Alternative Focus Video: The No State Solution

The No State Solution is the latest contribution from Alternate Focus to examine the Israeli-Palestine conflict. This 28 minute video first explores political barriers to any solution, and then possible resolutions. The video features interviews with Dr. Stephen Zunes (Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco), Miko Peled (author of “The General’s Son”), and Jeff Warner (Jewish peace activist in Los Angeles and author of this review), interleaved with the filmmakers narrative are abundant modern and archival clips.

The first section examines why there has not been an Israeli-Palestinian agreement after more than twenty years of negotiations. Interviews with Warner and Zunes make the case that although the American government says it wants a Palestinian state alongside Israel, it will not fight to make that happen because neither the Israeli government nor its people want a Palestinian state to emerge, and American politics is such that both parties fear confronting Israel.

The second section asserts that Zionists as well as the PLO and Hamas all call for a single state in all of Palestine with themselves in charge. The video documents the Zionist drive to achieve their goal, including dismissing the existence of a Palestinian people. Transfer of Palestinians is suggested but called “marginal” by Warner.

It makes sense to develop the Zionists campaign towards a single Jewish state over all the land considering that that is what is happening. But the video errs in leaving the Palestinian side with the 1969 PLO charter that calls for a single, secular democratic state, and the 1988 Hamas charter that calls for a single Islamic state. The problem is that the PLO has completely changed its goals in the ensuing 44 years, and Hamas is in the process of doing so.

The PLO position of one secular state became obsolete in 1974 when the 450 member Palestinian National Council (PNC) passed a resolution to accept a state on part of Palestine. That position was progressively liberalized over the subsequent years. First in 1988 when a PNC resolution accepted U.N. Security Council resolution 242 which acknowledged the “sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area [read Israel] and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force,” and called for a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip (22% of historic Palestine). Then with the 1993 Oslo Accord in which the PLO explicitly recognized Israel’s right to exist. That remains the official position of the PLO as well as the 22 member Arab League.

Even Hamas no longer is guided by its charter. Think of Hamas as a group in transition, mimicking the evolution of the PLO in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Although some Hamas members cling to the rejection of Israel, many of top Hamas leaders, including Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Political Chief Khaled Meshaal, call for a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders – a position that tacitly recognizes Israel’s right to exist.

The reality today is that the PLO and Hamas have both abandoned their hard-line positions of not recognizing Israel and insisting on a single state over all of mandate Palestine. That reality is missing from “The No State Solution.”

The final section of the video is cut as a debate between Peled and Warner. Both agree that Zionist, the current Israeli regime, will not allow any resolution of the conflict that allows Palestinians any rights. Peled concludes that negotiations are impossible. But Warner says that negotiations are the route to Palestinian self-determination. Both agree that with Zionists in control of Israel, a two-state solution is impossible. Peled calls for one democratic state. Warner responds that a one-state is just as impossible as two-states and would be unstable, but two-states would allow each side to express its national identity. Peled responds that partition is impossible.

The agreement on the current situation but disagreement on its resolution expressed by Peled and Warner underlies the filmmaker conclusion that there is no resolution of the conflict likely in the near future, and the “No State Solution” title recognizes that conclusion. The filmmakers imply that the parties must learn to live with the status quo, and that is distressing because the status quo, although relatively quiet, invests all power with the Jewish Israelis. The film tells us that we must redouble our efforts to end the violent military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the expansion of settlement colonies, and the dispossession of Palestinian.

John Odam, the filmmaker, told me that his goal was “to focus on how the one- and two-state solutions play out in the context of the US elections, and to examine the cross-pollination of current Zionist politics with American politics, and whether that bodes well for the Palestinians.” He succeeded in doing that, and more. He made a beautiful video that energizes us to fight to protect Palestinians from the constant threat to their life and property, and to save the Jewish Israelis from themselves and their so-called supporters in the Israel lobby and the American administration and Congress.

Alternate Focus has produced tens of videos on aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which can be accessed here .

About Jeff Warner

Jeff Warner is a Jewish peace activist in Los Angeles. He is active in LA Jews for Peace, Jews for Peace Between Israelis and Palestinians, Americans for Peace Now, and Cousins Club of Orange County. He organized street demonstrations against the Israeli siege of Gaza since late 2007, and against the Israeli bombardment of Gaza during the December-January massacre. Warner is a retired geologist.
Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Media, Nakba, Occupation, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics

{ 13 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Good job by everyone involved. Thanks Jeff.

  2. i really liked this film for a number of reasons. first and foremost, knowing that alternative focus films often end up in schools and libraries it brings the audience up to date in a grounded way. although it covers stuff many of us already know there’s a wake up call for people not following closely and it dismisses with this ‘the window is going to close soon if we don’t..’ framing that’s been a narrative staple.

    the end of the film very much lays it out, why it’s called the no state solution, what warner referencesas Both agree that Zionist, the current Israeli regime, will not allow any resolution of the conflict that allows Palestinians any rights.
    and peled really drives this home what many believe to be israel’s intentions when he says:

    no zionist government will ever allow any part of the land of israel to be taken away from the state of israel and what this means is there will never be a palestinian state.

    ouch. this very much reminds me of the conversations we have here. if a person believes this (which is NOT the same agreeing with it) then working towards a two state solution basically means the only options are either changing the regime in israel, or settling for the status quo.

    i disagree with warner’s opinion ” The filmmakers imply that the parties must learn to live with the status quo” although i am sure he’s more familiar with the film than i am. but that wasn’t my impression. it’s really important to bring the public current on the mindframe we’re dealing with, and this film does that. zunes’s part is effective too, the political process “profound disappointment”, t party etc.

    very well rounded film. the only part i really didn’t like was that background music. oh well, it does sort of work on the mind in a subliminal way perhaps to merge the info into the mind. if that’s the intent it worked.

  3. ritzl says:

    Great video. Nuanced. Sobering. I think it was effective that you explained the statehood options and difficulties, but didn’t proclaim a desired outcome.

    Are there Palestinians interviewees that might shed some light on their nuanced aspirations such that it would contrast that building bottom-up pressure with Israel’s top-down “red lines?”

    Thanks.

  4. talknic says:

    The dictum “Possession is nine tenths of the law” … is used to convict criminals in possession of stolen goods. The dictum has no place or mention in International Law in respect to territories acquired by war.

    Schwebel/Lauterpacht tell us a sovereign may ‘restore’ territory by war. However, a sovereign must first have had sovereignty over the territory. Israel was not ‘restoring’ sovereign territory of the State of Israel, it has been ‘acquiring’ territory outside the State of Israel.

    • thanks talknic, i wondered about that. i had never heard that excuse before wrt israel. ever.

    • ColinWright says:

      talknic says: “The dictum “Possession is nine tenths of the law” … is used to convict criminals in possession of stolen goods…”

      In the context of arguments about Israel, the above was an extremely attractive claim — but I’m chronically skeptical.

      Either (a) the Zionists have been massively re-engineering the English language, or (b) that is not in fact the usual meaning of the expression. The Wikipedia entry:

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      You may well be right of course that ‘The dictum has no place or mention in International Law in respect to territories acquired by war.’

  5. RoHa says:

    How about restoring the Ottoman Empire, in a slightly more liberal form?

  6. Taxi says:

    Israel already has a solution. It prefers not to talk about it – not to name it, not to spell it: prefers ‘action’ to words and megaphones. Their solution is the ‘No Solution’:
    “We don’t have a solution, and you will continue living like dogs, and whoever wants will go, and will see how this procedure will work out. For now, it works out”, Moshe Dayan.

    Slow ethnic-cleansing, while creating other loud dramas wherever and whenever to distract the eye of the brain. This is IT! The only acceptable solution for the zionist state is the No Solution, which will eventually bring them their ‘cleansed’ prize.

    We should really be talking about this diabolical plan, implemented and exercised now for the past 64 years – held back from the world by zionists like a collective secret, an unspoken dark truth shared by the zionist populace in israel and elsewhere.

    In practical terms, unless this is exposed and halted first, no viable solution proposed by well-meaning humans can ever be feasible.

    Just a waste of time for everybody and the heartache of it all engorging with sorrow and loss forevermore.

    • ColinWright says:

      Taxi says: “Israel already has a solution. It prefers not to talk about it…”

      On the whole, I agree completely. I actually paused at the reference to it all as a ‘plan’ — but yeah. I think they know perfectly well what they’re doing. They just also know it wouldn’t be a good idea to articulate their awareness.

      Deep down, every good Zionist knows what’s desired. He always did.

      “…Just a waste of time for everybody and the heartache of it all engorging with sorrow and loss forevermore.”

      And yep. It’s a game plan with no happy ending — because it can’t work. The Palestinians are not going to go away. In fact, every year there are more of them.

      • FreddyV says:

        @Colin:

        ‘And yep. It’s a game plan with no happy ending — because it can’t work. The Palestinians are not going to go away. In fact, every year there are more of them.’

        Unless of course they do what they’re doing in Gaza. It’s forecast that the place will be uninhabitable by the end of the decade. What will happen then is that the people will become more desperate and kick out against the Zionist state, which will in turn give Israel the perfect excuse to tighten border controls against the 1 1/2 million ‘terrorists’ who live there and further starve Gaza of food and medical supplies.

        Of course we in the west will watch this genocide and our politicians will do nothing. You’ll maybe get some hand wringing from the EU, but not much else.

        The West Bank will probably be dealt with by starting a nice little war with Iran, Lebanon and Syria. Great excuse for population transfer.

        Apologies for the cynicism, but watching this movie and reading Taxi’s post seems to make the Zionist plan rather clear and that’s really sad.

  7. amigo says:

    The latest from Ziopropogandasville.

    “In bid to counter Palestinian efforts, Israeli diplomats told to raise issue of Jewish refugees
    New Foreign Ministry campaign ‘I am a Refugee,’ was unveiled last week, with Deputy FM Daniel Ayalon urging Jewish refugees from Arab countries and their descendants to upload materials documenting their personal stories on the internet.
    By Judy Maltz | 07:48 11.09.12 | 21

    Link—http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/in-bid-to-counter-palestinian-efforts-israeli-diplomats-told-to-raise-issue-of-jewish-refugees.premium-1.464129

    And the beat goes on.