Monday, September 07, 2009

Settling towards one state?

Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert was one of the first to warn against 'Israel sleepwalking into fully fledged Apartheid' and how this would be the end of the Jewish State. Commentators since have often brought up the idea that the momentum for a two state solution may have been irrevocably lost.

Now President Jimmy Carter, always a staunch supporter of the two state solution ('Peace, not Apartheid'), seems to have undergone a bit of a change of heart:

We saw considerable interest in a call by Javier Solana, secretary general of the Council of the European Union, for the United Nations to endorse the two-state solution, which already has the firm commitment of the U.S. government and the other members of the "Quartet" (Russia and the United Nations). Solana proposes that the United Nations recognize the pre-1967 border between IsraelPalestine, and deal with the fate of Palestinian refugees and how JerusalemPalestine would become a full U.N. member and enjoy diplomatic relations with other nations, many of which would be eager to respond. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad described to us his unilateral plan for Palestine to become an independent state. and would be shared.

A more likely alternative to the present debacle is one state, which is obviously the goal of Israeli leaders who insist on colonizing the West Bank and East Jerusalem. A majority of the Palestinian leaders with whom we met are seriously considering acceptance of one state, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. By renouncing the dream of an independent Palestine, they would become fellow citizens with their Jewish neighbors and then demand equal rights within a democracy. In this nonviolent civil rights struggle, their examples would be Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

Recently, the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad had indicated that Jewish settlements in the West Bank, under Palestinian jurisdiction, were not out of the question.

In the mean time, Israel seems indeed intent on carrying on its somnambulism:


The Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, is scheduled to announce that he will allow the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank by several hundred units before implementing a temporary six-month hold on further expansion. But Israeli settlers, who live on Palestinian territory in contravention of international law, have called the plan a 'mockery', arguing that they should have a right to expand without restrictions.

Israeli police approved a ceremony by settlers inaugurating a new settlement, Mevaseret Adumim, which will consist of 3 -5,000 new housing units constructed on Palestinian land in East Jerusalem. The settlement was initially approved by the Israeli government in 1999 as part of the 'E1 Plan' to encircle East Jerusalem with Israeli settlements in order to displace the indigenous Palestinian population of East Jerusalem and create 'facts on the ground' that will supercede any negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.

And J'Post:

In a move that transformed the undeveloped Maskiot settlement into a new Jordan Valley community, heavy-equipment crews have broken ground in the past few weeks on infrastructure work for 20 single-family homes.

The Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that the work was legal.

The new construction comes at a time when the US is pressuring Israel to freeze all settlement activity.

The government recognized Maskiot - located 15 km. over the pre-1967 armistice line - as a settlement in the mid-1980s. But a new community never formed there.

Meanwhile doubts about Israel's capability to effectively withdraw huge numbers of settlers keep nagging. According to Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland:

Almost seven years after he was introduced to Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, initiated the establishment of the Sela disengagement administration to aid evacuees from Gaza and northern Samaria, and became one of the central figures behind the scenes in carrying out the plan - the head of the National Security Council at the time of the 2005 disengagement, Maj. Gen (res.) Giora Eiland, is convinced that Israel is incapable of evacuating settlements on the West Bank.

In his testimony before the state commission of inquiry on the handling of the Gush Katif evacuees, Eiland said: "On the level of the state, is the state capable, yes or no, of taking steps which are certainly politically controversial - the answer is certainly not. We are a neutralized country. What, that isn't clear?"

Combined with what appears to be a newfound realism on the Palestinian side, including Hamas (with their near-complete Qassam freeze for instance), the question more than ever remains whether, no matter how 'messy', the one state solution isn't rapidly becoming the only solution in town...


At 9:40 PM, Blogger Frank Partisan said...

Marx said that Jews have had the most religious freedom, in countries that had the strongest seperation of church and state.

The contradictory positions coming from Israel, show division that is inside the ruling circles.

At 11:07 PM, Blogger Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

The binational single state is inevitable, inexorable, unavoidable. It's just too late to unscramble an egg.

By the way, heeding your advice I offered Mondoweiss a post on Aftonbladet and they published it! See it here.

At 2:18 AM, Blogger Baconeater said...

The lack of violence on the Palis side is commendable and I hope it continues. If they keep it up, Israel will be defeated in the world court. This is unusual that they have stopped for such a long period of time and Israel cannot rationalize settlements to anyone if this goes on.
I've always said that there is a possibility for a three state solution as well. There is no way Gaza can connect with the West Bank unless massive land swaps occur.
So there are three alternatives. A full one state solution, but I can't see Gaza being part of Israel.
A two state solution. Gaza and Israel (with the West Bank) or a three state solution.
Israel has painted themselves in a corner by expanding in the West Bank, so the two state solution may be where this is heading.

At 2:27 PM, Blogger Gert said...


Where would you be without me? ;-)

Now watch the traffic surge for a few days...

At 2:27 PM, Blogger Gert said...


What's with the exceptionalism on Gaza?

At 3:11 PM, Blogger Baconeater said...

Gaza is a Jew free zone. Why not keep that way? Plus it lessens the demographic nightmare the Jews in Israel have. I think it is the only way a one state solution will fly.

At 4:06 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Ah, yes, the demographic nightmare: fear of which is the root-cause of Israel's present and future Apartheid policies...

A one state solution in which one demographic group desperately tries to outnumber the other is of course a recipe for future transfers, annulments of voting rights and other discriminatory behaviour.

At 9:11 AM, Blogger thecouchpotatoblog said...

With violence against civilians still rampant on the Gaza Strip, it is up to the nations of the world to unite in finding a way out of the Palestine-Israel problem.
The Couch Potato


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