It has been a little over a year since John Mearsheimer gave his talk “The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews versus New Afrikaners” which clearly and unequivocally predicted that the I-P conflict would end with the One State Solution. A year of shock and recognition has now led to great curiosity about the how the transition to One State is going to come about. I would like to ask some open-ended questions and elicit the response, and the knowledge base of the Mondoweiss community. I encourage critical responses to all the questions and points that I’m bringing up here. The essential questions are in bold.
Inability to get recognition at UN – Sep 2011
Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad is making his push for UN recognition of Palestine in September 2011, following his two year state-building program. However, the vote in the Security Council is virtually certain to be vetoed by the Security Council. Joseph Deiss, the President of the UN General Assembly, said that there was no way that the UNGA would go ahead with a vote on Palestine statehood without a recommendation from the Security Council. Approval in the Security Council can be expected to by blocked by an American veto.
Thus it appears that the September vote will fail to achieve the desired goal of UN recognition of statehood in September. The Palestinians will have a choice thereafter to continue with the status-quo, which is more palatable for the leadership, while providing sustenance to the Occupation. The alternative choice is to take the One State road, the first step of which is the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority.
Dissolution of the Palestinian Authority
How is the dissolution of the PA going to take place? The international donors funding the PA support hundreds of thousands of Palestinian workers in the West Bank, and of course power and prestige for the leaders. First question, I would like to know if the dissolution of the PA would create a hardship so difficult that it is impossible? I’ll then ask the question in a softer way: if not impossible, is it merely improbable? Will Israel succeed in forestalling the One State Solution for decades to come by buying off Palestinians with PA jobs?
While I can see that dissolution of the PA, and demands by Palestinian citizens for a binational state will be a powerful force, Palestinians must be willing to pull the trigger on it. That means giving up the idea of an independent state. If Palestinians are flatly unwilling to give up on the independent Palestinian state, and they stick to it like glue, then the Israelis might win and the Palestinians will get Bantustans for a long time to come.
I would like to ask commenters, particularly Palestinian commenters, what is the feeling and thinking in the Palestinian community regarding attachment to the state, overriding the leverage created by dissolving the state and making the conflict exclusively about voting rights?
Is it sufficient for Palestinians to have a only a cultural identity, as opposed to an exclusive national identity?
Following the Push for One State
I agree with Mearsheimer’s overall outline that the apparent nature of Israel as an Apartheid state. The framing of the issue as one of voting rights seems powerful, in that it resonates with America’s civil rights history. However, the Zionist hold on American thinking processes is also powerful. Is it conceivable that even after the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority, that the American public still would not be persuaded to extend equal voting rights to Palestinians?
The visit by Netanyahu to Congress and AIPAC, showed a frightening level of power over Congress, akin to a hammerlock. Is it possible that the power of the Israel Lobby is so strong in the US, and to some degree the EU, that even if the PA dissolves itself, that there still would be no effective action?
Is it possible that BDS would fail to be of sufficient power to effect change? Is it possible that even if there were a realistic medium degree of European BDS, that American, Canadian, Chinese and Russian trading would simply fill the gap?
There is a danger that the One State threat is a bluff that will be called by Israel. The danger is that Israel will buy off the PA and the Palestinians and give just enough progress to keep it from dissolving itself. In other words, find ways to continue the time-wasting negotiation game.
Demographic picture of One State
The demographic reunification of Israel-Palestine has three stages: integration of the West Bank, integration of Gaza, and the resettlement of those refugees that wish to return.
The current Jewish/Palestinian demographic ratio in Israel is 75.3%/20.5% .
With West Bank-only (no Gaza) integration, the ratio is 56.6%/40.3%.
With West Bank and Gaza integration, the ratio is 48.8%/48.4%.
With West Bank, Gaza, and return and integration of refugees from Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan (specifically those still in camps, and without Jordanian government services) the ratio is 44.2%/53.4%.
The numbers don’t add up to 100% because of citizens who are neither Jewish nor Palestinian.
The question being asked here is: Will the changes in demography, created by Palestinian integration in the One State Solution, materially affect how Americans, Europeans, and others feel about BDS of Israel? Will the Israel Lobby be able to use the demographic picture to block effectiveness of BDS?
I recognize that these questions are very difficult, but Mondoweiss has numerous well read readers who have already have insight on questions that I am only beginning to ask. I look forward to investigation of how the One State Solution will ever be brought about, or if, in fact, it will be.