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AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN: THE LINE THAT DIVIDES THE PASHTUNS – Pages 4-5
OCTOBER 2010 N o 1010
One state, two dreams
Renewed Arab/Israeli negotiations, opened under the auspices of President Barack Obama in September, are undermined not just by settlement building but differing visions on other fundamental issues. The impasse has led to calls by some senior figures, including Israelis, for the creation of a single state from the Mediterranean to the Jordan
GALIA PASTERNAK – ‘Arc’ (2007)
Betting on hunger by Martine Bulard
or the first time in history more than a billion people go to bed hungry each night.” Surprisingly, this shocking fact was brought to our attention by the president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, who reports that the Millennium Development Goal of eradicating hunger by 2015 “will not be achieved” but that “growth can contribute to overcoming poverty” (1). After falling in the previous decade, poverty and malnutrition rates began to rise again in 2008 and the World Bank estimates that 64 million more people are living in extreme poverty in 2010.
Food riots in Mozambique in September brought back bad memories we thought we could safely forget. The UN conference on trade and development (Unctad) report was euphemistic: “Food security is still a pressing problem in many developing countries.”
Natural events increased the imbalance. The violent monsoon in India and floods in Pakistan destroyed crops, increasing rice and tea prices by more than 30% in a few months. Fires swept through Russian farmland, reducing the wheat harvest and making it impossible to sow seed for next year.
But the current global conflagration owes more to market forces than the forces of nature. Raw materials are the new target for investors who have plenty of money to play with, generously supplied by the Central Banks, free (or almost free) of charge. After betting on property, the financial whiz kids are turning to basic commodities, such as non-ferrous metals, and agriculture.
Last month the London hedge fund Amajaro bought a quantity of cocoa equivalent to 25% of all European stocks, and a few days later the price per tonne broke all records. The same thing is happening with wheat, rice and soya. European leaders are all upset, and some have gone so far as to speak of a need for regulation – exactly what they said during the sub-prime crisis. The consequences for developing countries are particularly serious because the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have encouraged them to turn to foreign markets and abandon local production. Unctad now recognises, at least on paper, that “a sustainable growth strategy requires a greater reliance on domestic demand” and that “this may call for a rethinking of the paradigm of export-led development”. Better late than never. A pity that all they offer is pious platitudes, which may foster our illusions but won’t feed the planet.
Translated by Barbara Wilson
(1) The quotations from Robert B Zoellick are from “Pursuing more growth in an uncertain world”, The Express Tribune, 18 September 2010.
inside this issue Road tax: the protection rackets that channel funds to the Taliban Page 6 A house divided: mixed colonial legacies of Somaliland and Somalia Page 7 Fellow travellers watch the world go by on the Trans-Siberian Page 8 South Korea’s leadership takes a hard line at home and abroad Page 10
Biologists can now create, and trade in, the building blocks of life Page 12 Controlling the spread of malaria: what’s stopping us saving more lives? Page 13 How new job opportunities led to gender wars in Algeria Page 14 Social medium: Iranian popular music spreads a message of resistance Page 16
he lesser danger, the lesser evil, is a single state in which there are equal rights for all citizens,” said the Israeli parliament’s speaker. Another politician, a former minister, added that the only remaining option for Israel is the declaration of a single state covering the whole of the historical territory of Palestine, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. A young female member of parliament with strong religious convictions has also defended the same conclusions. These three politicians are not members of Hamas, nor even Palestinians, nor European anti-Zionists. They are prominent members of the Israeli right.
The Knesset speaker, Reuven Rivlin, has challenged the idea of an Arab demographic threat and said this attitude “leads to thinking of transfer, or that they should be killed. I am appalled by this kind of talk. I go into schools, and when they hold mock elections, Lieberman [the foreign affairs minister and leader of the extreme right party, Yisrael Beitenu] gets 40% of the vote and I hear kids saying that Arabs should be killed. It seems to me that many of the belligerent Jewish movements that were built upon hatred of Arabs, and I’m not only talking about Lieberman but within the Likud as well, grew out of the patronising, socialist attitude that said ‘They’ll be there and we’ll be here.’ I have never understood this. When Jabotinsky (1) says ‘Zion is all ours’, he means a Jewish prime minister and an Arab deputy prime minister” (2).
Moshe Arens first came to prominence as defence and foreign minister in the 1980s. Arens, who is Netanyahu’s political godfather and regarded as a hawk, wrote in the daily Haaretz: “What would happen if Israeli sovereignty were to be applied to Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], the Palestinian population there being offered Israeli citizenship? Those who, in Israel and abroad, consider the Israeli ‘occupation’ of Judea and Samaria an unbearable evil should be greatly relieved by such a change that would free Israel of the burden of ‘occupation’” (3). But how would that population be absorbed? Israel, he replies, already includes well-integrated minorities such as the Druze and the Circassians. As for Muslim Arab difficulties with integration, they stem from “successive Israeli governments that have not taken effective measures”. He believes that this is the primary task to be addressed.
Tzipi Hotovely is the youngest member of Knesset and a rising star in Likud, which she joined in response to a personal invitation from Netanyahu. Sheopposed the disengagement from Gaza in 2005, which she claimed demonstrated the failure of any sort of withdrawal. She is in favour of the idea of Israeli settlements: “The Jews lived in Hebron, in Beit El. These are biblical places. Hebron is the place where King David began his kingdom. I don’t think it’s something we can let go, because what is Zionism all about? Zionism is really about going back to Zion, going back to Jerusalem, going back to all those biblical places. We need to start talking about the peace process without removing people from the settlements” (4). In which case the only possibility is the extension of Israeli law to all of the West Bank and the granting of citizenship and the vote to the Palestinians: a single state which, for Hotovely as for Rivlin and Arens, could only be a Jewish state.
These proposals are an attempt to resolve one of the fundamental contradictions for the liberal wing of the Israeli right: how to reconcile its claims to sovereignty over the whole of “Judea and Samaria” with democratic principles, and how to avoid establishing an apartheid system in which Palestinians are deprived of their political rights.
Menachem Begin, who led the right to victory for the first time in 1977, was the first to try to solve this dilemma. After welcoming Egypt’s presidentAnwar Sadat to Jerusalem in November 1977, he put forward a plan which set out his idea of Palestinian autonomy and offered the residents of the West Bank and Gaza the choice of Israeli or Jordanian nationality, and thus the right to vote in one of two states. This proposal was quickly dropped because it ran into the same obstacle that none of our three contemporary politicians has managed to overcome: could the claims of a Jewish state be reconciled with granting the Palestinians the right to vote? Arens claims that the Palestinians wouldn’t represent more than 30% of the total, but that underestimates the population of the West Bank and ignores Gaza. His plan failed to explain how it would prevent the Palestinian population from crossing the critical 50% threshold. Even at 40%, no government could be formed without Palestinian support, and it is hard to understand what interest they would have in supporting the government of a “Jewish state”.
Whatever their limits and contradictions, these iconoclastic points of view reflect the general pessimism that characterises the
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lain Gresh is vice president of Le Monde diplomatique and heads its Middle East/Muslim world department