Monday, June 18 , 2018, 7:09 pm | Fair 68º


Karen Telleen-Lawton: What Does Netanyahu Re-election Mean for Two-State Solution?

So now we have it. Benjamin Netanyahu will keep his post after a late-election vow that a Palestinian nation will never be formed while he is Israel’s prime minister.

The statement, from which he flipped after the election but may have flopped back since, comes as a shock to those who still held out hope for a two-state solution, but at least now his words match the “facts on the ground.” And our tax dollars make this economically possible.

Israel has long supported a two-state solution to the “Arab problem.” But increasingly in the last decade they have built illegal towns and cities in Palestinian territory, which some say is to make sure two states could not exist.

Unfortunately, Israeli politicians can’t tolerate the one-state solution either. Even today, fearing Palestinians’ greater birthrate, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman advocates the “transfer” of “Israeli Arabs” out of Israel and into the West Bank.

What policy does the Palestinian transfer idea call to mind?

Lieberman also calls for the beheading of disloyal Arab citizens of Israel. “Those who are against us, there’s nothing to be done — we need to pick up an ax and cut off his head,” he told an Israeli audience on March 8. What does that bring to mind?

Twenty percent of Israeli citizens are Palestinians. They and their forebears survived and remain even while Palestinian lands and property were taken in 1948 (the Nakba) and 1967. Lieberman often calls for loyalty oaths from these “Israeli Arabs,” as Palestinians are called there. Does this remind you of the shameful McCarthy era in the United States?

Still, strong minorities of Israelis, along with many Jews in the United States and elsewhere, condemn Israel’s practices and policies concerning Palestinians. They understand these policies to be bad for Israel’s security in the long run.

Jewish Voice for Peace’s members are “inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals.”

The Santa Barbara JVP chapter is a brave group active in “grassroots organizing, education, advocacy and media.” Its goal is working to achieve “a lasting peace that recognizes the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination.” Recently, members encouraged legislators to “skip Bibi’s speech” (Netanyahu’s speech before Congress). After organizing to oppose Israeli’s assault on Gaza last summer, by picketing in front of the Jewish Federation, they continue to collect donations for toys and supplies for the children of Gaza.

One of the most moving films I’ve seen in years was presented by JVP last fall. Filmmaker and former Israeli settler Lia Tarachansky wrote and produced On the Side of the Road. She and her family grew up in a Jewish settlement on confiscated Palestinian land. Later, she returned to interview Jewish elders who as young soldiers participated in the Nakba.

In the same way that shooting of unarmed blacks pushes back the time when Americans can honestly claim that “all men are created equal,” peace for Israel will be unattainable until Israel decides to apply Jewish values of social justice to all the people of Palestine and Israel. There will always be zealots, but radicalism will tend to shrink to a manageable size when everyone believes they have a place at the table.

We’re all in this together. We economically prop up the Israeli government. We must be intolerant of intolerance.

— Karen Telleen-Lawton’s column is a mélange of observations spanning sustainability from the environment to finance, economics and justice issues. She is a fee-only financial advisor ( and a freelance writer ( Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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