The webinar focused on a key question determining the form a political outcome must take if it is to genuinely resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis, and therefore the kind of political process necessary for achieving it. If, as the advocates of a two-state solution or a federation maintain, the Palestinian-Israel issue is a kind of civil war between two nationalisms, then a conflict-resolution model that has been tried these many past years – negotiations, peace processes, Track Three Diplomacy and the like -- might resolve it since they attempt to resolve the “differences” between the two sides and arrive at a compromise.
If, however, Zionism is a case of settler colonialism, the conflict-resolution approach is extremely problematic, if not ineffectual. First, it legitimizes the colonialists as a “side” whose success in taking over the country and dispossessing the Palestinians must be respected and built into the “peace-making” process. This is obviously unacceptable to the Palestinians. More to the point, can the Palestinians agree to live in under permanent colonialism, even if some “compromises” are eked out of Israel?
If the answer is “no,” then a wholly different process of resolution is required, that of decolonization. The colonial structures of domination and control must be dismantled to make way for an inclusive new polity altogether – the only way to end settler colonialism. Only in this way may the indigenous regain their place in their country and the settlers finally find the acceptance, peace and security they have always craved but which, as colonists, escaped them.
The speakers in this webinar were Jeff Halper, the Director of ICAHD; Amnon Degani, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Avraham Harman Research Center for Contemporary Jewry, the Hebrew University; and Elliot Ratzman, who teaches Jewish Studies in the Religion Department at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. It will be moderated by Dr. Thomas Abowd, a professor of Anthropology at Tufts University and a member of the ICAHD USA Board.
Jeff Halper is an Israeli anthropologist. He serves as the Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) in Jerusalem and is a founding member of the One Democratic State Campaign. Jeff’s latest book is Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine: Zionism, Settler Colonialism and the Case for One Democratic State (London: Pluto, 2021).
Arnon Degani is a historian of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is currently a Lady Davis Fellow at the Avraham Harman Research Center of Contemporary Jewry of the Hebrew University and a research fellow at Molad: The Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy. Dr. Degani is currently working on his first book which details the integration of the Arab citizens into Israeli society in the years 1948-1967.
Elliot Ratzman holds a PhD in Religion, Ethics, and Politics from Princeton University. He is completing his first book, “Zipporah’s Knife: A Jewish Reckoning With Race”—on Jewish ethics, Critical Race Theory, and anti-racist activism in the U.S., Israel-Palestine, and Europe.