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Israeli politicians are ‘afraid’ to speak of two-state solution– though it’s US Dems’ talking point

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Tonight is the first of two Democratic presidential debates; and you can be sure that when Israel comes up, everyone will be for a two state solution. Two states is the talking point for Democratic politicians whenever anyone asks them about Palestinian human rights. Israel lobby groups on the Democratic side enforce the orthodoxy about two-states (both the rightwing group and the left wing group).

Mainstream Democrats may be the only folks who are pushing two states, though. The Trump administration “refused” to use the phrase

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo… was asked if current U.S. policy prefers a one-state solution or a two-state solution. “You’ll see our plan shortly,” was Pompeo’s response.

Trump is heeding the Israeli discourse. And Israeli Jewish politicians from center-left to right are steering clear of the two-state formulation like rat-poison.

Guy Ziv of the American University surveyed former Israeli security officials, including many entering politics, and says they are for a two-state solution by 9 to 1, but can’t say so publicly. There’s too big a risk.

Many of the interviewees told us that those who aspire to join the political arena are very cautious about endorsing a two state solution publicly because it would be seen as a political risk, so they’ve kind of avoided discussing it altogether. [Gabi Ashkenazi and Benny Gantz of Blue and White] haven’t talked about it since they decided to run. We know that they support a two state solution, but they’re not talking about it…

[T]hey’re afraid of losing support from the soft right or the mainstream public… The key obstacle here is the zeitgeist of the times. The word occupation hasn’t even been used in god knows how long. Sharon and Olmert were the last prime ministers to even utter those words. We haven’t heard it from Netanyahu…

One of the ways we see the politicians from the security community try to address it is to use code words, such as “separation from the Palestinians, divorce from the Palestinians,” ways that they believe are more palatable to the public or in some cases avoid this issue altogether.

As for the Israeli right wing, it is all for one state. Ziv told the Israel Policy Forum that the right will “embrace apartheid”!

They have a messianic vision of a greater Israel, a kind of a theocracy…. What they have in common is this push towards a Jewish state over the democratic state. If you’re forcing them to choose between a democracy and a Jewish state, they’ll easily take the Jewish state and they’ll forgo the democracy, and if you want to call it apartheid, they’ll embrace apartheid, that’s fine with them, that’s OK with them.

Liberal Zionists and those security officials are worried that Netanyahu is fostering a “binational nightmare” that “would be the end of the Zionist dream.”

The two state solution [is] the only way to preserve Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, there’s no other way to do that.

Liberal Zionist hero Amos Oz used the phrase “divorcing” Palestinians all the time. Though Ziv points out that the true left in Israel, the small community of human rights activists, doesn’t like the discourse of “separating from the Palestinians, divorcing from the Palestinians,” because they’re for coexistence.

Back in the U.S., there is a report that the Democratic leadership is actually trying to signal that it might support Netanyahu’s position, and not oppose annexation of portions of the West Bank. The one-state reality indeed!

And meantime, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian woman in Congress, says that the two-state discourse is “separate but unequal,” something that didn’t work in the U.S.

She offered her vision of a one-state outcome in an interview with teenage Palestinian journalist Janna Jihad, posted yesterday. One state is preferable, and it’s also the most practical idea, Tlaio says.

I’m a person that does believe in a one state solution. I know a lot of folks are still– I just think we’re past that. I was your age and I believed that two states was possible…

So people believe I obviously believe in self determination. I can tell you. If If folks believe they can have the two states, and have equality and true freedom– I’ll be completely supportive, Janna, but I feel like we’ve gone past that. That it’s been destroyed by the current rightwing government right now of Israel. I mean Netanyahu is not supporting the two state. No matter how much they say, it’s not happening.

For me more and more I see that the only way is to integrate schools, is to integrate neighborhoods. That’s what we learned here in the United States… Even freed slaves believed, Oh, there was a movement, well maybe the south can be for African Americans, right… And the north — but that didn’t work. So separate but equal doesn’t work. And I feel like in this case it doesn’t… However I’m still an American so I’m not going to impose my beliefs onto a whole people. They can decide what they want but right now I don’t see a two state being possible.

It would be nice if politicians could discuss these ideas openly, but Tlaib is of course the exception. The Israel lobby groups in the Democratic Party seek to redline her position. Democratic Majority for Israel is outraged by Tlaib’s stance.

Facts: Rashida Tlaib specifically stated her opposition to a 2 state solution “One state. It has to be one state.“ [Link to an Electronic Intifada quotation]. The leaders of the BDS Movement oppose 2 state solution

 

In fact, Americans are actually open to the idea. A response to Democratic Majority cites Shibley Telhami’s polling of last year.

If the 2SS isn’t possible, 64% of Americans would choose a binational state with equal rights for all as opposed to permanently occupying & subjugating Palestinians in a separate, but unequal state. The fight is against Netanyahu & the Israeli Right.

So Israeli politicians embrace apartheid. US pols embrace separate-and-unequal. And we’re still hoping for an open discussion about Zionism and equality…

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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11 Responses

  1. JWalters on July 30, 2019, 8:29 pm

    More crystal clear evidence of the absurd power the Israel lobby (i.e. Israel) wields over American politics.

  2. brent on July 31, 2019, 1:31 am

    If there is viability in the 2SS, possible configurations will emerge, as a defense, as support for the secular bi-national state concept gains traction in America and around the world. A sustained campaign for equality would reframe the narratives and focus minds on co-existence.

    • Mooser on July 31, 2019, 7:29 pm

      “A sustained campaign for equality…”

      Instead of the sustained campaign for inequality the Palestinians have waged up til now?

  3. Ossinev on July 31, 2019, 9:46 am

    @Brent
    “If there is viability in the 2SS, possible configurations will emerge, as a defense, as support for the secular bi-national state concept gains traction in America and around the world. A sustained campaign for equality would reframe the narratives and focus minds on co-existence”

    Not sure where you are coming from on this. If you are suggesting that there is “viability” in the 2SS as opposed to it being patently non viable because of the huge numbers of settlers and consequential Apartheid infrastructure in the Occupied Territories can you explain/describe /give examples of this “viable” second state.

    If I read you correctly and I am happy to be corrected you seem to be saying that a greater emphasis on “equality” would reframe the narrative and focus minds on co-existence but co existence in a two state scenario.

    Zionists never intended there to be two states and all their policies and actions since Herzl were and continue to be designed to prevent a two state scenario be that the Yahoo`s “state minus” or the Bantustanised Apartheid version.

    There will never be “two states”. Your “if there is viability” comment on the face of it suggests that you actually believe that there is/remains the possibility of a 2SS (again happy to be ecorrected)The only possible “co-existence” left given the fact that Third Reich standard ethnic cleansing is not an option for Zionists is a single secular democratic state with equal rights for all citizens.

    • brent on July 31, 2019, 2:23 pm

      Ossinev, as Misterioso points out, the agenda for Greater Israel has painted Israel in a corner. They will have to expel the Palestinians, which is not out of the question if Palestinians go to greater fireworks and generate for Israel a plausible self-defense argument, rule over them as unequal or as equals.

      I agree with a single secular democratic state with all equal under the law and with civil rights is the solution most likely to lead to peaceful co-existence in time…. “a light for the world”. This can come about if Palestinian citizens of Israel organize around a campaign for equal citizenship. Doing so implies acceptance of Israel’s “right to exist” and indirectly negates the well-cultivated narrative of destruction, irrational as it is, which dominates Israeli and US politics leading to the votes and support we see in Congress. “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

      If Palestinian citizens do launch a sustained campaign for equal rights, with marches and placards, it would over time find wide acceptance in America. Enough to incentivize those who seek an exclusive state to advance possibilities for two states. In other words, those to whom a Jewish state is most important will come to realize they must reign in the Greater Israel idea to avoid a secular state with equality and have a Jewish state.

      Two states is not currently viable because there is not the political will to deal with the half-million settlers and their massive infrastructure. However, in previous talks, there have been discussions about swapping land to minimize the number of settlers who would become citizens of Palestine, making the 2SS more viable. Creative plans for dividing the land is a possibility. There is also wiggle room on the right of return. Agreement on the right but exercised symbolically, limiting the number who could exercise it, on the discretion of the PA, has been discussed. … I think the number was 10,000.

      My hypothesis is simple. If a Jewish state is deemed important enough, Israelis will make compromises to achieve two states. “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

      IMO, if a 2SS is achieved, they will evolve into a single state.

  4. Misterioso on July 31, 2019, 10:05 am

    The Zionists have painted themselves into a corner. The two state solution is dead in the water. It is still talked about, but along with Syria’s Golan Heights, expansionist, illegal occupier “Israel” wants all of the lands between the River and the Sea, which would include millions of Palestinian Arabs who have one of the world’s highest birth rates. Mass violent, brutal, illegal dispossession and expulsion of the defenseless Palestinians (as occurred in 1948/49, 1956 and 1967) would not be tolerated by the international community today.

    • eljay on July 31, 2019, 11:15 am

      || Misterioso: … Mass violent, brutal, illegal dispossession and expulsion … would not be tolerated by the international community today. ||

      Dunno, the international community seems willing to tolerate an awful lot of devastation and murder as long as “we” (which includes Israel) are the ones doing it to “them”.

      Until the Palestinians find a way to move…
      – themselves over to “we” (“us”); and/or
      – Israel over to “them”,
      …I worry that Israel and Zionists will continue to get away with even more and greater evil.

      • brent on August 1, 2019, 1:19 pm

        Eljay has encapsulated the challenge of Palestinians simply and brilliantly:

        “Until the Palestinians find a way to move…
        – themselves over to “we” (“us”); and/or
        – Israel over to “them”,
        …I worry that Israel and Zionists will continue to get away with even more and greater evil.”

        It is called “public relations work”. In my view, there is no more effective way than a deliberate, organized, sustained campaign for equality by Palestinian citizens of Israel. That would counter the public relations success making it about the red herring, “Israel’s right to exist”.

        What a different world it would be if people in America and Israel were well informed on the subject. They are not. They buy into the perception, so craftily created that Israel is the victim so go along with the proposition Israel has the right to defend itself and those bad things that happen to Palestinians, “They bring them upon themselves.” It is far more effective to challenge that narrative than to educate Americans and Israelis.

        What a different world it would be if people in America and Israel were well informed on the subject. They are not. They buy into the perception, so craftily created that Israel is the victim so go along with the proposition Israel has the right to defend itself and those bad things that happen to Palestinians, they bring them upon themselves. It is far more effective to indirectly challenge that narrative than to educate Americans and Israelis.

        It’s important to understand what has stood in the way of Palestinian citizens from a consensus on this already? Perhaps Mondoweiss can publish something on the subject.

    • RoHa on July 31, 2019, 7:48 pm

      “Mass violent, brutal, illegal dispossession and expulsion of the defenseless Palestinians (as occurred in 1948/49, 1956 and 1967) would not be tolerated by the international community today.”

      It certainly would not. There would be cries of outrage from some quarters, and a great deal of tut-tutting from others. World leaders would shake their heads and deplore. There would be a great deal of debate about how complicated and nuanced it was. Hollywood celebrities would agonise about tragic necessities for Israel’s security, and make another Holocaust film. The UN would set up systems to care for the refugees.

      But no sanctions or blockades would be imposed on Israel. The USA would keep paying the money to Israel. The Russian Navy would not sink Israeli ships. The RAF and RAAF would not shoot down Israeli planes. No international invasion force would be prepared.

      And after a year or, it would all be forgotten. Business as usual.

  5. Elizabeth Block on July 31, 2019, 1:15 pm

    I asked two Canadian politicians whose parties supported a 2-state solution, “What’s your Plan B? When you can no longer deny that a Palestinian state is dead in the water, what then?” One ducked the question; they other said he had no Plan B.

    I’m sorry, but people who say they are in favour of 2 states actually mean they have no problem with a continuation of the status quo – i.e. continuing theft of Palestinian land, water, livelihoods, and lives until Israel has all the Palestinian land and none of the Palestinian people.

  6. Citizen on July 31, 2019, 4:17 pm

    To my knowledge, no leading Israeli politician has ever supported the vision of a 2 equally sovereign states solution. Anybody?

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