Binationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Sociology & Institute for International, Comparative, and Area Studies University of California, San Diego San Diego, USA
A little known and never carefully analyzed response to the outbreak of the Arab Revolt in April 1936 was a binationalist blueprint offered by a coterie of Jewish leaders in Palestine. They are referred to in Ben Gurion's memoirs as "The Five", intimating that they undertook this initiative strictly as individuals. In fact, in contrast to most other Mandatory binationalist programs which were put forth by socialist or liberal bodies and individuals, this blueprint bears the hallmark of the leading entrepreneurs in the Yishuv who sought Middle Eastern markets and, consequently, economic cooperation with the Palestinians. This blueprint offered not only a political program of "parity", but also considered the economic conditions under which the cooperation of two national movements might be possible. The proposal floundered on the opposition of the Labor Zionist movement and the indifference of the Palestinian leadership. The paper relies on hitherto unused archival sources and its goal is to offer a general framework for examining the circumstances for the conception of binationalist blueprints and the political and economic conditions that make them feasible.