Solutions are desperately needed

Uri Avnery, May 8 (during a debate with Ilan Pappe on a one-state or two solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict):

The situation is terrible (as always), but we are progressing nevertheless.

True, on the surface the situation is depressing and shocking: the settlements are getting bigger, the wall is getting longer, the occupation is causing untold injustices every day.

Perhaps it is the advantage of age: today, at the age of 83, I am able to look at things in the perspective of a much longer time span.

Because under the surface, things are moving in the opposite direction. All the polls prove that the decisive majority of the Israeli public is resigned to the existence of the Palestinian people and is resigned to the necessity of a Palestinian state. The government recognized the PLO yesterday and will recognize Hamas tomorrow. The majority has more or less accepted that Jerusalem must become the capital of the two states. In ever widening circles, there is the beginning of a recognition of the narrative of the other nation.

There is a world-wide consensus on the Two State solution, which has been reached by way of elimination: in reality, there is no other. But in order to be realized, support must come from the inside, from the Israeli public. This support we must create. That is our job.

And a word of warning: we must beware of utopias. A utopia looks like a light at the end of the tunnel. It warms the heart. But it is a deceptive light that can induce us to enter a branch of the tunnel from which there is no exit.

We have never heard answers to the two decisive questions about the One State solution: how will it come about and how will it function in practice? But without clear answers to these questions, this is not a plan but a vision, at best.

True, 120 years of conflict have created in our people a huge accumulation of hate, prejudice, suppressed guilt feelings, stereotypes, fear (most importantly, fear) and absolute mistrust of the Arabs. These we must fight, to convince the public that peace is worthwhile and good for the future of Israel. Together with a change in the international situation and a partnership with the Palestinian people, our chances of achieving peace are good.

I, anyhow, have decided to stay alive until this happens.

More on the debate here.