"The One State Condition"- a conversation with Ariella Azoulay & Adi Ophir
My name is Ariella Azoulay. I am a researcher and I am teaching at a university and I am doing documentary films and historical photographic experiences.
I am Adi Ophir. I'm teaching at Tel Aviv university political philosophy and critical theory.
Ariella: What we have done in our book for which we spent 5 years of research is trying to change the terms, or the conditions, of talking about the occupation. We want to get rid of talking about the occupation as a project, as a temporary project, and what we have tried to show in the book is that the occupation is part of the Israeli regime.
Adi: The occupation is a structural element in Israeli system, Israeli political system. It is something that you cannot simply take out and everything else will be O.K. America can give up Puerto Rico and nothing will happen. This is not the case with the occupation in Israel. It is part of the essence of the Israeli government.
Ariella : To the Palestinian everything can be done. It's not something that you can say about his fellow governed you cannot say about the Israeli that everything can be done to him because if someone will come to destroy my house I have few ways to resist it, I have few ways to claim what happens to me. But to a Palestinian everything can be done. The occupation is practice, it's not like an architectural building that you have to design, you have the draft, you have the idea, the model and then you install it in reality. The occupation is a system and you should ask who participates, who practices the system and the people who are practicing the occupation are all of us.
"Two Kinds of Violence"
Adi: In every normal regime, again, in some kind of normal civilized situations, one of the most important aspects of the regime is to control the passage, the transition, from one kind of violence to the other and to monopolize this passage. Only certain people can go from one stage to the other, only under certain circumstances, etc. etc. etc. and what we see in the occupation is that this transition, this continuity, smooth continuity, and controlled continuity, has completely collapsed, has completely disappeared. On the one hand we have a huge amount of suspended violence on display the tanks, the jeeps, the soldiers that carry their guns. On the other hand, outbursts of violence occur in a kind of random way, not going from the potential suspended violence to the outburst but coming from nowhere and it is not this kind of violence that destroys the Palestinian people. It is not the erupted violence. What is really bad is the effect of suspended violence. Because it is with the use of suspended violence that Israel has fragmented this the state of Palestine.
Ariella: The public debate in Israel focuses on the settlements, focuses on giving back territories as if the question was only territories and as if it's only the settlements which disturb achieving a solution. And I think this is a completely wrong vision of the situation, because it's as if you isolate one mechanism of the occupation and putting all the weight on this mechanism of the occupation and trying to present it, or to represent it, as the only obstacle. We are talking about a regime and if you will withdraw from another territory in the west bank as Israel withdrew from Gaza, it will not solve the situation because what should be done is a complete change of the regime.
"The One State Vision"
Adi: For a time it seemed that most Israelis and most Palestinians agree on the two state solution but this was an illusion. It was an illusion not because of the Palestinians but because of the Israelis, because the Israeli didn’t really take seriously the idea of a two state solution. I don't know if Palestinians would agree to a one state solution. If they would after all these years, would be happy to live with us, in Israel itself, the idea of one state is something that terrifies most Jews. One state solution is not a solution at the moment. It’s a vision, it's not a solution, you cannot think about it in terms of practical solution to practical problems, but as a vision, this is my vision. I would like to dream about this possibility and to use this vision, this dream, in order to change the prospective of people about the possible. Not only about the real but about the possible.
Ariella: I share this vision but I think that we should add something else that this vision which seems very far away, which seems that people are not really sharing this vision with us, this vision, is in its deteriorated form is what we live every day. Israel is a one state solution. Israel controls. Israel rules Palestinians and Jews for 41 years, which means that what we live every day and what people who think. Contrary to what I think about reality, people who are opposing the one stage solution are living in a one state solution. And they are living in this one state as privileged citizens and they are living in this one state with fellows governed who are under citizens, who are non -citizens of the same state. And when you think about the vision of one state solution actually what you think is about the same territory, the same population, starting with transforming the Palestinian- governed into citizens into equal citizens to us. And this change will change of course the regime.