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News & Analysis > All
News & analysis from Proletarian Internationalist Notes—news, reviews and analysis from a global perspective
Delusional Westerners talk about ideal one-state solution while I$raelis talk settlement construction and West Bank annexation
March 19, 2017
A few weeks ago, Western supporters of the counterrevolutionary Greater Israel one-state solution published an article favorably discussing a declassified piece of internal U.S. State Department literature.(1) The 1947 State Department working document written before the Nakba proposes “neither an Arab State nor a Jewish State but a single independent Palestine State in which all its people, of whatever religion or blood, may dwell together in concord.” The state would “continue to provide a Jewish National Home in its spiritual and cultural aspects.” By 1947, already almost a third of the people in Palestine were settlers. The State Department memo was written when the United States was struggling with the Soviet Union for influence in the Middle East and considering different possibilities and approaches. Arabs were opposing the division of Palestine. Their reasons generally were much different from the reasons of most supporters of today’s one-state solution, and the settler minority then was smaller than it is today.
The U.$. State Department memo’s plan isn’t the Arab “one-state solution,” related to pan-Arabism, that many Palestinians have supported in the past. And the memo doesn’t propose a socialist country in a context of both anti-Western struggle and capitalism’s apparent global decline in the 1940s. Evidently, though, some find it necessary to muddle things and compare the contemporary one-state solution to something some people were contemplating seventy years ago. Maybe one good thing about this is the admission that, at this time, supporting the one-state solution may have something to do with Amerikan dominance and State Department influence whether the Amerikans actually support the one-state solution or not.
Among other things, the article appearing on “The Electronic Intifada” (EI) unfavorably contrasts the proportional religious representation in Lebanon with the internal State Department draft’s “federal form of Government” with divisions “created upon the basis of economic and social considerations rather than upon considerations of religion or blood.” In the memo, the word “nation” appears only in “United Nations,” “Jewish National Home,” and a single “national parliament.”
EI published the article approving of both “the remarkably forward-looking memorandum” and “Trump’s embrace of the option for a one-state resolution” at the beginning of March. That was in the midst of a widely-reported push to annex the Palestinian land and resources I$raeli settlers call “Ma’ale Adumim.”(2) Ma’ale Adumim is a relatively huge, well-known settlement in the West Bank. It is east of East al-Quds, the occupied Palestinian capital that has been annexed by I$rael – illegally, in the view of most of the world. Because of its location, some are saying Ma’ale Adumim’s annexation would be another nail in the coffin of the supposedly already-dead two-state solution, which the United States hasn’t really been supporting. EI is of course aware of Ma’ale Adumim and the annexation campaign.
A few days ago, AFP reported that Jason Greenblatt, the Special Representative for International Negotiations who works directly with Trump, met with the Yesha Council.(3) The Yesha Counil is an umbrella organization of West Bank settler municipal councils. It supports annexation of Ma’ale Adumim. Yesha described the meeting as a first-of-its-kind, official meeting. At the meeting, the Amerikans may have verbally opposed settlement-building a little bit. Reportedly, in another meeting, Greenblatt and Netanyahu discussed both settlement construction and “concrete measures that could help support and advance Palestinian economic development.”(4) There could be at least some settlement-building. “He has not made any details of the discussion public, but did tell the cabinet that he planned to keep his promise to the 40 Amona families to create a new settlement.” The Jerusalem Post is suggesting there may have been an agreement with the Amerikans to allow development of some large existing settlements, at least. “It’s believed that Netanyahu has proposed to the US that Israel be allowed to build in the settlement blocs – including Gush Etzion, Ariel, Ma’aleh Adumim and Modi’in Illit – while freezing construction in the isolated settlements beyond the security barrier.”
Connect the dots.
Westerners, people disproportionately influenced by the United States and Israelis, and pseudo-Marxists, are talking in the abstract about some one-state solution that Palestinians, Trump and right-wing Israelis can all accept. In that world, supporting annexation with “equality” is supposedly left-wing, and fully annexing the West Bank (as opposed to just Area C or a portion of it) is left-wing. That is how “left-wing” is being redefined from a pro-annexation perspective. These one-state solution supporters cite surveys showing many Palestinians would accept or prefer some single state. Meanwhile, back in reality, annexation of the West Bank is all annexationists are actually pursuing, with a focus on certain settlements now. The surveys cited never ask about consolidating the separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank as part of some solution (but they show pluralities and majorities of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank could support the two-state solution or specific proposals or efforts). In English-language media, there is at least ten times more discussion of annexing West Bank land than annexing the Gaza Strip.
That is what right-wing Israeli politicians are working on: annexing the West Bank. The Gaza Strip siege would be maintained. JPost and some right-wing Israelis are talking about a “Gaza-Sinai” state that could supposedly exist in peace near the Suez Canal as a Palestinian state.(5) “A state in Gaza and Sinai. Instead of Judea and Samaria.” Yes, that is Sinai, where there are already U.$. troops supposedly to support the Egypt-Israeli peace treaty. West Bank settlers and right-wing Israelis would supposedly welcome the offer, as might Trump. The JPost correspondent raises the idea that Gazans would oppose it – which will make the arrangement more attractive to some – and that the Palestinian state would at least initially be limited to the Gaza Strip.
In other words, there is no one-state solution. There is just some fucked-up “two-state solution” at most, with annexation of the West Bank and not the Gaza Strip. It would be one thing if many right-wing Israeli politicians were actually offering annexation of both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank plus full Israeli citizenship, or at least talking more about annexing the Gaza Strip, but that isn’t happening. West Bank settlement-building is being negotiated. Settlement building will continue there, not start again in the Gaza Strip. The current annexation push is for West Bank land almost exclusively.
Foreigners would continue to settle in the annexed areas, and there would be inequality with Palestinians regardless of any equality of civil and political rights. The fact that people are even talking about settlement as something conducive to some solution is a low point, but the current I$raeli focus is clear: settlement and annexation in the West Bank.
The United States doesn’t really support the two-state solution, and it may not actually support a real one-state solution now or in the future; it supports the status quo, which is worsening under Trump as it did under Obama. People who have reconciled themselves to living under U.$. hegemony are seeing an opening in Trump’s equivocations and verbal support for the one-state solution. The opening they are seeing is for Israeli expansionism, to consolidate the settlement building that took place under Obama when the United States hampered the two-state solution while pretending to support it. It isn’t an opening for any actual one-state solution.
Mahmoud Abbas publicly talks about welcoming a two-state solution in which the United States has a leading role and maybe Abbas should stop doing so, but observers shouldn’t get things twisted. The Trump ass-kissing of one-state solution supporters is what it is. It is more about following the Amerikans than about doing anything that will bring about an actual solution and an outcome satisfactory for a majority of Palestinians. Annexing the West Bank and maintaining the Gaza siege is no solution for Palestinians as a whole.
Would some West Bank Palestinians benefit economically from annexation? Probably. This should go without saying, but Palestine isn’t just some people in the West Bank and “Israel.”
For that matter, from the standpoint of Palestinian nationalism, it is better for the Palestinians in the diaspora and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to be in related situations of exclusion from Israel. The situation of Palestinians inside Israel, who are in many ways separate from from Palestinians outside Israel, could already be analogous to that of Chican@s in the United $tates. The situation of Chican@s has diverged from that of Mexicans even though Chican@s still need self-determination and independence.
In terms of what Palestinians in the diaspora in Western countries think, opinion in some cases is more supportive or less supportive of a non-Arab secular one-state solution. However, the diaspora includes millions of Palestinians in places like Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Their existence and opinions are just as important. In assessing support for the one-state solution, just looking at what Israeli Arabs and some activists in the West are saying would be wrong.
From the point of view of Palestinians inside Israel’s claimed borders – whose existing relative privilege already differentiates them from the diaspora and Gaza Strip/West Bank Palestinians to a degree – the incomplete so-called one-state solution shouldn’t have much to offer. Obviously there is less of a demographic problem for Zionists if Israel is going to annex just key settlements, all of Area C, or all of the West Bank and not any of the Gaza Strip. Israel could give citizenship to all of the Palestinians in the West Bank and still keep its Jewish majority. Palestinians would continue to live inside and outside an Israel that is without an Arab majority.
That doesn’t mean there is no room for some Zionists in efforts to achieve a two-state outcome with relative peace and Palestinian sovereignty. From a Zionist viewpoint there are still public opinion, demographic and political dangers in settling and annexing any more land, even if Israel will never have an Arab majority as long as it exists. This perception could be useful and has a basis in reality. It is often the case that rhetoric against Israel or Jews covers or compensates for Greater Israel sentiment and uniting with the Amerikans and right-wing Israelis. Some critics of the two-state solution, seemingly ignorant of the United States’ principal role in the lack of emergence of an acceptable two-state outcome, could be worse than some Zionists.
People who claim to oppose Zionism and Israel’s existence, but support a “one-state solution” that is merely an expanded Israel (neither an Arab/Islamic state nor inclusive of the Gaza Strip) are undermining anti-Israel struggle, anti-Amerikan struggle, and Palestinian liberation. They are opposing Palestinian nationalism, Arab nationalism, and Islamic nationalism. They are also opposing socialism, which has a greater chance of emerging in a country without a large bourgeois/petty-bourgeois settler population, after global U.S. hegemony ends. They are opposing Palestinian independence and sovereignty. It’s hard to hide that so there is an emphasis on opposing apartheid, “river to the sea” rhetoric appropriated for Israeli expansionism, etc. A movement supposedly against the colonial conditions described as apartheid is often explicitly compared to the Azanian struggle and portrayed as contrasting with independence movements. Capitulation to Israel’s territorial claims is portrayed as progress though the settler population in Palestine (inside and outside the Green Line) is much larger than the settler population in Azania.
More are supporting “the one-state solution” not because it is better, because it would be less permanent than a two-state solution, or because it is the same as an Arab solution Palestinians supported in the past or support today, or a socialist solution that might have been possible before in a context of targeting the Amerikan and British enemies. The phony one-state solution has gained support because of difficulties caused by the United States. Instead of admitting that, there is flattery of the Amerikans and a stubborn belief in the ability of Palestinians to get something out of uniting with the Amerikans and right-wing Israelis more than the oppressors do. Faced with the obvious fact that the imperialist entity could annex one of the largest and most important West Bank settlements while maintaining the Gaza Strip blockade, the only recourse of opportunists is to claim the “creeping” annexation will eventually reach Gaza City and somehow give the Palestinians a victory in spite of the Israelis. The opportunists urgently announce and re-declare the supposed death of the two-state solution, but alternate between saying annexation is inevitable and suggesting it needs to be helped along.
Annexation of the West Bank, any part of it, would involve force against both Palestinians and people in other Arab countries. The annexation would take place while the siege on Gaza and the occupation of Gaza continues. It would occur in the midst of military operations and would be a land grab in a war that has been going on for decades. And, Palestinian nationalists, pan-Arabists, Islamists and real Marxists would all face repression in an imperialist non-Arab, secular single state. So it is fair to say any Western opportunists who deliberately spread confusion about Palestinian opinion, Palestinian history, or what’s going on in Palestine today, make antisemitic statements, obscure the Amerikan role in Palestine colonialism, support Amerikan obstruction of peace efforts, actively oppose Palestinian independence efforts, and refuse to change, should be removed from leadership positions regardless of identity/cultural background. No Palestinian/Arab nationalist or Islamic revolutionary ever supported some half-assed, partial “one-state solution” bringing about an expanded non-Arab/non-Muslim secular state in Palestine that would leave out millions of Palestinians living in Palestine.
New PSR poll
Mahmoud Abbas supports the two-state solution and is unpopular for other reasons. As the now-unelected president of the State of Palestine, unpopular Abbas has an obvious structural interest in supporting the two-state solution, and arguably so does popular intifada hero and unity figure Marwan Barghouti still imprisoned in Israel, but nobody should be helping the Amerikans oppose what Palestinians are still trying to support internationally.
According to the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which just released information about a new poll (conducted on March 8-11), the “overwhelming majority of the public is dissatisfied with the response of the Palestinian leadership to the new Israeli plans for settlement construction.”(6) “An overwhelming majority of 77% are dissatisfied, and only 18% are satisfied, with Abbas’ response to the recent Israeli announcement of plans for 6,000 new settlement units. In fact, a large majority of 72% believes that President Abbas is not serious in his threat to suspend security coordination with Israel if settlement construction continues; only 21% believe he is serious.” In other words, Abbas could be unpopular for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with not pursuing an alternative solution involving more settlement building. In general, Palestinians are against settlement construction. Whether Western one-state supporters are generally doing more than Abbas to oppose settlement construction is doubtful.
“A minority of 32% supports a one-state solution in which Jews and Arabs enjoy equal rights; 67% oppose the one-state solution. Three months ago, support for the one-state solution stood at 36%.” “On the two-state solution, the public is divided: 47% support and 51% oppose it. Three months ago, 44% supported it.” 64% wanted Abbas to resign. Clearly, many who have a negative view of Abbas or how Abbas is handling certain issues still support the two-state solution at least as a step toward total liberation. Among the one-state solution supporters, some might have been thinking of Jews in Arab, Islamic or Muslim-majority countries, or supporting the establishment of an Arab or Islamic single state.(7) The interpretation that support for a one-state solution means opposition to an Arab or Islamic state could involve a false assumption about how Jews are treated in an Arab or Islamic country. In any case, annexation of the West Bank only, with or without Israeli citizenship for the Palestinians there, isn’t an actual one-state solution. It is doubtful many of those 32% would have supported it.
It looks like Trump has helped more Palestinians to see the detrimental Amerikan role in Palestine. “With Trump in the White House, 38% believe that the new American administration will aggravate Palestinian-Israeli tensions leading to escalation in popular and violent confrontations due to the expected settlement build-up; 33% believe conditions will remain as they are now; 11% believe the new administration will provoke diplomatic confrontation; only 9% believe it will lead to a renewal of the peace process.”
Palestinians in the Gaza Bank and the West Bank continue to favor Marwan Barghouti on certain questions. “If president Abbas does not nominate himself in a new election, 33% prefer to see Marwan Barghouti replacing him, while 20% prefer Ismail Haniyeh; Mohammad Dahlan 7%; Khalid Mishal, Rami al Hamdallah and Mustapha Barghouti (5% each); Salam Fayyad 3%, and Saeb Erekat 2%.” Erekat has been in the news as being open to the one-state solution if Palestinians support it and the two-state solution is actually impossible. Many times more respondents preferred Barghouti – or Haniyeh, who doesn’t support a secular single state. One-state solution supporters talk about apartheid and working with Trump within a pro-annexation, pro- “equality” perspective, but Palestine’s “Mandela” and possible future president is still in I$raeli prison. ◊
• “Annexation fraudulently sold as revived one-state solution,” 2017 March. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2017-03-17-news-one-state-annexationism.md
• “Obama-Trump impact: American opposition to two-state solution has led to one-state delusion,” 2017 March. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2017-03-06-news-Obama-Trump-one-state-solution.md
• ““Guardian Unlimited” leads the way on Mideast coverage,” 2007 July. https://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/countries/palestine/gaza072707.html
1. “A forgotten US vision for a single democratic state in Palestine,” 2017 March 3. https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/josh-ruebner/forgotten-us-vision-single-democratic-state-palestine
2. “Coalition MKs delay push for Ma’ale Adumim annexation,” 2017 March 3. http://www.timesofisrael.com/coalition-mks-delay-push-for-maale-adumim-annexation/
“Netanyahu chief of staff heads to US to sort out settlements,” 2017 March 19. http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-official-heads-to-us-to-hammer-out-understanding-on-settlements/ “The Israeli prime minister has also been actively trying to avoid friction on other fronts related to settlements, pushing to postpone a Knesset committee vote next week on a bill that calls to annex the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.”
“Israel’s hard-liners want to ‘go big’: annex a settlement,” 2017 January 30. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/30/world/middleeast/the-sleepy-israeli-settlement-thats-fast-becoming-a-flash-point.html?_r=0
3. “US envoy’s meeting with Israeli settler leaders raises policy concerns,” 2017 March 16. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/16/us-envoy-meeting-israeli-settlers-two-state-solution
4. “Progress on Israel-US joint policy on settlement construction,” 2017 March 17. http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Progress-on-Israel-US-joint-policy-on-settlement-construction-484453
5. “‘Gaza-Sinai’ state idea a danger under Trump, warns Gaza analyst,” 2017 February 21. http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Gaza-Sinai-state-idea-a-danger-under-Trump-warns-Gaza-analyst-482137
6.“Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (63) - PRESS RELEASE,” 2017 March 14. http://pcpsr.org/en/node/686
7. “Hamas leader urges int’l community to respect Palestinian people’s choice,” 2006 April 2. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-04/02/content_4373348.htm ““This dream will become real one day. I’m certain of this because there is no place for the state of Israel on this land,” said [Hamas’ Mahmoud] al-Zahar. / “However, he didn’t rule out the possibility of having Jews, Muslims and Christians living under the sovereignty of an Islamic state, adding that the Palestinians never hated the Jews and that only the Israeli occupation was their enemy.””