Tibi.

mending the gaps within Israel should happen in the context of moving toward a one-state solution across the Green Line. ‘Barak, Livni, Peres and recently Netanyahu are not even talking about a real state for the Palestinians,; he sneers. ‘They’re talking about an autonomy with no army, borders, control over airspace or telecommunications.’

‘On the other hand, you have the basic fact that contrary to Barak’s slogan — ‘We’re here and they’re there’ — Jews and Arabs today live both here and there, on both sides of the Green line, especially in Jerusalem. Partitioning Jerusalem would lead to continuous bloodshed between segregated enclaves, like in Belfast some years ago. If there’s a threat to Jewish statehood, its less in a bi-national solution than in partitioning the land.’


I live in the same country with a people that have experienced a terrible tragedy, the worst crime of all history. . S”o I have every amount of empathy for Holocaust survivors.

Left: Reuven Rivlin; Right: Ahmed Tibi

If you haven’t guessed, the first quote critiquing the two state solution as it has been designed is Rivlin. And the real empathy with Holocaust survivors is Tibi, who is threatened with sanctions elsewhere in the article.

Reider also  documents the slide away from Israeli democracy,

A survey held in March found 56 percent of Jewish youths under 18 believe Arabs citizens should not be allowed to vote. Charges of treason are routinely hurled about both in the Knesset podium and in the parliamentary committees; a report by the Coalition against Racism in Israel found the current assembly of the Knesset to be the most racist in the parliament’s history, with a record number of bills directly targeting Arab citizens of Israel.

but sounds cautiously hopefully at the end of his article.

It appears that just as hostility and suspicion between Jews and Arabs is becoming unbearable, a radically different process is beginning to feel its way forward — but the question of which process will prevail in the short and long term remains wide open.

After the murders of four settlers as hopeless and diversionary direct talks begin, it’s nice to imagine a process that actually treats Israelis and Palestinians lives and voices as equals however longshot it seems now.

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JESSE BACON (Philadelphia) is a freelance activist and father. He has a Masters in teaching from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is an observant progressive Jew, and is trying to be a good ally for Palestinians and all dispossessed peoples, while staying true to the best traditions in Judaism. He visited Israel and Palestine in 1996, 2001, and 2002. He served for three years on the local steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, and one year on the board of Pursue the Peace in Seattle. Read his posts here.

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