by Snorre Lindquist and Lasse Wilhelmson
A Palestinian state alongside Israel has never been further from reality than it is today. Negotiations for a two-state solution have again capsized despite the Palestinian coup regime’s pronounced wish (if one is to believe Wikileaks) to sell off the Palestinians’ core rights in exchange for some measly Bantustan areas.
Meanwhile Israel, contrary to international law, continues to build settlements and steal Palestinian land, in a colonisation with ethnic cleansing, as it has done for more than a hundred years. The politics of genocide against the Palestinians have actually been facilitated by the UN suggestion for partition in 1947 and the Oslo Agreement in 1993 that launched the idea of a two-state solution.
Support for the idea of a two-state solution is dwindling among the Palestinians. Fatah, the movement that seized power through a coup after Hamas had won the election, has the two-state idea on its programme, but is losing supporters since the latest events. Hamas, formerly a bitter enemy of the idea, in attempt to achieve agreement, has suggested a provisional two-state solution connected to the UN Resolution 194 concerning the Palestinian refugees’ inalienable right to return. A right that Israel categorically denies as it is incompatible with the preservation of Israel as a Jewish state, as its Jewish majority would be threatened for demographic reasons.
Despite this, energetic efforts are presently being made to revive the Idea of a two-state solution from an unexpected corner: Latin America! During a short space of time, as if under starter’s orders, Brazil, Argentine, Bolivia, Uruguay, Guyana and (reserving opinion re the borders) Chile and Peru have hurried to assist at the request of the Palestinian coup regime. These countries “recognise” – without a prior peace agreement – the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel with the armistice line from 1967 as the border. Cuba and Venezuela have done something similar, also the former Soviet Union, but much earlier on.
Headed by France, the EU is also for a “recognition” of Palestine when “appropriate”, meaning when the US and Israel so wish. The Norwegian foreign minister declared Norway’s enthusiastic wish to help the Israel puppet, Abbas, to construct a regular state apparatus for the new “democracy” alongside Israel.
Israel rejected the initiative from the Latin American countries as meaningless. The US has followed suite. Israel wishes to seize at least the whole of Palestine – but without the Palestinians.
The two-state solution is destructive
Those who advocate the idea of two states may applaud the recycled initiative from the Latin American states. Perhaps their governments wish to demonstrate their independence from the US and Israel by flagging their sympathy for the stateless Palestinians. But the action is destructive for at least these following reasons:
1. The expelled Palestinians will be hindered from returning, which means that the ongoing politics of genocide are accepted both by the Palestinians and the international community. Israel’s 2 million Palestinians, discriminated against and threatened with deportation, are left to their fate. International law is put aside. The core reason for the conflict remains unresolved, thus new wars can be expected.
2. Just like other UN states that defer to the US and Israel’s agenda, the Latin American countries close their eyes to the fact that the Palestinians are deeply divided into two hostile factions that have different opinions about the two-state idea. Dialogue with only one side will of course increase the division.
3. After winning an election, acknowledged by international observers, with a substantial majority, Hamas was entrusted by the Palestinian people to appoint a government. This has been sabotaged by Fatah in collaboration with the US and Israel together with other western states who do not accept the election results. The brazen act of taking Fatah’s side in this situation is also hypocritical, as it counteracts the democracy these countries say they advocate. Emphasising this is the fact that the Fatah leadership receives arms and military training from Israel in order to fight Hamas.
4. There is no evidence that Israel will stop the successful tactics of exploiting negotiations to steal more land, and continue the ethnic cleansing and the genocide.
Those who are presently trying to achieve new negotiations for two states carefully avoid stating an opinion about the core question in the Middle East, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, which has been going on since 1948. A treaty that aims for just and lasting peace must first and foremost solve the core question of the conflict, or everything else rests on shifting ground.
It is the expulsion of the Palestinians from their country and the theft of their land that has created the preconditions for the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, with a comfortable Jewish majority. A state that has no determined borders and that forever yearns to expand.
What is a “Jewish state”?
The two-state solution means, in fact, a Palestinian state alongside a Jews-only state, other interpretations are meaningless. This is understood when we study the two meanings of the term “Jewish state” that can be discussed, namely one according to the UN partition plan from 1947 and one according to Zionism’s definition.
A prerequisite for the UN partition plan was that the demographic relationship between Jews and Arabs could only be changed if both parties were willing. Other preconditions were determined borders, equality before the law, respect for land and property and more. Israel has ignored all these demands, thus, through its actions, rendering the resolution obsolete (1). The fact that the partition plan is indifferent to people’s right to self-determination and has never been acknowledged by the Arab states in question and the Palestinians’ representatives, reinforces this (2).
The sole remaining meaning of the term “Jewish state” is thus the Zionists’. It considers that the state exists exclusively for the world’s Jews, but not for the original inhabitants, the Palestinians. A state territory of this nature can never be other than colonial and racist.
Palestine is an Arab country, predominantly Muslim, which has been colonised. With inevitable logic therefore, all Arab and Muslim resistance in the Middle East must be crushed, and regimes bribed into loyalty. To this end, Israel uses its influence in the US for war policies that spread in ever widening circles from Iraq and Afghanistan, to Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and soon the whole of Iran. American soldiers, and those of other countries – not Israelis – sacrifice their lives for Israel’s interests and the price is death of millions of civilians and devastated countries. Following on this, the US economy and reputation are in continual decline. Israel on the other hand is more than happy with the result in Iraq (3).
Those opposing South Africa’s apartheid system never proposed a “white state” alongside a “black state”. To this day, we would see that as morally unsound, ridiculous and not in the interests of the original black population.
It may seem slightly strange therefore that so many international protesters against Israel’s apartheid system are in favour of a “Palestinian state” alongside a “Jewish state”. It is not unreasonable to ask the question if this is solely political theatre and who the director might be. The Latin American states in question are born out of freedom fights against colonialism. Several of them are considered to be part of the anti-imperialistic avant-garde. They should not have fallen into this trap.
The Refugee Resolution guides the way
The UN resolution 194 from 1949 concerning refugees’ right to return to their homes is the Palestinian’s main legal instrument in their fight, with the significant supplement in resolution 3236 that the right to return is inalienable. The resolution states that its implementation is inevitable to the solution of the Palestinian question and for a just and lasting peace. Today, the UN resolution 194 is still the key (4) to the end of the conflicts in the Middle East and a significantly less dangerous world.
In august 2008, Mahmoud Abbas, who was then still the Palestinians’ legitimate president, received an open letter signed by all of Palestine’s most important organisations: civil rights movements, institutions and parties in the ”homeland”, including Fatah and Hamas, together with refugee organisations. The letter highlights the conflict’s absolute core question, that of the Palestinian refugees and their inalienable right to return to their homes. This document must be judged as including the most important guidelines upon which the Palestinian people in the “homeland” and in exile have been able to agree (5).
Another fundamental document for the Palestinians’ way forward is that covering the demands of a boycott, isolation and sanctions against Israel (BDS) from June 9th 2005. This document also focuses on the rights of the refugees (6).
The best way to show solidarity, and support the Palestinians is therefore – quite simply – in different ways, to work for the boycott of Israel that they themselves advocate and the right to return according to the UN decision. An initiative to expel Israel from the UN because of its refusal to obey resolutions, especially 194, would also be suitable (7).
– Snorre Lindquist is a Swedish Architect of, among other things, the House of Culture in front of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem on the West Bank. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Lasse Wilhelmson is a commentator on the situation in the Middle East, and is a member of a local government in Sweden for 23 years, four of which in an executive position. Contact him at: email@example.com