Palestine & Israel: there is no state solution, except for the “No State” Solution
[Updated Aug. 1, 2014.]
[Edited Aug. 4, 2014]
I love The Onion. Anyone who hasn’t checked out the fictitious reports from this satirical news site is really missing out. Recently, an Onion article was posted in response to the growing wars in the Middle East with the headline: “Everyone In Middle East Given Own Country In 317,000,000-State Solution.” The post went viral amongst people who needed some comic relief to the escalating chaos. Among libertarian-types who question the institution of the state, there is humor here, and something deadly serious too.
On the one side, it’s just funny for the absurd tone. I especially liked the ending sentence:
“At press time, reports confirmed the outbreak of more than 90,000,000 new wars across the region…”
On the other side, this is actually something many liberty-minded people honestly discuss, although not exactly the way The Onion puts it.
The idea with abolishing states isn’t about making each person into their own state. That makes no sense. Actually, it’s not even possible, since a state by definition is based on geography, not on a person’s individual body.
The idea with a stateless world (aka the Free Society) is to allow each person the freedom to form whatever personal associations they wish. In other words, allowing people to decide for themselves with whom they will or will not interact with and be associated with, instead of letting another person or group of people (the state apparatus) decide for them. It’s about people forming associations based on mutual agreements, not on which side of an imaginary line they happen to live on.
Sounds like an extremely radical notion. But is it, really?
The ongoing war between Palestine and Israel is typical of the mindless slaughter that results from the institution of the state. “Operation Protective Edge” is Israel’s latest military campaign against Gaza. Israel’s government says it is in response to the murder of 3 Israeli, teenage boys. So far, the investigation into the murders is not even being conducted as you would expect a murder investigation to be done.
No suspects have been brought in, put to trial, or had verdicts rendered. No warrants for specific people; no examination of evidence.
Various armed groups, some not even Palestinian (such as the Islamic State in Iraq!) have claimed responsibility for the murders. According to the Israeli government, Palestinian group Hamas is responsible.
[UPDATE 8/1/2014]: Officials within the Israeli intelligence and secret police apparatus are now expressing doubts that Hamas was behind the murders in any way.
The state of Israel’s response has been to bomb Gaza into rubble, and then invade with troops and tanks.
So because three people have been murdered on the Israeli side of the line, this somehow means that every man, woman and child living on the Gaza side of the line must pay.
And yes, I’m aware of how Hamas is launching rockets into Israel. I’m also aware of how before any of that was happening, Israel had been conducting raids into the Palestinian territories. It’s a tit-for-tat blame game that will stretch all the way back to 1948 if we actually take time to follow how one act of violence led to another.
The bottom line is that individuals are firing rockets, abducting people and murdering teenagers, but entire cities and nations have to pay the price, and support war efforts against other cities and nations.
- Three teens disappear, and are later found murdered.
- State of Israel sends in soldiers to randomly abduct Palestinians, shooting a few of them in the process.
- Palestinian militants send rockets to hit random Israelis because of anger from point 2.
- Israel sends bombs and missiles to kill random Palestinians because of point 1 and 3.
- Palestinians fire more rockets and raid across the border to kill random Israeli soldiers because of point 4.
- Israel moves into Gaza with tanks and soldiers because of point 3 and 5.
- Palestinians shoot at random Israeli soldiers because of 6.
The key word is random. Random people indiscriminately killing other random people because…why? There is a lot of vengeance seeking, but where is the justice?
What would the situation look like if the state of Israel didn’t exist?
What if instead, there was just a land called “Anarcho-Levant” (or whatever people decided to call it), and cities in that land, like Tel Aviv, Gaza, etc. In this land, there are no “Israelis” or “Palestinians,” there are just people. Some of these people are Jewish, some Muslim, others are Christian; there are Bedouins, Arabs, French immigrants, etc.
If a Muslim kills a Jew in this land, then it’s murder. One guy killed another guy, and that’s it. Same if a Christian kills an atheist or whatever the case may be.
In the same way that Bloods and Crips fighting a turf war in a town are the enemies of all peaceful people in the town, Jews and Muslims that want to kill each other in Anarcho-Levant are disrupting the lives of all peaceful Jews, Muslims and everyone else who lives there.
In this land, people may put themselves under different law codes. So, a Muslim may choose to live in a community of other Muslims that follows Sharia, and a Jew may live in a Jewish community that follows Halakha. Atheists or non-fundamentalist Jews and Muslims might live in a mixed community that has some form of “English law” or something else that they have agreed to live under when they move into the community.
If a Muslim has some issue with another Muslim in the fundamentalist community, and it goes to court, they will settle their dispute in a Muslim court using Sharia. If a Muslim from that community has a dispute with someone from the Jewish community, then the law that applies will depend on jurisdiction.
Isn’t this how international issues are resolved, today? If a German travels to Canada and murders a Canadian, he is most likely going to be tried in a Canadian court, under Canadian law. Likewise, if the German commits a crime in Germany and flees to Canada, he is going to be extradited back to Germany.
If the jurisdiction isn’t clear-cut, then what? It seems that the simplest solution would be to have both sides agree to have the case tried under a third-party; a neutral judge, who is mutually recognized as being versed in the laws, not affiliated with either side, and respected for his/her record of impartial judgements. Over time, the precedents of such third-party rulings, combined with local customs and traditions, might build up into a system of “common law” clear to the people living in the area.
All of this is the essence of what some libertarians call a “Polycentric Legal Order” and “Private Law” (in contrast to the “public law” of states).
Without states, the militant people of this land cannot rely on a herd of other people to subsidize all of their murderous instincts.
If a Muslim wants to make a rocket and fire it into a Jewish community, then he had better be prepared to deal with the full weight of law enforcers from both sides that will be coming for him; he’ll be on his own. He won’t be able to shelter amongst people who had nothing to do with the crime and use them as meat shields to drive the conflict.
In the same way, if a Jewish family wants to bulldoze a Muslim farm so that they can build their own house on its spot, they are going to have to figure out how they are going to do this; they wont have the support of an entire Israeli tax base (with the U.S. providing 25% of Israel’s military budget) to fund an Israeli state military that is going to do the bulldozing for them, then patrol around their new home and fight off the original owners who are trying to reclaim their property. It would be a lot more difficult than just setting up a lawn chair and watching the state military go to work.
Even if entire communities band together to engage in violence, they would not have the support of those communities that want to remain peaceful and conduct trade and commerce with each other. With the state, a small group of radicals on both sides enlists the resources (taxes) of everyone subject to their state.
Without the state, militant radicals are left only with their own funds and their own resources, and they become outcasts (or even outlaws) to the great majority of the population that just wishes to live their lives in peace. People that are currently left out of the discussion over rights to land and other issues, like the Bedouin, would actually get a seat at the table, for a change.
Israelis need not be enemies of Muslims, and Palestinians are not the enemies of Jews.
The true enemies of both are those who see human beings through the lens of state association; those who do not see two individuals, one Muslim and one Jew, but instead see only two dupes; one wearing green and black, the other blue and white, tax payers both, each one willing to march and to kill random members of his own species that wear the opposing colors.
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