ISRAEL, PALESTINE, AND THE JUDGEMENT OF SOLOMON: MUST THE LAND BE DIVIDED?

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by Justin Reynolds

Perhaps the most significant reaction to the Trump administration’s unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was that of Saeb Erekat, a veteran peace negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

‘[T]he two-state solution is over’, Erekat told the Israeli daily Haaretz. ‘Now is the time to transform the struggle for one-state with equal rights for everyone living in historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.’

It’s a vision with intuitive aesthetic and ethical appeal, proposing to stitch the frayed patchwork of Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem into a unitary state in which Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze and Bedouin would live under the same secular jurisdiction.Continue Reading

A PROMISE OF EVERYTHING AND NOTHING: THE BALFOUR DECLARATION 100 YEARS ON

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by Justin Reynolds

The Balfour Declaration carries the same incendiary charge as when it was first published a century ago this week.

For most Israelis, the short letter expressing British sympathy for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine continues to be venerated as the first formal recognition from one of the world’s great powers of the legitimacy of the Zionist enterprise.

For the Palestinians it still stands condemned as an act of imperialist chauvinism according to which, in the withering assessment of the (Jewish) writer Arthur Koestler, ‘one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third.’

The Declaration, so the conventional narrative goes, ignited a slow-burning process of settlement that had been edging forwards since the late 19th century.Continue Reading