THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
September 4, 2008
The Guardian (UK)

Palestinians Lose Faith in Two-State Solution

Study group calls for new form of resistance to Israeli occupation with goal of single, bi-national state

by Rory McCarthy

A group of prominent Palestinian figures has proposed a radical change in strategy to demand a single, bi-national state if the current round of Middle East peace talks fails.

The Palestinian Strategy Study Group, an EU-funded project written by 27 leading Palestinian figures from across the political spectrum, argued that the current two-state framework for peace talks is failing to bring the promised independent state. Instead, it suggested ending the negotiation process that has gone on now for nearly 20 years, reconstituting the Palestinian Authority into what might become a "Palestinian Resistance Authority", and developing a form of "smart" resistance.

"The central aim will be to maximise the cost of continuing occupation for Israel, and to make the whole prospect of unilateral separation unworkable," it said. The final, and most striking proposal, is to shift to a "single state outcome" as the Palestinians' preferred goal. This, it said, would regain the strategic initiative for the Palestinians.

"Although many Palestinians may still prefer a genuine negotiated two-state solution, a failure of the present Annapolis initiative will greatly strengthen those who argue against this," the report said. "Most Palestinians are then likely to be convinced that a negotiated agreement is no longer possible."

It is not the first time a bi-national state has been proposed as a Palestinian goal, but the new report signals a marked shift in Palestinian thinking at a time when the latest peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are yet again struggling to make any headway. Questions are now being asked on both sides about the future of the two-state solution that for so long has been the framework of Middle East peacemaking.

The greatest disquiet is on the Palestinian side, where even moderates are now beginning to sense the two-state formula is moving out of reach. . . .

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A.K. Ramakrishnan, "Mahatma Gandhi Rejected Zionism," The Wisdom Fund, August 15, 2001

Jimmy Carter, "Don't Punish the Palestinians," Washington Post, February 20, 2006

James Brooks, "America's Guilty Silence," Dissident Voice, June 18, 2007

Mark Tran, "Hamas Ready to Accept Gaza Truce," Guardian, April 22, 2008

[For some, such as the intellectuals and activists who make up the Palestinian Strategy Group (which recently made this case in Arabic newspapers), talk of a one-state scenario is meant to warn Israel of the dangers posed by its expansionist policies. This group would still prefer a two-state solution to emerge. Others, however, are returning to the one-state vision first espoused by Fatah (the mainstream Palestinian nationalist movement) back in the late '60s. The first group believes that one-state talk might help knock some sense into the heads of Israeli decision-makers. The second prefers a one-state solution because it would create a government they would eventually control as a demographic majority.--Sari Nusseibeh, "The One-State Solution," Newsweek, September 29, 2008]

["We have to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, the meaning of which is that in practice we will withdraw from almost all the territories, if not all the territories," Olmert said. . . .

he believed that Israel would have to give up the Golan Heights in return for Syria breaking its relationship with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.--Rory McCarthy, "Olmert: Israel must hand back land for peace with Palestinians and Syria," Guardian, September 29, 2008]

[In April 1975, Israel expropriated 11 square miles east of Jerusalem "for public use." In 1977, another square mile was taken. . . .

Most of the built-up area of Maale Adumim lies inside the land that was confiscated.

This is a prima facie violation of international law. Under the 1907 Hague Convention, an occupying power may expropriate land only for the public use of the occupied population. Taking private West Bank land for Israeli use is therefore barred.--Gershom Gorenberg, "Failure Written in West Bank Stone," Washington Post, September 29, 2008]

[Shlomo Sand . . . argues that the Jews were never exiled from the Holy Land, that most of today's Jews have no historical connection to the land called Israel and that the only political solution to the country's conflict with the Palestinians is to abolish the Jewish state..--Jonathan Cook, "Israel's surprising best seller contradicts founding ideology," electronicintifada.net, October 8, 2008]

"Most Palestinians Reject Two-State Solution," Angus Reid Global Monitor, October 10, 2008

[Saudi Arabia first proposed the peace initiative in 2002, offering pan-Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for Israel's withdrawal from Arab lands captured in 1967 - the West Bank, Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.--Aron Heller, "Israel reopens Saudi peace plan," Independent, October 20, 2008]

[Resolution 242 . . . passed in November 1967, after Israel had occupied Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Sinai and Golan, and it emphasises "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" and calls for "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict".

Readers who know the problem here will be joined by those who will immediately pick it up. The Israelis say that they are not required to withdraw from all the territories - because the word "all" is missing and since the definite article "the" is missing before the word "territories", its up to Israel to decide which bits of the occupied territories it gives up and which bits it keeps.--Robert Fisk, "One missing word sowed the seeds of catastrophe," Independent, December 20, 2008]

Tariq Ali, "From the ashes of Gaza: In the face of Israel's latest onslaught, the only option for Palestinian nationalism is to embrace a one-state solution," Guardian, December 30, 2008


VIDEO: "Time Running Out For A Two-State Solution?," CBS 60 Minutes, January 25, 2009

[Israeli and international corporations are directly involved in the occupation: in the construction of Israeli colonies and infrastructure in the occupied territories, in the settlements' economy, in building walls and checkpoints, in the supply of specific equipment used in the control and repression of the civilian population under occupation.--"Exposing the Israeli Occupation Industry," whoprofits.org, January 12, 2009]

[What if the Palestinian Arabs who have lived for decades under the heel of the modern Israeli state are in fact descended from the very same "children of Israel" described in the Old Testament? . . .

And what if most modern Israelis aren't descended from the ancient Israelites at all, but are actually a mix of Europeans, North Africans and others who didn't "return" to the scrap of land we now call Israel and establish a new state following the attempt to exterminate them during World War II, but came in and forcefully displaced people whose ancestors had lived there for millennia?

What if the entire tale of the Jewish Diaspora - the story recounted at Passover tables by Jews around the world every year detailing the ancient Jews' exile from Judea, the years spent wandering through the desert, their escape from the Pharaoh's clutches - is all wrong?

That's the explosive thesis of When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?, a book by Tel Aviv University scholar Shlomo Zand (or Sand) that sent shockwaves across Israeli society when it was published last year. After 19 weeks on the Israeli best-seller list, the book is being translated into a dozen languages and will be published in the United States this year by Verso.--Joshua Holland, "Controversial Bestseller Shakes the Foundation of the Israeli State," Alternet, January 28, 2009]

VIDEO: Mirza Yawar Baig, "The Gaza Song," youtube.com, January 30, 2009

Frank Barat, "Likud Charter Does Not Recognize Palestine," palestinechronicle.com, January 31, 2009

[It is very clear to me, as well as to anyone else who declines to see the conflict through an Israeli prism, that only when an American President flatly tells the Israelis that they must move the settlers out of the West Bank, there will be no peace, only more occupation, more brutality, more violations of international law, and more bloody slaughters of civilians such as the one we only recently witnessed in Gaza. Anything short of that leaves the Israelis in complete control, and it will leave America with more and more enemies not only in the Middle East, but around the world.--James Abourezk, "No More Charades, Please! Obama, Mitchell and the Palestinians," counterpunch.org, February 6, 2009]

VIDEO: "Palestinian Lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti on the Israeli Elections: 'Israel Has Completed the Transformation into an Apartheid State'," democracynow.org, February 11, 2009

Ben Lynfield, "Israel's new foreign minister dismisses two-state solution," Independent, April 2, 2009

[In a direct challenge to President Barack Obama's commitment to rejuvenate moribund Mideast peace talks, Israel on Thursday dismissed American-led efforts to establish a Palestinian state and laid out new conditions for renewed negotiations.--Dion Nissenbaum, "Plan for Palestinian state is 'dead end,' Israel tells U.S.," McClatchy Newspapers, April 16, 2009]

Daniel Luban, "Hawks Push 'Three-State Solution' for Palestine," antiwar.com, June 5, 2009

[Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has no interest in a two-state solution, much less ending settlement expansion. He and his government want a "greater Israel," which means maintaining effective control of the West Bank and Gaza.--Stephen M. Walt, "Settling for Failure in the Middle East," Washington Post, September 20, 2009]

[In an innovative strategy which would not depend on the success of currently stalled negotiations with Israel, the leaders are preparing a push to secure formal UN Security Council support for a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders as a crucial first step towards the formation of a state.--Donald Macintyre, "Palestinian push for an independent state causes Israeli alarm," Independent, November 16, 2009]

VIDEO: Mark Braverman, "Fatal Embrace," youtube.com, January 11, 2010

[ . . . Israel's defence minister said what Mr Carter had. "If, and as long as between the Jordan (River) and the (Mediterranean) Sea there is only one political entity, named Israel, it will end up being either non-Jewish or non-democratic," warned Ehud Barak, speaking at Israel's annual Herzliya security conference. "If the Palestinians vote in elections it is a binational state and if they don't vote it is an apartheid state." --Tony Karon, "The apartheid will end when Israelis have to face its cost," National (UAE), February 7, 2010]

Jonathan Cook, "Netanyahu admits on video he deceived US to destroy Oslo accord," National (UAE), July 18, 2010

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