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Liberal Zionism and the Two-State Delusion Two-States is Greatest Impediment to Israel-Palestine Peace

By Richard Silverstein

November 01, 2021: Informationclearinghouse.info -- "Tikun OlamFor decades, the two-state solution has been the consensus advocated by liberal and left-Zionist groups, political parties; and foreign states (including the US and EU) seeking to mediate the Israel-Palestine conflict. US administrations (with the glaring exception of one) have routinely criticized Israeli settlement policy as endangering the chance for such a two-state agreement. Based on such a consensus one might think that the world could then proceed to implementing such a proposal. But the opposite has been the case.

The two-state solution has proven to be a chimera:  an object that appears to exist, but never has and never will. One might argue that two-states is a viable plan if agreed to by the parties.  But one party in particular has defied this consensus for a generation,  while falsely maintaining (for a considerable portion of that time) that it agrees with it. That party, Israel,  no longer even maintains such fig-leaf position. For the past decade or more,  Israeli governments have at first implicitly, then explicitly rejected it. Leaving the rest of the world which endorses it looking like utter fools. But governments like the US and European Union have been only too happy to continue the charade, because without two states their approach would appear even more bankrupt, and make them look even more ridiculous.

So two-states has been a useful tool to pretend the world has a plan, when it doesn’t. To admit the truth, would force anyone serious about peace and justice issues to either throw up their hands in futility; or admit failure and devise a different approach.

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That approach, a single state comprising both Israel and Palestine, is derided as unachievable because the Israeli side “would never accept it.” But this is a fallacy based on a hypothetical future result which no one has even bothered to attempt. The same argument was offered during the South African apartheid era. Advocating for majority Black rule seemed impossible given the intractable opposition of the ruling white majority.

But with enough political, moral and economic pressure, that same apartheid regime recognized the handwriting on the wall and conceded that its continuance was doomed. During an extended process of negotiation between the parties,  a transition to majority rule was successfully implemented.

Now,  South Africa is by no means a shining example of state-transformation.  It is a state facing the same problems as many other African states (crime,  corruption, entrenched power elites). But at least it is a democracy in which the people have an equal say in the political life of the nation.

One state is a similarly achievable outcome. But given Israeli opposition, it cannot happen until the very world political elites which have decided two-states is the only viable option, give up this illusion.   In addition to embracing one state, they must do something they have hitherto refused: to put political, moral and economic muscle behind their position. Israeli refusal must be met with isolation in all the areas mentioned above: the Israeli economy must be boycotted; it must be denied financial opportunities and access to capital offered to other states; state sponsored institutions in such fields as the arts and academia must be isolated; and Israel must be ostracized from international bodies and denied access to opportunities to normalize itself before the world

Obviously, this will take a force of will so far not in evidence.  It will take resolve the world has lacked. It will take a global movement exerting incessant moral pressure for action. It will take continuing change in the foreign policy consensus among academic elites such as that seen here and here.  Books such as Ian Lustick’s recently published, Paradigm Lost along with his NY Times op-ed, Two-State Illusion, also chip away at this poisonous consensus.  But despite the slow transformation of opinion, the resistance has so far been unable to make radical change due in part to the powerful counter-force of the Israel Lobby throughout the west (especially in the UK and U.S.)

That being said, students of history must remember the powerful states which appeared impregnable, only to fall due to their inherent instability and internal contradictions (USSR and its East European client states, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia, Rhodesia, apartheid South Africa, Argentina’s military junta, Somoza’s Nicaragua, Battista’s Cuba, etc.).  We should remember as well the collapse of the post-WWII colonial era with Britain and France’s loss of colonies in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Despite Israel’s apparent stability and economic vitality, it too could, and likely will suffer a similar fate.

Merkel’s Two-State Mirage


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