What Comes Next: Working without a political framework

This post is part of “What Comes Next?: A forum on the end of the two-state paradigm.” This series was initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace as an investigation into the current state of thinking about one state and two state solutions, and the collection has been further expanded by Mondoweiss to mark 20 years since the Oslo process. The entire series can be found here.

Do you just wish the two-state solution would be declared definitively dead if only to dissipate the clouds providing cover to the fatally flawed peace process and masking Israel’s relentless dispossession of Palestinians and violations of human rights?

whatcomesnextverticalIt won’t happen. The two-state solution is still the official political platform of the Palestine Liberation Organization and a vote would be needed by the Palestinian National Council to change it (and the PNC has not been truly representative since 1988 – ironically the year it formally adopted two states). Plus the PLO/Palestinian Authority are using the diplomatic means at their disposal to breathe life into two states. And the international community needs the moribund peace process based on two states; they find the alternative vacuum too frightening to contemplate.

At the same time, the two-state solution will never see the light of day. There has been no indication that any Israeli government, the late Yitzhak Rabin’s included, is willing to accept a truly sovereign Palestinian state (see Camille Mansour’s excellent Al-Shabaka policy brief contrasting Israeli and Palestinian negotiating positions).

In short, the two-state solution is “undead,” which, the dictionary tells us, is something “no longer alive but animated by a supernatural force.”

The other political scenarios include the status quo of continued occupation and colonization, and the one-state solution supported by some 30% of Palestinians in the occupied territories and many more refugees and exiles. Israel has the power to maintain the status quo, but the Palestinians at present do not have the power to bring about either a two-state solution or a one-state solution.

This means Palestinians as well as supporters of a just peace have to work without a political framework. An understanding of this reality underlies the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). The BDS Call opts for a rights-based rather than solution-based approach and sets out three goals for self-determination – freedom from occupation, equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and justice for Palestinian refugees. One of the values of the three goals is that they help us know when our activist work is done. E.g., a two-state solution that maintains discrimination against the Palestinian citizens of Israel means we still have work to do.

What to do? Good news: Activists for justice are already on track. Still, here’s a priority list for the agenda:

1. Keeping the Palestinians on their land. Israel could soon reduce the number of Palestinians in East Jerusalem to a tiny minority as it has already done in the Jordan Valley. It is also busily “cleansing” Area C, some 60% of the West Bank. All our activist tools must address this reality, by making the human impact of Israeli settlement policies crystal clear in our education and outreach; placing a cost (through BDS, challenging the non-profit status of U.S. settlement-supporting charities, etc.) on practices depopulating East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley; and supporting Palestinian capacities and goods.

2. Going to the heart of the issue. The dominant strand of Zionism has since the earliest days focused on the dispossession of the Palestinians to create their “land without a people.” Focusing on the apartheid nature of the regime against the Palestinian citizens of Israel as well as in the occupied territories enables people to see the injustice inherent in the original Zionist enterprise as it was implemented, and builds the ground for a just peace. This is becoming much more widely acceptable in the discourse, as can be seen from recent positions by the European Union.

3. Placing a cost on occupation and discrimination. This is flagged above, but is so important it needs to be highlighted separately. Israel is able to act as it does because – for over 60 years – it has rarely been forced to act differently. BDS places a direct cost on the occupation and discrimination/apartheid, as does portraying Israeli practices as beyond the pale.

4. Educating around one-state. While much is known about what a two-state solution would look like, if it could be achieved, less is known about one-state. It would be important to address fears that one-state would lead to the elimination of Israel – it wouldn’t. But it would challenge ethno-religious privilege, which has no place in either one or two states. Whichever one supports as the hoped for solution, that is a vital point to make.

 

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, One state/Two states

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

  1. hophmi says:

    “It would be important to address fears that one-state would lead to the elimination of Israel – it wouldn’t.”

    This is rhetoric. That’s the idea. Flood Israel with Palestinian refugees (Nadia has favored putting them in the Negev Desert). You create a Palestinian state where Israel is today.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “Flood Israel with Palestinian refugees (Nadia has favored putting them in the Negev Desert). You create a Palestinian state where Israel is today.”

      Well, good for the goose, good for the gander. May the evil the zionists have done come back at them.

    • Citizen says:

      @ hophmi
      No, it’s not mere rhetoric. South Africa is still there last time I looked, although it no longer has an apartheid government and law.

      Algeria too. The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, is still a country in North Africa on the Mediterranean coast. Its capital and most populous city is Algiers

      Colonial settlers mostly stayed in SA, mostly left in Algeria. Their choice.

  2. eljay says:

    >> Flood Israel with Palestinian refugees … You create a Palestinian state where Israel is today.

    Or you create a new, single, secular, democratic and egalitarian state where a bloated, oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” once existed.

    Unfortunately, as long as Zio-supremacists remain hung up on Jewish colonialism and supremacism in Palestine and refuse to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace, a viable (one-, two- or n-states) solution remains out of reach.

    • Mike_Konrad says:

      eljay

      Or you create a new, single, secular, democratic and egalitarian state

      As stable and as peaceful as the rest of the Arab world?! Right?!

      • eljay says:

        >> As stable and as peaceful as the rest of the Arab world?! Right?!

        No?! More stable and peaceful?!

        Just think what all that American political, financial, economic and military support – which has done wonders for an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” – could do for a real democracy…

    • Michael Rabb says:

      yes you can! end the Jewish state. No more Israel but lots of Jews and Palestinians living together in Palestine.

      • hophmi says:

        “yes you can! end the Jewish state. No more Israel but lots of Jews and Palestinians living together in Palestine.”

        Yes you can! make one state out of Serbia and Kosovo. Yes you can! make one state out of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Yes you can! make one state out of Sudan. Yes you can! make one state out of Indonesia and East Timor. Yes you can! make a peaceful multiethnic state out of Iraq. Yes you can! make a peaceful multiethnic state out of Lebanon.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “Yes you can! make one state out of Serbia and Kosovo. Yes you can! make one state out of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Yes you can! make one state out of Sudan. Yes you can! make one state out of Indonesia and East Timor.”

          Then the zios have to piss or get off the pot. Either pull everyone out of Palestine; back behind the green line and make it two real states, or prepare for a single state.

          “Yes you can! make a peaceful multiethnic state out of Iraq. Yes you can! make a peaceful multiethnic state out of Lebanon.”

          Interesting that here, you switched the emphasis to “peaceful multiethnic.” Putting aside your racism in chosing these states as opposed to, say, Canada and Beligium, what you’re really saying is that one ethnicity’s desire for “peaceful” living excuses thier oppression and denial of another ethnicity’s human rights. How fascist of you.

        • Keith says:

          HOPHMI- ‘Yes you can! make one state out of Serbia and Kosovo. Yes you can! make one state out of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Yes you can! make one state out of Sudan. Yes you can! make one state out of Indonesia and East Timor. Yes you can! make a peaceful multiethnic state out of Iraq. Yes you can! make a peaceful multiethnic state out of Lebanon.”

          Except for Indonesia and East Timor, all of the countries you mention were united and multiethnic living in relative peace until the empire intentionally destabilized them for geostrategic reasons. For you to list Lebanon is particularly egregious in view of Israel’s long history of attacking and destabilizing Lebanon, killing tens of thousands and destroying infrastructure. Yes, it is difficult for countries in the Middle East to enjoy anything approaching normalcy when the empire and Israel continue fomenting trouble and encouraging divisiveness.

        • Citizen says:

          @ hophmi
          Which states of the ones you mention have been heavily populated by non-natives?

        • RoHa says:

          I understand your doubts about the prospect of a peaceful mixed state of Palestine. But what alternatives are there?

          The preferred Israeli alternative – no Palestinians in the area at all – could only be brought about by an act of ethnic cleansing which would destroy all chances of peace for the foreseeable future.

          And Israel has resolutely blocked the two-state alternative, even though that is still monstrously unjust to the Palestinians.

          So we are left with either the current situation, which may not develop to the Israeli’s advantage, or a single mixed state solution.

          If the Israelis had even a shred of human decency, or were even normally reasonable, they would be working for reconciliation with the Palestinians and trying to find ways to make a mixed state function.

          But they don’t.

          And I’ll refer you to this again.

          link to mondoweiss.net

  3. pabelmont says:

    “And the international community needs the moribund peace process based on two states; they find the alternative vacuum too frightening to contemplate.”

    well, I’m not so sure. Anyway, IF you believe this, then declare the death of 2SS from every roof-top, ADDING the “BECAUSE” (the “BECAUSE” is the occupation and settlements which are both illegal and a complete impediment to 2SS peace).

    Dear EU, Brazil, Russia, China, Arab States, etc, (Oh yes, even USA): The settlements and prolonged occupation (by now clearly aimed at annexation of territory, not at peace or security) have KILLED ALL CHANCES for 2SS UNLESS the nations roll back the settlements, so get busy. The “alternative vacuum [is] too frightening to contemplate.”

  4. fnlevit says:

    May be all this BDS and related campains and forum is just a clever cover up for the extraordinary Palestinain corruption, both by PA and Hamas. Just look at this Sunday Times report
    link to thesundaytimes.co.uk

    BILLIONS of euros in European aid to the Palestinians may have been misspent, squandered or lost to corruption, according to a damning report by the European Court of Auditors, the Luxembourg-based watchdog.

    Brussels transferred more than £1.95bn to the occupied territories between 2008 and 2012 but had little control over how it was spent, the auditors say in an unpublished report seen by The Sunday Times.

    EU investigators who visited sites in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank noted “significant shortcomings” in the management of funds sent to Gaza and the West Bank. Gaza is controlled by Hamas, which is classified as a terrorist organisation by the EU.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “May be all this BDS and related campains and forum is just a clever cover up for the extraordinary Palestinain corruption, both by PA and Hamas. Just look at this Sunday Times report”

      HEY LOOK!!! Something bright and shiny OVER THERE!!!

    • Citizen says:

      $1.95 B EU aid to Palestinians over 5 years may have been used for purposes the aid was not intended for. Aid to Israel is a hell of a lot more than that, and all that US aid vanishes into Israel, where it’s totally fungible.

  5. fnlevit says:

    In fact I like what I see here in this discussion. No two state solution in the format some of the “regulars” of this blog want us to accept (giving up Jerusalem and such). Certainly no one state solution with two hostile groups of the popultation mixed together for many many years of bloodshed and instability.

    So – what is left? On your side it is trying to force Israel to “do something” about the Palestinians. Noble goal provided you let the Palestinians decide what they want. This is vs what you want or listen to all sort of Bargouties who took their MSc in Tel Aviv University and now found a living in inventing and promoting BDS. Or Peled and other names who make a living or have emotional kickbacks off this story.

    We on the other side will eventually solve this problem. I am not sure I know how but I am encouraged that we all recognize that this is a problem and we always managed to solve our problems much faster than other countries in the same situation. This is actually easier now given the tremendous economical boom we are undergoing now (please don’t quote me our masochistic press look at the facts I showed on another thread here – I was amazed myself collecting them).

    Warren Buffet buying 3rd Israeli company, Samsung, Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft, tremendous gas discoveries, becoming main supplier of arms for India, the growing ties with China, etc. We are full of energy and show tremendous talent in all we touch – high-tech, agriculture, environment, military – you name it. I see it every year among the students I choose for our graduate program and then teach and the numbers only grow and they become better and better.

    Look at Netanyahu (I am not his great fan). He actually caused this Iran willingness to enter the negotiations. People made jokes about his diagram last year but it is Iran NOW who did not elect Ahmadinejad and is giving up and begging to remove the sanctions.

    So – don’t worry, we will solve our problem with the Palestinians and with Haredim and with our local Arabs like we solved many unbelievably hard problems in the past.