Two-State Solution or One-State Solution?



I agree with Benjamin Netanyahu’s position before his speech of June 14, 2009. While he is now paying lip service for a two-state solution, he was and never will be, for ideological reasons, in favor of such a solution. I was in favor of such a solution because I thought it was a fair one for both sides, but I am not for it anymore. My reason, however, is not based on ideology but on facts on the ground. Over the past 45 years, Israel has built in the occupied West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, 120 so-called “legal settlements” and an approximately equal number of “illegal settlements” housing more than half a million Israeli Jews. According to the international law, their admitted designation as “colonies” and its population “colonizers” would be  more accurate. The Jewish French philosopher, Maxime Rodinson, aptly entitled his 1988 book: Israel: A Colonial-Settler State. As far as Gaza is concerned, Israel’s withdrawal is a sham since it still controls its air space, territorial waters and land borders.


I like right wing politicians in Israel because they lie less; they nearly say what they think. In Israel, the more you deal with the right, the fewer lies you get. The more you move to the left, the more lies you get. My favorite Israeli politician is Avigdor Lieberman, the present foreign minister, because he’s more candid than others. For instance, he advocated a plan called the "Populated-Area Exchange Plan," according to which Israeli Palestinian towns adjacent to the areas under Palestinian Authority would be transferred to the Palestinian Authority, and only those Palestinian Israelis who pledged loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state would be allowed to remain Israeli citizens. This is straight talk. Contrast this with the double talk we get from Israel's present president Shimon Perez. In other words, all Israeli politicians agree on everything as far as how to solve the conflict; the only difference is the way they talk.


Talking about two states, three states, or the fact that Jordan is already a Palestinian state (because more than 60% of its population is Palestinians) is in a sense irrelevant because the core of the problem is not so much a physical state, but the existence of about 5 million Palestinians who do not have anywhere to go except the Occupied Territories. How is Israel going to deal with 5 million Palestinians? In the television age, it cannot do what it did in 1948: chase most of them out, i.e., resort to ethnic cleansing.


The Israeli historian Benny Morris, in an interview published in Haaretz Magazine (January 8, 2004), lamented the fact that Ben-Gurion did not chase all the Palestinians out in 1948: "if he (Ben-Gurion) was already engaged in expulsion, maybe he should have done a complete job. … If Ben-Gurion had carried out a large expulsion and cleansed the whole country—the whole Land of Israel, as far as the Jordan River. It may yet turn out that this was his fatal mistake. If he had carried out a full expulsion—rather than a partial one—he would have stabilized the State of Israel for generations.”


In spite of this "fatal mistake," Israel at one point was quite comfortable with the situation as it prevailed between 1967 and the first intifada in 1988. During those years the Palestinians were very much in submission. For Israel, this was the best solution whereby Palestinians were subservient, accepted their lot and provided cheap labor for Israel. The first intifada and the second one in 2000 changed the equation. Israel now looks for the second best solution. It consists of dissecting the Occupied Territories into cantons or Bantustans, not connected to each other. The wall/barrier that Israel is building and the more than 600 checkpoints are the means to achieve that goal while it indefinitely engages in negotiations.


It would be stupid for the Palestinians to accept now the two-state solution. Why would they do that while the laws of demography are in their favor? The Israeli daily Haaretz published an article on May 13, 2009 entitled "Palestinians and Israeli Jews to reach equal number by 2016, data shows." In other words, after that date the balance will be in favor of the Palestinians. Israel will look more and more like an apartheid state, which is the term that Jimmy Carter used for the title of his book: Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Israel will be the new South Africa. Sooner or later, the world will realize that Israel must be treated the same way apartheid South Africa was treated: a pariah state.


Am I optimistic that Obama will be able to pressure Israel to accept the two-state solution? Not at all! And as I said in the beginning, I am not for a two-state solution anymore because such a Palestinian state will never be a truly independent and sovereign. In my opinion, let demography run its course.



July 2009