Two state solution? Time to move on

Two state solution? Time to move on
7 min read
24 Mar, 2015
Comment: Netanyahu's complete opposition to a two state solution with Palestine, and the US realising a nuclear deal with Iran, has been drowned out by the din of pro-Israel media.
Aipac is a hugely influential pro-Israel policy group [AFP]
Washington has a traditional obsession with Israel. It comes in the form of massive lobbying, discussions, fundraising, and the deafening rhetoric about Israel's "right to self-defence", coming from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue and the many edifices of power in-between.

Different strands of the pro-Israeli pressure groups also come in with many shades, colours and intensities. Some are legitimate research think tanks while others are merely disguised as such.

Aipac's influence

Many commentators and journalists are armed with talking points that have been cleared by the pro-Zionist lobbying group, Aipac. They use the sanctity of the "Fifth Estate" to deconstruct, or destroy altogether, anyone daring to criticise Israel's war crimes.

Just think of "all things Israel" that has happened in Washington this month alone. March began with the pomp and circumstance that is typically Aipac during its annual policy conference. This is known to be the largest political event in Washington.

Then the greatest spectacle in years - Binyamin Netanyahu's speech before an enthralled joint session of Congress where he received a standing ovation from the house as he maligned the president of the United States, telling Americans that he knows their security needs better than Obama.

This must have shaken the White House on the other end of the street.

Colossal amounts of analysis went into Netanyahu's speech, but how did this sit with average or the not-so-average American?

Lengthy, redundant, punditorial and largely siding with Netanyahu against Barack Obama - with journalists not even feeling the professional obligation of having to explain why the Iran nuclear deal negotiations could be bad for the US and Israel.

Over and over again, they putatively relied on Aipac's talking points.

"It's just bad because Netanyahu says so and he knows better. Period." - in the words of Fox News celebrity talk show hosts, as well as being implicitly suggested by the hundreds of other mainstream media-generals leading the charge of fair and balanced reporting.

Then the mighty Republican letter, with the power of the Ten Commandments, drafted by a novice, Arkansas senator Tom Cotton, who had spent just two months in the Senate. Still, his letter was signed by 46 other Republican senators and addressed to "The Islamic Republic".

This basically told Iran to forget it - whatever deal is reached in the 5+1 negotiations led by Secretary of State John Kerry will not be worth the paper its written on because it is Congress and not the US president that will decide the deal's fate and steer the wheel of America's foreign policy.

Nevermind that Senator Cotton is confused on US constitutional authority, as far the foreign policy part is concerned.

Then, of course, there were the Israeli elections on 17 March, treated in Washington's corridors of power and punditocracy as the pinnacle of all political events in modern times. The election's trajectory built to an unimaginable furore, encapsulating the drama of all of history.

"Bibi won against all odds," they chimed with voices quivering with awe and excitement.

Of course, this was pretention - for they all knew Netanyahu was going to again be crowned king of the land where settlers rule. 

Diplomatic debates 

Then the suspense - "will he or won't he?"

Obama probably still feels injured by John Boehner, speaker of the house, and his deceitful plot with Netanyahu to have the prime minister directly come to Washington and undo Obama's painstakingly glued Iran nuclear deal - and without informing him.

Will he - Obama, the incredulous - show grace in defeat and call Netanyahu to congratulate him? Fox News and the Republicans were incensed when it was learned Obama had kept the Israeli prime minister waiting for three days before conceding to Netanyahu and calling him.

Yes, they actually made into a race between Obama in Netanyahu.

Why, only on Monday Republican senator Ted Cruz announced his bid to run for the 2016 presidential race.

"Instead of a president who boycotts Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel," he said.

Those were Cruz's first campaign shots. Now Cruz is one of several Republican leaders who warmly and admiringly called Netanyahu immediately after the Israeli elections to congratulate him on his victory - unlike Obama.

The president had the gall instead to talk about his commitment to an Iran nuclear deal and a two state solution to the Palestinian- Israeli conflict.
     Cruz, never one to pass an opportunity to brown-nose Aipac, described Netanyahu as an 'extraordinary leader'.


Cruz, never one to pass an opportunity to brown-nose Aipac, described Netanyahu as an "extraordinary leader", who won despite the efforts by "Obama's political team" to undermine him.

 

Even as I write these words, another "pro-Israel conference" is in full swing. The Zionist-US-Jewish organisation J Street is in its final day of its annual conference and warning against the possible demise of the "Jewish and democratic Israel" as a result of the perpetual occupation.

To its credit, J Street states that it "supports a new direction for American policy in the Middle East - diplomatic solutions over military ones".

It also opts for "multilateral over unilateral approaches to conflict resolution", and "dialogue over confrontation" with wider international support. Still, it describes itself as a pro-Israel organisation which supports peace between Israel and its neighbours.

To make its case, J Street brought in a heavyweight - Obama's chief of staff Denis McDonough. Speaking at the conference, McDonough amplified Obama's policy rift with Israel's prime minister.

Zionism-lite

Responding to Netanyahu's pre-election rejection of a Palestinian state during his tenure in office, and the PM's subsequent attempts to walk back on his own renunciation, McDonough made the White House's position clear.

"We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made; Israel cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely. An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end," McDonagh said.

I, however, believe that the two-state solution is no more. It was never a solution because the invention of the State of Israel was a mistake to begin with - and it is still a mistake.

     Jews were known as kindly, talented people. Now, I think, Israel is contributing to anti-Semitism.
- Howard Zinn, Jewish-American intellectual


The great American-Jewish historian, scholar, professor, author, playwright and social activist Howard Zinn had this to say about the subject:

"I think the Jewish state was a mistake, yes. At the time, I thought creating Israel was a good thing, but in retrospect it was probably the worst thing that the Jews could have done. What they did was join the nationalistic frenzy, they became privy to all of the evils that nationalism creates and became very much like the United States - very aggressive, violent and bigoted.

"When Jews were without a state they were internationalists and they contributed to whatever culture they were part of and produced great things. Jews were known as kindly, talented people. Now, I think, Israel is contributing to anti-Semitism. So I think it was a big mistake."

When asked what sort of solution he wanted in a hypothetical Palestinian-Israeli resolution, Zinn answered: "Ideally, there should be a secular state in which Arabs and Jews live together as equals."

But Zinn caveats his answer: "There are countries around the world where different ethnic groups live side-by-side. But that is very difficult, and therefore the two state solution seems like the most practical thing, especially since both Jews and Palestinians seem to favour it."

I agree with Zinn's initial thought that there should be a secular state in which Arabs and Jews live together as equals. Not the two state bit.

Because I find it odd, that despite the fact that all these people on both sides, on every side, cross-continentally, want a two state solution, but it can't come into being.

The basic problem is the fanaticism of people lsuch as Netanyahu and the majority that support him and don't want to give up the occupied territories or the settlements.

Instead, they cling to the idea of "Greater Israel", an idea that has sustained settler colonialism for more than 50 years after the light of western colonialism flickered away in the Third World.

The Oslo Accords of 1993, which were the result of secret negotiations between Israel and the PLO, laid the ground for an agreement, which in theory would have returned 22 percent of historic Palestine to the Palestinian people to rule themselves along the lines of the 1949 ceasefire boundaries.

This agreement has been systematically violated by Israel which has continued to confiscate more Palestinian land, build more Israeli settlements and kill more Palestinians.

It was clear from the outset that Israel had no intention of withdrawing either the settlements or its army from the West Bank and East Jerusalem - the number of its settlers living illegally in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has in fact trebled since the signing of the Oslo Accords.

This has rendered the two-state solution completely unrealistic - it's time to move on.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.