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Feb 21 2014

Consociational democracy as a solution to the the Israel-Palestine conflict

While the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict may have been viable at one time, most serious observers are now abandoning it because it is clear that it and the never-ending ‘peace-process’ seem to be merely stalling tactics for time as Israel increases its steady encroachment of Palestinian land.

So what might be the solution to this seemingly intractable problem?

A simple majoritarian democratic system is unlikely to be acceptable to all parties. In his talk, Jeff Halper said that a ‘consociational democracy’ encompassing Israel, Gaza, and the occupied territories seemed the only way out of this mess.

What is a consociational democracy?

Consociational democracy can be found in countries that are deeply divided into distinct religious, ethnic, racial, or regional segments—conditions usually considered unfavourable for stable democracy. The two central characteristics of consociationalism are government by grand coalition and segmental autonomy. Government by grand coalition is the institutional setting in which representatives of all significant segments participate in common decision making with regard to common concerns, whereas decision making remains autonomous for all other issues.

Switzerland has been characterized as a consociational democracy since 1943, Belgium after World War I, Austria from 1945 to 1966, and the Netherlands from 1917 to 1967. Czechoslovakia was a consociational democracy from 1989 until its partition in 1993. Where consociationalism has ended, it often did so not because of its failure but because of its success: it worked so well that it was no longer needed. Whereas India since 1947, Colombia from 1958 to 1974, Malaysia from 1955, and South Africa since 1994 can be considered successes from a normative view, Cyprus and Lebanon’s experiments ended in civil war.

In general, such a system has four characteristics.

First there must be a government by coalition, as well as a second element of segmental autonomy, such as federal arrangements that allow for autonomy in policy fields (i.e., education policy for which responsibility lays with the German Länder, or states). Third, proportionality must prevail in the electoral system but also with regard to civil service appointments and the allocation of public funds. Finally, consociationalism also foresees a minority veto for the protection of vital minority interests.

This Wikipedia article provides more details about how power sharing works in such a system.

In the article by Miko Peled that I wrote about yesterday, he says that the current heightened and critical look at what is actually going on in Israel and rapidly growing support for the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) movement are helping to clarify the situation that the two-state solution is dead and new thinking needed.

The movement to boycott, divest and impose sanctions on Israel, BDS, is a form of dedicated, principled resistance that is non-violent and mirrors the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. BDS has had some successful campaigns that have reached millions around the world, from petitions to encourage performers to refrain from performing in Israel, to campaigns against companies that do business with Israel and the boycotting of Israeli products. The BDS campaign has gained several serious supporters like Bishop Desmond Tutu, author Alice Walker, rock star Roger Waters, and, most recently, cosmologist Stephen Hawking and filmmaker Mira Nair.

Further resistance has developed in the U.S., as in other countries in the West, in the form of student organizations. Probably the best known in the U.S. is Students for Justice in Palestine, SJP. Over the last five years or so, this group and others similar to it, have spread across universities and colleges and have made a tremendous contribution to the discussion on the issue. With regular events, protests, and cultural gatherings, such groups are exposing thousands of university students to the Palestinian cause, while often having to face fierce opposition from university administrators and pro-Israeli groups. SJP also has brought about the passing of divestment resolutions in Student Senates on several campuses around the U.S. and Canada.

As always, when the victims of oppression decide to rise against their oppressors, it will fill the oppressors with fear. Yet would we have acted differently? My father said when asked about terrorism: “When a smaller nation is occupied by a larger power, terrorism is the only means at their disposal.” This may or may not be true, but what is certain is that Palestinian resistance will not stop until Palestine is free and democratic.

Peled actually sounds hopeful of a lasting, peaceful solution and that it has to take the form of a one-state solution.

A clear and realistic solution to the tragedy in Palestine exists. It is a free and democratic state in all of Mandate Palestine, with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians, with clearly stated protections for the rights of minorities.

Those who benefit from the status quo will make one of the following claims:

  1. That a solution can never be found because Jews and Arabs could never live together peacefully in one state. This is aligned with the Zionist claim mentioned earlier that Arab hatred is incurable.
  2. That discussing the merits of a single democracy is pointless, since the international consensus is for a two-state solution

Both claims are false, misleading, and completely disingenuous.

Prior to the establishment of the Zionist movement, Jewish communities in the Arab world fared far better than Jewish communities in the Christian west.

As for the two-state solution, it was adopted by the state of Israel in 1993 as a strategy whose goal is to strengthen the Israeli hold on all of Palestine. It began with the Oslo accords that led to nothing and it continues to this day with talks about talks that everyone knows are safe for Israel because they will lead to nothing. Israel’s deputy defense minister Danny Danon said as much on June 6, 2013 in an interview in The Times of Israel: “Netanyahu calls for peace talks despite his government’s opposition because he knows Israel will never arrive at an agreement with the Palestinians.” He went on to say that if “there will be a move to promote a two-state solution, you will see forces blocking it within the party and the government.”

The reality is that there is no longer a possibility for a Palestinian state to be established on the West Bank and, as long as the discussion of a two-state solution continues, Israel is free to ignore Palestinian rights and international calls for justice.

Israel has created one state on all of Mandate Palestine, and while this may be a democratic state for Jews, the reality is that close to half the population within the land of Israel is not Jewish. Today Israel governs about 6.5 million people who are Israeli Jews, and 6 million Palestinian-Arabs. The Palestinians, or the “non-Jews” as they are typically categorized in Israel, live under a different set of laws. Israeli Jews enjoy the rule of law and democracy. Palestinians who are Israeli citizens live under a growing number of discriminatory laws (for a list see http://adalah.org/eng/Israeli-Discriminatory-Law-Database), and the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have no laws that protect them. They are at the mercy of the Israeli military and other security branches.

Israel is not a homogenous state, it is not a Jewish state, and it is not a democracy.

The Zionist claim to exclusivity can no longer be justified. The world’s indulgence of the Zionist state, largely due to a combination of belief in biblical promises and guilt for the holocaust, needs to end. If anything is to be learned from the history of the Jewish people, both ancient and modern, it is that the application of justice and equal rights is the best guarantee to people’s safety and well being.

Israelis, being the children of colonizers and immigrants have become natives and Palestine is now their homeland too. This is not true for Jews in other countries, who have no right to claim Palestine. While Palestinians will certainly not accept Israelis as masters, one may safely assume they will accept them as equals.

But the past cannot be erased. The bi-national democracy must recognize the right of refugees to return and ensure the release all political prisoners. This new political reality will also move Israelis beyond their current state of fear and militarism. This will mean the end of Zionist dominance in Palestine, the end of the so-called Jewish state, and the beginning of a new era with endless possibilities for both Israelis and Palestinians.

I think a single state with a bi-national, consociational democratic system is the way to go. There seems to be no other plan that has any chance of working.

48 comments

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  1. 1
    colnago80

    But the past cannot be erased. The bi-national democracy must recognize the right of refugees to return and ensure the release all political prisoners.

    The good professor advocates the same demand that has prevented the 2 state solution, namely the return of occupants of refugee camps to Israel. It ain’t going to happen. No government of Israel will accept such a demand and wouldn’t last a day in office if it did.

    The fact is that the good professor greatly overstates the influence of the BDS, which, despite the panic shown in some quarters in Israel, has been totally ineffective in having the slightest effect in convincing major investors to divest from Israel. In fact, the brouhaha over Sodastream by the BDS has backfired as visitors to the plant on the West Bank come away convinced that, far from being a negative relative to the Palestinians, it is a net positive for them.

    http://goo.gl/Jz4haa

    This “solution” has proved to be a total failure in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. What makes the good professor think it would work in Palestine.

  2. 2
    doublereed

    Prior to the establishment of the Zionist movement, Jewish communities in the Arab world fared far better than Jewish communities in the Christian west.

    I think this is an important point that seems to be never emphasized. It’s not as if Jews and Arabs are incapable of living in peace with each other. This is a relatively new animosity between Jews and Arabs, and it’s the sort of thing that can dissipate given the right conditions.

    I guess I should learn more about what a “consociational democracy” is.

    This “solution” has proved to be a total failure in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. What makes the good professor think it would work in Palestine.

    Well it’s worked in other places. And the “good professor” says this right in the last line: “There seems to be no other plan that has any chance of working.”

  3. 3
    Friendly

    Where consociationalism has ended, it often did so not because of its failure but because of its success: it worked so well that it was no longer needed.

    Umm…it failed in Czehoslovakia; there’s no other way to put it. They tried it for four years and then the country split apart. Cyprus didn’t even get to that stage; the Greek Cypriots voted down a consociation agreement. Western Sahara can’t get to that stage either, because neither side will agree on who would even be eligible to vote; in the meantime, Morocco has pretty well achieved Israel’s goal of walling off all of the parts of the country that it wants. Is there a formula for consociation that would make a single state for Israelis and Palestinians viable at least long enough to allow animosities to die down? I don’t know. But the status quo is not acceptable and and resumed wars and intifadas are not acceptable; at this stage, anything that breaks the current cycles of oppression and violence should at least be attempted.

  4. 4
    colnago80

    Re doublereed @ #2

    Singham claims it worked in Czechoslovakia. Since that country has split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, I would opine that the claim that it worked there is a considerable stretch. Given the current push for Scottish independence, it may not be working too well in Great Britain either.

    However, there is another problem with Singham’s proposed solution. The Arab minority in Israel isn’t monolithic and is divided into several factions, as evidenced by the fact that there are 3 Arab parties represented in the Knesset. Not all the Arabs in Israel are Palestinians; there are Druze and Bedouins who do not identify themselves with the Palestinians. Even the Palestinian minority is split between Christians and Muslims who are beginning to pull apart in their affiliations. In addition, ultra-orthodox Jews don’t identify with the rest of the Jews in Israel. Thus, Singham’s proposal would end up looking like Lebanon rather then just two factions. It sounds good but the example in Lebanon does not provide confidence in its workability.

  5. 5
    Lassi Hippeläinen

    Once upon a time I had a strange idea: divide country with money, not borders. In the end power boils down to economics and money. Borders are just an inconvenience to maintain economic divisions. In modern times accounting can take care of it in real time even without physical borders. Two or more governments can coexist within the same geographical area, as long as they can agree about essential infrastructure.

    The idea is that each government issues its own currency. The people are free to decide which currency they do business with. Agnostics can accept both. Each government collects the taxes from transactions using its currency. People can vote with money, i.e. accepting or rejecting currencies. They can even form single currency ghettoes if they want.

    If someone wants to expand the thought experiment, you’re welcome.

  6. 6
    doublereed

    Er… the Jews in Israel isn’t monolithic either. I don’t think the idea is break apart into monolithic groupings. It’s to reduce animosity between the groups while granting human rights to the Palestinians.

    Again, Mano isn’t saying it’s perfect. He’s saying it’s the best we got. The argument against that isn’t pointing out problems with it, but suggesting a better solution. Do you think the two-state solution would be more viable? Why?

  7. 7
    colnago80

    Re doublereed @ #6

    It may be that this is one of those problems where there is no solution. In that case, the issue is not to find a solution but to manage the existing situation. Oddly enough, the Sodastream enterprise may point the way to managing the problem. Here, the various factions have found it to their advantage to put aside their animosities and pull in the same direction. Maybe what is needed in more Sodastreams.

  8. 8
    closedmyaccount

    most serious observers are now abandoning it because it is clear that it and the never-ending ‘peace-process’ seem to be merely stalling tactics for time as Israel increases its steady encroachment of Palestinian land.

    No, just no. Most serious, and by that I mean realistic, observers have never been promoting a 2-state solution in the way the West wants to have it, because they understood that one of the parties involved would under no circumstances settle with less than a 1-state solution. And history proved them right. Decade, after decade, after decade.

    I find Westerners’ obsession with Israel and ‘Palestine’ highly suspicious. Not only is it not their business what happens down there, but any of their efforts towards that conflict have shown to be and fruitless all along. If that failure was based on naivety, or malevolence, is ultimately irrelevant. It’s time to let go.

  9. 9
    doublereed

    What? The existing situation is unacceptable with or without sodastreams. The fracturing of Palestinian areas, the denial of their human rights, the inevitable abuse at racist checkpoints, the ‘ethnocracy’ aspects of Israeli politics. Sodastream does not address these, and these are the things that unacceptable.

    There have been plenty of enterprises in the region that involve diverse civilians working together. It’s not like Sodastream is the first. If all you’re suggesting is the status quo, then please give more details on how this would address the fundamental issues at stake.

  10. 10
    closedmyaccount

    BTW: Only by the rhetorics of the article, you already know who you’re actually dealing with…

    Israel is not a homogenous state, it is not a Jewish state, and it is not a democracy.

    It is a state for the jews by its own self-understanding, and it is a democracy. And none of the 2 have made it homogenous. And I don’t like the imperialistic undertone of the author either.

    The Zionist claim to exclusivity can no longer be justified. The world’s indulgence of the Zionist state, largely due to a combination of belief in biblical promises and guilt for the holocaust, needs to end. If anything is to be learned from the history of the Jewish people[...]

    LOL These maggots just can’t help themselves, can they ? If the history of the jewish people teaches you anything, it’s that you don’t take commands, or even “advice”, from those who secretly desire nothing more than seeing you dead.

  11. 11
    Dunc

    Given the current push for Scottish independence, it may not be working too well in Great Britain either.

    The UK is not a consociational democracy.

  12. 12
    nrdo

    Consociational democracy is a nice idea but I think I’m skeptical of it at the moment because of Gaza. It’s rather funny how the author of the article just glosses over the fact that Gaza is currently controlled by a faction that is a lot further from the “live together in peace” idea than Israel and the PA are.

    I do think that a “Middle East Union” idea patterned after the EU might work. Palestine becomes technically sovereign. A central representative body elected proportionally is charged with issues such as controlling peacekeepers on the Palestinian state’s borders and bringing Gaza back into the fold through gradual political pressure and economic incentives. This arrangement also opens up the possibility of bringing Egypt into the union, since many Palestinians actually come from there, and Egypt already shares some De facto responsibility for Gaza.

  13. 13
    nrdo

    *I would also add that there would definitely be a need for a human rights charter that protects the minority rights of Jews who want to stay in Palestine and retain Israeli citizenship and Palestinians who want to live in Israel while retaining Palestinian citizenship. There’s no reason why Israel and Palestine shouldn’t be able to to offer citizenship to their respective diasporas.

  14. 14
    colnago80

    Re Dunc

    Effectively it is because of Devolution where the Scottish Parliament assumed most of the responsibility for Scotland.

  15. 15
    colnago80

    Re Schlumbumbi @ #10

    What’s really behind the push for a solution to the Palestinian/Israel problem is the quaint notion that somehow it would have some effect on stability in the Arab World. I have a flash for the would be peacemakers. If Messrs Netanyahu, Haniyeh, and Abbas signed a peace treaty tomorrow morning, it would have not the slightest effect on the situation in Iraq, Syria, or Lebanon. It would not have the slightest effect on Iran’s push for nuclear weapons. In fact, Haniyeh and Abbas would go on the endangered list as Iran would be looking to cancel their tickets.

    The most destabilizing situation in the Arab World today is the Sunni/Shiite struggle in Syria, which threatens to set of a Middle East wide religious war reminiscent of the 30 Years war between Catholics and Protestants in Central Europe in the 17th century, except that the disputants would have far better weapons then did Gustavus Adolphus, Count Tilly, and Albrecht von Wallenstein.

  16. 16
    doublereed

    Uhm. No, I’m pretty sure what’s behind the push for a solution is the dehumanizing treatment of the Palestinians.

  17. 17
    wtfwhateverd00d

    As so many of these threads are, very educational.

    The notion of consociationalism is certainly intriguing if not easy to spell. The two linked articles though certainly provide a lot of criticism that tempers any hope this could work.

    Well it’s worked in other places. And the “good professor” says this right in the last line: “There seems to be no other plan that has any chance of working.”

    Our good professor has made it clear he is not a neutral observer.

    I tend to think strong fences make good neighbors and add to that extensive foreign trade, a fast Internet, and robust economies tears down enmity.

    Cue Sting

  18. 18
    colnago80

    Re doublereed @ #16

    What’s behind the push for a solution in the Western governments is keeping the flow of oil moving from the Middle East to the West. If it were not for the oil, nobody outside the area would give a flying f*ck for the Palestinians or anything else going on in the area.

    Interestingly enough, as a corollary to Schlumbumbi’s comments, back in the 1960s, the Irish writer and UN mediator Conor Cruise O’Brien came to the conclusion that the best approach in the Middle East was to let ‘em fight it out and when they got tired of fighting, then step in with peace proposals.

  19. 19
    Friendly

    Maybe what is needed in more Sodastreams.

    I tend to think strong fences make good neighbors and add to that extensive foreign trade, a fast Internet, and robust economies tears down enmity.

    So long as them coloreds work for us and otherwise keep to themselves away from decent white families, we might be able to get along real good. Leastways until we needs us some more space for…pretty much anything. Then they might have to move along to some other place we don’t want so bad yet. Now that I think of it, It’s prolly better for everybody if them coloreds relocate to the country next door; the well-behaved ones who know their place can still come work here if they want, and we can have us a nice genteel society on all the land that oughta belong to us anyway without folks stirrin’ up so much trouble.

  20. 20
    Friendly

    If it were not for the oil, nobody outside the area would give a flying f*ck for the Palestinians or anything else going on in the area.

    Which is why the UN and Western governments completely ignored the plight of the people of East Timor and did absolutely nothing to help them establish their own state. They are never ever motivated by humanitarian concerns about oppressed stateless people.

  21. 21
    Pierce R. Butler

    PalestIsrael as the next Switzerland? I dunno…

  22. 22
    wtfwhateverd00d

    @Friendly, I disagree with you entirely, and I think your bigotry against African Americans is appalling. No, make that disgusting.

    It’s 2014, btw, and trade with China, Russia, Vietnam, Mexico, has clearly made the world a safer place, a more prosperous and healthier place, and a more stable place for everyone.

    It’s one of the places where Free Trade policies have truly paid off.

    Safe borders, Tourism, Improved Economies, Large Foreign Trade, Vast Internet, Beyonce — that way leads to peace.

  23. 23
    Friendly

    back in the 1960s, the Irish writer and UN mediator Conor Cruise O’Brien came to the conclusion that the best approach in the Middle East was to let ‘em fight it out and when they got tired of fighting, then step in with peace proposals.

    With the two sides being as equally well armed as they are, a long stalemated war leading to fatigue and willingness to compromise is easy to envision. Just look at how Israel’s advances are immediately checked and its army suffers terrible casualties every single time it advances into Palestinian areas! Sounds like a wonderful idea.

  24. 24
    Friendly

    @wtf: Did your “bitter sarcasm” detector fail? Or are you just willing yourself not to see that the “trade” and “business” that Israelis engage in with Palestinians mostly involves Israelis as managers and controllers of workspaces and Palestinians as travel-restricted and freely evictable underclass labor? How does the vast majority of Israeli “business arrangements” with Palestinians *not* constitute elements of a plantation society? But my objection to people being exploited based on their ethnicity makes *me* a racist?? That’s rich.

  25. 25
    wtfwhateverd00d

    You wrote that crap about slavery, I didn’t. Don’t pin your abusive language on others by calling it “ironic” or “hipster sarcasm” or “snark”.

    There is no reason in the world to converse with someone who would such language to distort someone else’s viewpoint.

    I can only assume your racism reflects your inner beliefs, I know it has nothing to do with mine.

    When you want a rational responsible conversation, you will act like a rational responsible adult.

  26. 26
    colnago80

    Re Friendly @ #19

    This is a preposterous argument. The Palestinians working at that enterprise are paid the same salaries and benefits as Israelis working there, hardly a comparison with the slave plantations in the American South prior to the Civil War. Hardly slave labor. I don’t see the PA stomping up and down demanding that those Palestinians cease and desist from such employment.

  27. 27
    Friendly

    You wrote that crap about slavery, I didn’t.

    “Slavery”? The separatist and exploitative attitude I used for my analogy was prevalent in the U.S., and not just in the South, long after the end of slavery. Many plantations endured even when they were worked “voluntarily” by sharecroppers.

    Don’t pin your abusive language on others by calling it “ironic” or “hipster sarcasm” or “snark”.

    What, exactly, was “abusive” about my language? I used the language of 1880s Mississippi — without including the “n” word or any profanities, I’ll add — to make a point about the Middle East in the 2010s. I guess in your world, if I’m trying to make a comparison between sexism in 1950s America and sexism in India today, I shouldn’t write a paragraph in which a Bollywood producer talks like a chauvinist pig version of Don Draper, because that somehow makes me a chauvinist pig as well?

    The Palestinians working at that enterprise are paid the same salaries and benefits as Israelis working there…

    I don’t know how long that’s been true at the Sodastream facility, but it wasn’t until an Israeli High Court decision of last June that Israeli minimum wages and benefits were extended to all West Bank factories.

    I don’t see the PA stomping up and down demanding that those Palestinians cease and desist from such employment.

    Regardless of how the PA feels about Palestinians working in Israeli plants, given that Israel makes it as difficult as they do for Palestinians to import the raw materials needed to build and run their own factories, there aren’t many alternatives for the PA to point their people to even if they wanted to, now are there?

    When you want a rational responsible conversation, you will act like a rational responsible adult.

    Has this comment been rational and responsible enough for you? Or is it insufficiently pro-Israel to qualify as either?

  28. 28
    wtfwhateverd00d

    You basically took that bigoted language and put that in my mouth and colnago80′s mouth implying we were bigots.

    This is a tactic used to distort and smear I commonly find on websites, usually by people who claim they are some sort of progressive but just don’t hold the progressive value of not distorting the speech or ideas or values of people they disagree with.

    It’s okay though for them to distort and smear others because they know their hearts are in the right place.

    Honorable people would acknowledge their mistakes and apologize for them, not ignore nor rationalize them.

    In this thread at least you have disqualified yourself as someone worthy of any response other than my back. Maybe we’ll talk in some other thread.

  29. 29
    readysf

    The behavior of Israeli Jews towards Palestinians is inexcusable. They steal private property with government approval. The settler-colonists are provided with municipal services, so that this is obvious part of a colonization plan. The new Zionists are increasingly religious zealots, and inspired by settler-induced racism.

    Of course Palestinians have the right to their stolen property, and this includes the right to return! But, all rights have a market value, and it is Israels responsibility to negotiate this.

    Being pro Israel now requires supporting BDS, as feedback to the Israel govt. Continued unconditional support of Israel is now anti Israel.

  30. 30
    Friendly

    @wtf: It was never my intention to ascribe that speech to you or colnag80 or to imply that you were bigots, much less outright call you a bigot as you’ve done to me, thank you very much. I was, however, suggesting that the kinds of arguments that you and he are advancing (about how “business” and “trade” between two groups who are vastly inequal in power is the way forward to their “mutual peace and properity”) have been made before by people who *are* bigots, with results that haven’t been very beneficial for the group with less power, and that therefore they might not be as good or persuasive arguments as you might think.

    Maybe we’ll talk in some other thread.

    Or maybe I’ll try to talk and you’ll spit on me in response again. But whatever.

  31. 31
    readysf

    The other big change is that more viewpoints are now coming into the mix.

    The US Iran policy now has Iranian Americans participating, the Mideast policy has Arab and Muslim American voices. The best show on CNN is Fareed Zakaria, not that old ex-Jerusalem Post goat Wolf Blitzer.

    Until now, most policymakers were European Americans, susceptible to Holocaust guilt. Try explaining that to a second generation Asian American! Or, to a Latino Catholic. Israel is increasingly seen as just another country, albeit one that has its Lobby mess with our interests, and get us into wars.

    AIPAC and its cohorts have funded think tanks, bought politicians, bullied Congress and made sure that the only journalists that survived said the right things. That era is thankfully over. Tom Friedman, Avi Shavit, Max Blumenthal, MJ Rosenberg are all Jews that are revolted at how the Israeli government is hijacking Judaism to justify its bad behavior.

  32. 32
    colnago80

    Re Friendly @ #27

    Regardless of how the PA feels about Palestinians working in Israeli plants, given that Israel makes it as difficult as they do for Palestinians to import the raw materials needed to build and run their own factories, there aren’t many alternatives for the PA to point their people to even if they wanted to, now are there?

    Those restrictions apply to the Gaza Strip and are imposed because when the Government of Israel allowed cement to be imported, the Hamas terrorist government used it to build tunnels under the border fence to facilitate terrorist attacks and kidnappings of Israeli soldiers instead of building infrastructure.

    I don’t know how long that’s been true at the Sodastream facility, but it wasn’t until an Israeli High Court decision of last June that Israeli minimum wages and benefits were extended to all West Bank factories.

    AFAIK, factories and other enterprises owned by Palestinians in the West Bank are not subject to the same wage and benefit laws. It only applies to Israeli owned enterprises. I believe that the current management of the Sodastream has operated in this fashion since they took over the operation of the plant.

    Re readysf @ #29

    Of course Palestinians have the right to their stolen property, and this includes the right to return! But, all rights have a market value, and it is Israels responsibility to negotiate this.

    How about the Jews who were expelled from various Arab countries such as Iraq? I have seen no indication that the Arab countries from which they were expelled are prepared to reimburse them for their lost property. Apparently, in the world of Israel bashers like readysf, only Palestinians are entitled to reimbursement. Oh and by the way, Israel should be prepared to resettle inhabitants of refugee camps in Israel about the time that the US Government is prepared to return New York City to Native Americans whose ancestors were expelled.

  33. 33
    readysf

    Re Colnago #32

    Of course Jews displaced from Arab countries have a case as well! But we are talking about Israel the country here. Why try and conflate Jews with Israel?

    So, please focus on Israel! Not only are we directly underwriting and enabling their bad behavior against the Palestinians, we are allowing their lobbies to corrupt our democracy.

  34. 34
    colnago80

    Re readyksf

    Of course Jews displaced from Arab countries have a case as well! But we are talking about Israel the country here. Why try and conflate Jews with Israel?

    The answer is because most of the Jews expelled from Arab countries are currently living in Israel.

  35. 35
    readysf

    Well colango, the displaced Jews from Arab countries in israel can take up their cases as they wish, just as displaced Muslims from Spain or Indians from California. this is an Israeli govt internal issue.

    What does that have to do with the behavior of the country of Israel towards the Palestinians?? You know, the bad behavior we are underwriting?

  36. 36
    colnago80

    Re readysf @ #35

    I am reminded of a talkback on the Ynet news site relative to a complaint by Knesset member Hanin Zoabi before the Israeli Supreme Court in which she claimed that she was being oppressed. The talkback in question came from someone in Syria who suggest that she relocate in that country where she would discover what oppression was all about.

    I have often suggested that the Government of Israel should take a page out of the Hafaz/Bashar Assad playbook and apply Hama rules to the terrorists in the Gaza Strip. That would give Israel bashers like readysf something to really whine about.

  37. 37
    readysf

    Colnago80, I am NOT an Israel basher! You are welcome to descend to epithets when you run out of bad arguments, but baloney is baloney.

    I am a supporter of Israel, as the sole bright spot in the Mideast. I think it has the potential to be a Singapore in the region. So, its self-destructive behavior needs to be highlighted so that it can be corrected. Pretending that all is OK is what is really anti-Israel. You are the Israel basher, not me!

    This is precisely the kind of nonsense that we have all put up with for too long. People like colnago need to be confronted for their rote unimaginative screeds.

  38. 38
    David Marjanović

    Singham claims it worked in Czechoslovakia. Since that country has split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, I would opine that the claim that it worked there is a considerable stretch. Given the current push for Scottish independence, it may not be working too well in Great Britain either.

    Depends on your criteria for “it works”. If peace, security and personal freedom are criteria, both of these examples are stellar successes.

    Maybe the only way to have a 2-state solution is to have a 1-state solution first. *shrug*

    AIPAC and its cohorts have funded think tanks, bought politicians, bullied Congress and made sure that the only journalists that survived said the right things.

    AIPAC isn’t operating in a vacuum, you know. Don’t forget the tens of millions of American fundamentalist Christians who want to make Jesus come back and believe this is only possible if the state of Israel exists.

    Oh and by the way, Israel should be prepared to resettle inhabitants of refugee camps in Israel about the time that the US Government is prepared to return New York City to Native Americans whose ancestors were expelled.

    Tu quoque is a logical fallacy.

    I have often suggested that the Government of Israel should take a page out of the Hafaz/Bashar Assad playbook and apply Hama rules to the terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

    You are an incredible asshole.

    You’re willing to have people killed just to spite somebody.

    You are an incredible asshole.

  39. 39
    Marcus Ranum

    I find Westerners’ obsession with Israel and ‘Palestine’ highly suspicious.

    I find westerners’ obsession with Rwanda, Kosovo, and East Timor highly suspicious. No, wait, I don’t.

  40. 40
    readysf

    Re Marcus #39

    The problem is just the opposite, we are not sufficiently focused on Israel/Palestine and bullied into accepting positions handed down by others, such as AIPAC.

    Raise questions on first principals, and risk being called anti Semitic. If criticizing Israel is anti Semitic, then most Israelis are anti Semitic!

    Zero tolerance for this crap.

  41. 41
    colnago80

    Re readysf @ #40

    Actually, we are far too focused on Israel/Palestine. That particular problem is pretty small beer compared what what is going on in Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq, all of which have nothing to do with Israel/Palestine. As I have stated repeatedly here and elsewhere, if Netanyahu, Abbas, and Haniyeh signed a peace treaty tomorrow morning, the situation in those other countries would be influenced not in the slightest.

  42. 42
    readysf

    Israel/Palestine has corrupted our body politic. If it is really such a small problem, why not solve it?

    If so small, why is Kerry spending so much time there, instead of (say) China?

    Every US president puts it high on the list (and no, its not all about oil). It is about AIPAC, Israeli colonization plans and nuclear blackmail, and lots of other things.

    No, not small!

  43. 43
    colnago80

    Re readysf @ #42

    I am afraid we will have to agree to disagree, hopefully not disagreeably. In terms of its effects on the rest of the region, the Sunni/Shiite war currently underway in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq is far more serious then the Israel/Palestine issue. The Israel/Palestinian issue may be described as hopeless but not serious.

  44. 44
    readysf

    The Israel/Palestinian issue is intensely serious.

    The coverup by AIPAC and its cohorts is over, and the disinformation wall has fallen. It will take some time to soak in, but once they wake up Americans will (and should) be outraged at the scandalous swindle.

  45. 45
    Dunc

    Re Dunc

    Effectively it is because of Devolution where the Scottish Parliament assumed most of the responsibility for Scotland.

    I live in Scotland. You are wrong. Firstly, the Scottish Parliament has extremely limited powers and certainly does not have “most of the responsibility for Scotland”, and secondly, there are a number of other characteristics required for a consociational democracy which are not in place in the UK.

  46. 46
    colnago80

    Re readysf @ #44

    The Israel/Palestinian issue is intensely serious.

    It may be serious for the participants but for the rest of the world, its seriousness pales into insignificance compared with the situation in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. It is also insignificant compared with a brewing crisis unfolding in the Far East between China and Japan, China and Vietnam, and China and India.

  47. 47
    ildi

    Friendly: wtfwhateverd00d is trolling, as usual.

  48. 48
    tabletto

    Who are the real heirs of Palestine? Amazing story behind the link.

    http://www.kotipetripaavola.com/palestine.html

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