16 thoughts on “The Israeli Far-Right’s One-State Solution – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Dear Richard as much as I like reading your take on ME politics let me correct you on this one.

    “In science, they say that the simplest solution is always the best. ” Nope not right . You are making a garbled reference to what is often called the parsimony principle or Occams razor. It should read ” the simplest explanation is the the one with with the least number of assumptions”. Not solution, but assumptions. Science always has to live with the reality, especially in biology, the best solution is rarely the simplest one. Using your definition we could conclude that the simplest explanation for everything is that god did it. There is another, supported by science, that in the beginning (of visible time) there was a big bang that can be approximated by the laws of quantum physics. Here is one solution that one is not simple.

    1. Thanks for the correction. Though you are undoubtedly right about all you said, I think there is a genuinely rational expectation (let’s not call it Occam’s Razor) that when offered a choice between a complicated solution and a simpler one (each of which might conceivably solve the problem), the simpler one would be best. Of course, we can argue in this case about whether one state or two is simpler or more complicated. One can make arguments on both sides. But as time goes on, two states becomes more and more complicated and one state becomes less & less so.

      1. I agree with you that, but just don’t call it science. It is in the realm of politics and as far as I can tell that has not yet become a science in spite of the fact that many universities do have departments call political “science”.

          1. Free man, the Gordian Knot (your Alexander’s Sword must be another name for that) and Occam’s razor are two completely different approaches to the solution of a problem.

          2. Apparently it is harder for you than the Israelis here.
            Occam’s Razor – means finding the simplest explanation to a phenomena.
            Alexander’s sword – means finding (an unorthodox) solution to a problem many thinks is unsolvable.
            Two distinct things.

    2. “It should read ” the simplest explanation is the the one with with the least number of assumptions”. ”

      That is untrue, and a tautology to boot.

      Occam’s Razor says this: If you have two theories – one simple, one complicated – that equally explain the evidence then put your money on the simpler theory, and you leave your money there until such time as the more complicated theory begins to provide a MORE complete explanation of the evidence.

      It’s not a rule of thumb for defining the “number of assumptions” in a theory, which is what ToivoS is claiming.

      It is a rule of thumb for deciding which of two competing theories will hold sway until More Evidence Upsets The Apple Cart.

      1. @ No, not quite right: That’s actually much closer to what I originally meant to say in the post. Thanks for clarifying that while I may not have had the nuance completely right, I was on the right track.

      2. The parsimony principle can be formulated in a formal algorithm. How does one distinguish between a simple and complicated theory?: The one with the fewest number of ad hoc assumptions is preferred until such time as previous assumptions become established scientific fact. My brief one sentence definitionis correct.

        That is not a tautology.

  2. In this Australian documentary, broadcast last Monday, one ultra-nationalist lady appears who claims that she planned with Sharon a pattern of settlements that would make a two state solution impossible. But it doesn’t look as if she can conceive of ANY future for the Palestinians in a Greater Israel.


    It does look as if the Israeli army is definitely out to harass Palestinians, in this case Palestinian children in Hebron, to such an extent that they lose any desire to live together with Israelis in the future. What about harassing school going children with a tear gas attack, as is shown in this Four Corners program? No wonder that a little boy of about fiver who had been arrested by the military when asked after his ordeal where he wanted to live said: Amman.

    1. Thank you for the documentary that I recommend particularly to the Israelis. It was good to hear news about Wadia Maswadeh the five-years old kid arrested in Hebron though he seems to be traumatized, but I guess that was the goal.

  3. As an exile, who will, this year, be making his first visit to Israel since 1955, it ill behoves me to give advice to Israelis who have fought major wars to preserve the life they seek to live. However, my mind goes back to to the politically naive English schoolboy who, when visiting an uncle who lived in a house formerly owned by Arabs, in a formerly Arab village that looked over orange orchards towards the Ramat Aviv hotel, the Yarkon river and the then brand new railway station, wondered what uncle Reuben would do when the former owner returned to reclaim his family home and land.
    I endorse the one-state solution. I don’t suppose that reunification will be easy. For the Arabs it will require a wholesale change of mindset but it is the equitable solution. It will require considerable courage to do, but I am heartened by the growing support for this solution.
    Did I mention that I was politically naive?
    Reunification will mean that there should be no continuing reason for Palestinian aggression, and every reason for normal diplomatic relations with contiguous Arab states, Iran and no justification for wider accusations of so-called apartheid, Bantustans etc justifying BDS.

  4. I think the key to understanding his position is the following phrase: “One way or another, the Jews will remain the majority in the state”.
    And it’s “one way or another” part that scares me the most.

  5. I always liked Daniel J. Elazar idea about confederation. Here is the just of it from an article he posted in 1991.
    Israel-Palestine Confederation The constituent entities remain the primary political units and the general authority has only limited federal delegated powers. Many postmodern confederations are linked through specialized functional authorities rather than a single general authority to assure that where full or substantial powers are transferred in specific areas the transfer does not offer the possibility of extending the powers of the confederal body. An Israel-Palestinian confederation could include two states with permanent boundaries within one general authority or encompassing several joint functional authorities addressing issues common to both states dealing with economic relations and land and water resources. Even foreign affairs or defense could be handled in that way. a) Each state would design and operate its own political institutions.
    b) The establishment of a Palestinian-Arab state would be irrevocable no matter what happens to the confederation.
    c) The confederation could resolve symbolic demands and demographic problems since each state would have appropriate forms of symbolic expression — flag, coinage, stamps, etc.
    d) Jerusalem could be the seat of both capitals and of confederative institutions, possibly as as separate federal district.
    e) A confederation provides greater autonomy for its constituent units. There would have to be clear limits to the authority assigned to the confederal institutions.
    In a confederation it is relatively easy for each constituent state to secede unless there are provisions to prevent that.

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