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News & analysis from Proletarian Internationalist Notes—news, reviews and analysis from a global perspective
Obama-Trump impact: American opposition to two-state solution has led to one-state delusion
March 3, 2017
An AlterNet article appearing on Salon states Trump is “not interested in peace” and “pulled the plug” on the Middle East so-called peace process.(1) The demise of “the peace process” has been announced countless times since the PLO started supporting it, and before. Apparently, Democrats and “progressives” found it necessary for the peace process to have been alive again during Obama’s presidency so it could once more die an everlasting death, under a Republican president. Obscuring Democrats’ complicity in the current situation, former Obama officials played the innocent by saying the United States offered the Israelis a deal they rejected. Evoking united Democratic-Republican “resistance” to Trump and photos of the Bushes chumming it up with the Obamas, apparently the “peace process” was similarly alive during George W. Bush’s own two terms with Bush in control of propping up the process. “For more than 15 years, the Middle East ‘peace process’ initiated by the Oslo accords has been on life support.”
In actuality, the specific American-led peace process has been nonexistent for a long time, if it ever really existed; that’s not to say peace efforts in general are dead or that the two-state solution itself is dead. Former U.S. president Barack Obama also pretended to be a peace mediator, stole attention from real peace efforts and leadership, and hindered the two-state solution the United States claimed to support. The Americans’ own conflict with the Palestinians has played a principal role in the lack of emergence of an independent Palestinian state with more sovereignty as part of a solution to “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” With the rest of the word still supporting the two-state solution at least verbally, only those who have resigned themselves to living with U.S. hegemony would assume the two-state solution is impossible because the United States opposes it. The two-state solution is struggling right now, but still viable as the world makes progress against U.S. hindrance. The world can’t allow fanciful statements – in most cases from people who never supported an anti-American united front to begin with – or reactionary hysterics prematurely announcing multipolarity or the death rattle of U.S. hegemony,(2) to cloud judgment.
Amerikan misleadership on Middle East peace has been alive and is still alive. It has been exposed, but it can recover unfortunately. Amerikan misleadership now sometimes pretends to lack decisiveness or contemplate its own isolationist disappearance – a threat that causes allies to fret about a power vacuum and renew their support for hegemonic U.S. involvement. Anti-American struggle is needed to advance the two-state solution, which has stalled largely due to the United States’ sometimes-daunting outsize influence. The two-state solution, though, is more alive than the nonexistent class solidarity on which the one-state solution is fundamentally premised.
Supposedly, Trump’s expression of openness to the one-state solution was “a supremely clarifying moment” that opened the way for both Israelis and Palestinians to achieve a long-sought-after single state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. There is just this little issue: “Each side must now define what it really wants to fight for: a fortress for their tribe alone, or a shared homeland ensuring rights and dignity for all.”
The AlterNet article itself is a good example of how certain ways of opposing the two-state solution have led to opposing the existence of any Palestinian state. Unlike some statements supporting the one-state solution, at least the article makes its view clear. The interests of right-wing Israelis supporting annexation and ethnic cleansing are somehow supposed to be confluent with the interests of Palestinians wanting liberation from “the river to the sea.” Nevermind that there is no socialist China or Soviet Union to support the existence of a socialist single Arab-Jewish state today, and that there are millions more settlers in Israel and the West Bank than there were in the 1940s and 1950s. The fact that “Greater Israel” is today clearly the diametric opposite of the long-term goal of liberating all of Palestine is just supposed to be a common ground. It is supposed to be a basis on which I$raelis – still receiving billions of dollars from the United States each year – and Palestinians can spend many more years trying to sort things out internally and among themselves, while others fail to support Palestinian action at the international level and fail to oppose U.S. and I$raeli interference in Palestinian reconciliation and leadership selection efforts.
Such writers who speak of “tribes,” not “nations,” and refer to “Jewish supremacism” but not the American-Palestinian conflict, are liable to view the United $tates as a model for national relations and government. The fact that New Afrikans and Chican@s are incarcerated in the United $tates at higher rates than blacks were incarcerated under Apartheid in Azania isn’t likely to dissuade them from delusionally pursuing “rights and dignity for all” in a country that would be very different from the United States to begin with, even if (and particularly if) small Israel were to accept millions of poor Muslim Palestinians as citizens and their impoverished ghettos as territory. The United States still has a sizable white majority; the non-whites belong to multiple nations; and the United States has a much higher GDP per capita than Israel has even now.
Even if Israelis would benefit economically from the establishment of a single state, there is no guarantee the United States would support a strong single, Arab-Jewish state that is less dependent on the United States than Israel is now. Those whose argument against the two-state solution is based on accepting U.S. dominance have to explain why the United States would allow the formation of a likely-Arab-majority state with a diverse, robust economy. Of course, the very purpose of some is to establish such a state as a new, more-stable Amerikan client state in the Middle East.
As if to confirm that many non-Palestinians with the strongest anti-Israel anti-two-state solution rhetoric are involved in supporting the one-state so-called solution, an article – written by an Amerikan, not by Ayatollah Khamenei – appearing on the Iranian Leader’s site said this: “Iranian leaders and delegations” at the recent Palestine international conference in Tehran “suggested that the one-state solution is really the way forward.” The less-than-perfectly-clear article supports a “one-state solution” referendum in the context of “this year has been the first year in the US conversation that we are hearing talk of the one-state solution; which opens up the possibility of having a real debate about what is that one state going to look like . . . .”(3)
Of course, people editing english.khamenei.ir elsewhere also strongly oppose the Israeli entity in any form and clearly don’t view the settlements as an opportunity. Regrettably, there seems (this writer could be wrong about this) to be a case of strong anti-Israel rhetoric being mixed with pro-one-state-solution ideas on the same site. Most readers are unlikely to understand any subtlety in the message being conveyed.
Looking at this in the most positive way possible: From an Iranian perspective supporting total liberation of Palestine, there may be little difference between the one-state solution and the two-state solution, which Iranian media has sometimes treated favorably in the context of U.S. obstruction. So expressing flexibility about the one-state solution, too, may not be that strange for Iran. It could be that the United States wouldn’t really support either solution anyway.
And, Iran’s leader may be sending a signal. If even Iran’s leaders can say things supporting both the one-state solution and the two-state solution, those opposing the two-state solution from a “leftist” perspective supporting total liberation should not assume Iran alone can shoulder most of the burden of supporting that. Though admitting its obligation to support Palestine, Iran has told the world that the burden shouldn’t be left on Palestine, Iran, and Muslims, alone. Fewer would see a need for armed struggle to support the two-state solution and other solutions if other countries provided more support.
There is also this: Ayatollah Khamenei is no doubt aware of Palestine opinion surveys, and U.S. involvement in Palestinians’ election/voting difficulties, and perhaps has more knowledge of these than most do. Khamenei has supported a referendum in Palestine both in the context of calling Israel a fake state and in the context of saying the Amerikans oppose democracy when they don’t want to accept the results.(4) A referendum could include the Palestinian diaspora as Khamenei has suggested it should. Obviously if Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank were to have a referendum tomorrow, probably a majority would oppose the one-state solution. Khamenei knows that. If an election were held, Palestinians might elect Marwan Barghouti and/or Hamas leaders who accept the two-state solution but whom the Amerikans don’t like.
Recently announced findings of a joint Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research survey conducted on December 8-10, 2016, show a plurality, 44%, of Palestinians supported the two-state solution generally (3% margin of error).(5) 42% of Palestinians in the West Bank, and 46% of the respondents in the Gaza Strip, supported a certain detailed permanent status agreement package with substantial concessions to Israel. An additional 44% of the 55% of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank who opposed the package – that is, an additional 24% or so of GS/WB Palestinians – would support the package “if Palestinian laborers can freely work in Israel after the establishment of the Palestinian state” or “if the state of Israel acknowledges the historic and religious links between Palestinians and historic Palestine.” 28% of those who opposed the package would support it if other Arab states and Israel all accepted and upheld the Arab Peace Initiative. That would add 15% to the 44% who support the two-state solution generally. Whether 24% could change their mind or 15%, there is clearly more than 50% who could support the two-state solution.
Only 36% of GS/WB Palestinians supported the one-state solution. 56% of Israeli Arabs supported the one-state solution – not because Israeli Arabs are more proletarian than Palestinians outside the Green Line, in Palestine. 19% of Israeli Jews supported the one-state solution. 26% of settlers in the West Bank did. 46% of WB settlers “supported annexation without full rights for Palestinians.” 45% of the settlers opposed annexation without that. Many of the WB settlers supporting annexation without equality are calling the two-state solution dead.
Another survey, published a couple days ago and conducted on February 17-21, shows 49.6% of GS/WB Palestinians preferred the two-state solution.(6) Preferred it. About 13% answered “There is no solution for the problem” or “I don’t know\no answer.” Only 18.1% preferred “the bi-national state in all of Palestine,” which could have been understood as referring to a particular version of the one-state solution. 16.7% preferred “historic Palestine.” Interestingly, 18.1% + 16.7% is about 35%. Remember the 36% that PSR found supported the one-state solution, “by which Palestinians and Jews will be citizens of the same state and enjoy equal rights,” two months earlier. It seems many Palestinians who appear to support citizenship in the same state actually have in mind something very different from what other supporters of the “one-state solution” are thinking.
In other words, the one-state solution appears among Jewish Israelis as a West Bank settler solution that a large majority of Palestinians reject and many Israeli Arabs – relatively privileged Palestinians – support. It seems some confuse certain single-state outcomes with other goals. So-called Marxists who think there is a large Israel/West Bank settler proletariat are among those who support a one-state solution.
There is also the factor of wanting to visit family separated by borders. Certain approaches to the Palestinian right of return have long played a role also, with some seemingly arguing that legal equality in a settler-dominated expanded Israel and uniting with pro-ethnic-cleansing or pro-apartheid settlers is necessary to implement the right of return.
The role of non-Palestinians
A majority of GS/WB Palestinians, and Palestinians in “Israel”/Palestine as a group, clearly don’t support and don’t prefer the one-state solution, and the State of Palestine is asking the world to support the two-state solution and also recognize the State of Palestine regardless of what Israel wants. In the midst of U.S. duplicity and resistance, Westerners shouldn’t be encouraged to get into a habit of opposing international Palestinian actions consistent with majority and plurality views.
There are a large variety of views. There are different ways to push toward the same goal. There are different goals, different views of the same goal, and goals that may seem similar but are actually very different. Some Israelis are calling “terrorist” Palestinians who are critical of the Palestinian Authority, reject the Oslo Accords, and oppose recognition of Israel at this time, even though these Palestinians may support a two-state outcome at least as an intermediate step or a tactical move. The same and others may also support a one-state solution tactically or as an actual, final goal. There is still an Arab nation question and pan-Arabism, and pan-Islamism, which pose some nuances, but the role of most non-Palestinians should involve opposing U.S. opposition to what the Palestinian majority wants, without trying to lead Palestinians. Non-Palestinians should also oppose international obstacles to the development and functioning of Palestinian national institutions enabling and expressing self-determination.
This article isn’t aimed at anyone in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank. It’s not for this writer to serve as some kind of substitute for Palestinian leaders who both understand the global picture and are trying to influence Palestinians. Reportedly relations have improved between Iran and the secularist PFLP, for example, which may or may not be relevant to some Iranian suggestions about the one-state solution, but there are almost certainly tactical considerations and contextual issues this writer isn’t aware of. By the same token, though, nobody should expect non-Palestinians to favor U.S. leaders and unelected U.S. allies, or go against what globally accepted Palestinian representatives are trying to do in international settings when it comes to anything that clearly involves struggling against the Amerikans. The fact that Mahmoud Abbas is unelected now, because of difficulties mostly caused by the United States, Britain, and Israel, doesn’t change that. If Abbas needs to be criticized, it could be because of seeking the Americans’ continued leadership or not doing enough to oppose the Amerikans’ undermining of the two-state solution. As far as foreign affairs, what Abbas claims to support (such as Marwan Barghouti’s release from I$raeli prison, and Fatah-Hamas reconciliation as a step in the two-state solution) should be supported when there is U.S. opposition.
There are other things non-Palestinians can’t reasonably be expected to do. Nobody should expect anyone in the world to accept the idea that the secular United States is some kind of model of proletarian unity or emerging utopia that Chican@s and New Afrikans should embrace. It’s not that nations should have their own leaders who know their own conditions and are in a better position to analyze them – though that is true. The idea that there is more reason for unity between settlers and Palestinians, than among Palestinians, could lead to more division in more than one oppressed nation in the world and has nothing to do with real Marxism, which understands the imperialist and parasitic aspects of the Israeli entity. The United States is the rare multinational country with both an oppressor nation and an oppressed nation; it is also enormously privileged and parasitic and has no socialist movement worth mentioning globally.
Certainly there are many people commenting on Palestine who just aren’t aware of certain important facts. Contemporary proposals, similar to old proposals in superficial aspects, are given anachronistic justifications unintentionally or, perhaps worse, raised out of ignorance of the original reasons for things. However, some seem to deliberately muddle things by suggesting the one-state solution today is the same as when non-settlers (Christian/Jewish/Muslim) outnumbered settlers (inside and outside the area now called “Israel”) by a much larger, solid margin, in some cases speaking as though the year were 1917, or when Arab nationalism was on the rise later and socialism seemed to be on the rise globally. They know reality today is different. They accept millions of Zionist colonists now in Palestine in the same breath that they claim to oppose Zionism by seeking Palestinian assimilation into Israel. They exploit difficulties and demoralization with the two-state solution to support Israeli expansionism and the establishment of an entity in which privileged settlers would still dominate over Palestinians. They seem to imagine they can pass this off fraudulently as total liberation, the right of return, “necessity,” ending settler colonialism, etc. And they expect people thousands of miles away to support that when the reasons for doing so would be dubious at best and when the Amerikans’ long involvement in settlement activity – which Obama tried and failed to conceal – needs to be opposed.
A delusional/arrogant attitude leads to non-Palestinians’ opposing Palestinian nationalism when there are difficulties, while favoring “left-wing” supporters of the one-state solution and undermining Palestinian national institutions such that it is harder for Palestinians’ views to develop and converge. Such an attitude leads to dead ends of one kind or another in different contexts. The Palestinians accepted the two-state solution to break through a logjam. It isn’t ideal in the long term, and supposedly many view it as a temporary solution. True, they accepted it without having full self-determination yet. According to surveys, there are many who support the two-state solution who aren’t optimistic about it. Many may support it reluctantly. But, attitudes in Iran toward the nuclear deal could be similar. Iran accepted the nuclear agreement under pressure, but in June last year a majority of Iranians, 63%, approved of the JCPOA reportedly.(7) A plurality, 41%, strongly approved. Yet, 72% weren’t confident that “the US will live up to its obligations under the agreement.” A similar percentage, 75%, believed the United $tates was stopping other countries from having normal economic relations with Iran. At the same time, 61% thought China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom, collectively, would “live up to their obligations under” the JCPOA.
Iran still supports the JCPOA, and it is likely a majority of Iranians still support it even if it may turn out there has been a decrease since June. U.S. officials still give both the two-state solution and the JCPOA some words of verbal support right now, but at the moment the United States and other countries, including Western allies, are struggling over issues related to the true level of U.S. support for the two-state solution and the Iran nuclear deal. Anyone can see that even if some choose to play stupid.
Had Hillary Clinton won the 2016 U.S. election, some of those now raising the idea of colluding with right-wing Israelis as if it were a fresh idea would not be doing so. But they would still not be opposing Amerikan obstruction of the two-state solution. Whether they particularly support the current U.S. president or not, Amerikans and opportunists find ways to interfere. What Trump’s recent and past statements, after Obama’s own satanic actions and deceptiveness, clarified for others is that the Amerikans and their obstinate collaborators need to be isolated and opposed. ◊
• “US shift on two-state solution ‘doesn’t make sense’: Palestinians,” 2017 February 15. https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2017/02/15/1329332/us-shift-on-two-state-solution-doesn-t-make-sense-palestinians
• “Boycott the United Snakes: Amerika standing in the way of the two-state solution,” 2016 July. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-07-15-news-Boycott-United-States.md
• “Palestine: economic ignorance underpinning preference for the one-state solution,” 2016 July. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-07-23-news-Palestine-one-state-solution.md
• “Two states on Palestinian turf: soccer games and economic-political realities,” 2016 July. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-07-27-news-two-state-solution-Iran.md
• “Quartet report: one-state reality versus one-state fantasy,” 2016 July. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-07-30-news-one-state-solution.md</a>
• “Americanism and anti-Americanism in conflict: understanding public opinion on Palestine,” 2016 August. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-08-11-news-Palestine-public-opinion.md
•“Beyond language: more anti-Americanism needed on Palestine,” 2016 August. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-08-26-news-Palestine-settler-colonialism.md
• “U.S. favorability needs to go lower: Kaepernick, nationhood, and rethinking the intersection of New Afrikan and Palestinian struggles,” 2016 September. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-09-08-news-Kaepernick-New-Afrikan-nationhood.md
• “Bias caused by American influence is undermining Palestinian national liberation,” 2016 September. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-09-15-news-Palestine-Sweden-diplomacy-public-opinion.md
• “Sending the right signal: Abbas, BDS, and diplomacy,” 2016 September. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-09-29-news-Abbas-BDS-diplomacy.md
• “Waiting and impatience: Palestine, WikiLeaks release timing, and persistent belief in change in AmeriKKKa,” 2016 October. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-10-09-news-Palestine-WikiLeaks-election-public-opinion.md
• “Free Marwan Barghouti, oppose the United $nakes ,” 2016 October. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-10-12-news-Free-Marwan-Barghouti.md
• “Oppose the United Snakes, truly unite for Palestine,” 2016 October. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-10-21-news-Unite-for-Palestine.md
• “Some others clueless while Palestinians continue to support diplomatic and political efforts,” 2016 October. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-10-27-news-An-Najah-poll.md
• “Iranian-Palestinian relations develop in the midst of unexpected U.S. election result,” 2016 November. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-11-15-news-Palestine-Iran-Abbas.md
• “Same old real news: Obama does nothing for the two-state solution,” 2016 December. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-12-16-news-JSFP-left-wing-Zionism.md
• “December PSR poll shows a vast majority of Palestinians don’t believe in Obama,” 2016 December. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-12-21-news-Dec2016-PSR-poll.md
• “Obama uses UN abstention to bolster reputation while the longstanding American-Palestinian conflict comes into focus for some,” 2016 December. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-12-31-news-American-Palestinian-conflict.md
• “The American-Palestinian conflict: Paris conference approaches as various clocks tick down to heightened crisis,” 2017 January. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2017-01-12-news-American-Palestinian-conflict-Paris-conference-approaches.md
• “The American-Palestinian conflict: Obama interferes in Paris again,” 2017 January. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2017-01-19-news-Jan2017-Paris-Mideast-conference-Pew-survey.md
• “I$rael: the United States is still the #1 enemy, not “pro-Jewish” influence,” 2017 March. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2017-03-02-news-Israel-Iranian-media-united-fronts.md
1. “Trump shows his hand on Israel-Palestine,” 2017 March 2. https://www.salon.com/2017/03/02/trump-shows-his-hand-on-israel-palestine_partner/
“Ex-officials: Israeli leader spurned secret peace offer,” 2017 February 19. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/eccdd7b6df8840b985263b271bd824ad/israeli-leader-lauds-new-day-relations-trumps-us
2. Example: “America comes in third: Trump’s foreign policy is looking more and more like “China First,” “Russia Second”,” 2017 February 18. https://www.salon.com/2017/02/18/america-comes-in-third-trumps-foreign-policy-is-looking-more-and-more-like-china-first-russia-second_partner/
3. “Syrian conflict is the best thing has has ever happened to Israel: analyst,” 2017 March 3. http://english.khamenei.ir/news/4664/Syrian-conflict-is-the-best-thing-that-has-ever-happened-to-Israel
4. “Those who oppose a referendum in Palestine against democracy: Ayatollah Khamenei,” 2016 September 15. http://english.khamenei.ir/news/4148/Those-who-oppose-a-referendum-in-Palestine-are-against-democracy
“Leader’s inaugural address to the Fourth International Conference for Support of Palestine,” 2009 March 4. http://english.khamenei.ir/news/1052/Leader-s-Inaugural-Address-to-the-Fourth-International-Conference
5. “Palestinian-Israeli Pulse,” 2017 February 16. http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/678
6. “Poll No. 89 - February 2017 - Gender, Equality and Politics,” 2017 March 2. http://jmcc.org/documentsandmaps.aspx?id=874
7. “Iranian public opinion, one year after the nuclear deal,” 2016 July 13. http://cissm.umd.edu/sites/default/files/IranianPOOneYearAfter-FINAL-071316.pdf