The futility of pursuing a two-state Israeli-Palestinian solution
Only a single state is possible
By Christopher King
Christopher King argues that the absurd and illegitimate foundations on which Israel is built mean that “the only safe, peaceful and legitimate future for Israelis is to accept the single-state solution with right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants”.
The search for an agreed two-state solution between Israel and Palestine is a waste of time. Any such agreement will have no validity for a simple reason: it would be an imposed solution, that is, an unequal agreement between a subject population and a military occupier. It would therefore be fundamentally unsound by any standard of legality or justice and liable to challenge at any future time.
There would be no difficulty in proving to a future international court that the Israeli occupation was a brutal one in which war crimes were committed with the objective of permanently confiscating land and water resources and by inhumane means, in violation of the Nuremberg principles, forcing the Palestinians to abandon and give away their land. Every Palestinian should be preparing his or her eyewitness diary and claim to the land against this eventuality as part of the Palestinian heritage.
For this reason, the present Palestinian Authority (PA) has no power to make valid agreements with Israel in matters of boundaries, resources, refugees and rights.
There is also the matter of the Fatah-dominated PA’s legitimacy. The Fatah party acts as the PA but it was the Hamas party that won the democratic Palestinian 2006 election with 76 of 132 parliamentary seats and the right to form the government. The United States and Israel would not recognize this result because it was not the result they wanted. They support the losing party, Fatah, which won only 43 seats, in holding on to government. Fatah now colludes with the US and Israel for power and funding but has no democratic legitimacy. Palestinians widely consider Fatah to be corrupt, which is why it lost the election. Fatah’s collaboration with the US and Israel divides the loyalties of the Palestinian people, so facilitating the theft of their land while war crimes are being committed against them. The current PA cannot possibly make legitimate agreements on behalf of the Palestinians.
The wishes of the United States, Israel, the PA and even Hamas are therefore irrelevant in the present circumstances. None of the parties has the power to make an unchallengeable agreement while Israel occupies Palestinian land with its settlements and armies. No impartial court could consider otherwise.
When, for example, Nazi Germany occupied France and annexed Alsace-Lorraine, the puppet French Vichy government ceded part of France to Italy and permitted fascist Italy under Mussolini to occupy Corsica unopposed. None of those boundary changes were permitted to stand following Germany’s defeat. Such circumstances violate every relevant principle of law and every conception of justice.
The desire on the part of America and the Israeli occupier to achieve a lasting peace in Palestine by any agreement that cedes Palestinian land is therefore futile. Their widely publicized “road maps” and conferences are public relations exercises designed to pretend to the world that Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands can be legitimized by a fig-leaf agreement. America and Israel are surely aware that the circumstances of occupation make legitimacy impossible.
The same principle applies to the land on which Israel stands. It is absurd that Israel claims that it is legitimate for Jews to come from anywhere in the world to occupy land stolen from the Palestinian people by means of murder and terrorism, forcing the Palestinian population from their lands as refugees. The justifications that Jews occupied that territory two thousand years ago and that God gave the land to the Jews are absurd and cannot have any legal standing.
Any dissident Palestinian group might therefore at any time in the future either take up arms or take legal action against the entity calling itself the State of Israel which, United Nations (UN) recognition notwithstanding, cannot possibly have any right to the land on which it stands. The UN has either made an error in law by recognizing Israel or it is legitimate for any group of persons to occupy and seize the territory of another people by force of arms, murder and terrorism, eject that territory’s inhabitants and by these means become the internationally recognized government of that territory. It is clear that the UN has made an error in international law.
It is an illusion to believe that the Israeli entity can achieve legitimacy and peace by the means that it has pursued to date, much less legitimize the confiscation of lands outside its UN recognized boundaries. This is why it has been forced to amass a nuclear arsenal and to commit war crimes both in the past as in the Deir Yassin massacre and at the present time, every day in Gaza where the population lives in concentration camp conditions enforced by the Israeli army. Nuclear weapons, tanks and aircraft are irrelevant to legitimacy and cannot substitute for it. Men know in their hearts and minds what is right and just. The more it is necessary to employ violence, the more it is evident that there is injustice.
As I write, I note that Israel appears to be about to pass laws that makes it an imprisonable offence to “deny that Israel is a Jewish and democratic state”, to observe Israel’s independence day as a day of mourning and to require a loyalty oath and willingness to serve in the Israeli army in order to receive an Israeli identity card. These are clearly aimed a getting rid of the remaining Palestinian citizens of Israel and suppressing all internal dissent about the nature of this illegal entity. If these laws are passed, Israel will decisively have entered the “laager” mentality characteristic of the apartheid regime of South Africa where I lived for a time. Unhappily, the case of Israel is worse. South Africa’s racism was based solely on skin colour; Israel’s is based on the exclusivity of a small ethnic group together with the explosive element of religion.
Persons outside South Africa never really understood its apartheid. I did not until I lived there. I conjecture that the world does not understand Israel’s nature despite media reports. Apartheid was unpleasant for me as a white; I cannot imagine what it must have been like for blacks and Asian Indians – who were also classed as black. At least the South African government did not regularly assassinate black leaders with missiles, indiscriminately bomb, shoot, deny water, food, electricity and other materials to blacks, terrorize them with low flying aircraft, shell them with white phosphorous, uproot their orchards, bulldoze their houses and suchlike. One might say that it was relatively a mild regime, yet it outraged the whole world. Israel is not yet understood.
Israel is now committed to a course of ever-increasing violence and inhumanity against the Palestinians who, with inverted, perverted logic, it blames for its own crimes. Although the Palestinians have been able only to weakly resist Israel’s crimes, that will not necessarily always be the case. America is imploding. In ten, fifty or one hundred years when America might no longer be able to support Israel’s illegal existence and occupation of others’ lands, or when its inherently brutal nature is more widely recognized, matters might be very different. Having seized its territory by violence, Israel has no option but to hold it by violence and outrageous laws.
It should not be lost on Israelis and their supporters that peace and prosperity for the Jews since 1945 has been found not in Israel but in living as equal citizens within other countries, particularly Europe and the US. It is the concept of the “Jewish state” imposed by violence that is faulty. The only safe, peaceful and legitimate future for Israelis is to accept the single-state solution with right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Anything else will not work.
There is now the possibility that those of the Jewish diaspora who support Israel will be seen to be subverting the governments of those countries in which they live in order to have them support Israel. There is reason to believe that this occurred in the US and UK in the case of the Iraq war. It is a matter of public record that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) together with Jewish members of the Bush administration were influential in bringing about the Iraq invasion. The same is true of Jewish members of Parliament in the UK and particularly individuals in the Blair government with Jewish ancestry: Michael Levy, Blair’s bagman; Peter Mandleson, Blair’s closest advisor; Jack Straw, Blair’s foreign secretary who made the case for war to the United Nations; and Peter Goldsmith, Blair’s attorney-general who falsely declared the Iraq invasion legal. There are good grounds for charging Goldsmith and Straw along with Blair with war crimes and, hopefully, this will be done in due course. This situation of Jews’ divided loyalties was foreseen two hundred years ago.
In Paris, 1807, Napoleon Bonaparte revived the Sanhedrin, a Jewish council, with a ceremony to establish the rights of the Jewish community as full citizens of France. He also gave full citizenship rights to Jews in all the countries he conquered. In return, however, Napoleon required the Jews to give up rabbinical jurisdiction in Jewish civil and judicial affairs, which would become the prerogative of the French state. He also required the Jews to give up their desire for separate nationhood, particularly in Palestine. The Jews gave these assurances. Henceforth, France alone would have claim to the loyalties of those Jews who were its citizens (Sachar HM: A history of Israel; Knopf 2003 p3). This was the implied condition on which Jews all over Europe, including the UK, have since that time been deemed to be full and equal citizens. Jewish Zionists have subsequently ignored this vital factor, the corrosive effect of which Napoleon, a civil administrator of genius, foresaw.
If it is the case that Jewish persons in positions of influence or authority in government are willing to act in Israel’s interests on the basis of common religion and ethnicity rather than on principles of international justice and the interests of their country of residential citizenship, the remedy that will be adopted is obvious: Jews will not be permitted to hold such positions.
This would be a retrograde and highly undesirable step toward medieval relations between Jews and non-Jews, with Jews as second-class citizens who are no longer trusted. Anti-Semitic though it might be, this would be an inevitable response. The way forward can only be for Israel to accept the single-state solution of a Palestine in which Jews and Palestinians live with equal rights under civil law. There is good reason to suppose that the Palestinians would accept a single state with right of return. It is in the vital interests of both the Jewish diaspora and Israelis to support this solution.
It is shameful that the UK and European Union follow the United States in its support for Israel’s annexation of Palestinian territory, its invasions of other territories, particularly Iraq and Afghanistan, its attacks against and destabilization of Pakistan, its provocation of Russia to portray it as aggressive, its aggression against Iran whose oil it covets, its dangerous confrontation with nuclear North Korea and political interference worldwide. President Barack Obama is continuing these policies, so the notion that he can bring about a peaceful resolution in Palestine with this mind-set while also supporting Israel with weapons and funding, is absurd. In any event, Israel’s demand that Palestinians “recognize Israel as a Jewish state” is also absurd and indicates that Israel has no wish for any agreement in order to continue its settlement expansion and theft of Palestinian land.
The two-state solution to Palestine/Israel is dead before negotiations commence for the reasons above. Nor would any settlement agreed by the non-legitimate, corrupt Palestinian Authority ever be accepted by Palestinians generally. It would forever be subject to challenge, both legal and armed. A just single-state agreement would eliminate the possibility of future challenges and offer immediate peace together with future prosperity to both communities. Such integration has been the model for Jewish prosperity and harmony with other cultures everywhere in the world. It would work perfectly well in Palestine.
Christopher King is a retired consultant and lecturer in management and marketing. He lives in London, UK.
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