Israel’s version of the two-state ‘solution’ is anything but dead

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 27 Comments
lArchpele de Palestine Orientale
West Bank Areas A and B rendered as an archipelago
of islands. (Credit: Julien Bousac)

Every week this year seems to bring some new obituary for the two-state solution. Both in Israel and in the U.S., more and more politicians on the right (the Netanyahu-appointed Levy Committee in Israel; settler spokesman Dani Dayan in the New York Times; the legislatures of Florida and South Carolina; even, apparently, the Republican National Committee) have been coming forward to acknowledge what many on the left have argued for years: there’s only one state between the river and the sea, and there’s no realistic prospect of that changing.

From a different perspective, several prominent long-time champions of the two-state approach have joined the chorus just in the last couple of weeks: Nahum Barnea, widely described as “the dean of Israeli columnists;” Henry Siegman, the former Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress; and Richard Silverstein, the well-known Tikun Olam blogger, who titled his post “Two States Are Dead, Long Live the New State!” Meanwhile, the brightest lights on the left are increasingly focused on mapping out what a one-state solution might look like


I hesitate to disagree with such a diverse array of pols and pundits, but I don’t buy it. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence that a two-state outcome – of sorts – remains very much in the cards: I think it’s almost certainly what Netanyahu et al. are planning, if not for the immediate future then for some opportune moment down the road.

In fact, I believe those announcing the demise of the two-state solution are inadvertently sowing an illusion that could be damaging to the movement for Palestinian rights.

On one level, of course, I agree completely: the kind of two-state solution liberal Americans, Israeli left Zionists, and Palestinian Authority loyalists have long imagined (and right-wing Zionists have feared) – that is, a state with at least many of the attributes of sovereignty along something close to the 1967 borders – is dead. But that’s nothing new: the whole idea was probably stillborn at Oslo, but if there was ever a possibility it would come to life, that chance ended years ago, as the settler population swelled into the hundreds of thousands, successive Israeli governments kept building out the infrastructure to support them, and Israelis of all stripes realized that no one – not the U.S., not the U.N., not the E.U., and not the Arab states – was actually prepared to do anything to impose the two-state  “international consensus” they all talked about. 

The only thing that’s changed in recent years is that liberals and moderates are finally shedding their blinders, and the right is emboldened to say openly what it always sought privately.

But to acknowledge that one idealized version of the two-state solution is dead doesn’t necessarily mean that other versions of it aren’t possible. It certainly doesn’t mean, as many of the recent obits imply, that the only issue before us now is the nature of the single state – i.e., will Israel continue denying any real legal and political rights to the Palestinians of the West Bank, even if it formally annexes their land? Will it devise some new form of limited pseudo-citizenship for them? Or will it finally fulfill the fantasies of the farthest-right (expelling the whole Palestinian population) or the dreams of many of us on the left (granting them full and equal rights)?

Each of these alternatives strikes me as completely implausible. After all, although the Zionists have always sought to control all of “Greater Israel,” their elite has also been guided from the beginning by another principle: not just maximizing their territory, but minimizing the number of Palestinians on it, in order to ensure Jewish control. If they had their druthers, most Israelis would no doubt opt for complete ethnic cleansing (a.k.a. “transfer”); the only reason it hasn’t happened is that their leaders haven’t been confident the world would let them get away with it, especially in view of the resistance the Palestinians would likely put up. That remains the case today, I believe. (Of course, in the event of all-out, sustained regional war, all bets would be off…)

But as long as transfer is off the table and millions of Palestinians remain on their land, the Zionist leadership has consistently chosen not to incorporate all of it into their state: That’s why Ben Gurion didn’t push to “finish the job” in 1948, and why Israel didn’t annex all of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip after the 1967 war. That’s why Sharon pulled back from Gaza in 2005. And that’s why I can’t see complete annexation of the West Bank now.

What seems much more likely is that the Israelis will seek to preserve the status quo as long as possible, while they keep expanding the settlements and quietly driving out as many Palestinians as they can (mainly by making their lives miserable and hopeless) – all the while blathering about the need for negotiations. Is there any reason to think that Washington and the Europeans wouldn’t let them get away with this little game, just as they have for so many decades?

And if at some point, from somewhere, there did arise real pressure to resolve the issue – or if the Israelis succeed in so demoralizing the Palestinian population and corrupting its leadership that they can impose the terms they want – I’m convinced they’ll actually implement a two-state “solution.”

It just won’t look anything like what the peace processors have pretended to discuss for the last 20 years. Forget the 1967 borders – Israel will annex the majority of the West Bank. What they’ll leave for the new state is an archipelago of minuscule fragments, including the main Palestinian population centers, all cut off from one another and surrounded by what will become officially Israeli territory.

Specifically, in terms of the supposedly short-term administrative divisions originally laid out in the “Oslo II Agreement” between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1995, count on Israel to formalize its currently de facto but complete control of Area C, which represents 62 percent of the West Bank’s land area. It includes all the settlements, the buffer zones around them, the Israeli highways, the IDF bases and “firing zones,” and the entire Jordan Valley except the city of Jericho. (See this factsheet from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and especially the European Union report “Area C and Palestinian State Building,” released early this year, though dated last July).

simple map of abc
Administrative divisions of the West Bank.

The real beauty of Area C, from the Zionist perspective, is that swallowing it up, even without further ethnic cleansing, would increase the state’s non-Jewish population only modestly: after decades of decline, its Palestinian population is down to somewhere between 92,000 and 150,000 people, depending on whose estimate you believe  - not much more than 5 percent of the West Bank total. Thanks to a systematic and amply documented Israeli policy of ethnic cleansing[1], the Jordan Valley in particular has been almost completely depopulated of Palestinians: in 1967 it was home to between 200,000 and 300,000 people, but now the total, not counting at least 9,400 Jewish settlers, has dropped to 56,000, of whom 70 percent live in Jericho (Area A), according to the EU.

To top it off, the Israelis might also grab some choice bits of Area B, where Jewish settlers have recently begun, for the first time, to set up settlement outposts. But it’s hard to imagine them taking it all: it’s only 20 percent of the West Bank, but nearly a million Palestinians (41 percent of the West Bank Palestinian population) live in the villages and towns it encompasses. It’s no secret that Israeli Jews are already obsessed with the “demographic timebomb” represented by the roughly 1.5 million Palestinian citizens inside the Green Line – would they really want to add another million, just in order to achieve formal control of such a modest area?

And as to Area A – 14 separate fragments encompassing all the major Palestinian cities on the West Bank – only fanatics determined to control every inch of Eretz Yisrael, regardless of the consequences for the Zionist project, would want that incorporated into the state as long as its Palestinian population remains. After all, it’s only about 18 percent of the West Bank – about 4 percent of the area of Mandatory Palestine – but it’s home to roughly 1.3 million Palestinians, which means that swallowing it up would nearly double Israel’s Palestinian population, even without counting the Area B population.

Few if any of those proclaiming the death of the two-state solution argue that Israel is ready to grant full citizenship to the 2.3 million Palestinians of Areas A and B. When they talk about a single state, they’re assuming, at least implicitly, that Israel will continue to deny the population the right to vote and other civil and legal rights. But if Israel were to formally annex the whole area while continuing to deny citizenship to the natives, the state and its defenders in Europe and North America would face even more difficulty than they do today in trying to refute the charge of apartheid. At that point, it would almost certainly face an accelerating loss of liberal support and renewed condemnation from most of the world, and the size and power of the already growing BDS – boycott, divestment, and sanctions – movement would swell, perhaps finally approaching the proportions of the movement against South African apartheid in the 1980s.

Why would the Zionists risk all that, when they have alternatives? Why won’t they just stretch out the status quo as long as possible? And then, if they have no other choice, they can resort to their own version of the two-state solution: either unilaterally or in conjunction with a quisling Palestinian leadership, they could simply annex Area C (and whatever parts of Area B they want) and declare the remaining fragments of the West Bank to be the Palestinian state. Undoubtedly, the Israelis would insist on demilitarization and a variety of other limitations on the sovereignty of this Palestinian entity, but they could still call it a state. 

In fact, Bibi Netanyahu and his cronies have long hinted at such a “solution.” In 1996, when he was first elected prime minister, he promised to implement the Oslo agreement, but compared the kind of entity he had in mind for the Palestinians to either a territory with the right to hold a referendum on sovereignty, like Puerto Rico, or a demilitarized state like Andorra. 

When David Bar-Illan, then director of communications and policy planning in Netanyahu’s office, was asked about statehood, he answered “Semantics don’t matter. If Palestinian sovereignty is limited enough so that we feel safe, call it fried chicken.” And just last year, when Moshe Ya’alon, Netanyahu’s deputy prime minister and minister of strategic affairs, was asked to explain his thinking about a Palestinian state, he put it even more clearly: “Our intention is to leave the situation as it is: autonomous management of civil affairs, and if they want to call it a state, let them call it that. If they want to call it an empire, by all means. We intend to keep what exists now and let them call it whatever they want.” 

This scenario sounds somewhat like what the South African whites tried to do in the apartheid era by setting up black bantustans. Of course, they didn’t get away with it, but there’s another precedent where similar plans succeeded (from the occupier’s perspective): right here in the U.S.A., Israel’s prime supporter and role model, federally recognized tribes are nominally sovereign nations. Indeed, the “Navajo Nation” is larger than West Virginia. (The comparison to apartheid South Africa probably has more resonance with contemporary Americans, but I’ve always thought the closest analogy to the Palestinian situation was the white man’s treatment of native Americans.)

Some astute observers of Israeli politics have been predicting the annexation of Area C – Jeff Halper has repeatedly warned about this possibility (see, for example, Frank Barat’s interview with him in Al Jazeera in May), and just last month Israeli historian Ron Pundak, who helped negotiate the Oslo agreement and later the Geneva Initiative, laid it out very clearly in a Haaretz column entitled “Decoding Bibi’s West Bank Agenda.” My impression, though, is that this very plausible scenario is getting lost in the rising tide of rhetoric about the death of two-state solution and the not-very-likely prospect of a single state.

Does it matter? I think so, insofar as the progressive community can still hope to have some effect on what happens in the Middle East. Consider this scenario: suppose Netanyahu (or a successor) goes to the UN (probably not this year – he’s too preoccupied with Iran – but maybe next year, especially if Romney wins) and boldly declares that it’s time to end a stalemate that has gone on long enough. Since the Palestinians can’t get themselves together and won’t negotiate, he’ll announce, Israel is going to settle the conflict once and for all by recognizing a Palestinian state. That state will encompass, basically, Areas A and B; simultaneously, Israel will set setting borders for itself that include Area C.

Instead of recognizing this maneuver as the grotesque landgrab it really would be, Washington (whoever’s in charge) and most of the media would undoubtedly hail him for his “boldness,” “courage,” “vision,” and “fairness.” They’ll declare his plan a “magnanimous compromise,” “the fulfillment of the long-held dream of a two states living side-by-side in peace and prosperity,” blah blah blah.

How the Palestinians would react, I certainly can’t say. Let’s hope they could overcome their current divisions and apparent exhaustion and rise up with sufficient numbers, militancy, and creativity to make the world recognize that this kind of “two-state solution” is no solution at all.

But whatever the Palestinians do, they’ll need help from supporters abroad, especially in the U.S., who can expose the Israeli ploy as a farce and a fraud. And if we’re going to play that role, we’d better be prepared for what’s really in the cards, instead of wasting our time either wringing our hands or celebrating over the supposed demise of the two-state solution.


[1] The ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley began in June 1967, when Israeli forces razed numerous villages and camps housing 1948 refugees, driving out perhaps as much as 88 percent of the population – even though no major military battles were fought in the area. Since then, Israel has worked quietly but relentlessly to finish the job, first by preventing the return of refugees (and routinely shooting those who tried), then by establishing a variety of policies and practices designed to deny the remaining  Palestinians any prospect of a decent life. Among the techniques employed to this end: land theft (for settlements, “military zones,” and “nature preserves”); physical harassment by settlers and soldiers; home demolitions (40 percent of all the structures Israel demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 2011 were in this sparsely populated area); planning restrictions and denial of permits for even the most modest construction  (out of 440 permit applications in 2010, the latest data available, four were granted); destruction of foreign-aided development projects (including European-funded solar panels); theft and murder of animals; and, perhaps most egregiously, a variety of policies that limit Palestinian access to water - deliberate destruction of Palestinian cisterns, denial of pipeline service by the Israel water company, outrageous pricing of water from other sources, and drilling wells much deeper than the Palestinians’, so the latter run dry as the water table is depleted to fill settlers’ swimming pools and nourish their export crops.

Although the Jordan Valley commands little attention in the West, it must be the best documented case of ethnic cleansing in human history. Good recent overviews include “The Forcible Transfer of the Palestinian People from the Jordan Valley,” by Al-Haq legal researcher Mercedes Melon; a report and interactive feature from B’Tselem, entitled “Dispossession and Exploitation: Israel’s Policy in the Jordan Valley and Northern Dead Sea” ; and a beautifully illustrated report from the Ma’an Development Center called “Parallel Realities,” comparing the lives of Palestinian residents and Jewish settlers in the Jordan Valley. See also the website of Jordan Valley Solidarity, a network of Palestinian grassroots community groups and international supporters, and two excellent documentary films, the Lifesource Collective’s “Jordan Valley Blues” (2010) and Al Jazeera’s superb “Last Shepherds of the Valley,” aired and posted just last month.

So much documentation, so little justice!

27 Responses

  1. seafoid
    September 18, 2012, 11:06 am

    “You have to start by realizing that, whatever other pressures and influences and games-playing by ANC politicians that we discuss, Israel’s policies and its human rights record towards occupied Palestinians are simply unacceptable to any member of the ANC and the South African Left – and maybe to most enlightened people anywhere, including Israel.

    • Citizen
      September 20, 2012, 5:51 am

      Yeah, well, too bad nobody who gets to be POTUS will ever be members of the enlightened community you mention–they always get enlightened by Zionist donor cash.

  2. American
    September 18, 2012, 11:34 am

    ‘And if we’re going to play that role, we’d better be prepared for what’s really in the cards, instead of wasting our time either wringing our hands or celebrating over the supposed demise of the two-state solution.”

    We don’t even need the details, we know the Isr goal….get rid of the Palestines.
    If not thru outright ‘transfer’ then herd them into a tiny sliver(s) and starve them out.
    A One state solution would mean the end of Israel and if it wasn’t for the decade(s) of apartheid that would follow that I’d be all for it.

  3. iamuglow
    September 18, 2012, 11:57 am

    Good article. Sure, if the regime running Israel has its way no good will come of it for the Palestinians. It is likely that unilateral annexing bits of the WB is what Israel has in mind as a solution.

    What difference though does it make to the regime running Israel if people support 2ss or 1ss?
    They have no interest in either solution. The benefit as I see it of discussing the 1ss is that it describes Israel as it is. It describes the inequality based on ethnicity/religion. The injustice of it resonates with people and gets them to support actions like BDS. Which in turn can be used to exert pressure on Israel which can keep the from getting away with annexing more of the WB.

  4. anonymouscomments
    September 18, 2012, 12:16 pm

    (Of course, in the event of all-out, sustained regional war, all bets would be off…)

    that is a key comment, and you are assuming this is off the table for the sake of discussion

    bibi and various people have pushed for an iran war…. though they have not got it yet; this is insane and would precipitate such a sustained regional war
    we also have 911 (i’m of the principled, fact-based, alternative view on that)
    we have many powerful people pushing for, and getting, islamophobia in europe and the US
    we also have a pending reworking of the financial system in time, as the dollar eventually gets devalued/displaced, which will likely come with wars as a planned byproduct
    then we have the ability for some zealot to take out the mosque on the “temple mount”

    i fear chances are significant that people will push for the unthinkable option, when we consider all these factors, bubbling up in the coming decade

    think of it this way- the zionists got away with one ethnic cleansing and the establishment of “1948” israel, by most measures. why would they think another repeat is not feasible? the right conditions, and they would be able to repeat 1948-1951…. i’m not saying this is sustainable, or the (then expanded) number of refugees would go away. the problem would persist, but it would have the same dynamics of 1948-1967. but the mind of a zionist has always been OK with dispossession, and managing the resultant conflict.

    but i do agree with your analysis as a very likely trajectory… i’m just pointing out the not insignificant chances that the unthinkable, is being thought of by some, and might be attempted, and even successful if only for a period of time.

  5. pabelmont
    September 18, 2012, 12:37 pm

    Israel pretends that its settlements program and its unification of “Jerusalem” are permanent and irremovable (and natural and unobjectionable), blah, blah. Wonderful propaganda (and arm-twisting) triumph for them, of course.

    Our job is to convince the nations, non-aligned first, then EU, then USA, that they are wrong on ALL these points.

    • Exiled At Home
      September 18, 2012, 12:56 pm

      But are they?

      Yes, of course, ‘natural and unobjectionable’ do not even come close to the reality of these grossly immoral land grabs.

      But, are they not ‘permanent and irremovable,’ realistically speaking? The West Bank will never be free of Israeli settlers. Jerusalem will never be released from Israeli dominance (not without the collapse and destruction of Israel, either by outside hands or by megomaniacal Israeli hands themselves).

      Do you really think Israel can be arm-twisted to abandon its settler project or abandon Jerusalem? I’m not so sure.

      • Mooser
        September 18, 2012, 3:33 pm

        “Do you really think Israel can be arm-twisted to abandon its settler project or abandon Jerusalem? I’m not so sure.”

        Oh it wouldn’t be an arm-twisting, you’d have to break their back, too.
        So who wants the job?

      • Mondowise
        September 19, 2012, 2:54 am

        “So who wants the job?”

        me! i would implement the most severe sanctions down to the marrow, cut all aid and trade, kick out all ambassadors/diplomats, refuse & remove any membership to all international orgs, and encourage all nations do the same….until they comply with all international & humanitarian laws and get OUT of the west bank, end the siege on Gaza, allow Pals, UN or NATO troops to monitor/secure borders. their structures can remain, Pals can use them or do whatever they decide with them.

  6. pabelmont
    September 18, 2012, 12:39 pm

    This Palestinian archipelago seems above sea level, unlike some Pacific islands, but sadly is is also above water-level, as Israel “mines” the W/B aquifer and forbids Palestinians to dig deep wells.

  7. Exiled At Home
    September 18, 2012, 12:49 pm


    Smart, realist assessment. I think it is clear, and has been clear for some time, that the Israeli leadership’s ultimate aspirations lay maliciously somewhere in between the idea of the traditional 2SS and the idealist 1SS. The densely concentrated mass of Israeli settlers in Area C (especially in comparison to the ever thinning Palestinian population of Area C) indicates quite clearly Israel’s intention of annexing Area C into greater Israel, probably sooner rather than later as the “facts on the ground” won’t get much more amicable for Israel than they are today.

    As you note, absorbing Areas A and B is unrealistic, given the proportionally small amount of land and the high concentration of Palestinians (a demographic threat to “the Middle East’s only democracy”) absent some form of unacceptably visual and high-profile ethnic cleansing.

    And then, of course, we all know that the notion of a traditional 2SS along the ’67 borders is not only unrealistic, given Israel’s huge investment in Area C, but also entirely unacceptable, unrealistic and non-viable from a Palestinian perspective.

    That really only leaves either a single bi-national state (ideally) or a hugely expanded Israel (including Area C) with a smattering of ineffectual Palestinian Bantustans in Gaza, Area A and Area B.

    Obviously, the latter is immoral, unacceptable and must be opposed at all costs. The former is little more than a lofty dream, currently.

    So, what do you propose? For decades Palestinians have aired their grievances as a list of demands relating to borders, the status of Jerusalem and the right of return. For Americans, who know nothing of the context, the Palestinians appear as pushy, demanding squatters. I’ve long held that the Palestinian movement must be framed in human terms, with demands of equality, freedom, justice, human rights, dignity as these are the ideals that resonate with average people across the world, including America. As much of a long-shot as it may be, I sincerely believe the only acceptable end is a bi-national state, where millions of Palestinians may not have their own autonomous state, but at least are treated fairly and equally, with voting rights, basic property rights, freedom of movement from the Jordan Valley to the Mediterranean Sea. It’s the only acceptable conclusion to nearly a century of gross inhumanity. I know Israeli leadership will never accede to this model on its own… so, the need for forceful, public demands for equality in all of Palestine across the world is more necessary than it has ever been. We need mass demonstrations, we need BDS, we need more and more American courts striking down the efforts of AIPAC to silence 1st Amendment rights, we need pressure on the American Congress. There simply is no other way, other than all out war in the region, and mark my words, Israel is marching itself down that path currently. There is only so long the region can restrain itself before a broad military alliance manifests itself against the Jewish colonial state.

    • Henry Norr
      September 19, 2012, 5:32 pm

      Thanks, Exiled. Since you ask what I propose, I’ll just say that I agree completely with your analysis of what should be happening.

      The only thing I’d add, building on your acknowledgment that a bi-national state is a long shot, is that the Israelis are virtually certain to resist that idea with even more ferocity than they’ve resisted the two-state idea. Things change, and I try to maintain some optimism, but considering that no one has been able or willing to impose a two-state solution on the Israelis, it’s not at all obvious, to say the least, from whence the Palestinians and their supporters are going to get the power to overcome the much stiffer opposition facing any plan for a single state (except with virtually complete “transfer”).

      I also think it’s important in any conversation about outcomes for those of us who aren’t Palestinian to remember that self-determination includes the right to make compromises, even with respect to issues we might consider matters of fundamental justice and morality. It’s all too easy for people living comfortably (in most cases) thousands of miles away to tell them to hold out for this or that. The problem, of course, (actually one of many) is who gets to make the compromises when there’s no legitimate representative of the whole people. (The PLO claims to be just that, and the UN has accepted that claim, but in its current form it doesn’t seem to me to be the legitimate representative of anything except one wing of the West Bank elite.)

  8. MHughes976
    September 18, 2012, 12:59 pm

    The word ‘sovereignty’ is indeed used of ‘Indian’ territories within the United States but does not correspond with the normal usage of the word. ‘Limited autonomy or self-rule’ would be correct enough.
    I remember as far back as the Sadat-Begin negotiations that Begin offered the Palestinians ‘self-rule’, meaning that Israel would be happy not to intervene in their internal affairs, presumably including their enforcement of religious norms, but they would have no international freedom of action, no means of self-defence and (as has since become clear) no borders except with Israel. Nothing has ever changed, as far as I can see.
    The clearance of the enclaves, from small to large, would be an ever-open possibility. After all, the Palestinians have, on Zionist principles, no right to be there except by Israel’s grace, which can be withdrawn when and as necessary- that being the difference between grace and obligation. Minds will turn to relocation schemes which can be presented as generous.
    Norr envisages international welcome of an Israeli-imposed 2ss along these lines. I think that the difficulty would lie in securing acceptance of something that would indeed amount to little more than what the Native Americans have, indeed amount to much less, since NAs – a slight majority, I understand – live as full citizens outside their autonomous zones. I’m not sure that American acceptance by itself would be quite enough.

  9. bobsmith
    September 18, 2012, 1:02 pm

    I’m sure many Palestinians are thinking about this. For example, the Palestine Strategy Group’s:

    (F) Sixth Option: Dissolving the Palestinian Authority and saddling Israel with direct responsibility for administering the status quo (Plan B)

    This is the default option that arises in case the new Palestine liberation strategy fails. It stems from the PSG’s appreciation of the difficulties involved in transforming the PA into a PRA (Palestine Resistance Authority) or into an embryonic transitional government for a future independent Palestinian state. If this cannot be achieved, some big and tough questions will need to be answered without hesitation. Can we accept the option of indefinite continuation of the status quo, in which the PA functions as a service-provider without real sovereignty? What if the new strategy with its various components fails? In that case would the PA simply carry on administering the occupied territories and preserving calm and security at no real cost to Israel? And until when? Would it linger on as little more than a local municipal authority?

  10. Donald
    September 18, 2012, 3:08 pm

    “Instead of recognizing this maneuver as the grotesque landgrab it really would be, Washington (whoever’s in charge) and most of the media would undoubtedly hail him for his “boldness,” “courage,” “vision,” and “fairness.” They’ll declare his plan a “magnanimous compromise,” “the fulfillment of the long-held dream of a two states living side-by-side in peace and prosperity,” blah blah blah.”

    I’m as cynical as the next guy when it comes to what I expect from the press, but I’m not sure this is true. I think there are enough people in the press to maybe kick up a fuss–some of them, like Kristof or Friedman, are not exactly supporters of the Palestinians, but they could recognize a total piece of BS when they see it. Some people actually believe in the 2SS along something close to the 67 lines and I don’t think they’d all just roll over and play dead if this happened.

    OTOH, maybe Congress would. I don’t know what to think about that crowd.

  11. ColinWright
    September 18, 2012, 4:17 pm

    MHughes976 says: “… I think that the difficulty would lie in securing acceptance of something that would indeed amount to little more than what the Native Americans have, indeed amount to much less, since NAs – a slight majority, I understand – live as full citizens outside their autonomous zones…”

    So actually, what Israel would be offering with a Palestinian ‘state’ would be considerably less than what we offer American Indians. After all, I’m quite sure the Palestinians of this prospective ‘state’ would not be able to vote in Israeli elections, nor simply move to Israel and live there as full citizens whenever the urge took them.

    Add that the US government assumes responsibility for ensuring Indian Reservations are funded, have schools and some level of health care, etc. I don’t see Israel doing this with her ‘Indians.’

    Really, it would be fairer to equate the Israeli version of ‘Palestine’ with South Africa’s Bantustans — except that while South Africa promoted such a solution, Israel resists it as giving the Palestinians too much.

  12. ToivoS
    September 18, 2012, 5:08 pm

    Those are interesting details about what is happening in Area C. I had no idea that the ethnic cleansing had moved so far.

    This article is mostly about Zionist goals for incorporating more WB land and isolating the native Palestinians into bantu-stans, or what we call the apartheid solution. That is well known to most of us. One of the premises of the one-state/two-state dichotomy is that this is not a sustainable solution. In the long term it cannot be made to work. I happen to believe that is, in fact, true. Israel is more isolated today then at anytime in its history. BDS will eventually gain teeth and will put some major pressure on Israel. Israel will then be forced to change.

    I actually agree with Norm Finkelstein on this point. Those on the left that are the strongest advocates for the one-state solution either do not care or hope to see Israel as a Jewish state disappear. Enlightened Zionist and their supporters also see this as a potential outcome and that is the reason they support two-states. There is no secret here. Uri Avnery, MJ Rosenberg, J-street and more could not be more explicit. As long as the PA continues to exist, the two-state dream will live.

    In any case the only realistic alternatives that remain are one or two states. The alternatives — apartheid, ethnic cleansing or genocide — are simply not acceptable.

    I have feelings about one or two states but feel that they are irrelevant. What is relevant is how Palestinians, Israelis and their financial backers proceed. It seems logical that a true one-state advocate would oppose recognition of the PA at the UN since this would be progress towards two states. Also, it is logical that any supporter for two states, either Israeli or Palestinian, would be a supporter of UN recognition.

    Does that mean that I am a two-state supporter because I support UN recognition? I happen to think the ideal two-state solution Henry describes is not possible so that only leaves a one-state solution. But I do support UN recognition. This is confusing and I am not the only one who is confused.

    • RoHa
      September 18, 2012, 11:54 pm

      ” The alternatives — apartheid, ethnic cleansing or genocide — are simply not acceptable.”

      Sure, but that doesn’t mean they won’t happen.

    • NickJOCW
      September 19, 2012, 7:50 pm

      Does that mean that I am a two-state supporter because I support UN recognition? I happen to think the ideal two-state solution Henry describes is not possible so that only leaves a one-state solution. But I do support UN recognition. This is confusing and I am not the only one who is confused.

      ToivoS, I am in the same place and I believe many are. It becomes less confusing, perhaps, if set in a timescale, that is if UN recognition is viewed primarily as a means of breaking the deadlock, giving the Palestinians a more globally recognizable identity with a voice in a variety of international forums and recourse to UN institutions. Time passes, things change and what I suppose we feel is that with UN recognition and mounting global irritation with Israeli behavior the change can only be for the better. It is also worth considering that unbreakable ties are like Hollywood marriages, the more vociferously they are insisted upon the more frangible they often are.

  13. Matthew Graber
    September 18, 2012, 5:36 pm

    Did anybody catch Israeli MK Danny Danon’s tour of the US in the past week? He has been a proponent of the annexation of Area C in the West Bank, and over the past week visited NYC, Washington, and I think some other visits in order to advocate for that.

  14. Andreas Schlueter
    September 18, 2012, 5:43 pm

    Your graphic of the „Archipelago“ is surely fitting (purposely it´s reminding one of the Phlippines) according to present day life situation of the Palestinians, adding to this that there are only very few boats available. As for the insight view of hardcore Zionism the official map of the Ministry for Immigrant Absorption is revealing their design for the future: But to sell the final ethnic cleansing to the world a “deadly danger for Israel´s existence” is “necessary”. This should be produced by an all out war in the region of Near East (and Middle East). For that end the war drums against Iran are beaten. And for that the US have to be forced into the game (whereas the power in the US fears overstretching at this moment). From the side of Israel thus all is employed to put pressure on the Obama administration: That in the end might be a dramatic miscalculation on the side of “Bibi” and his men: It should not be forgotten, the US power elite does not know permanent and eternal allies. An important part of the US power elite did a lot to get the Nazis to power in Germany and when they´d fulfilled their purpose (bring the competitor Great Britain almost to its knees and mortaring Soviet Union almost into Stone age the US knew how to get rid of them. One would feel like saying: listen Israel, learn from the German example!
    Andreas Schlüter
    Berlin, Germany
    Addition: when searching for my comments under “Andreas Schlueter”, a photo is to be seen that doesn´t show me. Here´s a photo of me:

    • Citizen
      September 20, 2012, 6:14 am

      @ Andreas Schlueter

      Pity comment, yours.
      BTW, that twitter exchange with @RepublicanDude is frightening. He sounds like a rabid Zionist, although he claims to be speaking for Americans.

  15. Hostage
    September 18, 2012, 8:51 pm

    I hesitate to disagree with such a diverse array of pols and pundits, but I don’t buy it. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence that a two-state outcome – of sorts – remains very much in the cards: I think it’s almost certainly what Netanyahu et al. are planning, if not for the immediate future then for some opportune moment down the road.

    Yes, I’ve been commenting for a long time that even the South African BDS movement did not end the occupation of Namibia or prevent the creation of Bantustans there and in the Union of South Africa. I’ve also noted that the US and Israeli governments have already opted for more of the status quo.

    Undoubtedly, the Israelis would insist on demilitarization and a variety of other limitations on the sovereignty of this Palestinian entity, but they could still call it a state.

    No, I don’t that’s an option these days, because the International Criminal Court is open to membership by all states, and it has jurisdiction over the crime of apartheid and violations of the Geneva Conventions. For example, David Bar-Illan, director of Communications and Policy Planning in the office of Prime Minister Netanyahu during his first term said that the Palestinians can call whatever fragments of Palestine are left to them “a state” if they like — or they can call them “fried chicken”. See the Interview in the Palestine-Israel Journal, Summer/Autumn 1996 —

    Conversely, the State of Israel and its supporters subsequently waged a full-scale assault on the Office of the ICC Prosecutor with a half dozen legal briefs claiming that Palestine is NOT a state that is capable of accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC. They’ve even started a propaganda spin campaign that falsely claims UN upgrade or recognition would only constitute the first step toward achieving the legal status of statehood as part of their “negotiated settlement” talking points.

  16. Jerry Slater
    September 19, 2012, 1:36 pm

    Henry: Your analysis is just terrific, and I hope it attracts the attention it deserves.

  17. J. Otto Pohl
    September 20, 2012, 11:26 am

    Excellent article on Israeli strategy towards the West Bank. I think this analysis is correct. The Israelis want as much land and as few Palestinians on that land as possible. So they will annex the sparsely populated areas and leave the bulk of the Palestinian population confined to fragmented “Native Reserves.” It has some similarities with the Bantustans of the old RSA, but unlike South Africa which depended upon Black labor, the Palestinians will have far less mobility in practice. In South Africa the White areas depended upon migrant labor from the Bantustans to function so Black “citizens” of the Bantustans were allowed to travel to White areas under severe restrictions to work. This prevented material conditions in the Bantustans from going from extremely miserable poverty to outright lethal starvation. The Palestinians will not even have this much. They will almost all be permanently confined to their Bantustans unable to move through “Israeli” territory. The Israelis long ago replaced Palestinian labor with labor from non-Arab countries. I think the ways in which the Israeli solution is actually worse than the South African one really does need to be emphasized. Being penned up as a poorly paid migrant labor force is bade. Confinement without any possibility of migration or work at all is far worse.

    • Citizen
      September 20, 2012, 6:17 pm

      Maybe the Israeli Jews will allow the locals to make license plates for the state and engage in trade of black market cigs? The US taxpayers will continue to pay for the inmates’ bare survival.

  18. DAD
    September 21, 2012, 8:33 am

    What a very interesting civilized deliberation on this topic. However I was left with the comparison to the similar debates held by the -People’s Front of Judea in the Film The life of Brian!

    The behavior of Israelis, and their Zionist dual nationality supporters, in the long occupation of the Palestinian areas is criminal by any civilized mode of understanding!

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