Makdisi: E1 sets the stage for one state

Israel/Palestine
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Saree Makdisi joins the two state post mortem.  In tomorrow’s International Herald Tribune, Makdisi says Netanyahu’s decision to build in the E1 area not only kills the two-state solution, but also seals the fate of an exclusively Jewish state:

In moving forward with long-threatened plans to develop E1, Israel will be breaking the back of the West Bank and isolating the capital of the prospective Palestinian state from its hinterland. In so doing, it will be terminating once and for all the very prospect of that state — and with it, by definition, any lingering possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Oddly enough, the Palestine recognized by the United Nation is only an abstraction; the one that Israel is now about to throttle is much more real, at least insofar as the throttling will materially affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in a way that mere recognition does not.

However heavy the blow to Palestinian aspirations, an equally heavy political price for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s E1 plan will be paid by Israelis. For by terminating the prospect of a two-state solution, Netanyahu will also be sealing the fate of an exclusively Jewish state.

As cannier Israeli politicians (Ehud Olmert among them) have long warned, maintaining the existence of Israel as a Jewish state fundamentally requires perpetuating at least the idea of a Palestinian state, even if only as a deferred fiction kept alive through endless negotiations.

Once the fiction of a separate Palestinian state is revealed to have no more substance than the Wizard of Oz — which the E1 plan will all but guarantee — those Palestinians who have not already done so will commit themselves to the only viable alternative: a one-state solution, in which the idea of an exclusively Jewish state and an exclusively Palestinian one will yield to what was really all along the preferable alternative, a single democratic and secular state in all of historical Palestine that both peoples will have to share as equal citizens.

A campaign for rights and equality in a single state is a project toward which the Palestinians will now be able to turn with the formidable international support they have already developed at both the diplomatic and the grassroots levels, including a global boycott and sanctions movement whose bite Israel has already felt.

For Palestinians, in any case, one state is infinitely preferable to two, for the simple reason that no version of the two-state solution that has ever been proposed has meaningfully sought to address the rights of more than the minority of Palestinians who actually live in the territory on which that state is supposed to exist . . .

What must be added here is that if a one-state solution offers the last remaining key to a just and lasting peace, Israeli Jews will pay what will turn out to be only a short-term price in exchange for many long-term gains. Like Palestinians, they will lose the dream and the prospect of a state exclusively their own. But — also like Palestinians — what they will gain in turn is the right to live in peace.

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  1. doug
    December 5, 2012, 1:26 pm

    Saree is trying to resurrect the two state solution by dangling the threat of a secular one state solution. It won’t work. Israelis are clearly moving for a one state solution as well. One that will involve transfer, voluntary or otherwise, and will further isolate America and Israel. They probably see the financial decline of the West as placing a time pressure on the process. The sooner they get on with it the sooner they get a fait accompli backed up by the still potent but declining American hegemony.

    One of the big drivers of Israeli policy is their long term planning when America no longer has the resources or perhaps the will to “have Israel’s back.” Countries know few limits when it comes to national security.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 5, 2012, 1:55 pm

      Saree is trying to resurrect the two state solution by dangling the threat of a secular one state solution.

      i don’t think so. Makdisi is speaking common sense and something i have believed for a long long time. it’s an excellent and interesting article and in my mind predicts the inevitable. i only have one quabble with his analysis. “Palestine recognized by the United Nation is only an abstraction” while i agree it is an definitely abstract i am not sure i would go so far as to call it only an abstraction.

      also, Makdisi opens the article:

      ISRAEL did not wait long to reveal its first response to the United Nations General Assembly’s overwhelming recognition of Palestine as a non-member state

      if israel’s actions are framed as a response one could argue the setting of the stage had already taken place. the decades of continued refusal of IS/US to allow for a 2ss, which culminated in palestinians bypassing their brokerage and taking their bid to the international community has been a long time coming.

      it seems to me it was inevitable there would be an escalation of israel’s long term actions of expansion after the UN vote, for what else could we expect from an entity whose response system seems set on only one option (expand/steal). i would argue at this point the fastest way to get to an end goal would be thru palestinians utterly exhausting all attempts at bringing about 2 states, which they have done.

      Once the fiction of a separate Palestinian state is revealed to have no more substance than the Wizard of Oz — which the E1 plan will all but guarantee — those Palestinians who have not already done so will commit themselves to the only viable alternative: a one-state solution, in which the idea of an exclusively Jewish state and an exclusively Palestinian one will yield to what was really all along the preferable alternative, a single democratic and secular state in all of historical Palestine that both peoples will have to share as equal citizens.

      palestinian sumud is paying off. that’s what set this stage. “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice”, the arc of history works in everyone’s favor: equality/secular state in all of historical Palestine.

  2. eljay
    December 5, 2012, 1:53 pm

    >> … For by terminating the prospect of a two-state solution, Netanyahu will also be sealing the fate of an exclusively Jewish state.

    Unless Zio-supremacists conclude that ethnic cleansing – which even “liberal Zionists” cannot condemn as never necessary – becomes necessary once more. To be sure, the weaker ones will have to hold their noses at actions they’re too squeamish to undertake themselves, but once the dirty work is all done, they and their co-collectivists will “primarily celebrate”.

  3. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    December 5, 2012, 1:56 pm

    ”Saree is trying to resurrect the two state solution by dangling the threat of a secular one state solution. ”

    I doubt it. Afaik, Makdisi has always been an advocate of the one-state solution.

    • Emma
      December 5, 2012, 3:05 pm

      Agreed. As Annie points out, he calls one democratic secular state, with equal rights for all, “really all along the preferable alternative,” and he’s right.

  4. Kathleen
    December 5, 2012, 2:42 pm

    Adam/Annie/Phil Dr. Zbig has a great one up over at Foreign Policy “Obama’s Moment” He does not call the I lobby out by name and that in some ways is a shame but we all know who he is talking about.

    And he basically x’s out Susan Rice of Secretary of State.

    He sure likes President Obama although has constructively criticized the President a fair amount too

    • American
      December 5, 2012, 3:55 pm

      Here’s The gist of it……

      link to foreignpolicy.com

      To be sure, he is not a dictator. Congress has a voice. So does the public. And so do vested interests and foreign-policy lobbies. The congressional role in declaring war is especially important not when the United States is the victim of an attack, but when the United States is planning to wage war abroad. Because America is a democracy, public support for presidential foreign-policy decisions is essential. But no one in the government or outside it can match the president’s authoritative voice when he speaks and then decisively acts for America.

      This is true even in the face of determined opposition. Even when some lobbies succeed in gaining congressional support for their particular foreign clients in defiance of the president, for instance, many congressional signatories still quietly convey to the White House their readiness to support the president if he stands firm for “the national interest.” And a president who is willing to do so publicly, while skillfully cultivating friends and allies on Capitol Hill, can then establish such intimidating credibility that it is politically unwise to confront him. This is exactly what Obama needs to do now.

      One move he can make immediately that will strengthen his position: appoint a secretary of state with deep bipartisan support. In today’s polarized political climate, Obama would gain important leverage if he were to consider a Republican with a moderate foreign-policy outlook. Of course, it follows that if he chooses a Democrat, it should be someone who commands significant congressional respect on both sides of the aisle.

      Even before he has his new team in place, Obama needs to think carefully about his second-term agenda. What kind of legacy does he want to leave behind? And here, what not to do is just as important as what to do. A president who aspires to be recognized as a global leader should not personally stake out a foreign-policy goal, commit himself eloquently to its attainment, and then yield the ground when confronted by firm opposition. The bottom line is that — whether dealing with an antagonistic Vladimir Putin, the increasingly self-confident leadership of a dramatically rising China, the elusive and evasive Iranians, or the so-called Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” — Obama’s success will depend on the degree to which he is seen as truly committed and dead serious. Commitment and credibility go hand in hand.

      For example, on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the unfortunate fact is that under the last three presidents, U.S. policy has been either sincere but gutless, or simply cynical. The recent Palestinian statehood vote in the United Nations, in which the United States — despite its intense efforts — obtained the support of only eight other states out of a total 188 voting, marks the nadir of the dramatically declined global respect for U.S. capability to cope with an issue that is morally troubling today and, in the long run, explosive. It dramatizes the consequences for the United States of declined bipartisanship in foreign affairs and of the increased influence of lobbies, thus underlining the need for assertive presidential leadership in foreign policy and national security.

      In confronting difficult foreign-policy challenges, a president has two potential moments of grand opportunity. The first occurs during his initial year in office because by the fourth year, any attained success will erase the political costs incurred earlier. If he is reelected, the second opportunity arises in the first year of the second term because history, not the public, will henceforth be his ultimate judge.

  5. doug
    December 5, 2012, 4:26 pm

    annie:
    “i don’t think so. Makdisi is speaking common sense and something i have believed for a long long time. it’s an excellent and interesting article and in my mind predicts the inevitable.”

    That’s good to know. I hope you guys are right. Now, if that would appear in the NYT as well as the IHT we might have some real progress.

  6. Nevada Ned
    December 5, 2012, 4:37 pm

    One state is what we have now!
    One apartheid state, where Jews and Palestinians lead very separate and very unequal lives.
    It is FAR more separate now than the Jim Crow pre-civil-rights South. For example, many white southern families had black maids and black nannies, who did a lot of the childcare. I’m not attempting to romanticize the Jim Crow South. But the separation is even more severe now in Israel.
    Many Israeli Jews never have a Palestinian as a neighbor. Palestinians are hidden from view, behind the apartheid Wall. This makes it easier for Israeli Jews to regard Palestinians as subhuman, not even an inferior type of human (as traditional Southern thinkers would have it).

  7. giladg
    December 6, 2012, 3:53 am

    There is on country in the world that is Jewish, and you cannot let it be. What is wrong with you Adam?

  8. Steve Macklevore
    December 6, 2012, 6:25 am

    My nightmare is that under the ‘right’ American President and with the ‘right’ Israeli leader and under the ‘right’ circumstances (a distracted International community, or perhaps one exhausted by a major war as in 1947-48), Israel ethnically cleanses the West Bank to the shouts and cries of the International community but little action beyond a token boycott or the withdrawal of an ambassador.

    Indeed many elements in Israel, faced with the reality of a one state solution will argue that such action is a regrettable necessity (boo hoo hoo we will never forgive them for what they force us to do boo hoo hoo).

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