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PORTSIDE  September 2011, Week 3

PORTSIDE September 2011, Week 3

Subject:

At the UN, the funeral of the two-state solution

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Date:

Mon, 19 Sep 2011 22:01:55 -0400

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At the UN, the funeral of the two-state solution 

Ilan Pappe 

The Electronic Intifada 12 September 2011 

http://electronicintifada.net/people/electronic-intifada?page=1

Will Palestine bury the two-state solution at the UN once
and for all? 

( Mohamad Torokman / MaanImages ) 

We are all going to be invited to the funeral of the
two-state solution if and when the UN General Assembly
announces the acceptance of Palestine as a member
state. 

The support of the vast majority of the organization's
members would complete a cycle that began in 1967 and
which granted the ill-advised two-state solution the
backing of every powerful and less powerful actor on
the international and regional stages. Even inside
Israel, the support engulfed eventually the right as
well as the left and center of Zionist politics. And
yet despite the previous and future support, everybody
inside and outside Palestine seems to concede that the
occupation will continue and that even in the best of
all scenarios, there will be a greater and racist
Israel next to a fragmented and useless bantustan. 

The charade will end in September or October -- when the
Palestinian Authority plans to submit its request for
UN membership as a full member -- in one of two ways.

It could be either painful and violent, if Israel
continues to enjoy international immunity and is
allowed to finalize by sheer brutal force its mapping
of post-Oslo Palestine. Or it could end in a
revolutionary and much more peaceful way with the
gradual replacement of the old fabrications with solid
new truths about peace and reconciliation for
Palestine. Or perhaps the first scenario is an
unfortunate precondition for the second. Time will
tell. 

A substitute dictionary for Zionism 

In ancient times, the dead were buried with their
beloved artifacts and belongings. This coming funeral
will probably follow a similar ritual. The most
important item to go six feet under is the dictionary
of illusion and deception and its famous entries such
as "the peace process," "the only democracy in the
Middle East," "a peace-loving nation," "parity and
reciprocity" and a "humane solution to the refugee
problem." 

The substitute dictionary has been in the making for
many years describing Zionism as colonialism, Israel as
an apartheid state and the Nakba as ethnic cleansing.
It will be much easier to put it into common use after
September.

The maps of the dead solution will also be
lying next to the body. The cartography that diminished
Palestine into one tenth of its historical self, and
which was presented as a map of peace, will hopefully
be gone forever. 

There is no need to prepare an alternative map. Since
1967, the geography of the conflict has never changed
in reality, while it kept constantly transforming in
the discourse of liberal Zionist politicians,
journalists and academics, who still enjoy today a
widespread international backing.

Palestine was always the land between the river and the
sea. It still is. Its changing fortunes are
characterized not by geography but by demography. The
settler movement that came there in the late 19th
century now accounts for half of the population and
controls the other half through a matrix of racist
ideologies and apartheid policies. 

Peace is not a demographic change, nor a redrawing of
maps: it is the elimination of these ideologies and
policies. Who knows -- it may be easier now than ever
before to do this.

Exposing Israel's protest movement 

The funeral will expose the fallacy of the present
Israeli mass protest movement, while at the same time
highlight its positive potential. For seven weeks,
mostly middle class Israeli Jews have protested in huge
numbers against their government's social and economic
policies. 

In order to keep the protest as large a movement as
possible, its leaders and coordinators do not dare to
mention occupation, colonization or apartheid. The
sources of evil for everything, they claim, are the
brutal capitalist policies of the government. 

On a certain level they have a point. These policies
disabled the master race of Israel from fully and
equally enjoying the fruits of Palestine's colonization
and dispossession. But a fairer division of the spoils
will not ensure normal life for either Jews or
Palestinians; only the end to looting and pillage will.
And yet they also showed skepticism and distrust in
what their media and politicians tell them about the
socio-economic reality; it may open the way for a
better understanding of the lies they were fed about
the "conflict" and their "national security" over so
many years. 

The funeral should energize us all to follow the same
distribution of labor as before. Palestinians urgently
need to solve the issue of representation. The
progressive Jewish forces in the world have to be more
intensively recruited to the boycott, divestment and
sanctions (BDS) and other solidarity campaigns.

Intifada at the proms 

The recent disruption of the Israel Philharmonic
Orchestra performance at the prestigious BBC Proms in
London shocked the gentle Israelis more than any
genocidal event in their own history. 

But more than anything else, as reported by
senior Israeli journalists who were there, they were
flabbergasted by the presence of so many Jews among the
protesters. These very journalists kept depicting in
the past the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and BDS
activists as terrorist groups and extremists of the
worst kind. They believed their own reports. To its
credit, the mini-intifada at the Royal Albert Hall at
least confused them. 

Putting one state into political action 

In Palestine itself the time has come to move
the discourse of one state into political action and
maybe adopt the new dictionary. The dispossession is
everywhere and therefore the repossession and
reconciliation have to occur everywhere. If the
relationship between Jews and Palestinians is to be
reformulated on a just and democratic basis, one can
accept neither the old buried map of the two-state
solution nor its logic of partition. This also means
that the sacred distinction made between Jewish
settlements near Haifa and those near Nablus should be
put in the grave as well. 

The distinction should be made between those Jews who
are willing to discuss a reformulation of the
relationship, change of regime and equal status and
those who are not, regardless of where they live now.
There are surprising phenomena in this respect if one
studies well the human and political fabric of 2011
historic Palestine, ruled as it is by the Israeli
regime: the willingness for a dialogue is sometimes
more evident beyond the 1967 line rather than inside
it. 

The dialogue from within for a change of
regime, the question of representation and the BDS
movement are all part and parcel of the same effort to
bring justice and peace to Palestine. What we will bury
-- hopefully -- in September was one of the major
obstacles in the way to realizing this vision. 

The author of numerous books, Ilan Pappe is Professor
of History and Director of the European Centre for
Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter.

___________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

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