‘Washington Post’ cartoon mocking future Palestinian state signals crumbling of two-state paradigm

US Politics
on 54 Comments

Tom Toles’s latest cartoon is essentially an echo of the Archipelago map  by Julien Bousac that Palestinian solidarity activists circulated 3 years ago.

I believe that even Washington is today in a state of paradigm collapse. The two state paradigm that was fought for for several decades and then became the regnant idea is crumbling. Smart people understand this in the U.S. Every Palestinian understands this. They say to you, We don’t know what’s next. Peter Beinart is leading the liberal Zionist cavalry to try and save the paradigm. So is Leonard Fein at Huffpo.

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54 Responses

  1. seafoid
    April 27, 2012, 10:23 am

    Toles is a fantastic cartoonist . Great to see this in the WaPo.
    Who does israel think it is fooling ?

  2. Pixel
    April 27, 2012, 10:24 am

    I never saw the “Archipelago map” before. nice

    The timing of this one reflects the recent swiss cheese analogy made by the Palestinian Christian on 60 Minutes.

    • eGuard
      April 28, 2012, 7:55 am

      Actually, that analogy in 60 Minutes was better than this cartoon: it stated that the holes are Palestine.

  3. FreddyV
    April 27, 2012, 10:24 am

    They’ve screwed the pooch.

    If this isn’t a lesson in the outcome of covetousness, I don’t know what is…..

    So now there’s two choices and both are bad news for Israel.

    1: 2SS. Clear the settlements = Civil war.

    2: 1SS. Israel loses their Jewish demographic.

    And to think this could have been (and should have been) resolved 45 years ago.


    • pabelmont
      April 27, 2012, 11:43 am

      FreddyV: There is always a third way: Israelis also practice “sumud”. The third way is non-democratic apartheid, call it 1SS, but it is not what Palestinians or anyone but some Israelis (and AIPAC) would choose as a “solution”. It has been in effect for 20 years already.

      • FreddyV
        April 27, 2012, 12:19 pm

        I hear what you’re saying and agree that’s what’s been occurring over the last 20 years, but I think that’s coming to an end. I think they’re going to have to shit or get off the pot sooner or later, which only leaves them with the two active options I mentioned.

      • Arnon Shwantzinger Too
        April 27, 2012, 3:17 pm

        Why would you think that’s coming to an end?
        A regional war could bury the Palestinian problem for a looong time.
        Or just long enough to expel a few.

      • Carllarc
        April 27, 2012, 5:48 pm

        It is weird to imagine how it will all grind out. could it be that in a fit of panic a residual 2ss is put on the table by Israel and the PA accept w/some bogus borders at the Wall + an added natural Israel population growth region and some limited Israeli citizenship for residents of EJ. if not, why wouldn’t the zionist expansion continue to squeeze the Palestinians, really making their lives more and more miserable, until there is some (sequence) of frustration strike backs by Palestinians. This would be all that Israel (Netanyahu and his gang) would need as a Gulf of Tonkin incident and do a Gaza War on the Wests Bank, but more. The idea is that Israel may well do to the Palestinians what the European descendants did to the natives of the ‘New World’ — one form or another of extermination and expulsion and annihilation of the Palestinians’ way of life.

      • ToivoS
        April 27, 2012, 6:06 pm

        I have to agree with FreddyV here. Israel has really only two rational options.

        Apartheid is not a stable system. It will eventually become something else. Israel has, it seems to me at least four choices. One state or two state are obviously the two rational options. The other two are massive ethnic cleansing or genocide. If Israel exercised either of these latter two, it would be so severely shunned by the rest of the world that the state would probably collapse. These latter two possibilities include scenarios of nuclear war, the Samson option and the full expression of the Masada complex. Needless to say Israel does not survive those either. Two hundred nuclear warheads sound like a lot, but humanity and Western civilization will survive.

      • NickJOCW
        April 28, 2012, 6:03 am

        ToivoS, There are only ever two choices. The ‘third’ and ‘fourth’ you mention are, I would suggest, both routes to one state and broadly in line with Israel’s current policies. The solution may lie in one state for all but with an autonomous region for diehard Jews.

    • RoHa
      April 28, 2012, 1:58 am

      “And to think this could have been (and should have been) resolved 45 years ago.”

      It would not have arisen if, in the 1930s, the Zionists had accepted the idea of a single, unified, secular state.

  4. Nevada Ned
    April 27, 2012, 10:29 am

    Cartoonists sometimes can say things that would be censored from an opinion piece. Bravo!

  5. ritzl
    April 27, 2012, 10:30 am

    Toles should have spelled out Palestine in the holes (or made the holes bigger). That’s much more akin to the reality.

    Is this a backpedal of sorts? Is this analogical reversal of reality a softening of the message? This makes it look like the Palestinians are getting most of what they want with just a few settlements to deal with, i.e. whiners. Though that portrayal doesn’t seem to be the intent of the cartoon.

    If he’s going to go to all this trouble… Baby steps I guess.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 27, 2012, 12:34 pm

      yeah, that was my first impression, the cartoonist has got it in reverse, it is the palestinian villages in the holes.

    • Daniel Rich
      April 27, 2012, 5:24 pm

      My family got kicked out of that country a few hundred years ago, but I won’t hold it against them [although as a 666th generation of Toblerone survivors I’m still very much traumatized]. I was looking for Palestine in the holes of this slice of Emmentaler cheese, but it’s labeled Switzerland and ‘cheeseburg,’ so I’m not ‘getting’ it…

  6. Tuyzentfloot
    April 27, 2012, 10:54 am

    It would be more appropriate if the holes were the islands in the Archipelago, but the cartoon wouldn’t work as well.

  7. Light
    April 27, 2012, 11:04 am

    Its a good cartoon for the Washington Post but it’s drawn backwards. The Palestinians live in the holes not the settlers.

  8. pabelmont
    April 27, 2012, 11:40 am

    In the CBS report on the plight of Palestinian Christians, the Coca-Cola (TM) magnate (as I recall) said that the occupation was turning the West Bank into a swiss cheese where Israel controlled the “cheese” (land, water) and the Palestinians had the “holes”.

    This cartoon gets it backwards from what that man testified. The settlements, roads, closed military areas, Area C, Jordan valley, WALL-made-exclusions make the settlements the high-percentage area and the Plaestinian bits and pieces the low-percentage area holes.

  9. Kathleen
    April 27, 2012, 11:57 am

    Switzerland does not look like swiss cheese.
    “Peter Beinart is leading the liberal Zionist cavalry to try and save the paradigm. So is Leonard Fein at Huffpo”

    Or leading the better late than never cavalry to continue to stall and hang onto the dead two state solution.

  10. Kathleen
    April 27, 2012, 11:58 am

    So the Diane Rehm shows international hour once again completely ignores the ever expanding illegal settlements and ignores the I/P topic all together. Not a whisper
    Last Friday she and her international guest completely failed to mention the positive P5+1 talks. Not a whisper

    • RoHa
      April 28, 2012, 2:00 am

      We know what Switzerland looks like. The cartoon is a joke.

  11. HarryLaw
    April 27, 2012, 12:47 pm

    Freddy v , you have forgotten the option favoured by a former Israeli information minister, who said basically, you can have what we leave you, you can call it a state or you can call it fried chicken, this means Bantustans, virtual prisons surrounded by Israeli guards and begging for handouts from the International community. I can imagine the EU/US not liking it but stumping up the money anyway, its only what the EU/US elites have been doing for years without a peep, they would probably think it a good idea since because they hold the purse strings they could control the prisoners, it will not work of course, but that does not mean it won’t be attempted, US foreign policy has been so successful over the past 10 years hasn’t it.

    • Kathleen
      April 27, 2012, 3:03 pm


    • FreddyV
      April 28, 2012, 5:57 am

      I’m not so sure. At the moment, Israel has Obama over a barrel with the election year. If he wins a second term (yes, I know, ‘big if’, but Romney isn’t a viable candidate in my book), I think he’ll turn on them. Nuttyahoo has embarrassed him enough. America doesn’t want or need another war in the ME and world public opinion is positively pro Palestinian. When people hear about the situation, they invariably side with Palestine, unless they have a religious reason to support Israel.

      The only thing that hasn’t bust this wide open is the lack of coverage in the MSM. CBS’ 60 minutes show may have changed all that. The Zios have written to complain to the tune of 36,000 at time of writing. One petition thanking CBS for the coverage has got to 27,000. Given that 12 million in the US watched the airing, plus people who’ve caught it online, the figures show a hot topic, but nothing more. Hopefully more MSM networks will feel brave enough to start covering the issue and the ‘special relationship’ will start to become a negative at the ballot box.

  12. Fredblogs
    April 27, 2012, 1:23 pm

    Right, because they could never give the land in between to the Palestinians. After all, they’ve never given any captured land back before. Except all the land they took in Gaza. Oh, and the entire Sinai. Twice.

    • Erasmus
      April 27, 2012, 4:26 pm

      Gaza – for reasons of economy (too costly!)

      Sinai – for reasons of unconditional pressure by the USA!

      Those were the days…….

    • justicewillprevail
      April 27, 2012, 5:03 pm

      Still peddling your stale hasbara then. Despite many people on here trying to educate and enlighten you, it seems you are only interested in repeating the most feeble of cliches straight out of the hasbara for beginners book.

    • Sumud
      April 27, 2012, 5:40 pm

      Fredblogs you’re pushing the lamest hasbara. Go try indoctrinating school children, they might believe you.

      Gaza remains under military occupation by Israel.

      • Fredblogs
        April 27, 2012, 6:05 pm

        Sorry about this Sumud, but words have actual meanings to them. If Israel had soldiers posted in Gaza and was acting in lieu of a government, that would be “occupation”. What you have now in Gaza is a blockade. That means Israel is controlling (barring smuggling) what goes into and out of Gaza.

        Israel can honestly be said to occupy the West Bank because it keeps soldiers stationed there and exercises quasi-governmental authority.

        “Blockade” and “Occupy” are two different words, and the reason they are two different words is that they mean different things.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 6:15 pm

        yeah sumud, like the warden isn’t occupying the prison just because he holds the keys and determines who and what is allowed to enter and exit. of course wardens, unlike the iof, are not allowed to execute at will, they have to have a court order.

        so don’t call it an occupation!

        Military occupation is effective provisional control[1] of a certain power over a territory which is not under the formal sovereignty of that entity, without the volition of the actual sovereign.[2][3][4] The intrinsically temporary nature of occupation, when no claim for permanent sovereignty is made by the occupying entity, distinguishes occupation from both colonialism or annexation.[5]


        better alert the settler editors of wiki so they can run make clearer distinctions!

      • justicewillprevail
        April 27, 2012, 6:55 pm

        Oh why worry about the reality of Israel’s savage occupation and blockade when you can get more excited about what to call it. Do you know the meaning of pedant, or diversion?

      • Fredblogs
        April 27, 2012, 6:57 pm

        Thank you for proving my point. The Israelis don’t have provisional control, effective or ineffective, of what happens _within_ Gaza. Only what passes into and out of it. If only there was a word that expressed the concept of a country blocking what goes into another country. Oh, wait, there is: “blockade”. The reason the word “blockade” exists is to describe a situation where one government is preventing stuff from crossing the border of another government. Or do you think that all blockades are occupations?

        You may not like the fact that Israel is blockading Gaza, but that doesn’t turn a blockade into an occupation.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 27, 2012, 8:15 pm

        it doesn’t say what happens _within_ Gaza., it says power over a territory.

        wasn’t that you complaining about having your comments trashed. maybe you just say to much crap.

      • Sumud
        April 27, 2012, 11:43 pm

        Tell it to the UN Fredblogs.

        Gaza remains under military occupation – there was no withdrawal from Gaza.

        And for any intelligent readers who haven’t already read them I recommend two critical articles on why Israel removed the settlements in Gaza (hint: it had nothing to do with peace). Let’s listen to actual Israelis with detailed knowledge of events describe it, not hasbarats like Fredblogs.

        The first is Sharon’s right-hand man Dov Weisglass admitting that the faux withdrawal from Gaza was designed to destroy any chances of a Palestinian state and get the US off Israel’s back, best summarised by Richard Silverstein here:


        The original longer piece from Haaretz by Ari Shavit reproduced in full here:

        Weisglass: Disengagement is formaldehyde for peace process: The big Freeze

        The second important source to read on Israel’s “withdrawal” from Gaza is best summarised by Lawrence of Cyberia here:

        Arnon The Arab Counter And The Animals Of Gaza

        …with the original interview with Sofer in Jerusalem Post from 2004 reproduced here:

        J.Post: It’s the Demography, Stupid (Interview with Arnon S)

        In short, Sharon drew directly on Sofer’s work as a demographer and the idea was that by removing the settlements from Gaza that Israel would be relieved of the burden of 1.5 millions in Gaza – that they could be excised from the occupied Palestinian territories. This is the “demographic time bomb” that Israel is so worried about; once Palestinians are a majority on the OPTs and Israel, there is no way to describe Israel as anything other than an apartheid state.

        Unfortunately for Sofer and Sharon (and Fredblogs) the world and the UN sees Gaza as an inseparable part of the OPTs, and the “withdrawal” as a complete charade.

      • Sumud
        April 27, 2012, 11:55 pm

        One more thing Fredblogs: I want you to tell me that you believe jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were a free people. After all it was only under blockade by the nazis wasn’t it?

      • mig
        April 28, 2012, 1:40 am


        You may not like the fact that Israel is blockading Gaza, but that doesn’t turn a blockade into an occupation.

        Yes it turns that way, but dont worry. We really dont expect that you will get it.

    • Blake
      April 28, 2012, 7:42 am

      Fredblogs: Ah that “Israel” gave up land for Peace canard. Thats funny, lets not forget they stole that land in the first place. So giving up land they stole is hardly commendable. Now if you gave it all back….

      • Fredblogs
        April 28, 2012, 1:15 pm

        Stole is not accurate. Won it in a war is accurate.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 28, 2012, 2:12 pm

        did they win the right to do this in war too?

        Fortunately, the systematic abuse of her body did not appear to take a toll on Samah’s pregnancy. However, when she went into labor, her hands and feet were tied. What could have been a natural vaginal birth was now a mess of complications. Prison doctors chose to deliver the baby through C-section. Its mother would not be able to hold it, mostly because her limbs were tied but also because the procedure would endanger her overall state of health to the point where a total decline seemed as imminent for her as it did for her child.

        In time, the mother was joined with her baby. But the punishment and abuse transferred to the newborn as well. Israeli prison guards prevented Samah from using or accessing diapers and the only milk that was made available for the child was spoiled.

        The conditions for herself and her child, Samah says, were terrible and they remained that way well after her forced C-section. Both Samah and her child were denied any outdoor privileges and whenever either of them fell ill, the only drug administered to them was Paracetamol, an over-the-counter fever reliever often found in mild cold medicines.


        it is against international law to unilaterally seize territory thru conflict fred. or does israel get to decide for the world what is and is not legal now? what’s next? the right to enslave people and steal their children.

      • mig
        April 28, 2012, 2:43 pm

        Fredb :

        Stole is not accurate. Won it in a war is accurate.

        Stole IS accurate. Israel wasn’t in war with palestine when she took it. War is wrong term in use when other side is non-state actor. Between state and non-state so for can’t be “war”. I pointed this out so even you can understand. Which i doubt.

      • Fredblogs
        April 28, 2012, 11:22 pm

        @ Annie Robbins
        I have no proof that any of that happened. For me, when a side sends 12 year olds and pregnant women as unwitting bomb carriers, I tend to lose faith in their goodness and honesty.

        Also, after Barbara Lubin’s Sophie’s choice fake attrocity story, I take any story from your side with a grain of salt.


      • Annie Robbins
        April 28, 2012, 11:39 pm

        fred, are you completely nuts? did you even open the link?

        Samah Isbeh, now 28, was arrested and detained six years ago by Israeli authorities for participating in student protests at the Islamic University. She was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and her husband, who played no role in the protests, was arrested two days later and sentenced to nine months behind bars.

        what on earth pray tell do your links have to do with anything? your first one (almost 30 years ago) has nothing to do with palestine or palestinians, the only connection is that both women were pregnant, and both innocent of wrong doing.

        Hindawi went to Syria in 1985, where he was allegedly recruited by officials in Syrian Air Force Intelligence to carry out a bombing on an El Al airliner. Once he received the explosives in London, he gave them to his pregnant fiancée Anne Mary Murphy, who unknowingly took his bag……a 32 year old Irish woman named Anne-Marie Murphy, who was six months pregnant….

        he was jordanian allegedly working for syria. you’ve become unhinged. your other link is about child suicide bombers. the only seeming connection is…nothing except ethnicity.


      • Blake
        April 29, 2012, 10:26 am

        Fredblogs: 1948: “Israel” was not a state. The zionists violated the British Mandate in declaring independence, which led to an outbreak of hostilities. You cannot have a war with a people who had no army or defense of any kind. Arab armies only entered as a defensive measure so that the Palestinians did not lose any more land to your well armed Rothschild funded militias (terrorist gangs).

        Most of the land is stolen, taking it land grabbing terrorist and ethnic cleansing style is usurping it illegitimately.

      • Fredblogs
        April 30, 2012, 5:30 pm

        Also Hindawi was of Palestinian origins, just born in Jordan.

  13. flyod
    April 27, 2012, 2:04 pm

    what comes next is forcible transfer. that has always been the goal. they just need an opportune time.

    • justicewillprevail
      April 27, 2012, 3:53 pm

      And what would be better cover than an Iranian war, fomented by Israel, waged by its US division, whilst Israel completes its long takeover of the West Bank, with many expelled and a rump in ghettos. Why else is Yahoo so fixated on Iran and the false stories Israel circulates daily?

      • ToivoS
        April 27, 2012, 6:16 pm

        Justice I suspect that you could be correct that some in the Israeli government are thinking exactly that. If Israel could just provoke a big enough war, then the transfer option will be viable. However, I think they are mistaken. They tried that then the state of Israel will fall through emigration and one massive international economic boycott.

      • Pixel
        April 28, 2012, 2:01 am

        or maybe a false flag attack in the US

        …perhaps timed to coincide with the NATO Summit (Chicago May 18-21), which would also derail the May 23rd talks with Iran.

        Blackhawk Choppers Buzz Chicago Skyscrapers

        Milwaukee Red Cross Told To Prep For Chicago Evacuation During NATO Summit

        …the NATO summit “may create unrest or another national security incident.

  14. Diane Mason
    April 27, 2012, 2:30 pm

    I think you’re reading a bit much into the cartoon. By itself, all that the cartoon does is reiterate that Israeli settlement isn’t compatible with the two state solution. That’s the same point – and the same cartoon – that was made after the failed Camp David Summit:


  15. Shmuel
    April 27, 2012, 3:13 pm

    Mr. Abbas, Mr. Netanyahu, could you look this way please. Thank you. Now say “cheese”.

  16. atime forpeace
    April 27, 2012, 5:59 pm

    Since AIPAC is THE reason why Israel is at the center of American Foreign Policy this is apropos to the story, methinks.

    How does AIPAC endanger America? Workshop videos now online

    April 23, Washington, DC–Video from the March 3, 2012 workshop “AIPAC: What it is, who its allies are, why it’s dangerous and how to stop it” sessions are now available over the Internet. Turn off HD (high definition) for faster video streaming.

    AIPAC History Proto-AIPAC’s incubation in the Israeli embassy in 1948. Strategic direction-setting by the Mossad and Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Confrontations with the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations and the secret battle over registration as an Israeli foreign agent. FBI espionage investigations of AIPAC. AIPAC and the clandestine Israeli nuclear weapons program. The grassroots fight for transparency, regulatory oversight and accountability. Presented by Grant F. Smith, Director of IRmep

  17. doug
    April 28, 2012, 12:23 am

    Even George W. Bush! noted this:

    “Swiss cheese isn’t going to work when it comes to the outlines of a state,” Bush said in Ramallah.


  18. NickJOCW
    April 28, 2012, 7:23 am

    I believe all Israelis would really prefer one state but with no Arabs in it and they behave broadly as if that is what the area is. The West Bank and Gaza are simply prisons with low and medium levels of security, and then there are a host of smaller higher security prisons. So what you have de facto is one state with a lot of prisons of varying security, and some Arabs out on parole. It’s not that different from the US penal system if you include Guantanamo and so on, probably another of those ‘shared values’ we’re so often reminded of.

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