Saving Israel From Itself. ‘The two-state solution is the only way to guarantee the Jewish state’s long-term security—and our own’, writes John J. Mearsheimer. Unlike Mearsheimer I don’t see any inherent value in the survival of an exclusivist ethnocracy, and I am sure he would find it abhorrent if a similar system were to obtain in the US. However, his analysis of the US-Israel power dynamic is on the money, as always.
The United States and Israel fundamentally disagree about the need to establish a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel. President Obama is committed to a two-state solution, while Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu is opposed and has been for many years. To avoid a direct confrontation with Washington, Netanyahu will probably change his rhetoric and talk favorably about two states. But that will not affect Israel’s actions. The never-ending peace process will go on, Israel will continue building settlements, and the Palestinians will remain locked up in a handful of impoverished enclaves in the West Bank and Gaza. Anticipating this outcome, Obama has told Congress to expect a clash with Israel.
This is not a fight Obama is likely to win, even though the United States is more powerful than Israel and most Americans favor creating a Palestinian state and bringing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a close.
Look at the historical record. Since 1967, every American president has opposed settlement-building in the Occupied Territories. Yet no president has been able to put meaningful pressure on Israel to stop building settlements, much less dismantle them. Perhaps the best evidence of American impotence is what happened during the Oslo peace process in the 1990s. Israel confiscated 40,000 acres of Palestinian land, constructed 250 miles of connector and bypass roads, doubled the number of settlers, and built 30 new settlements. President Clinton did hardly anything to halt this expansion.
Playwright David Hare reads his monologue Wall, an exploration of the impact—on both Israelis and Palestinians—of the barrier built to divide Israel from the West Bank. Hare will be performing Wall, along with a companion monologue, Berlin, at the Public Theater in New York City, May 14-17.
Ali Abunimah, author of “One Country,” discussed here, exposes One Voice, a Zionist organisation posing as pro-peace pollsters, and shows that the supposed consensus among Palestinians and Israelis for the mythical two-state solution does not exist. The one-state solution seems increasingly viable to Palestinians, and this reality may panic ‘realist’ Zionists to arrange a formal bantustan settlement during the Obama term. This is a fertile moment, argues Ali, “when no vision carries a consensus among Palestinians, underscoring the urgent need for an inclusive debate about all possible democratic outcomes.”
How do Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation and siege see their world, especially after Israel’s massacre of more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, in the occupied Gaza Strip three months ago?
Two recent surveys shed light on this question, although one — published on 22 April by the pro-Israel organization One Voice — appears intended to influence international opinion in a direction more amenable to Israel, rather than to record faithfully the views of Palestinians or Israelis (“OV Poll: Popular Mandate for Negotiated Two State Solution,” accessed 30 April 2009). The other — a more credible survey — was published in March by the Oslo-based Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies and funded by the Norwegian government (“Surveying Palestinian opinions March 2009,” accessed 30 April 2009).
Palestine and the South African precedent. Ronnie Kasrils spoke at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow on March 20, 2009 — an Eden Springs-free venue — at a lecture organized by Pulsemedia.org and Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
In a guest post on Stephen Walt’s Foreign Policy blog John Mearsheimer argues that unless the US government stands up to the lobby, there are only two possible outcomes in Palestine: ethnic cleansing or apartheid. Personally, I favour the third, even if its a novel one: one person, one vote. Otherwise we will have to endure longer the racist state in our midst.
Benjamin Netanyahu is in the final stages of putting together Israel’s next government, which will be opposed to a two-state solution. Most importantly, the new prime minister and his Likud Party are firmly against a Palestinian state. The Labor Party, which will be part of the governing coalition and which has been identified with the two-state solution for the past two decades, did not insist that Likud support that policy as a condition for joining the government. Its leader, Ehud Barak, merely asked for and got a vague statement saying that Israel was committed to promoting regional peace. Avigdor Lieberman, who heads Yisrael Beiteinu, the other major party in the ruling coalition, is not likely to push to give the Palestinians a viable state of their own. His main concern is “transferring” the Palestinians out of Israel so that it can be an almost purely Jewish state.
RAMALLAH – “Standing United with the People of Gaza” is the theme of this week’s Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), which kicked off in Toronto and another 39 cities across the globe Sunday.
A movement to boycott Israeli goods, culture and academic institutions is gaining momentum as Geneva prepares to host the UN’s Anti-Racism Conference, Durban 2 next month amidst swirling controversy.Both Canada and the U.S. are boycotting the Durban 2 conference in protest over what they perceive as a strongly anti-Israel agenda.
The first UN Anti-Racism conference, held in the South African city Durban in 2001, saw the Israeli and U.S. delegates storm out of the conference, accusing other delegates of focusing too strongly on Israel.