Zionism, the Palestinians, & Peace

Do the various ideologies of Zionism allow for the practical coexistence of Jews and Palestinians?

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Such a solution is, of course, far from straightforward. Palestinian territorial contiguity is threatened by the presence of Israeli settlements whose removal remains highly controversial. By settling the West Bank, Israel may have painted itself into a corner from which implementing the two-state solution could prove impossible.

Similarly, the Palestinians' insistence on their refugees' right of return to pre-1967 Israel may preclude the conclusion of a peace agreement. The return of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees would shift Israel's demographic balance and endanger its Jewish character. Yet although Zionist principles unambiguously contradict Palestinian aspirations on this issue, the responsibility devolves not upon one nationalist ideology or the other, but on the clash between them.

Still, most Zionist thinkers have been eager to find a solution to the conflict--as part of their Zionism--suggesting that failed tactics and leadership--rather than ideology--are the obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

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Matt Plen

Matt Plen is the Chief Executive of Masorti Judaism in the UK. He has taught and trained educators in diverse institutions in Israel, the UK and the USA and is currently researching his doctorate on Critical Pedagogy and Jewish Ideologies of Social Justice.