Saturday, May 05, 2007
One State, Not Two Is the Solution
by Khalid Amayreh
4 May, 2007
Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was quoted as saying this week that there was no intention of “dissolving the national unity government.” Haniyeh’s remarks coincided with remarks by his own deputy, Azzam al Ahmad, warning that “the government won’t survive more than three months” if the American-led, Israeli-enforced blockade of the nominally autonomous enclaves persisted.
Earlier in the week, both Haniyeh and Hamas politburo chief Khalid Mash’al issued a plethora of statements warning that “Palestinians would resort to other alternatives” if the west continued to coerce and shun the Palestinian national unity government.
The two leaders didn’t clarify what the contemplated “other alternatives” would be. However, it was amply clear that both were alluding to ending the already fragile ceasefire with Israel (which Israel itself is threatening to end, anyway) or perhaps embarking on a fully-fledged new intifada.
It is abundantly clear though that the statements reflect profound indignation, stemming from the failure of the national unity government to end the hermetic blockade which has already pushed numerous Palestinian families to the brink of starvation.
True, the crisis is occasionally mitigated by some irregular and noncommittal financial aid from some oil-rich Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
But this gives Palestinians only a false hope for a breakthrough that won’t be coming anytime soon.
In other words, there is no light at the end of the tunnel and the reasons are clear.
First, Israel, which is undergoing a severe political crisis as a result of the Winograd Report, is not willing to allow the Palestinians to have a truly viable and territorially-continuous state.
Indeed, the continued expansion of Jewish-only colonies on stolen Arab land in the West Bank, especially in Israeli-occupied Arab East Jerusalem, is more eloquent and more reflective of Israel’s true stand than a hundred statements by Israeli leaders and officials expressing desire for peace. Actions, after all, speak louder.
More to the point, the Israeli society itself is drifting menacingly toward right-wing jingoism, if not outright fascism. And the Israeli army, the backbone of the Israeli society, is on its way to becoming a “national-religious army” as a disproportionately high percentage of its officers are affiliated with the messianic and extreme religious camp.
This reality finds many worrying expressions, particularly the undeclared but well-known alliance between the army and Jewish settlers in the West Bank where settlers are given a virtual carte blanche to steal Palestinian land and take over Palestinian homes and property as in Hebron.
Second, it is manifestly clear that the Bush administration is preoccupied with the Iraqi quagmire as well as with the political and constitutional showdown with the Democrats at the domestic front, so much so that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is becoming of secondary importance.
True, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice keeps visiting the region every few weeks. But her visits have produced virtually nothing. In fact, Rice’s visits have only served to deepen frustration on both sides, frustration at the failure to revive the moribund peace process and also at America’s enduring fiasco to do what it takes to make the promise of peace more realistic, namely to pressure Israel to give up the spoils of the 1967 war.
Third, as to the European Union, whose rotating presidency is now assumed by Germany, the most pro-Israeli European state, it is equally plain that its overall position is more or less a carbon copy of the American policy. This nearly totally negative approach toward the Palestinians is expressed in constant EU refusal to lift the blockade of the Palestinian government and also in the EU reluctance to pressure Israel to unfreeze more than $700 million of Palestinian tax money held by the Jewish state in order to punish Palestinians for electing a political party not to its liking.
Finally, the Arab states don’t lag far behind Europe, US and Israel in tormenting the Palestinians. This is clear from the persistent refusal of these states to allow national banks to transfer aid money to the cash-strapped PA, despite rhetorical claims to the contrary.
In light of all this, one doesn’t have to be a great prognosticator to predict that the crisis facing the Palestinian people and its enduring just cause will exacerbate even further as Israel continues to blackmail us into giving up our national rights, including the right of return for Palestinian refugees uprooted from their ancestral homeland in 1948 and 1967.
Hence, the PA and various Palestinian factions should be facing the hour of truth since the present situation is untenable.
Indeed, if the goal of creating a Palestinian state on 100% of the occupied land is no longer possible, and this seems to be the case, the Palestinian leadership should immediately declare the death of the Oslo Accords and the two-state solution, and opt for the one-state solution whereby Jews and Arabs would live in a democratic, unitary and civic state extending from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean as equal citizens.
True, Israel would vehemently object to this solution for ideological and other reasons. However, Israel, which has virtually and irreversibly killed the two-state solution, must bear full responsibility for its own actions.
And the Palestinians are staying put. They will never leave their land, nor will they accept to live in claustrophobic townships and hapless enclaves which have more in common with detention camps than with anything else.
-------------Khalid Amayreh is a Palestinian journalist and commentator.
a ghetto - solution.
On the other side the 'one-state'-solution makes it impossible for Israel
to continue to hide its fascisct jewish-supremacist design.
Selling its cause will become harder - much harder - hopefully impossible.