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News & analysis from Proletarian Internationalist Notes—news, reviews and analysis from a global perspective
Annexation fraudulently sold as revived one-state solution
March 14, 2017
A month from now is the 15th anniversary of the illegal I$raeli abduction of Marwan Barghouti in Ramallah. Instead of condemning the goon-squad kidnapping and kangaroo-court trial of Marwan Barghouti by the occupying Amerikan-Israeli settler imperialist entity, supporting Barghouti’s release and Palestinian reunification, and removing international obstacles to election progress and self-determination, some Westerners are busy conniving or openly allying with Amerikan reactionaries and right-wing Israelis. They are busy supporting annexation of the West Bank and calling it justice. The Palestinians there are supposed to go to the Gaza Strip or Jordan, or stay, in which case they will undoubtedly live under continued I$raeli domination. The Westerners claim a resurgence of support for “the one-state solution,” by which they mostly mean I$raeli annexation of the West Bank with so-called equality for the Palestinians there, who are still being oppressed and repressed by the settlers and the illegitimate now-Amerikan formation called “Israel.” Their ridiculous and outrageous “one-state” solution involves uniting West Bank Palestinians with the settlers inside and outside the Green Line, consolidating the division of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, dividing the inhabitants of Palestine from the diaspora, weakening Palestinian nationalist and Islamist movements, and dividing Palestinians in the West Bank from other West Bank Palestinians.
What Palestinians should do about people who put up pro-one-state-solution signs in Palestine(1) is an internal Palestinian issue. However, Westerners shouldn’t allow each other to be ignorant about the original reasons for the proposed solution. This is important in the context of talk about the solution making a “comeback” etc., something it seems to do periodically and conveniently when people get too frustrated with two-state solution efforts faked or hampered by the Amerikans and start considering alternate leadership for the two-state solution.
It is possible some Palestinians know the incarceration rates of Chican@s and New Afrikans (U.S. Black nation people) surpassing even the Apartheid rate, and the great equality that still exists in Azania, and still have understandable, albeit highly questionable, reasons for seeking internal semi-colonialism within an expanded Israel. But if the justifications given for the one-state solution change and there is ignorance of the past, Westerners who hear reports about Palestinians supporting the one-state solution may misunderstand or assume the justifications are the same. They may label things liberation that are actually oppression. They might join the Amerikans in causing problems instead of solving them.
Historically, the one-state solution is connected to socialist movements, the Soviet Union, and pan-Arabism. The Soviet Union had become a capitalist country by the time of the Tripartite Aggression. Socialist or not, the Soviet Union is no more. Contrary to hysterics about Vladimir Putin’s power and frantic/wishful thinking about a return of bipolarity or multipolarity, that country isn’t around to serve as any kind of counterpoise to the United States in the establishment of a secular Palestine state if half of its population would be settlers. (That includes the settlers inside the Green Line as well as the Israelis in the West Bank commonly referred to as settlers.) Even if a certain one-state outcome were possible and the United States were to allow it, the Israeli entity would continue to depend on the Amerikans for support on the way there. After its establishment, the expanded Israel would still be under strong Amerikan influence. If that were not true, the Amerikans would be doing more to oppose the one-state solution. Although, right now, they benefit from and support the status quo.
Real Marxists never urged settlement of colonizers in oppressed nation land as a normal way to support socialism. Utopian socialists who crossed paths with Marx and Engels, but disagreed with them, had their own ideas. Some of those ideas involved the notion that oppressor nation people were more revolutionary than oppressed nation people, or that capitalism didn’t need to be overthrown anywhere for oppressor nation people to build socialism. After the proletariat seized power and overthrew capitalism in Russia, though, or after the international proletariat seized power in Germany and freed Jews, some of whom were Zionists, from death camps after no German class did – and after the Soviet Union and China and other oppressed countries had worked with some imperialist countries and “South Africa” against others – the case could have been made that the world was in flux and that socialism was on the rise globally. Also, some so-called socialist Zionists didn’t always cooperate with imperialist countries and, rightly or wrongly, sometimes fought Britons who weren’t claiming to be socialist. Today, many settlers in Palestine are from countries that are still majority-proletarian, unlike the United States. At the same time that it seemed socialism was ascendant internationally, it also seemed national struggle had become more important, though not for the reasons Moses Hess discussed. The United States ended up surpassing both Britain and the Soviet Union – in retrospect, it is easy for some to view that as having been inevitable – and socialism went away in the Soviet Union mostly for internal reasons. But it was in that context – Jews having just been mass-murdered or forced out of the West, actual socialist revolution, and/or protracted struggle against high-priority enemies – that some Marxists wondered whether Zionists could somehow contribute to socialism.
In retrospect, again, of course it is easy to argue against that. There are those who would do so while still undermining Palestinian independence and supporting I$raeli annexation, while claiming to oppose the Zionist entity and making antisemitic reactionary statements promoting fascism and undermining Palestinian nationalism and anti-Amerikan struggle. One can debate related topics all day, but the historical situation isn’t what exists today. Many of the children of Holocaust survivors are now almost elderly themselves. Capitalism didn’t just allow the Holocaust, and socialism hasn’t been on the upswing for decades. It is not on the upswing now, contrary to what some – either confused or delusionally stuck in the past – are saying while simultaneously suggesting a certain wing of Republicans in the United States is a global fascist enemy. And, while the United $nakes as a whole is a global enemy and needs to be lowered in status before countries can make progress in a variety of areas, Israel cooperates with it. Though some Jews in Israel are opposing Amerikan influence in order to advance the two-state solution, and Jews in the United States arguably support the two-state solution more than Amerikans support anything except militarism and war, Israelis aren’t fighting the Amerikans the way Jews were fighting the British in the 1940s.
Apart from such consideration of Jewish settlers in the context of pogroms, fascism, immediate socialist revolution, or anti-Western struggle that was not without risk and problems, the original one-state solution under different names involved Palestinian Jews remaining but settlers leaving the land. Some Arabs and Muslims today discuss “the one-state solution” in this way but may be misunderstood when discussing Palestinian Jews they have always considered Palestinian. In addition, the sole, Arab state in Palestine was supposed to become part of a larger Arab formation (whereas today Palestinians may be more likely to view the two-state solution as a step toward the eventual complete liberation of Palestinian territory and Arab unity). Today, there are still Palestinians who think there should be an Islamic single state throughout Palestine, for example, or a single state with a large Arab or Muslim majority, without relatively rich and powerful settlers. There are still those who support the establishment of a distinctly Arab state covering all of Palestine. That isn’t the one-state outcome many are thinking of or really supporting, though. And, today, there is a situation involving a need for unity of Iran and Saudi Arabia against the United States. It is a situation that might not be favorable to pan-Arabism viewed as contrasting with pan-Islamism for example, though Iran sometimes seems to regard pan-Arabism favorably while discussing conflict between Arabs.
At one time, what could be called a one-state solution was itself viewed as being in contradiction with pan-Arabism potentially. That was when Palestine was asserting its particular national identity. It was a time when settlers were rapidly consolidating their claim to being a nation with a special connection to a particular area. That needed to be countered. The recognition of Palestinian nationality wasn’t about asserting some amorphous identity blending with settlers. As other things in Palestinian politics were (and still are to some extent, including the two-state solution) Palestinian nationalism seeking statehood was put forward as being a form of, or harmonious with, Arab nationalism leading to greater Arab unity. Emphasizing Palestinian nationality was sometimes seen as conflicting with Arab nationalism. But neither pan-Arab nationalism nor the overlapping Palestinian nationalism viewed the bulk of settlers as belonging to the Arab Palestinian nation or the Arab nation. If one looks at the tension between Palestinian nationalism or the historical one-state solution and pan-Arabism, it becomes evident that, while support for the idea of a single state including settlers (those already in Palestine) could be found among secularists and socialists both within pan-Arabism and outside, and some Arabs welcomed some Jewish refugees initially, it was neither Arab nationalism nor Palestinian nationalism that was the movement primarily responsible for the Zionist-friendly one-state solution in which settlers would stay as part of some new nation.
Later, more Palestinians did stop calling for the removal of most settlers from Palestine, but the context of that was still pan-Arabism. As part of the Arab nation, Palestinians would seize power from the Israelis and build an Arab state in that Arab territory. Palestine. Refugees would return to their homes, and Palestine would return to the Arab nation even if Palestine had a large minority of settlers. The settlers would be expropriated or deprived of privilege making them dominant over Arabs.
Those trying to frame the contemporary one-state solution in terms of a history of Palestinian or Arab nationalism, or simple continuity with a history of Palestinian support for the right of return, are mistaken. The discussion of return after the beginning of the Nakba didn’t involve the same type of one-state discussion going on today in which it is hard to tell whether some advocates would have opposed the Balfour Declaration or the formation of the settler regime “Israel.” Among Palestinians, it as not as though the settler-friendly one-state solution was being discussed in the context of the two-state solution yet, for the most part. For years after 1948, the idea of expelling settlers and destroying the settler state accompanied Palestinian support for the right of return to an extent that it might not today. Today, it is no longer surprising to come across supporters of the one-state solution supporting annexation or assimilation into a non-Arab state without even pretending to be socialist. They suggest Palestinians and settlers should form a single nation and then expect others to take seriously their use of the right of return as justification for the one-state solution.
Many of the people supporting the one-state solution today would have been regarded as enemies for what they are saying, no less than any Palestinian supporting the two-state solution then was. Most of the people treating pro-annexation West Bank settlers as some kind of vanguard of liberation would have been considered enemies even by many Palestinians supporting a refugee-inclusive single state in the past in the context of pan-Arabism. The two-state solution supporters opposing settlement and occupation might have been viewed favorably in comparison despite tolerating a Jewish state. Now, after the United States for decades hampered the two-state solution while verbally supporting it, and after eight years of settlement growth during Obama’s two terms, the hegemonic United States has a president whose statements about the two-state solution have ranged from negative to equivocating. Trump has also equivocated on settlements and, in comparison with predecessors, expressed some support for one-state solution. At this time, though many of the Palestinians favoring the one-state solution in surveys may be misunderstood, Westerners’ supporting the one-state solution could be worse than supporting the two-state solution in struggle against U.S. imperialism.
In terms of the language of secularism and democracy, it is true that use of the words “secular” and “democracy” has a history among Palestinians. In asserting a distinct Palestinian national identity that could include non-Muslims who weren’t settlers, it could have made sense to talk about something besides the Arab nation or Islam and emphasize equality among various Palestinians. Today, even some Palestinians in the Gaza and the West Bank don’t primarily identify as Palestinian so “democracy” could pull more Palestinians together as a nation. At the same time, language such as “non-sectarian, democratic state” was used by Palestinians who, to different degrees or in different ways, emphasized Arab nationality and Arab unity. Westerners who see the remnants of this or similar language today are prone to misunderstanding or confusion, as if Palestinians were supporting a U.S.-type state with a huge settler population or viewing that as equivalent to what more Palestinians were supporting decades ago.
Arab and Islamic unity
Within the past week, official outlets of several Arab states – including Bahrain, Kuwait, Palestine, Qatar – have again published items expressing support for the two-state solution.(2) All of these referred to the Arab Peace Initiative (because Abbas supported it), which is a product and an example of Arab cooperation. In the past, the one-state solution was associated with Arab unity or Palestinian nationalism. This is not the case today at the state level. This isn’t an accident, because the contemporary one-state solution is, generally speaking, about joining and forming a unit with settlers, not about uniting with other Arab states or Arabs and opposing imperialism. Many contemporary supporters of the one-state solution, particularly in the West, threaten to overthrow Arab governments – including and especially the State of Palestine – as some supporters of Arab nationalism did in the past. The difference is that the contemporary one-state solution has very little to do with Arab unity. Also, clearly no real socialist government would replace any of the current Arab governments today, because of the suspension of socialist revolution globally during U.$. hegemony.
One piece of evidence is the attitude some continue to display regarding Saudi Arabia and other oil-exporting countries, with some continuing to suggest Saudi Arabia is a fascist or imperialist country. Saudi Arabia obviously and openly cooperates with the United $tates; it should stop doing so. But that doesn’t make it imperialist. Even if Saudi Arabia – whose economy’s development has been oriented toward the interests of imperialist countries – were imperialist, the idea that European imperialist countries are playing more of a progressive role could be racist in admitting that some inter-imperialist conflict could be beneficial but singling out Saudi Arabia for special negative treatment. All countries today are either imperialist or otherwise capitalist; most are oppressed nations lacking full self-determination. This makes gender/sexual chauvinism and rights abuse allegations against certain countries necessary to Amerikan-influenced people infiltrating anti-imperialist discourse with less anti-imperialist or anti-Amerikan focus, because of a need to divide oppressed countries from each other or distinguish capitalist or allegedly imperialist countries from others. Yet, if the one big Arab nation existed or was incipient or emerging, then it would be easy to view Saudi Arabia as like a wealthy city or province of China, not by itself an oppressor nation with its own finance capital or part of such a nation. It is interesting that many critics of the two-state solution don’t support Arab nationalism or Arab unity. This is reflected in their view of certain Arab nations indicating a lack of interest in or awareness of pan-Arabism, and favoring Amerikan and Israeli force, and Western leadership, over Arab leadership. If one were to oppose the two-state solution, Arab nationalism or Arab unity could be a reason better than others.
If it were not for Arab nationalism, even small Arab countries could fall apart into smaller states. Arab unification could be a step toward Islamic unity. This emerges not just in the fact that Arabs are mostly Muslim, but in Iranian statements supporting the two-state solution relative to U.S. hindrance and duplicity. In this contexts and others, one may view with interest Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s recent statement, “And third we must put the UN in the driver’s seat of the Middle East peace process. / The Iranian nuclear agreement is a fine example of settling dispute by political and diplomatic means. Relevant parties should all honor their commitment, fulfill their obligation and effectively implement that agreement. / The issue of Palestine is an open wound in the Middle East. Peace may be delayed but justice shouldn’t be denied. China firmly supports the two-state solution. And we will continue to do what we can to restart the peace talks. / We hope Saudi Arabia and Iran can settle their differences through equal-footed and friendly consultation. China is the mutual friend of the two countries, so if they so desire, China will play its due role.”(3)
The diplomat obviously flatters Trump earlier in the same transcript, but the first two paragraphs quoted here are not-so-subtle criticisms of the United States. China “firmly” supports the two-state solution in that context. In addition, China has a “due role” in helping to resolve disagreements between sister Islamic countries of the Persian Gulf. With friends like China, Saudi Arabia doesn’t need to prostitute itself to the polytheists in Washington.
The foreign minister referred to Africa as a singular “brother” and describes China as having been Africa’s “sincere friend during its quest for national independence and liberation.” This was in the context of talking about results of a a Johannesburg meeting. This is a reminder that, while Azania arguably had a “one-state solution” that didn’t expel the settlers there, the context included pan-Africanism and an idea of taking power from the whites. The pan-Africanism had themes of nationalism, socialism, and unity, and was much like pan-Arabism in that way when Palestinians were supporting a single state in the past and seeking Arab unity partly as a way to oppose the giant United States’ onslaught. The Israel/Palestine one-state solution being discussed in global English-language media today has no comparable context.
Many of the Westerners supporting the I$rael-expansion one-state solution are hostile to Islam whether they admit it or not, have problems with Jews whether they admit it or not, are hostile to both Arab governments and Iran, reject Arab and Islamic nationalism and see little use for Arab and Islamic unity, and don’t view Chinese or Russian involvement in the Middle East positively. They are likely to be influenced by the United States. Some will be found making antisemitic statements both because they believe the lies and also because they need to obscure their support for Israel expansionism. They also have a need to justify their conciliatory attitude toward U.S. hegemony such that it is convenient for them to say Jews dominate AmeriKKKans.
Trump’s “I like the one that both parties like” one-state/two-state equivocation a month ago was welcomed by people who were influenced by U.S. hegemony but waiting for the Amerikans to switch to another approach to undermining Palestinian independence and sovereignty. Nevermind nobody would dream of Trump saying “I can live with Islamic unity” or “I can live with Arab unity.” Some are now trying to redefine “right-wing” as who is against equality among those supporting annexation. That is, they are openly saying those supporting annexation plus equality should be considered left-wing. Some seem to brazenly invite continued Amerikan domination by referring to an old U.S. plan for a single state literally from the U.S. State Department.(4) What’s next, “The Electronic Intifada,” publishing an article highlighting some top-secret CIA document? The only good thing about this is that the “forgotten US vision” piece may not favor Democrats versus Republicans, because it flatters both.
These idealists are worse than socialist Zionists were. At least someone like Moses Hess could point to the conflict between Zionism or the contemporary one-state solution and Arab/Palestinian nationalism, or between assimilation and independence, and say there was and is something real there that can’t be nullified through amalgamation when there isn’t even similar class structure to speak of. They would be right more than a broken clock is right twice a day. The people supporting annexation mainly because it sounds better to them from a selective or peculiar moral standpoint, or because they sense the United States hasn’t really opposed settlement and they think the one-state solution would involve less effort, are chasing after a mirage and getting in the way of Palestinian nationalism and peace. Contrary to what some perceive, idealism has often involved avoidance of uphill struggle in the name of pursuing some vision of totality or purity that seems easier to achieve but remains elusive.
The contrast could hardly be clearer. Palestinians, Muslims and others who at least sometimes said the United States was the #1 enemy, or that the Palestinian struggle was part of a world anti-Amerikan struggle, ended up supporting the two-state solution in many cases or recognizing the State of Palestine. They admitted it involved at least short-term substantial concessions. Many Palestinians with a long-term perspective were willing to accept this. Yeah, it looked bad when various Arab agreements with Israel were signed and Arafat was standing next to an Israeli prime minister and an Amerikan president on the White House lawn, but it turned out the United States supported the two-state solution only verbally and photographically. It became obvious to the world who had the power, who was lowering the short-term cost of the conflict for the Israelis, who was propping up the occupation and continued settlement, and who benefited the most – the Amerikans. Many working on the two-state solution became frustrated and looked to others to mediate. Some of the opponents of the two-state solution ended up engaging in disgusting opportunism with West Bank settlers supporting annexation, while talking about “apartheid” and claiming to oppose it. Things have got to point where discussion of apartheid and strong anti-Israel rhetoric opposing the two-state solution has to be scrutinized for pro-annexation sentiments. Opposing “Zionism,” some flattered the Amerikans and even made antisemitic statements, but Zionism isn’t needed to have an expanded Israel in which settlers dominate, just not as a majority. In fact, secularist Westerners and non-Zionist Israelis who don’t give a shit about having a Jewish state or a Jewish majority are at the forefront of annexation efforts along with delusional right-wingers who think they are advancing the Zionist cause.
The idea of left-wing Zionism as socialism is almost quaint in a world where nobody is going to be seizing power as real Marxists until U.S. hegemony is ended, and people in Israeli government institutions such as Mossad and the IDF are more secular than some think. There is no colonizer proletariat to speak of, but there are Zionists, not all of whom are liberal or consider themselves socialist or left-wing, who can see problems with both annexation and settlement. No Westerner should be disagreeing with anything these Zionists say against annexation and settlement activity. ◊
• “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
• “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
• “Barghouti’s life captured in a documentary,” 2017 March 11. http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/5d803a00405ee78b80f7cf22b496cfc2/-Barghoutis-life-captured-in-a-documentary
• “Iran, Saudi Arabia reach understandings over hajj arrangements,” 2017 March 14. http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2596320&Language=en
1. “Who are the creators of mysterious Ramallah signs in favor of one-state solution?” 2017 February 23. http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Who-are-the-anonymous-creators-of-Ramallah-signs-in-favor-of-one-state-solution-482410
2. Example: “Britain supports two-state solution,” 2017 March 9. http://www.bna.bh/portal/en/news/774506
Example: “Palestinian leader reiterates commitment to two-state solution,” 2017 March 8. http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2595375&language=en
Example: “OIC Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Praises Qatar’s Role in Supporting Palestinian People,” 2017 March 13. http://www.qna.org.qa/en-us/News/17031311130021/OIC-Assistant-Secretary-General-for-Humanitarian-Affairs-Praises-Qatars-Role-in-Supporting-Palestinian-People
3. “The big diplomatic picture : China’s diplomacy since the 18th CPC National Congress,” 2017 March 11. http://www.bjreview.com.cn/World/201703/t20170310_800090656.html
4.See: “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