One of the wiser political observations I’ve read lately was from Joseph Dana in the National: “the debate about the two-state solution has become an important diversion from discussing the true nature of Israeli colonialism.” I’ve noticed the same thing, from rightwingers and even liberal Zionists: Keep talking about the need for the two state solution, so that no one talks about land policies that have made it impossible.
When the truth is that Israeli governance is moving toward annexation (as Annie Robbins and Allison Deger have repeatedly pointed out). Here are two good treatments of the annexation push in mainstream media. First Dana at the National:
Much to the dismay of the international community and proponents of a two-state solution, Israel recently announced that it would begin planning for settlement creation in the E-1 area east of Jerusalem. Israeli settlements in this area would effectively sever Palestinians from Jerusalem save for a few access roads carefully controlled by Israeli soldiers. When – not if – Israel begins building in E-1, it will end the two-state solution paradigm as we have come to understand it.
Threatening to cement the further entrenchment of the status quo are the upcoming early elections in Israel. Israel is heading for early elections in January on a platform that confirms the future entrenchment of the status quo. Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, is set to cruise to victory with one of the most openly antagonistic and right-wing coalitions in Israel’s history. His coalition will include a collection of right-wing politicians who call for varying degrees of annexation in the West Bank.
“The Israeli election does not signify a chance for change, but the opposite: we are more likely to end up with a government that has the maintenance of the status quo as the centre of its policy,” said the Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf about the upcoming elections. “Probably the only issue all coalition partners can agree on is the status quo.”
In the New York Times, Jodi Rudoren writes about American-Israeli Naftali Bennett, 40, of the Jewish Home Party, which has become a rightwing force in the Israeli polity, because it could take as many as 15 seats in the upcoming elections. He wants annexation. At least he’s upfront about it:
Mr. Bennett has said he does not believe a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is achievable in their lifetime.
So, instead of peace, he talks about annexation — as in, Israel should annex the nearly two-thirds of the West Bank known as Area C, which is home to 350,000 Jewish settlers. In his view, the Palestinians who live there — estimates range from Mr. Bennett’s 48,000 to the United Nations’ 150,000 — could then apply for Israeli citizenship, akin to those who live within Israel’s 1948 borders. Then he would try to remove checkpoints to ease traffic and movement throughout the region, and, he said in a recent interview, “make a grocery list of 20 things we could do to make life better” for both Jews and Palestinians living in the territory.
“Forget whether it’s right or wrong; we’re here to stay, now what can we do about it?” he said. “To strive for perfection brings disaster again and again. It’s time for new thinking.
So when will our politicians begin to reflect this reality? When will liberal Zionists?
Update. More evidence of the trend, thanks to commenter Mikeo. Guardian:
Prominent members of Israel‘s ruling Likud party have proposed the annexation of part of the West Bank as the battle for rightwing votes intensifies before the general election in less than three weeks.
Government minister Yuli Edelstein told a conference in Jerusalem that the lack of Israeli sovereignty over Area C – the 60% of the West Bank under full Israeli military control in which all settlements are situated – “strengthens the international community’s demand for a withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines”.