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Barghouthi: Until Congress listens to Palestinian-Americans, forget about two state solution

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I think of Mustafa Barghouthi as the MLK Jr. of this struggle. He is restrained, mature, morally completely dedicated. For years he tried to interpret the news in a moderate manner (power politics), but the facts on the ground convinced him to call for BDS and the civil society route. Here he is in The Hill of all places (someone must explain this to me) telling Congress that the window on the two-state solution is basically over. Now this is the part I don’t understand. If you believe in Partition, then why are you not trying to recruit Barghouthi and Mearsheimer to your side right now? Most days I’m for a binational state, but it is not as if either path is an easy one. And it seems to me that the only conclusion one can draw from recent events is this: out of the delusion that power politics will somehow continue to supply benediction to all its disastrous and racist choices in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Israel is committing national suicide before our eyes, and her American friends, suffering from the same delusion about history, are enabling it.

Oh but you came here to read Barghouthi. He is so clearthinking. In his last paragraph, I believe he is talking about Americans such as Rashid Khalidi and Ali Abunimah.

Congress, however, could play a responsible role in expediting a just settlement to the conflict. First, tax-deductible contributions to Israeli settlements in the occupied territories should be halted. Settlers are violently implanting themselves in our midst in violation of international law and private property rights. The most extreme among them attack us, intimidate Palestinian farmers, uproot olive trees and, most recently, set fire to mosques. They are very rarely prosecuted.  American tax policy should not facilitate settlers’ efforts to wreck the prospects for regional peace and to destroy the last chance for the two-state solution.

Second, a congressional resolution could back President Obama’s June call in Cairo for nonviolent Palestinian resistance to the occupation. Such a resolution would insist Israel cease its violent repression of a growing nonviolent protest movement. We are in the midst of vigorous advocacy for nonviolence and have created informal coalitions including Palestinians, Israelis, and international citizens intent on peacefully resisting Israel’s West Bank land grabs. American calls to end violence would resonate more strongly here if members of Congress were staunchly upholding the right of Palestinian and Israeli peace activists to protest nonviolently against decades of oppression.

Third, Congressional hearings ought to be called that feature a wide range of Palestinian-American experts. The United States has enormous expertise it can tap into, but the exclusion of most Palestinian-American voices results in members of Congress not being exposed to important viewpoints on the conflict.

The failure to hear a range of voices risks congressional shock when Palestinians and others give up on the two-state solution and declare support for a South Africa-like struggle for equal rights and one person, one vote in one democratic state. This day is drawing nearer. Congress, if it wants to help the president achieve the two-state solution more than it wants to placate AIPAC, should take up these three moderate proposals – rule of law, support for nonviolence, and open debate – that Palestinian democrats have advocated for years.

P.S. Didi Remez has the same story really, from the European perspective, and it appeared in Maariv. The world hates Israel right now, doesn’t want to hear anything about Iran until you deal with your Palestinian oppression.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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