Ami Isseroff, an alumnus of Hashomer Hatzair in the US, who blogs from his home in Rehovot, Israel, is a partisan of a negotiated two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians. Toward this end, he is acerbic, even off-putting, in his passionate expression of inconvenient truths and of opinions that fearlessly defy the conventions of political correctness. I see him as often more provocative in his pronouncements than he needs to be. Still, I feel a certain kinship because I too am not PC in my views and do not conform to popular stereotypes.
It is possible that the following article is in part inspired by our recent private email exchange, in which I suggested that Ami write specifically about Jewish neighborhoods and communities that were lost to Arab attacks in the 1948 war. Characteristically, in the emails, he was finding things to argue with me about, even though we disagree on little. This pugnaciousness may come from the frustrations of decades of trying to get Jews, Arabs and others to embrace more reasonable and humane positions.
Is there an alternative to the two state solution?
Historically, several solutions have been proposed for resolving the Arab-Jewish conflict in the land of Israel (AKA Palestine). Each one has taken into account demographic considerations and no doubt each has been politically motivated: Zionist policy was to obtain a state that is primarily Jewish and democratic. A Jewish majority would be ensured by immigration of Jews from abroad. This entailed a partition of the land into Jewish and Arab states, or a Jewish state and areas controlled by Jordan and Egypt.
Following World War II, this became a necessity even without taking into account Arab nationalist claims, because the loss of six million Jews in the Holocaust meant that there could not be enough Jewish immigrants to maintain a decisive majority in all of the land West of the Jordan river. It soon became apparent as well, that explosive Arab population growth and perhaps significant immigration would eventually create an Arab majority between the (Jordan) river and the sea.
The Grand Mufti and the Arab states wanted to obtain a state in all of the land. That state would be Arab because all the Jews would be expelled or exterminated, or at least, Jewish immigration would be ended. To this end, the Mufti had apparently planned to build a death camp near Nablus.
The fact is, that not one Jew remained in the areas taken over by Arab armies in 1948. In Gush Etzion over 100 were massacred and the rest “permitted” to leave. In Hebron, no Jews remained. In the Jewish quarter of the old city of Jerusalem, Jews were ethnically cleansed by the Transjordan [Arab] Legion – conducted out of the Jewish Quarter by force.
Likewise, small Jewish communities around Jerusalem such as Atarot, Neve Yaakov and the Ophel (Silwan) had to be abandoned, as well as others like Kfar Darom in the south. Those who talk about “Arab” Jerusalem should remember that before 1948 substantial numbers of Jews lived in East Jerusalem. “Arab” Jerusalem existed for only 19 years and it was enforced by racist ethnic cleansing and racist immigration and land purchase policies.
The one state solution has never been abandoned by the Arab side. With the addition of millions of refugees who claim “right of return,” they reckon that they would have a majority in this state very soon. Faced with the prospect of losing the West Bank, some extremist Jews (not all Zionist, perhaps) have also taken up the cause of the “one state solution”. This would involve annexing the West Bank to Israel. … Click here to read his entire piece online.