When the Past Teach Us about the Future, the Case of Israel/Palestine Power Sharing

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Lev GRINBERG, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben Gurion University, Israel
Since 2000 Israelis and Palestinians lost their hope for peaceful coexistence. 25 years after mutual recognition, and 18 years of violent clashes, no one can imagine a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Although the majority prefer to establish two separate nation-states, only a minority believes it can be agreed and implemented. They realize that Israeli settlements prevent partition, but the idea of one secular democratic state seems even more problematic, due to the difficulty to contain ethnic conflicts in deeply divided societies by liberal democracy. While despair and disillusion grow, and both "solutions" appear unrealistic, a new idea of power sharing is emerging, looking for institutional combination of consociation, confederation and condominium.

Surprisingly, very creative ideas of power sharing, similar to recent "new" ideas, were already suggested in 1947. Bi-nationalist supporters like Bubber, Arendt and Magnes opposed partition, warning that it will lead to war, but also the UN resolution took in consideration that partition cannot be total, and suggested to establish important institutions of power sharing by international condominium (Jerusalem) shared confederative institutions (administration of the economy) and mutual protection of minority rights. These are precisely the key questions discussed today by new proponents of power sharing. The 1948, Palestinian disaster (Naqba) and Exile (Hijra) although proved the warning of bi-nationalists, but the present debates show that the UN Commission for Palestine deeply discussed the challenges of Jewish-Palestinian coexistence, and suggested creative ideas how to deal with them. The 1947 debates, can teach us a lot about a shared future in Israel/Palestine, despite the disastrous results of the 1948 war and 70 years of unilateral Israeli domination and Palestinian subjugation.