Yousef Munayyer’s CiF article of April 27th was an interesting example of the rather over- obvious employment of political tactics. The Executive Director of The Palestine Centre in Washington, where Mearsheimer recently spoke, attempted to persuade his readers that time is running out for the two-state option in the Middle East and that the only possible alternative is a one-state solution. However, somewhat lacking in sophistication, Munayyer rather gave the game away by his use of such loaded phrases as ‘apartheid nightmare’, ‘continued apartheid/ethnic cleansing’ and ‘continued colonisation of the West Bank’. This comes as no surprise from a man who seems to have bought into such archaic antisemitic tropes as the all-powerful ‘Jewish lobby’ as supreme controller of US politics.
Of course many CiF readers need no chronological justifications in order to persuade them of the superiority of a one-state ‘solution’; indeed they would have it no other way.
27 Apr 2010, 8:34AM
a very thoughtful editorial.
The three options are ethnic cleansing, apartheid or a bi-national state.
To judge from the polls, Israeli are by and large in favor of ethnic cleansing or apartheid. It is easy to understand that to have a captive population onto whom to shift the badly paid work Israeli do not want to do is a very attractive proposition.
A bi-national state is anathema. Jews would end up being a minority in Israel.
This is a tough choice, either turning into afrikaaners or into modern secularists, but one where there is no contest. Afrikaaners it will be.
Unless the Americans finally realize that their all-out support for Israel jeopardizes their own interests and puts their soldiers at harms’ length and until the Europeans finally begin looking for their bootstraps.
In the end, I am sure, Palestinians will win this war, like the Tibetans and all people who have right on their side. But it may take much less if the Western liberal democracies begin acting in the Middle East according to the principles they profess.
27 Apr 2010, 8:56AM
I agree that One State will be the likely long term outcome, but we’re talking decades rather than years, and i suspect many Israeli’s will have emigrated by then anyway.
In the meantime it’s a non-starter. More likely there will be a half-baked Palestinian state with Israeli controlled borders. I certainly think the region will look very different by the time Israel reaches it’s 100th birthday, but that’s 2 generations away.
27 Apr 2010, 5:20PM
I do hope not – if the two-state game is over, there isn’t another game to replace it (other than perpetual war). The idea of a civil rights struggle towards a one-state solution is only realistic as a lever to getting a two-state solution.
Yes, I know where you’re coming from – but this bullshit (the status quo as arrogantly and persistently dictated by the Israeli state) has been going on for so long that the one state solution is now ultimately inevitable. I say ultimately – because as with the demise of the Soviet Union and the downing of the Berlin Wall, it obviously ain’t gonna happen overnight.
There is an interesting article here which offers a Palestinian perspective: The Case for a One-State Solution by Ahmed Moor in the Huffington Post.
Because the two-state solution is unworkable, both for practical and moral reasons, there is only one outcome that satisfies basic American liberal values of freedom of speech, race-blindness, equality under the law, etc. That’s the one-state solution. When I lived in New York, I lived alongside people who hailed from places around the world, many of whom were American Jews and Israelis. However, I do not have the same right in my country of birth. Reasonable people can ask why Jews can live alongside Palestinians in America, but cannot fathom living alongside Palestinians in Israel.
The road to the one-state outcome is fraught with much difficulty. The struggle is likely to be as protracted as South Africa’s struggle, and contentious issues like national rights, official languages and a suitable flag will need to be hammered out. But many Palestinian and Jewish activists have already embarked upon this road. Many of these individuals have come to support the one-state solution after accepting that the two-state solution is never going to materialize; Bantustans are all the international community can realistically offer the Palestinians, something few Palestinians will agree to.
Also note that the one-state solution is gaining significant traction amongst Palestinian citizens in the West Bank – as indicated by the poll linked to in the article above.
Munayyer’s casual injection of the terms ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘apartheid’ naturally did not fall upon deaf ears either.
27 Apr 2010, 1:49PM
The problem is not the theft of land, the building of settlements or the easily identifiable apartheid in operation by Israel.
The problem lies with the endemic hypocrisy of the international community and it disingenuous actors,and the skewed narrative that pervades all international efforts(camp David et al).
Israel is consistently ignoring and breaching international laws, yet never suffers any sanction, primarily due to the strength and influence wielded by it’s lobbyists
(AIPAC, LFI & CFI) in the USA and UK.
Gaza is being subjected to a cruel siege that is medieval in it’s barbarity and was recently the scene of demonstrable and prosecutable war crimes, yet Israel never has to account for it’s actions.
Israel has the right to defend itself from attacks, and has been the victim of reprehensible murderous aggression.
Israel’s citizens expect and deserve to be protected by their government, however any objective legal analysis of the occupation and appropriation of Palestine would conclude that Israel is in material breach of numerous international laws and conventions and subsequently any Palestinian resistance to it’s systematic occupation is justified.
27 Apr 2010, 12:14PM
Now let me test your own double standards. Had the Palestinians crushed the Israelis in 1948/9 and then expelled them from the region would you be fretting and fuming at this act of ethnic cleansing?
This point is irrelevant, indulgent whatifery. An attempt to paint the Palestinians as the guilty party by implying “this act of ethnic cleansing” – an act which did not happen.
Anyone with an ounce of humanity would be concerned at families being shot, wells being poisoned, villages being bombed and people being driven away into refugee camps, regardless of their ethnicity.
What matters is what really happened, not whatifery. Who did what to who where and when ? Who had the guns and power ? Who carried out ethnic cleansing on who ?
27 Apr 2010, 10:54AM
Slateski: “I wondered why, if this were the case, that so many seem supportive of Hamas who most certainly DO support ethnic cleansing.”
Oh the irony, coming from one who supports the Israeli government, who’s efforts to ethnically cleanse the land of Palestinians has been far more successful and obvious than any such effort – illusory as it tends to be – made by the Palestinians to “drive the Jews into the sea”.
The same old hypocrisy and double standards, as usual…
Two comments in particular stood out for their blatant and presumably deliberate offensiveness. Take this ‘character analysis’ in which Israelis are stereotyped as belligerent, aggressive, violent and paranoid.
27 Apr 2010, 1:35PM
Good article. Israel has cut it’s own legs off with it’s mentality of “iron fists” and “disproportionate responses” and land ongoing theft, so that it has made a two state solution impossible. How can you have two states on the same land?
Unless their plan is to ethnically cleanse the entire west bank to avoid the question, there’s not enough space without an Israeli wall or checkpoint to construct a Palestinian state, but a one state solution means ending apartheid. Trouble is the Israeli public now vote for racists and thugs to be prime minister, so expecting them to end discrimination soon is a tall order.
Without outside pressure the Israeli’s will only get worse. More belligerent, more aggressive, more violent, more paranoid, more convinced by their own hubris and myths. Sanctions. Now.
And then this:
27 Apr 2010, 2:02PM
Thank you for this . I saw Netanyahoo on TV yesterday assuring some couple that settlement building hasnt really stopped ..rather some local administrative hiccough had occurred. The guy is strange . When is the next Israeli election?
No more deaths just so foreigners can have holiday homes in Palestine.
‘Holiday homes’? Maybe the writer of this comment would like to explain that one to my mother-in-law who escaped from Tripoli in 1948 literally at the point of a knife, or to the family of my soon- to- be daughter-in-law who fled their home in Sanaa, Yemen with only the clothes on their backs? Of course he cannot, but like so many others, such deliberate misrepresentation of the facts serves his warped agenda of delegitimisation of the Israeli people.
In this he is no different from Munayyer himself who is also attempting in this article to misrepresent the existing situation in order to achieve certain political ends by conveniently erasing any trace of Palestinian responsibility for the current stalemate in peace talks. Indeed Munayyer is in fact advocating the imposition of a ‘solution’ which would deliberately avoid the need for any kind of viable, accountable Palestinian leadership; an approach which, in the present situation of factional infighting within the Palestinian ranks, may well hold a certain appeal as a ‘quick fix’ solution, but cannot be seen by any serious analyst of the Middle East situation as a formula for a positive future in the region.
Regrettably, though not unexpectedly, the Guardian apparently sees nothing amiss in providing a platform for advocates of the unprecedented step of calling for the dissolution of a vibrant, successful, independent, sovereign state or the moral poverty of the fact that the state involved is the one and only place in the world in which Jews have self-determination and refuge. There is double bigotry in this attitude; the racism of denying only one particular ethnic group its right to self determination, coupled with the racism of low expectations which prevents so many who hold such views from demanding of the Palestinians the same standards of accountability and government which apply to all other nations. In the long term, neither the holders of the Guardian World View nor people such as Munayyer who advocate state-building without responsibility or accountability are doing the Palestinian people any favours: a lesson which should already have been learned from the outcome of the Oslo accords.