March 05, 2012

Cornerstones of Israeli apartheid make for a one state solution

Here's a very useful article in Jadalliya which I just found via the Angry Arab News Service In it Noura Erakat explains why the singular legal regime necessitates one state solution by reference to the various laws and practices which allow for Jewish colonial settlement and the dispossession and segregation of the Palestinians:
The Law of Return (1950) defines a Jewish national as someone born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and is not a member of any other religion. Said nationality confers exclusive rights and privileges including the right to enter Israel at any time, to obtain citizenship at any time, and to live in Israel and/or the settlements in the West Bank. In practice, this distinction affords more rights to Jewish nationals living outside Israel who have never visited or cared to visit the State than it does the State’s own non-Jewish citizens. 
Israel’s efforts to maintain a Jewish majority drives its policy of forced population transfer throughout Mandate Palestine. Population transfer seeks to alter the demographic composition of an area by moving people into and/or out of the area. Specific components of the policy of population transfer amount to war crimes under the Rome Statute (arts. 7 and 8) and the Geneva Convention IV (arts. 49 and 147). The Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the former Commission on Human Rights has clearly defined population transfer as:
the movement of people as a consequence of political and/or economic processes in which the State Government or State-authorized agencies participate. These processes have a number of intended or unintended results that affect the human rights of the transferred population, as well as the inhabitants of an area into which settlers are transferred. (…) The State’s role may involve financial subsidies, planning, public information, military action, recruitment of settlers, legislation or other judicial action, and even the administration of justice.
This policy is as prevalent within the West Bank as it is within Israel. In both instances, it aims to facilitate the migration and settlement of Jewish nationals whilst ensuring their dominant and legal status at the expense of the rights of Palestinian Arabs in order to compel and/or enforce their forcible displacement. Said policy, together with other policies based on the distinction between Jewish nationals and non-Jewish nationals, specifically violates Articles II(c) and II(d) of the Apartheid Convention
Israel’s discriminatory land laws constitute a core component of the policy of population transfer. This litany of laws begins with the Absentee Property Law (1950), which authorized the State to establish a Custodian to confiscate the lands of those persons deemed absentees or present absentees. Absentees refers to those refugees who fled during the war and who were denied entry as a matter of fact. Similarly, present absentees refers to those Palestinians who fled their homes but remained within Israel, also known as internally displaced persons. They too were not permitted to lay claim to their homes and lands. Under the Absentee Property law, the Custodian transferred the lands to the Development Authority (DA) whose purpose was to “to work with relevant Government agencies to acquire and prepare lands for the benefit of newly arriving Jewish immigrants.” Under the law, the DA may transfer acquired land only to the State and the Jewish National Fund (JNF) to be used for the exclusive benefit of the “Jewish people.” Through this land law, Israel has transferred ninety-three percent of Palestinian lands owned or collectively held by Palestinians before 1948 into ‘Israel lands’ and cannot be challenged in court because it has been nationalized. Consider that Palestinian-Israelis who constitute one-fifth of the population use or control 3.4 percent of the land today. 
And she concludes:
Beyond appropriate legal regimes is a question of pragmatism. While two-state adherents emphasize the pragmatic nature of the two-state solution relative to the idealistic proponents of a single and democratic state, the facts on the ground demonstrate firstly, the inextricable population distribution of Palestinian Arab and Jewish populations. Indeed, the Gaza Strip may be the only territory where there exists a homogenous population. In light of this, achieving a two-state solution will not only necessitate land swaps but population transfers of Jewish and Palestinian populations as well. Such transfers should be opposed by the international community as they are likely to fuel accelerated ethnic cleansing policies akin to those seen in the former Yugoslavia. Advocating for equality among citizens of a single state is arguably more practical than is supporting the forced removal of ethnic populations aimed at achieveing homogeneous ethno-national entities. In a quickly shifting Middle East where citizenship, democracy, and plurality have gained increasing salience it is especially troubliing to advocate for reverse trends in Israel and the OPT. Not only is the two-state solution insufficient to treat Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, but it is impracticable as well. 
 I wonder if Norman Finkelstein has read it...

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