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News & Analysis > All
News & analysis from Proletarian Internationalist Notes—news, reviews and analysis from a global perspective
Two states on Palestinian turf: soccer games and economic-political realities
July 26, 2016
Palestinians are preparing to cross a particularly-occupied piece of Palestine called “Israel,” between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, to play soccer with each other. Palestinians had reached a reported agreement in which the I$raeli regime won’t interfere with some of Palestinians’ FIFA-related travel if Palestinians don’t try to get Israel kicked out of international competition.(1) Meanwhile in the less-graceful non-athletic world, Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry has generated Arab and Muslim outrage – including in Egypt – by meeting with Netanyahu in occupied Jerusalem and later appearing in a photo to watch a football match with Netanyahu.(2)
As is often said, Egypt was the first Arab country to recognize Israel. It started doing so in 1979 – after going to war against Israel, something almost every other country in the world has not done. Various Arab and Muslim countries that don’t have normal relations with Israel, or that don’t recognize Israel formally, are working on the Palestine two-state solution. They are at different points in struggling to overcome Amerikan obstacles and influence.
With all respect to Iran’s right to represent its own views, it would not be correct to say the United States supports the two-state solution, while Iran does not, just because of some differing rhetoric about Israel and the two-state solution. John Kerry talks a lot about a two-state solution, but Obama and the people who voted for Obama twice despite the 2011 Libya war (or voted for a Republican) don’t care about peace as much as they care about having some preferably-secular friends in the Middle East, keeping profits flowing to the United $nakes, and sharing the stolen wealth. The Amerikans get in the way of international pressure for the two-state solution and other countries’ efforts to develop and expand ties with Palestine, because it is in the oppressor-exploiter interests of Amerikans to do so. The people saying it is just Jews, millionaires, or elites, who are the problem are liars; it is critical to denounce in the strongest terms such deceptive fascist/pseudo-leftist flattery of the Amerikan majority.
The countries supporting the two-state solution at least to a minimal degree include Iran. Contrary to the perception of some that Iran wouldn’t allow the two-state solution even as a temporary step, Iran appears to have a complex policy of opposing Amerikan influence, in diplomacy and media, getting in the way of other countries’ independent efforts on Palestine leading to the two-state solution. Iran holds out the possibility of various approaches, each with less of a role for the Amerikans than previous peace efforts had. If the French, the Saudis or the Egyptians can actually do something on Palestine that the Amerikans don’t want, it’s not that Iran would get in the way.
The writing here simultaneously addresses the perspectives of Iranians, of Saudis, and even of Israelis to the extent their interests can be distinguished from Amerikans’. This writer strongly pushes the idea of Iranian-Saudi unity against the united $nakes, because somebody has to do it in the English language, and few are. It has to be the most “extreme” anti-Amerikans pointing out the relative merits of religious forces in different countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, compared with the decadent atheistic, “modernist” or secular exploiter majorities in the First World. A sober proletariat that openly has the “opium of the people” will eventually stumble to its revolutionary destination – unlike a belligerent drunk and drugged polytheistic bourgeoisie that only thinks it isn’t idolatrous, but practices idolatry in actuality and opposes any real progress against its exploiter and oppressor interests, or leaves the steering to politicians and officials who represent them. Letting others drive is a choice many Amerikans make on a daily basis, but it also describes many Amerikans’ chosen approach to foreign affairs. When Amerikans become more interested, they just head in other reactionary directions. Amerikans are oppressors internationally, not victims. It seems everyone in Amerika thinks they are a special snowflake or a victim, but they are mostly hysterical exploiters in that biggest of parasite-settler states: the high-income Dollar Empire built on other nations’ territory and on the bodies of hundreds of millions around the world.
The solution for Amerikans is revolution from the outside, not better psychotherapy. Even if they can’t support it directly yet, more people need to be thinking about what class struggle and progress looks like in the absence of Western or Third World socialist revolution on the horizon while exploiter #1 AmeriKKKa remains dominant in the world. The influence of the CIA and the U.S. State Department is too evident in the media and social media in how everyone is treated as a particular or potential enemy except any Amerikan majority. It is also apparent in ignorant or stupid comments as if Saudi Arabia were oppressing Amerika or as if Jews were manipulating the united $nakes.
None of this is to say Iran does not understand the situation involving a need for unity with Saudis. Two weeks ago, the same Iranian media outlet published two significant articles on the same day, in plain English. One article, highly critical of Saudi Arabia, quotes a Lebanese commentator saying, “The official line of the Saudi politics and how they are dealing with the Iranians come while the Iranian government has always been extending a hand of support, a hand of welcome for any reconciliation, for any cooperation vis-à-vis the different causes. Iran has voiced out very clearly and openly that they want to cooperate with the Saudi government, and this will bring a lot of goodness for the causes of the region for the Arab and the Islamic world.”(3) The article expresses regret that Saudi “politics” are aligned with the Amerikan “politics” and that Saudi Arabia has certain contradictions “for the time-being now” with Iran. The other PressTV article deals with Arab resistance to the Middle East Quartet report legitimizing brazen occupation and colonial oppression of Palestine by equally blaming Israel and Palestinians (while ignoring the Amerikan role). The only-Arab, non-permanent member of the council, Egypt is mentioned in the Iranian article as representing Arab countries on the U.N. Security Council. Quoting Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour, the PressTV article suggests the united $tates has interfered with French activity on the two-state solution. “According to Mansour, recommendations concerning Israeli settlements were diluted in the final draft of the report by a ‘very powerful’ member of the quartet, in an apparent reference to the United States. / This was done to undermine a French initiative to hold an international peace conference later this year and to ensure that ‘the end result would be Israel is gaining and nothing will happen,’ he said. / He further said that the Palestinians want the UNSC to ‘take note’ of the report and welcome French and Egyptian initiatives to revive peace talks but it must not endorse it.”(4) The French and Egyptian(5) efforts are based on the Arab (Saudi) Peace Initiative. It seems the united $tates undermined the French initiative sufficiently for the Egyptian foreign minister to have to meet Netanyahu in occupied al-Quds days earlier.
If the united $tates really wanted the two-state solution, it would have happened already. The u.$. takes up space and interferes. It is a reason to continue struggling, not fantasize about the economically unrealistic one-state solution(6) because the united $tates would supposedly permit it if the situation deteriorated enough to force the solution. The one-state solution may be a capitulation to Amerikan and I$raeli imperialism, not a temporary compromise for Iran like the two-state solution would be. The one-state solution is premised on narrowing the enormous economic gaps between the areas in which millions of Israelis and millions of Palestinians live – a narrowing the Israelis would reject and that most advocates of the one-state solution don’t really think about except in (flawed) normative terms of justice etc. Economic delusions and ignorance supporting the one-state solution lead to perpetuating the status quo to the Amerikans’ benefit and to one-sided Amerikan-I$raeli action. Nobody – not Egypt, Iran, Israelis, Palestine, or Saudi Arabia – wants another Amerikan war in the Middle East, and international support is lacking for a more comprehensive liberation of Palestine in the short term. Another war may happen if the absence of an outcome representing progress for Palestinians contributes to perceived ISIS gains in the region. The idea of a u.$. military base in the Sinai Peninsula is no doubt tantalizing to some people at the Pentagon.
The one-state solution is attractive for idealist reasons influenced by inappropriate or undesirable models. Countries could do more, however, in pursuit of the two-state solution – with or without full agreement from I$rael (and the united $tates). The Middle East Quartet in its report expressed concern about the viability of the “negotiated” two-state solution. If the Amerikan-dominated Quartet wants to give up on the idea of trying to reach a two-state outcome that I$rael agrees to, so be it. The Amerikans define success in terms of whether a process focused on negotiation with Israel and specifically bilateral talks between Israel and Palestine can come to completion. They talk about the death or impending death of their “two state solution” as if any other approach would be a bad thing. There are other two-state possibilities, which the Amerikans don’t want. Two states on Palestinian land are already an emerging reality, with various countries recognizing both the State of Israel and the State of Palestine. The State of Palestine needs more international support. The idea that Israel had to consent before the United Nations and various countries could have the relations with Palestine, that they had with other states (including Israel) not necessarily recognized by everyone, was always wrong. The wishes of the united $tates don’t have to be respected. It is not international recognition of Palestine – severely lagging behind international recognition of I$rael (widely recognized as a state despite its lack of peace with various countries) – that is the problem; it is deficient support for Palestine in the face of Amerikan imperialist power, including spying, economic threats, and bullying.
Motives and realities
PressTV ran a short, suggestive article implying that recent Egypt-Israel interaction actually has to do with repressing Palestinians.(7) The article mentions intelligence cooperation between Egypt and Israel, which along with the united $tates share responsibility for the Gaza Strip blockade. Al-Monitor ran an article quoting an anonymous “diplomatic source”: “The Egyptian role in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stems from the fact that the Palestinian cause is an Egyptian responsibility even before it is an Arab responsibility.”(8) The source links Egyptian efforts to French efforts in a context of u.$. preoccupation with the Clinton-Trump race. The same article relates the views of an Egyptian, “Gomaa did not rule out the possibility that the Egyptian move to resolve the Palestinian cause was coordinated with its Saudi ally, which is eager to create a broad front to confront Iranian threats,” and suggests that Egypt desires more regional power.
There has been much discussion of Egyptian and Saudi motives in pursuing what many call “the so-called” two-state solution. If countries were selling out the rest of the world for the sake of Palestinians or a Palestinian marriage to imperialism, such concern could actually be more justified, but it doesn’t seem to be the case that many countries are going out of their way to do something for Palestinians as a whole. Many are still working on the two-state solution because there are new openings, real openings involving the world economy. Nobody offered anyone worldwide economic crisis to get something for Palestinians, but economic crisis has led to movement on the two-state solution by bringing closer together various countries in the Eastern Hemisphere. There is a need to have more trade and investment options. The Amerikans have been limiting those options for other countries by promoting and exacerbating Middle East conflict.
Some individuals supposedly opposing the two-state solution from the left, and talking about motives or portraying Arab and Muslim countries as less worthy to influence peace efforts than the united $tates, show a willingness to sell out the cause of Palestinian advancement for Amerikan favor. Whether somebody recognizes Israel as a state or country, or not, may not be key in the current struggle to overcome u.$. obstacles.
Arab countries, Muslim countries, Third World countries (overlapping with the previous two), imperialist countries – whether they recognize Israel or not – have short- and long- term economic interests that aren’t the same as the united $tates’. The fact that the interests are economic self-interests doesn’t matter. At this time, economic struggle takes place mostly internationally and is mediated by bourgeois interests. Idealists requiring purity of motivation from a “left” or quasi-religious perspective, as if there were something scandalous about national selfish reasons for supporting the two-state solution, actually do harm by spreading illusions about imminent Western or global revolution and illusions about the international class structure and hierarchy of nations. They do so at a moment when there can be – and needs to be – unity of various captialist countries against the hegemonic united $tates on certain issues.
Focus has been on Saudi involvement in Yemen, but Saudi Arabia may more clearly demonstrate its independent economic interests in Djibouti for example. A plan to have a Saudi base in Djibouti was recently confirmed, according to “Africa Confidential.”(9) The united $tates, France and Japan have bases in Djibouti now, with a Chinese base in the works. The addition of a base from Saudi Arabia, a rich but economically struggling maldeveloped county with less than 33 million people, would be unusual even if the base were used as an “Arab” proxy for Amerikan interests in the short term. Djibouti and Saudi Arabia are examples of countries that don’t recognize the State of Israel, but openly host u.$. military forces. Afghanistan and Iraq, which also don’t recognize the State of Israel, differ in that they got a u.$. military base/forces after being invaded by the united $tates – creating an absurd appearance that collaborating even with blatant Amerikan occupation of one’s own country is consistent with non-recognition of I$rael. Though Djibouti and Saudi Arabia obviously cooperate with the united $tates at this time, a Saudi base in Djibouti would be less necessary if Saudi and Amerikan interests were identical, which they aren’t.
For some, a Saudi base in Djibouti could only have to do with with Shia-Sunni sectarianism or conflicting Iranian-Saudi nationalism – as commonly discussed in the context of Iran or Saudi Arabia – or regional influence against other Arab or Muslim countries. But it would show a poor understanding of dynamics to say Amerikan and other imperialist-country presence in Djibouti is about combating “piracy” while Saudi influence on Djibouti is just about opposing Iran. It is true Djibouti cut ties with Iran after Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was executed for example, but it is also true that the Amerikan presence in Djibouti is about more than piracy and that the Saudi interest is more than anti-Iran nationalism or sectarianism. There are larger economic interests involved including control of trade/supply routes and struggle over the ability to impact Saudi Arabia’s trade relations with various countries in the long term, the promotion and preservation of which isn’t a top Amerikan priority. Some Israelis perceive Saudi Arabia’s activity in Yemen and alleged anti-Iranian activity as benefiting Israel, but Israelis need to look at where the highly economically significant Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, and Djibouti and Yemen – two countries that recognize the State of Palestine and don’t recognize the State of Israel – are on the map.
Palestinians already have diplomatic/official representation in Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. It is in the Israelis’ long-term interest to have normal relations with Arab countries or at least not embarrass them too much, because Israel has its economy to worry about. Countries that already recognize Israel, and countries that would recognize Israel if it accepted the Arab Peace Initiative, both have roles to play in supporting a two-state outcome that Israel might tolerate for economic reasons.
While the united $tates wants to keep Israel as an ally, the united $tates tolerates various levels of economic status in its allies and has both poor and rich allies. A poorer Israel as a result of not having a two-state solution may be acceptable to Amerikans as an ally. So, Amerikans’ and Israelis’ interests in relation to the two-state solution potentially conflict. Amerikans care about their own living standards, not those of some Arabs and Jews in Palestine. Keeping Israel as an ally dependent on the united $tates is more important to Amerikans than Israelis’ living standards, economic growth, certainty, and stability, though some of those things contribute to Israeli security. ◊
1. “West Bank, Gaza gear up for Palestine’s biggest sporting event,” 2016 July 24. http://972mag.com/west-bank-gaza-gear-up-for-palestines-biggest-sporting-event/120874/
2. “Egypt denies FM watched Euro final with Netanyahu,” 2016 July 14. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/07/14/475129/Egypt-FM-Shoukry–Israel-PM-Netanyahu-Euro-final-alQuds
“Egypt outraged over reports minister watched soccer game with Netanyahu,” 2016 July 14. http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Egypt-issues-statement-denying-FM-Netanyahu-watch-soccer-final-together-460370
3. “Saudi, US politics aligned against Iran: analyst,” 2016 July 13. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/07/13/475000/Iran-Saudi-Arabia-MKO-US-Moussawi-Faisal
4. “Arab nations to block Quartet report at UN: Palestine envoy,” 2016 July 13. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/07/13/474980/Palestine-Riyad-Mansour-Quartet-report-UNSC-Israel
5. “Egypt has no desire for amendments Arab Peace Initiative: Shoukry,” 2016 July 1. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/0/232283/Egypt/0/Egypt-has-no-desire-for-amendments-Arab-Peace-Init.aspx
6. “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
7. “What does Israel-Egypt rapprochement mean for Palestinians?” 2016 July 23. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/07/23/476530/Egypt-Israel
8. “Why Egypt is suddenly so interested in Israel-Palestine conflict,” 2016 July. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/07/egypt-palestine-israel-conflict-resolution-shoukry-sisi.html
9. “Saudi wants one too,” 2016 July 22. http://www.africa-confidential.com/article-preview/id/11724/Saudi_wants_one_too