Abunimah, Ali. ONE COUNTRY: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. 2006. Metropolitan Books. USA (revised edition to be published in 2010)

This proposal, by the founder of the Electronic Intifada, Electronic Iraq and Electronic Lebanon websites, is one of the most hopeful I have read. It deserves serious consideration by anyone concerned about this global hotspot – and about justice for the oppressed. A report of his 2010 speech in Victoria is also on bbcf.ca.

Abunimah grew up with his parents´ memories and history. They were evicted from their homes by Israelis in 1947–8. ´My mother remembers the day she left Lifta and my grandfather calmed his daughters: “Why are you crying? Why should you take anything with you? We are coming back in a few days. It will all be finished.” …they mounted the back of a rented truck and trundled off, never to return.´ The Nakba had begun; it ended with the forced exile of nearly one million people.

“So it was that my mother, the ´stranger´ [Ben-Gurion´s word] was gone from the home where she was born, and in her place and that of three–quarters of the Palestinian population dispersed in those terrible days, the State of Israel arose.”

The author says that many believe that the dwelling on memories and past history prevents reconciliation, but he is clear that the history of this exile is always at the centre of any argument about the legitimacy of Israel. But he goes on to say that peace must be based on how Palestinians and Israelis treat each other now.

He makes a strong case for a single state, the only way to resolve the civil conflict now raging and the continuing forced shrinking of what is called Palestine – a Swiss cheese of pockets surrounded and isolated by immense concrete walls. His history of the two groups and their relationship is solid and detailed right up to the present. Palestine is not a great place to live, but so it seems Israel is not either. Many are leaving and Germany has the fastest growing Jewish population in the world.

He draws on historic record and present surveys to show that most Palestinians want a secular democratic multi-ethnic and pluralistic society. The so–called 2–state solution has not worked. Why not try democracy? A new generation is growing up that wants reconciliation and peace and the future rests with them, a response “to accommodate the present reality of two deeply intertwined populations living on one small piece of land.”

He calls on Palestinians, “to refocus efforts to build a broad campaign based on universal principles, one that protests the repressive Israeli policies and mobilizes the worldwide support their cause does in fact enjoy. At the same time they must reach out to Israelis with an inclusive vision of future reconciliation based on real equality.”

In the end, to gain real security and peace in the region, Abunimah argues that neither side can survive in a mono–religious state; a single state with democracy, equality and pluralism is the only answer. Read this proposal and help it happen.

Amiry Suad  Amiry Suad

The internet makes photos like this available to the world: a Palestinian woman being brutally removed from her land & a Palestinian boy being arrested. Repression of Palestinians and brutalization of Israelis are a result of modern colonization. Yet Jews and Arabs lived together in peace for centuries, often protecting each other from enemies.

Filed under Ali Abuminah, Book Reviews