Palestine and Israel: Why the two-state solution looks dead
This is the first time in Israeli history when a coalition party has adopted full blown apartheid and transferist ideas as its official political agenda.
Making apartheid official policy
Yet while Ben Ami and others from the old Zionist left are waiting for the apocalypse, right-wing thinkers and politicians have started to produce new plans.
These ideas differ from each other, but all share one thing: the negation of any Palestinian state west of the Jordan river.
Yet the end of the two-state model did not mean that these ideas favoured the establishment of a democratic state between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean. With very few exceptions, all of these nationalist politicians rejected the idea that Palestinians in the West and Gaza would enjoy the same rights as Jews. In short, they proposed different variations of an apartheid state.
Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, suggested a plan to annex Area C in the West Bank – roughly 60 percent of the territory occupied by all the Israeli settlers and some 100,000 Palestinians. It would leave the rest of the Palestinians in the West Bank under some kind of state-less self-rule.
Miki Zohar, an MP from Netanyahu’s Likud party, suggested that Israel will annex the whole of the West Bank, while giving Palestinians only residency rights, meaning that they could vote for their local councils but not for the Israeli parliament.
Others ave proposed that the Palestinians will become Jordanian citizens, able to vote for the Jordanian parliament, while living under full Israeli rule.
Smotritz went one step further. According to his « subjugation plan », Israel will officially annex the West Bank and will offer the Palestinians three options:
- to emigrate out of Palestine with the help of the Israeli authorities
- to accept living in a « Jewish state » without political rights
- to face heavy repression towards those Palestinians who refuse to give up their national aspirations
Three weeks ago, the National Unity faction, which is a part of the Jewish Home party, adopted Smotritz’s plan. This is the first time in Israeli history that a coalition party (the National Unity fraction has a minister in the government and Somtritz himself is deputy parliamentary speaker) has adopted full-blown apartheid and transferist ideas as its official political agenda.
This is, of course, a very dangerous precedent and may lead to legitimisation of extreme and violent measures against the Palestinians.
But at the same time it is an acknowledgement that the state of occupation, started in 1967, cannot go on forever, that the status quo cannot be a permanent solution.
Netanyahu: It’s over
If Israel refuses to accept an independent Palestinian state, as it does now, then it must face the prospect of a one-state solution, whether through apartheid, as Smotritz suggests, or through democracy.
This is where Abbas’ speech comes into play. Apart from creating a new space for discussion within Palestinian society, it also emphasises the challenge Israel is facing now.
Until recently, calls for a democratic one-state solution were restricted to non-Zionist politicians or activists.
But now such voices are heard on the Israeli right. President Reuven Rivlin is among those, although he does not wish to see Gaza as part of this unitary state and will not accept the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
Netanyahu himself has hinted that he stands at a crossroads. In his speech during a ceremony last month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, he declared that no « Jewish or Arab settlement » will be removed in the framework of any peace agreement with the Palestinians.
The old separation model of a Palestinian state and a Jewish state, he is saying, is over.
As some commentators rightfully noted, Abbas did not give any details on how this single state will look or how it will be achieved.
But the very fact that he pushed this idea from the rear into the front of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may have wide implications further down the road : MIDDLE EAST EYE