JG: Yes, there's that. But you're on the road.
Exactly. The transformation in American attitudes is almost
mind-boggling, an official American attitude on ending the occupation,
which has been the traditional goal of the Palestinians. And at this
very moment, a group of Palestinians turns around and says, 'Sorry, not
good enough, we want it all. Not only is a single Palestinian state not
achievable, it's not desirable, it's not acceptable, it's not enough,
we want it all.'
JG: Who are the leaders of the movement?
HI: People like Ali Abunimah, Joseph Massad, Ghada Karmi, Omar Barghouti.
And you think they're succumbing to fantastic dreams. This is the
traditional criticism of Palestinian politics over the past sixty
years, that it's very hard to separate out the dreams from--
It goes back further than sixty years. It's an article of Palestinian
nationalist faith that is almost one hundred years old, which is that
demography is destiny, demography is power. This notion that if we just
sit here, on the land, have children, are steadfast and don't agree to
anything, then political power ultimately will flow to us. In the
twenties, they believed if we do that, then, just by virtue of our
presence in the land, our numbers, our demography, Israel will never be
established. After Israel was established, it was just, "Well if we're
steadfast and we don't agree, then Israel will be reversed." Then it
was, "Well if we just do this, then independence will come in the
occupied territories." Now the latest version is if we're just
steadfast, we can create a South Africa-like model and we will reverse
the war of 1948 at the ballot.
JG: But I have to tell you
that for people like me, this is a real worry. This goes with the
argument that the settlements are the vanguard of one-statism.
Now there is some truth to this. I think it's useful for people like
(Ehud) Olmert or people like yourself to point out that with the
occupation going the way it is, there won't be a Palestinian state, and
then Israel will be in a situation where it is neither meaningfully
Jewish nor meaningfully democratic. I think you could claim that
already, if you talk about the de facto Israeli state rather than
Israel in its normally perceived borders, that is already the case and
it will be increasingly so. Now here's the thing: The alternative,
though, is not going to be a single state in the foreseeable future.
It's possible we could get there, but it won't be a solution, it will
be an outcome. There's a big difference. An outcome of a horrible,
brutal, bloody civil conflict that drags on for generations, because
even though this demographic issue and the legitimacy issues are crises
for Israel, I don't think they result in the dissolution of the Israeli
JG: In other words, most Israeli Jews would rather have a Jewish state than a democratic state.