Trump Brings Clarity
Blogpost by Jeff Halper, 19 Feb 2017
Well, as in an answer to my prayers, Trump has definitively cleared the air on Israel/Palestine: Israel has been given the green light to do anything it wants, just so it doesn’t embarrass the Administration. (Trump told Netanyahu a couple weeks ago to just build and not “brag” about it, which has always been Sharon’s policy.) I expect in the next week or two that Israel will annex the settlement blocks of Maaleh Adumim and Gush Etzion, on its way to all of Area C, the 60% of the West Bank where Israel’s settlements are located.
This is constructive in that it clearly marks the end of the two-state solution. Not that that is good in and of itself; nor is making Israel’s occupation and repression a permanent “fact on the ground.” What is constructive is that it allows us to put aside a “solution” that was never going to happen and only clouded political discussion. The two-state solution, though unjust and unfair, was acceptable to the Israeli peace camp as long as the Palestinians felt they could make a go of it. But it was NEVER seriously entertained by Israel.
The two-state solution had many endings that two-state people refused to acknowledge. 1967 when Israel annexed East Jerusalem, began its settlement building, denied the very fact of occupation and refused to deal with the Palestinians themselves. In 1977 Begin was elected and Sharon began the process of systematically incorporating Judea and Samaria into Israel proper. The Oslo Process of the 1990s, during which the LABOR government doubled the settler population and Ehud Barak declared “there is no partner for peace.” John Kerry’s conclusive “poof, it’s gone,” when Netanyahu announced the building of thousands of settlement units while Kerry was trying to broker a peace.
Now we have a chance to move on to a genuinely just and workable solution, which in my mind is crystal-clear: a bi-national, democratic state in which all the country’s inhabitants have absolutely equal civil rights. I have written about it (see below, for example, and in my book “An Israeli in Palestine”). Ali Abunimah and a few others have presented slightly varied versions as well. We do not have to start from scratch. But we have as yet to translate the one-state notion into a political program. Instead, we are drifting.
This is our opening, our political opportunity to be political actors instead of mere protestors or commentators. There is not yet a forum in which Palestinians and their Israeli partners we can meet and strategize — establishing one is an urgent priority — but we are further ahead in our ability to formulate, articulate and advocate for a just one-state solution than we realize. The end of the two-state solution (yet again) raises before the public a stark set of alternatives: either apartheid (which even the Israeli President warned about this week) or an equal sharing of the country. Indeed, one apartheid state already exists. Our task is to go with the flow: to accept Israel’s creation of a single state but to insist that it become a truly democratic one. Democracy, while accepting the existence of two national groups in Palestine/Israel, should not be an unreasonable solution.