The “two-state solution” seems like a fair way to solve the problem in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestine. The Israel Lobby (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas all back it so what could be the problem?
Israel gets their state and Palestinians get Palestine. Problem solved, right? Unfortunately, a fair “solution” for a Palestinian state has never and will never be offered by Israel. There is only one fair solution at this late stage with Israelis and Palestinians more intertwined than ever. Separation is not an option. The only answer is full human rights for all Israelis and Palestinians in one secular and democratic state.
The first “two-state solution” was United Nations Resolution 181, passed in 1947. Under the diplomatic cover of the UN, White Western Europe and the US decided to carve up indigenous Arab land, which wasn’t theirs to give away. Israel has benefited from being a colonial settler state from the get go.
Fifty-five percent of Palestine was “given” to the Jewish State even though Jews owned only 8 percent of the land at the time. The “Arab State” would get 42 percent even though they owned 92 percent of the land. Jerusalem was to be shared 50/50, as an international city.
Contrary to popular lies, it wasn’t an empty land. Palestine was a historic civilization; here villages are hundreds if not thousands of years old. Many Palestinian towns were in the process of modernizing. Villages were shared by Christians and Muslims, schools added foreign language courses for children, and sophisticated plumbing and irrigation systems were newly added. Tragically, this beautiful civilization was destroyed. Palestine would soon be lost forever.
The injustice of “partitioning” away over half their land was apparent to the Palestinians; they summarily turned down the offer. Can you blame them? Who would willingly give up more than half of their country? David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, organized a secret group called The Consultancy, whose Plan Dalet was the blueprint for Ethnic Cleansing. The founder of the State of Israel foreshadowed what was to come, “We must expel Arabs and take their places.”
This “expelling of Arabs” was the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, and is remembered as the Nakba (Arabic meaning catastrophe or disaster). In all, approximately 800,000 Palestinians were forced from their country by psychological torture, brute military force, random terrorist attacks, biological warfare, and ultimately wanton civilian massacres such as the one seen in Deir Yassin. In what could be seen as the perfect metaphor, the Palestinian village of Khayriyya (Arabic for “The Blessing of the Land) was demolished and in its place, the garbage dump for Tel Aviv was built. Approximately 13 towns and 419 villages were ethnically cleansed so Jewish Zionists could “take their places.”
In response to the refugee crisis, the UN passed Resolution 194 in December 1948. It guaranteed the right of all the refugees of Palestine to return to their homes at the earliest possible date. This “right of return,” for the approximately 800,000 refugees and their descendents is sacred, absolute, and non-negotiable.
The second attempt at a “two-state solution” was in 1949. The UN’s Palestine Conciliation Commission made the unconditional return of all refugees, along with a 50/50 split of Palestine, the conditions for peace. According to Israeli historian Ilan Pappe’s book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, everyone accepted this as a fair solution, “The US, the UN, the Arab world, the Palestinians, and Israel’s foreign minister.” So who prevented peace? Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion and King Abdullah of Jordan had other plans to divide Palestine between them.
In 1967, Israel occupied the remaining 22 percent of Palestine they didn’t cleanse the first time around (The West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip). Forty-two years later this now amounts to the longest military occupation in modern human history. Israel almost immediately started building colonies on this occupied land. Currently, there are almost 500,000 Israeli settlers living in illegal colonies in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Every last one of these settlements is a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states an occupying power cannot transfer its population into an occupied territory.
The occupation continues, and the Palestinians are barely clinging to life. You may hear a lot of talk on the news about Obama’s demand for an Israeli “settlement freeze.” But this plea for Israel to put an end to the colonization of Palestine is nothing new.
Israel’s participation in 2003’s Road Map for Peace required Israel to “dismantle settlement outposts erected since March 2001” and to “freeze all settlement activity.” Since the occupation began in 1967, and President Lyndon Johnson called settlements “an obstacle to peace,” every US administration has subsequently denounced settlements.
If Israel knows the US offers only empty threats, why would they stop their takeover of Palestine? Are Jim Crow-style, Jewish-only villages and roads, and hundreds of humiliating checkpoints the way to peace?
Isn’t a “two-state solution” nothing more than segregation all over again? It seems like it’s a terribly racist thing to say, “These people can’t possibly live together; they have to be separated (equally).” The two-state solution is nothing more than “separate but equal” on a grand scale.
“Supporters of Israel” advocate a racially and religiously pure state for them and them alone. I hear talk of establishment of a Palestinian state, and a “democratic Jewish state.” Could America be a democracy for an African-American minority if we were officially a “White Christian Nation”? Of course not. So, why is segregation glorified in the Holy Land?
Stay tuned for Part two: Israel and Palestine already live in one state. Let’s make it official (and fair).