Hannah Weisfeld, of Yachad, and Davis Lewin, of the Henry Jackson Society, were invited by King’s College London’s Israeli Palestinian Forum to debate “Is The Two State Solution Dead?”
Last night they were up against Jayyab Abusafia, from Jabalia Refugee Camp in Gaza, a freelance journalist who works for Alalamia TV in London, and Jafar M Ramini, a Palestinian writer and commentator on Palestinian/Arab affairs who was born in Jenin and educated in London and who is “a passionate advocate of peaceful co-existence based on the acknowledgement of equal rights and dignity for all”.
Hannah Weisfeld made the case for the two state solution citing the separate identities of both peoples as one important factor. She also cited the fear that Israelis have from the constant rocket attacks and the sight of Palestinians who celebrate the release of Palestinian prisoners with blood on their hands.
Yachad is not to everyone’s taste but it is a breathe of fresh air to hear Israel criticised when set against the two Palestinian commentators who painted a picture of the Palestinians as perfect.
For example, below you can hear Jayyab Abusafia describe Hamas as having transformed themselves into a group of moderates and Jafar M Ramini describing the rockets that are fired into Israel as “fireworks”.
Meanwhile, Weisfeld mentioned the recent “pricetag” attack on a mosque in Israel, but said that five mosques had been destroyed by settlers in the West Bank and this had been unreasonably tolerated by the IDF with no arrests made.
Abusafia describes Israel as having locked the gates to Gaza and thrown the key into the sea with no mention of Egypt also having a key to Gaza, while Jafar M Ramini went back as far as 1890 to start his twisted account of so-called Zionist expansionism and quoted “A land without a people for a people without a land” as the Zionist war cry.
He later invoked the Holocaust saying he had nothing to do with it after having told a totally gratuitous anecdote about Jews suing the German authorities even for the gold that was taken out of their teeth.
Yachad are trying to concentrate on the here and now to try and work out how the Israelis and the Palestinians can forge peace. The problem is that those representing the Palestinians want to continue arguing over 1948 and, even, 1890.
That is a conundrum Yachad will have to try to solve but at least they are there on campus working hard, while other traditional pro-Israel organisations are absent.
But I think that Davis Lewin spoke for most in the room last night when he said that the evening had helped neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians.
Against the Two State Solution – Jafar M Ramini and Jayyab Abusafia: (try switching browser if viewing problems)
For the Two State Solution – Hannah Weisfeld and Davis Lewin: