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Submitted by Clive on Sat, 05/07/2008 - 11:36

1. If you are advocating a unitary state now, then all the objections to that - the Israeli Jewish nation self-abolishing as a precondition for a solution to the national question - are valid.

2. Of course our objective is social revolution, and one purpose behind proposals on the national question is to help move in the direction of social revolution, by uniting the working class. But the national question exists, clearly, right now. United working class action is needed to solve it. But a solution which basically says absolutely nothing is progress short of socialist revolution isn't, it seems to me, much of a programme. It's one of the problems with 'unitary state': I think it dresses up a solution to the national question in a coded formula for socialist revolution.

It's true, I think, that a full solution, so to speak, requires a radical transformation of the whole region, etc. But there have been, and will be (hopefully!) negotiated steps short of such transformation, and we need to be able to assess them. 'It's not socialist revolution so we oppose it' will not, I think, be a good guide. (I don't mean we shouldn't be critical. Personally, for instance, I was very critical of Oslo).

3. I'm not sure it's true that the PLO's advocacy of two states was what allowed the growth of Hamas. General corruption, and the more specific failures of Oslo - mass impoverishment of the Palestinians, etc - are more to the point, I think.

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