article from Israel’s premier journalist, Gideon Levy. It can only be a matter of time, perhaps when
Netanyahu has finally silenced the few remaining NGO’s and human rights
organisations that attention will be turned to Levy and Amira Hass and the
other journalists who aren’t prepared to play ball with Zionism.
There are some gullible
fools and political cowards unfortunately in the Palestine solidarity movement,
who still call for a 2 State solution
These naive souls, amongst which one must count the Executive of the
Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who
sincerely believe that the Israeli government is going to agree to a separate
It is difficult to know whether these people actually believe this, because it is always hard to get inside someone’s head. The fact that Netanyahu stated at the last election that there would be no 2 state solution, the fact that there is no member of his ruling coalition who calls for a Palestinian state is irrelevant. When Tzipi Hotoveli, Israel’s religious nut of a Deputy Foreign Minister and a member of Likud states that “We need to return to the basic truth of our rights to this country,” she said. “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologise for that.” what part of that I wonder do these people not understand?
The Israeli Labour Party also doesn’t believe in a 2 state solution. Sure they pay lip service to it but the position as outlined by their leader Avi Gabbay is opposition to the dismantlement of the settlements. The settlements have been so constructed as to prevent a 2 state solution and without their being dismantled any Palestinian state would have more holes in it than a Swiss cheese.
Of course I would be less than honest if I didn’t confess to opposing 2 states on principle. The root cause of the problem in Palestine is not two peoples fighting over one piece of land as liberal Zionists pretend but a settler colonial movement which displaced an indigenous population and erected a racial supremacists state as in South Africa. A 2 state solution, even were it feasible, would be a monstrosity. Israel would be even more racist and aggressive. The Palestinian state, which would be a Bantustan in practice, would be a horrific police state whose main job was to police its own subjects in order to keep Israel satisfied, because there would be a massive power imbalance between them. Indeed the Palestinian ‘state’ would be something like the quisling entity that the Palestinian Authority operates at the moment.
That is why I opposed, in 1993, the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO. At the time I resigned from PSC over the issue when, at an emergency conference, two-thirds of the meeting agreed to support them. My views on them are best represented in a debate with Julia Bard of the Jewish Socialists Group in the pages of National Labour Briefing, A Mess of
Potage in October 1993.
In the article I said that:
The Accord divides the Palestinian nation in two. It excludes not only _ those Palestinians living inside pre-1967 Israel, but the two million Palestinians who were exiled in 1948 and 1967. It explicitly rules out the right of return. Israel continues to control the Allenby bridge to Jordan.
Under the Accord Israel will retain control over land, water and resources. The Palestinians will collect their own garbage, control education and health and police themselves. In effect, the prison guards will be removed from inside to outside the prison walls.
Zionism was not founded in order to establish a state in half the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). It claims the whole land. Indeed the biblical Land of Israel extends up to the Litani river in Lebanon and down to the Nile in Egypt and across to the Euphrates in Iraq, so there is quite a way to go. The idea of stopping half way and handing over 22% of the territory of Mandate Palestine is absurd.
Of course there are some people who talk about 2 states who know full well that it will never be achieved. Firstly Zionist organisations in this country, in particular Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement but also the Board of Deputies of British Jews support 2 states. However these same organisations support all Israel’s repressive actions in the Territories. They all support the Occupation wholeheartedly. Yet unless there is sufficient opposition to the military occupation, there is no chance that Israel will unilaterally hand over part of the West Bank for a state.
We saw that last week when the Board of Deputies and Labour Friends of Israel rushed to support the Israeli army’s gunning down of 60 unarmed Palestinian demonstrators whilst blaming the violence, not on those who did the shooting but on the victims (for which Hamas is the all-purpose address).
It should therefore clear that these organisations are hypocritical liars. They know that there will never be a 2 state solution as does the pro-Zionist Alliance for Workers Liberty, an allegedly Trotskyist organisation. So why do they support 2 states? Because that is the best way to undermine calls for the only possible solution to Israeli Apartheid, a democratic, secular state in the whole of Palestine. Support for 2 States is also a way of opposing the call for equal rights for all those under Israeli rule, i.e. an end to the present Apartheid situation.
There are of course a second group, such as Jeremy Corbyn, who have no analysis worthy of the name and simply oppose Israeli repression and call for a 2 State Solution because they fondly imagine that the ‘international community’ will put pressure on Israel to conform. However it should be obvious even to these people that the United States, which is in essence the ‘international community’ has no intention whatsoever of pressurising Israel to agree to a 2 state solution.
Emily Thornberry, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary also calls for 2 States. I have no doubt whatsoever that she does not believe it is possible. She is an ardent Zionist and a member of Labour Friends of Israel. As such her posturing on the issue is entirely cynical. She is above all a supporter of the Atlantic Alliance and the special relationship with the USA. Israel is integral to that.
The reality today is that there is already one state. As Gideon Levy says, there is no border between pre-1967 Israel and today’s Greater Israel. The only question therefore is whether or not all those living under Israeli rule should be granted equal rights. Those who oppose this are supporters of the present Apartheid situation. Of course this will mean that there will no longer be a Jewish State. That is not such a loss. What is a Jewish state? Does a state pray to god or put on tefillin (phylacteries)? A Jewish state simply means a state where Jews have more rights than non-Jews. It is a Jewish supremacist state and no one who calls themselves a socialist should have anything to do with such a concept.
A debate on the Oslo Accords in Labour Briefing in October 1993 with the Jewish Socialist’s Julia Bard
Calling Israel a democracy when less than half its subjects live in freedom is a propaganda trick that has worked better than one would have thought
With the approach this week of celebrations marking Israel’s 70th birthday, 12 million people live in the country. Some of them are citizens, some are residents, some are detainees, and all are subjects. Everyone’s fate has been determined by the country’s governing institutions.
On this Independence Day, we have to acknowledge that the country’s genuine borders are the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the Jordan River to the east, including not only the West Bank but also the Gaza Strip. Israel controls all this territory and everyone who lives there through various and sundry means, even if from a legal standpoint there’s no mention of this.
Forget the law. Israel long ago abandoned it. In practice it rules Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In the case of Gaza, it suffices with control from the outside, which is more convenient. On Israel’s 70th birthday, the time has come to recognize that the occupation of the territories in 1967 is not temporary. It was never meant to be and never will be. The 1967 border has been erased. The distinction between 1948 and 1967 doesn’t exist.
It was only in the state’s first 19 years, a blink of an eye from a historical perspective, that the country existed without the territories. For the balance of its history, the occupation has been an inseparable part of it, its character, its government, its essence, its DNA. What existed here for a brief time and is gone will not be coming back.
It’s critical that we rip the cover off the alleged transience of the occupation, which for some Israelis has been a sweet delusion and for others a dangerous threat. There is an abyss dividing a temporary occupation and a permanent one.
In its early years, Israel was small in area and population, but its youth, like everyone’s youth, quickly passed. For most of its existence, Israel hasn’t resembled the girl we remember. Its days as a small country with a Jewish majority have passed and the clock can’t be turned back. It’s no longer the small woman of our dreams. It’s the big woman of our nightmares.
On Israel’s 70th birthday, the time has come to recognize that Israel is a binational state under whose control two peoples live, equal in size. It maintains separate governing systems for them: a democratic one for Jews, discrimination for Israeli Arabs, and dictatorship for Palestinians. It’s not an equal democracy for all its subjects, meaning, of course, that it’s not a democracy.
There’s no such democracy where what’s allowed for one people isn’t for another. Therefore, on its 70th anniversary, Israel being called a democracy when fewer than half its subjects live in freedom is nothing but a propaganda trick that has worked to a greater extent than one would have thought.
It’s not only Israelis who deny and repress this reality. It’s more convenient for the Western world, too, to look at Israel’s more enlightened side, to ignore its dark side and continue to call it a democracy. After all, in the West, what country hasn’t also had such a colonialist back yard? And who could really confront Israel, a country that rose from the ashes?
Israel is therefore the darling of the West, despite the hollow lip service to the Palestinians, and so the West too has embraced the excuse of the occupation’s temporary nature: “Just wait, wait a little longer for the ‘peace process’ and the Israelis will be pulling out of the territories.” So it’s important that the lie of the transience of the occupation be exposed.
If the occupation isn’t temporary, it would be clear that Israel isn’t a democracy but rather an apartheid state par excellence. Two peoples and two systems of rights. That’s was apartheid looks like, even if it hides behind excuses ranging from temporariness to security grounds, from the right to the land to the concept of the chosen people, including the divine promise and messianic redemption.
These excuses don’t change the picture. In South Africa, no doubt an apartheid state, the regime invoked similar excuses to justify its existence. No one bought them. But with Israel there actually are buyers. One difference between South Africa and Israel is that Israel is stronger, more sophisticated and better connected to the world. And it has done a better job obscuring its apartheid.
It’s big, strong and nondemocratic. Israel oppresses the Palestinians through various means with one result: There isn’t a single free Palestinian in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. Their fate is determined by the Israeli government in Jerusalem and the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, and they have no rights at either one. Is this not apartheid? Is it democracy?
And now on to the showy and proud Independence Day ceremonies planned by Culture Minister Miri Regev. Let’s not rain on her parade.