Oct. 2, 2015
- Israelis and Palestinians: A Fundamental Difference in Outlook – Shlomo Avineri
Most Israelis view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a struggle between two national movements: the Jewish national movement – Zionism – and the Palestinian national movement. The internal logic of such a view leads to what is called the two-state solution.
According to the Palestinians’ view, however, this is not a conflict between two national movements but between one national movement (the Palestinian) and a colonial and imperialistic entity (Israel). According to the Palestinian view, the Jews are not a nation but a religious community, and as such not entitled to national self-determination. According to this view, the Palestinians see all of Israel – and not just the West Bank and Gaza – as analogous to Algeria: an Arab country out of which the foreign colonialists were ultimately expelled.
This is also the reason for the Palestinians’ refusal to accept Israel as the Jewish nation-state. At the end of the day, the Palestinian position views Israel as an illegitimate entity, sooner or later doomed to disappear. This is not just a matter of historical narrative: It has political implications for the here and now. If Israel is not a legitimate state, there is no ground for an end-of-conflict agreement based on compromise. The writer, professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, served as director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Ha’aretz)