Monday, August 10, 2009
Two States for Two Peoples - the Consensus Plan of the Left
By Steven Plaut
I realize it is hard to believe, but there is a new peace program that has
been proposed based on the principle of "Two States for Two People," and this
time it has received the near-unanimous support from the parties of the Israeli
Left. Among those celebrating the breakthrough and endorsing the plan are
"Peace Now," Betselem, Physicians for Human Rights, Meretz, Yesh Gvul and
several other peace organizations. Due to the massive support for the
proposal, a number of European governments have decided to provide generous
funding for all groups signing up as endorsing the proposal.
The new "Two States for Two Peoples" proposal is very simple. The Gaza
Strip, the West Bank, and large areas of Israel-within-the-Green-Line (that is,
inside Israel's pre-1967 borders) will become a new Palestinian Arab state. At
the same time the Jews will be allowed to retain their own Jewish state in
For those not familiar with it, Mini-Israel is a miniature city, similar to
the Madoradam in Holland and other mini-cities in European countries. Located
in a beautiful park near Latrun in the Ayalon Valley, with easy access to and
from the soon-to-be-renamed Yassir Arafat Airport in Lod, it is a most exciting
tourist attraction. First opened in 2002, it features over 350 beautifully
crafted exact-replica models, of historical, religious, archeological and
modern sites. Mini-Israel presents you with a one of a kind introduction to
Israel, all in one magical site. Everything is to exact scale, where each 4
centimeters represent a full meter of pre-liberation Palestinian territory.
The sites in Mini-Israel dipict different traditions and the ethnic groups
associated with them, such as different Muslim cultural groups, Jewish, and
Christians living in the country, but also Druze, Beduin and others.
"The idea is simply outstanding," declares Yossi Beilin. "After all,
Mini-Israel captures all aspects of Israel and all of its cultures and
traditions. There are religious and secular themes, arts, music, archeology,
antiquities, and so."
"We have been insisting for decades that land has no real importance in the
modern world, "adds Shulamit Aloni. "Under this peace plan, we prove that
Israelis may preserve all aspects of their heritage without occupying lands
that properly belong to others."
Mini-Israel has everything Jews need to operate their own state. Food and
supplies are available in the souvenir shop. The grounds contain 30,000
figures, 500 animals, plants and 15,000 real trees, 4,700 cars, 100 motorbikes,
14 trains, 3 helicopters, 32 aircraft, 175 ships and 230 trucks. All trees are
real bonsai cultivated and planted by the Agronoy nursery . The park is loosely
shaped like a star of David with each of the six triangles representing an area
or city: Jerusalem; Tel Aviv; Haifa; Galil; Negev; Center. "That of course
will have to be changed," insists Zahava Galon from Meretz. "After all it
would be insensitive to the Arab citizens of Mini-Israel if they have to live
in a park shaped like a Star of David."
The underlying principle for achieving peace with this plan is based on
egalitarian reciprocity. All Jews will be expelled from the area to become
Palestine, while any Arabs interested will be allowed to exercise a right of
return to Mini-Israel. Mini-Israel will be expected to be a state for all its
citizens and so there will be no singing of Hatikva in it and no public display
of Jewish emblems and symbols.
The proposal has been met with enthusiastic support from most parts of the
Israeli Left. Progressive groups of Jews in other countries, like J Street and
the Religious Action Center of the Reform synagogue movement, have come out in
enthusiastic support. They have urged President Obama and Secretary of State
Clinton to adopt this version of the "Two States for Two Peoples" plan to be
officially supported by American policy.
The only opposition to the proposal being heard is coming from some groups
who believe that the plan still down not go far enough. "The proposal still
does not resolve the fundamental injustice of Mini-Israel being an apartheid
regime in which Arabs are denied equal rights," insists Uri Avnery. Several
editorials in Haaretz agree. At the initiative of the Departments of Political
Science at Ben Gurion University and Tel Aviv University, 637 professors and
lecturers at Israeli universities have signed a statement demanding that
Mini-Israel be boycotted because not all the signs there are in Arabic, and
also calling on the EU and the US to intervene in the conflict and send troops
to Mini-Israel to prevent the Jews there from charging Arabs admission fees for
Update (March 2013):
Right after the new plan for "Two States for Two Peoples" was implemented,
York University was the first of 27 universities in North America to hold
scholarly conferences on injustice and discrimination in Mini-Israel. The
government of Mini-Israel had put up a security wall to keep out visitors who
had not bought tickets. "Tear down this Apartheid Wall," screamed members of
the "Anarchists against the Wall" and the International Solidarity Movement.
Taayoush, HADASH and Gush Shalom held rallies in Rabin Square, the small one in
Mini-Israel of course, not the big one in liberated Palestine. Under the
banners "We now have a Peace Partner," and "It won't be Over until We
Negotiate," they protested against talk in the Mini-Knesset of Mini-Israel
about retaliating against Palestine for the mortars and rockets that were fired
into Mini-Israel from nearby liberated Latrun.
The Ayatollah of Liberated Palestine responded to an emergency request from
residents of Mini-Israel to be allowed safe passage to the Arafat Airport in
Lod to fly overseas. "Use your own airport in Mini-Israel," came the
perfunctory response. "Just don't fly over our air space."