It has long been said that the so-called two-state solution in Israel-Palestine is dead. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in fact re-elected on the promise that Palestinians would never have their own independent state.
Now, even the most powerful pro-Israel organization in the U.S. appears to be changing its rhetoric on the two-state solution, which for decades was at the heart of the status quo in peace negotiations.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, scrubbed a reference to the two-state solution from the “peace process” talking points on its website. AIPAC told Mondoweiss that it still supports a two-state solution, but this change may indicate a shift in rhetorical strategy.
The website alteration was noticed by activist Daniel Sieradski.
— daniel sieradski (@selfagency) November 14, 2016
An archived version of the peace process page on AIPAC’s website from July had three talking points. At the top of the list was the following:
Two states for two people.
AIPAC strongly supports a two-state solution and works tirelessly to bring peace to the region. A two-state solution – a Jewish state of Israel living in peace with a demilitarized Palestinian state – with an end to all claims is the clear path to resolving this generations-old conflict.
The present version of the page no longer has any references to the two-state solution. Otherwise, the talking points are similar — calling for direct and bilateral talks and compromise.
AIPAC does still however say on its mission page that it “urges all members of Congress to support … a negotiated two-state solution – a Jewish state of Israel and a demilitarized Palestinian state.”
Mondoweiss reached out to AIPAC for comment. A spokesperson said, “Our position has not changed – we continue to support a two-state solution.”
The spokesperson linked to references to the two-state solution on AIPAC’s website, including on its legislative agenda page.
While AIPAC’s rhetoric might have shifted a bit, its policies appear to have stayed the same. This is not true of the right wing in the U.S. and Israel, which have become increasingly hostile to the idea.
Prominent members of the far-right Trump camp, such as former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, have also insisted the U.S. should drop its call for an independent Palestinian state. Giuliani has been tapped as a potential attorney general in Trump’s extreme-right administration.
Even more mainstream conservative politicians like former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee are now openly expressing opposition to the two-state solution.
Action is also being taken within the Israeli government to pound the final nails into the two-state coffin. Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation unanimously approved a bill on November 13 that would retroactively “legalize” settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are illegal under international law. The bill will have to pass several readings in the Knesset to become law, but this is the first step.
From the perspective of Palestinian human rights, a one-state solution is not necessarily a bad thing. The question is of course what kind of state would be created, and what it would look like.
For decades, some influential Palestinians have called for a single, democratic, pluralist, non-sectarian state. In “The Fascist Tide and the Arab Revolution,” a chapter in her autobiography “My People Shall Live: The Autobiography of a Revolutionary,” Leila Khaled wrote that “the supreme objective of the Palestinian liberation movement” is “the construction of a socialist society in which both Arabs and Jews can live in peace and harmony.”
Khaled, however, is a leader in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or PFLP, a revolutionary Marxist organization. Today, those calling for official Israeli annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories are on the polar opposite side of the spectrum.
The politicians inside Israel and the U.S. pushing for a one-state solution are overwhelmingly on the far right. The kind of state they are on the path of creating would change the situation in Israel-Palestine from de facto apartheid to de jure apartheid.