“The 2 state solution could never have worked” – Ali Abunimah says in exclusive video interview

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“The two state solution could never have worked,” claims Ali Abunimah in an exclusive interview with OFIP, “but now it is dead”. He has another solution to offer. Come to hear him speak in Ottawa on March 11th. Watch the interview …

Prior to his public presentation in Ottawa on March 11th, CTIP did a short video interview with Palestinian-American Ali Abunimah about why he thinks the 2 state solution is “DEAD”, and what he thinks is a better way to bring justice, peace and security to both Palestinians and Israeli Jews.

All are welcome – Monday March 11th

now that

The 2 state solution is the “only” solution said Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in Jerusalem last November. But a recent search on Google, for “”two state solution is dead” gives over twenty thousand hits!!  And a recent article in the New York Times argues that by looking at the platforms of the two leading candidates in Israel’s upcoming election (April 9th), its easy to see “How Dead the Two-State Solution Really Is”

If you care about justice, peace and security for all people living in the historic land of Palestine, this is your chance to come listen, think and ask questions.


Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) encourages a thoughtful discussion among Canadians on the Israel/Palestine issue, including a well informed and sensitive discussion about the options. CTIP encourages serious people who disagree with Abunimah’s thesis to come, listen and ask questions. All are welcome. To learn more about what CTIP does, contact us at chair.ctip@gmail.com.



  1. The claim of indigeneity regarding Palestine is far more complicated than the cases of Canada or South Africa. Jews, not so long ago were also regarded as Palestinians. The birth of the Palestinian people in current parlance coincided with the growing prospect of Zionism and the push-back (pogroms) regarding the return of Jews to their homeland – as an indigenous people.
    What is indigenous? It is the place where a people become a people. The Jews became a people in Palestine (the Roman word) (Christians and Moslems know this). It cannot be another place. Modern Palestinians also became a people here. Both must and will live here. Jerusalem is a bi-national capital.

    1. Sixmillion: One should not confuse a religious group with an ethnic group. The Jews whose ancestors had never left the area known as Palestine and are still living there are considered Palestinians as are Christians, Muslims, Samaritans, etc., living in Palestine. The descendants of Jews who emigrated and intermarried, and the descendants of those who converted to Judaism elsewhere are not Palestinians.

      My dictionaries apply the word indigenous to individuals, not to groups defined by a common religion. The religion may be indigenous to an area but those who follow it may not be indigenous. The three major Abrahamic religions have spread far beyond their original area. Those who follow one of those religions are not necessarily indigenous to that area.

  2. When my grandfather immigrated to the land of Israel he worked as a labourer for a Palestinian contractor.

    I’ve yet to hear about a colonialist system where the ‘colonizers’ are workers and the ‘indigenous people’ are the bosses who own the means of productions

    My gradfather’s boss, the Palestinian contractor saved his life once in 1929 when other Palestinians wanted to slaughter him on account of being a Jew

    The Jews of Hebron weren’t as lucky as my grandfather. they were massacred during that year.
    The fact that Ali Abunimah prefer to call that 3,000 years old Jewish community ‘settlers’ is an insult to intelligence

    In fact every Jewish community that fell to the hands of Arabs suffered a similar fate ( Gush Etzion, Kfar Mordechau, the Jewish quarter in Jerusalem)

    At the same time, more than a million Arabs, citizens of Israel, are thriving with a human development index (HDI) higher than any other middle eastern country and higher than many European countries too

    The preposterous comparison of Israel to Apartheid South Africa is something that Ali and his ilk had been trying to push on the west for many years, so far with little success

    1. Hey Ahik,
      Thanks for writing.

      If I understand correctly, your grandfather immigrated to PALESTINE, (it was not yet Israel), sometime before 1948. At that time, there were many Palestinian owned businesses. So perhaps not all that surprising that he started by working for one. After 1948 – as you know, most of them were taken over by European Jewish immigrants along with lots of other Palestinian property.

      Ahik, I do hope you will come on Monday nite. I would welcome a (short) intervention by you if you want.

      However, I wouldn’t waste your time attributing to Ali things that I am pretty sure he would never say. I doubt that he would say that Palestinian Jews who have lived there for 3,000 years are “settlers”. I think he would make a distinction between them and people like your dad, who was a European Jew who came to settle in Palestine. I think he can quite legitimately be called a settler. Don’t you?

      1. My dad was born in 1932 in the *Land* of Israel. True it only became a state in 1948.
        You know very wellthat middle eastern Jews, outnumber European Jews in the state of Israel, but that fact doesn’t fit well into the ‘colonialist’ canard

        But the biggest question here that you avoided and Ali will surely avoid too, is the safety of the citizens of Israel, Jews and Arabs.

        The other two nations of the Levant, Syria 700,000 dead and counting) and Lebanon are not something we’d like to replicate

      2. Hey Ahik,
        Thanks again. Yes, I understand. Your dad was born in Palestine of settler parents from Europe. (I am born in Canada of settler grand parents).

        Of course, many middle eastern Jews immigrated to Israel in the 50s and 60’s, and now form the majority of Israeli Jews. How is this contradictory to what you call the “colonialist” canard. They were originally from Iraq, Morocco, etc., and they moved to Israel and settled there. That makes them settlers, doesn’t it?

        But your final question is the most important one. I am fully committed to the safety of Israeli Jews. I would not support any course of action which I think would threaten their safety. You should ask Ali about this. I assume he feels the same way.

    2. If we are not careful we will make terms like “indigenous”, “colonist”, and “immigrant” meaningless.

      Unless you deny that humans originated in Africa and have migrated to where we are now, the only people who are indigenous in the strict sense of the word are those Africans whose ancestors never left the place where they live now. Colloquially, we use the term indigenous, to refer to people whose ancestors were living in a place before the latest wave of migrants arrived.

      It is relatively easy to distinguish immigrants from colonists. When my ancestors immigrated here, they expected to have to fit in with, and contribute to, the civilization that was here when they arrived. When migrants arrive and try to set up a new society that is modelled on their homeland, often excluding those who were there before them, they are colonists. Immigrants expect to learn the language of those already there; colonists ignore, or even suppress, the indigenous language(s) and bring a language with them. There are, of course, exceptions, colonists who chose to learn the indigenous language but they are usually few and have special reasons (e.g. missionaries).

      Things change. When there are only a few newcomers, they act as settlers. As they gain in numbers they mutate into colonists. Your grandfather appears to have acted as an immigrant but things have changed. Where Arabic was once the primary language, then one of two main languages, today Israel has declared that only Hebrew is an official language. One education official told me that Israeli Arab citizens who want to get ahead will speak Hebrew. Sounds like colonization to me.

      The Eurovision Song Contest has two participant countries outside of Europe. They are Australia (a colony and still a member of the commonwealth) and Israel. That speaks for itself.

      1. I don’t agree with your definition of colonialism.
        based on your logic the Arabic speaking, predominantly Muslim, Palestinians are colonialists.

        The fact that Israel/Palestine was an Arameic/Hebrew speaking and predominantly Jewish/Christian land before the Arab invasion of 638 doesn’t make the Palestinians a colonizers in that land.
        They should be considered as native to that land as us the Jews

      2. Hey Ahik,
        Yes – colonialism has very long history.

        The history of human migration (Huns, Mongols, Vandals, etc. etc. ) is a perpetual story of conquest, settlement and colonisation. (See Jared Diamond, “Guns, Germs and Steel”).
        I don’t know how many Arabs came to Israel/Palestine when it came under Muslim rule. But those who did, and if they settled there in 638 AD, then I would call them “settlers”.

        You will admit that that was a rather long time ago.

        It seems to me that anybody, or group which has been living in the area for over 1400 years, could now be called “indigenous”. This would include Palestinian Muslims, Christians and Jews.

        The European Jews who came in the last 100 years, as part of a colonial project (the word the Zionists used in the early 1900’s,) I think can be legitimately called “settlers” in the modern usage of the term.

  3. Hi Peter,
    Good meeting last night. If there hadn’t been such a lineup of commentators I would have been tempted to take up your call for differences with Ali who started his presentation noting that” for the past 25 years it has been obvious that the 2 state solution is what’s necessary”.
    I had recalled the late Edward Said making much the same argument many years ago. Here’s one of his articles from January 1999.

    Will those of us still around 20 years hence be hearing the same story?

  4. Dear Peter Larson,

    I was wondering whether you had received my mail of March 11.
    Best regards
    D. Hamzah

    De : Dyala Hamzah
    Date : lundi 11 mars 2019 11:13
    À : Canada Talks Israel/Palestine
    Objet : Re: [New post] “The 2 state solution could never have worked” – Ali Abunimah says in exclusive video interview

    Dear Peter Larson,

    I am unfortunately unable to make it tonight in Ottawa for Ali Abunima’s talk.
    I wanted to ask whether you plan on recording the talk and on commenting on it.
    I am particularly interested in knowing about potential participation and interactions of Zionist organizations.
    Many thanks and best wishes for a successful evening,
    Dyala Hamzah

    1. Mr. Hamza, no I did not get your email. Please write me at chair.ctip@gmail.com

      We have videotaped the session and will be putting it on line.

      I am not clear about your reference to Zionist organizations. I do not have any links to any other than occasional email exchanges with organizations like CIJA, Bnai Brith or Canadian Friends of Peace Now. Zionists are welcome to comment on this blog, and many do.

  5. The two state solution is dead. Any efforts at keeping it alive are merely an attempt to provide delay and cover for Israel to steal even more territory,

    Apart from that Ali is not an overly credible commentator. 90% ego and 10% rationale. It’s a shame but he has a very closed mind and doesn’t strike me as someone seeking peace. He’s alter-zionist without power.

  6. Ahik (March 17, 2019 at 6:29 pm)

    One cannot treat words like “colonist” and “indigenous” as absolutes, they are relative and people’s status changes with the passage of time. When the French and English (and other Europeans) first arrived in North America, they were clearly colonists. With the passage of time this has changed. To the people who were already here when we (Europeans and others) arrived, we still look like colonists but most of us no longer behave as inhabitants of a French or English colony.

    I do not know enough about the events when the first Arabic speakers came to Palestine to say whether they behaved as colonists or immigrants. The situation is made less clear because Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew, etc. have shared roots. Languages evolve and borrow words from each other. It takes detailed study to ascertain whether the language that became dominant was imposed by migrants or evolved naturally as a common language for communication.

    None of this matters today. I agree with you that the people who call themselves Palestinians are now indigenous. An Egyptian (for example), speaking (almost) the same language who arrived today would not be indigenous. A Muslim from Indonesia or Pakistan would not be indigenous. In both cases, if the families mixed with Palestinian families, the grandchildren or great grandchildren would probably be viewed (by themselves and others) as indigenous Palestinians.

    Similarly, if my own father had been allowed to immigrate to “the land of Israel”, he would not have been indigenous in spite of the fact that people with the same religion living in Israel were considered indigenous. Had he surrounded himself with other immigrants and refused to learn Arabic, he would have been behaving like a colonist. If he tried to become part of the existing society, learning the (then) dominant language, working for and with indigenous people, he would have been behaving as an immigrant. These terms are not a binary nomenclature because there is a broad spectrum of mixed behaviours between those extremes.

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