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Friday, April 13, 2012

Married to Another Man

by Ghada Karmi

I did actually read this just after Pappe's The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. They are very similar, but from slightly different perspectives. Pappe gives a lot of background on the Israeli failings and Karmi gives more background on Palestinians that is typically known or acknowledged.

Karmi discusses Arab peace overtures that are often overlooked or totally dismissed. She also touches on the issue of connection or association (or lack thereof) between Israelites of the Bible and Jews of today. A very interesting part of the book was the discussion of the various peace efforts- we rarely heard what Arabs offered or thought, so it was fascinating to read something other than the US/Israel filtered news. Finally, the thing that drew me in was the promised discussion of a one state solution.

One thing that I vaguely remember and couldn't find when I went back to look for it in the book was that Soviet Christians were let into Israel as Jews. That would be interesting to find more about. I knew about them going to remote areas in Peru and things and converting people to bring into the country to "combat the demographic threat".

The vicious cycle was alluded to- The US calls Israel a strategic interest in the region, but if Israel weren't there or tried to integrate, those problems the US deals with wouldn't be there.

We are conditioned to assume that Palestinians won't stop terror, won't come the the peace table, and Israel has no partner for peace and that's why negotiations stall and the conflict isn't solved. This book can help you understand the whole picture and why things tend to stall.

At the beginning of chapter 7, she lays out all the advantages of two states versus two that I have listed in the past about settlers not having to go anywhere and refugees and Jewish immigrants being able to all be citizens, everyone has access to holy sites, everyone has freedom of movement, etc. I really hadn't thought much about the type to state, but she really goes into detail on different one state models, which was very interesting.

A binational state would imply some degree of separation. This would apparently be more palatable, but she also suggests it could be a phase on the road to a secular democracy (one person-one vote). I know very little of the Belgian, Czech and Swiss models, but it is interesting how they blend these on state models to fit the needs of their population.

Palestinians have advocated for one state before the renewed push of the 90s or 2000s. At that time, Israel accused them of trying to commit genocide or the equivalent when Palestinians should have been commended (by the international community) for wanting to share versus desiring a fair solution where the invaders/colonizers were sent packing. I myself have said something like this. I like this Karmi :)

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