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RIGHT now the idea of a peace settlement and a Palestinian state seems absurd given the apocalypse unfolding in Gaza under Israeli bombardment and siege.
Recent editorials in the Morning Star and a feature article by Nick Wright have insisted that the two-state solution is the only viable road to a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Calls for a one-state solution, which some in the Palestinian liberation movement support, are dismissed.
Wright wrote last week: “Those who think a single state — assembled within the existing state apparatus of Israel and including the existing populations of Israel, Gaza, the occupied territory and the West Bank — would be a secular democratic state of equal rights have abandoned any materialist and Marxist conception of the state.”
Unfortunately this statement, with its heavy-lifting clause insisting that any single state in the territory of Palestine-Israel would be under the existing state apparatus — is making a confusing cognitive leap.
He is right that the existing ethno-state, built on apartheid and bantustans for Palestinians in the West Bank, intense discrimination in 1948 Israel, while Gaza is being annihilated and reoccupied, is no basis for a future Palestinian state.
But there is nothing Marxist about looking at the current situation — with Israel lurching into full fascism, and assuming that the only way forward is to reconstitute Palestine on the basis of the tiny amount of land left to Palestinians, while somehow removing 700,000 Israeli and foreign Jewish settlers from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This to me is a clear case of idealist, or backward-looking reformist thinking.
The fundamental point is that Israel, as a Jewish supremacist settler colony, cannot be reconstituted as a good neighbour to a truncated, fractured and effectively unviable Palestinian state. The Arab peace plan called for a return to 1967 borders, as does the Western-backed two-state solution.
But the reality is that the imperialist powers want a two-state solution in which the Palestinians accept a position as a subordinated territory that lacks geographical, military or political independence.
It would be a neocolonial construct policed, still, by Israel on its borders, and perhaps by Arab states and the UN, supported by exporting its labour to surrounding states.
The Oslo Accords were signed 30 years ago and betrayed almost immediately by Israel and the US. They cannot be revived. They are dead.
The two states are indeed what the international community says it wants. But is it what Palestinians want?
After what Israel has done to them, how can they possibly live in peace and security next to Israel? Or for that matter, how can Lebanon, Syria or any other neighbouring Arab state live safely with a violent US client regime on their doorstep?
In a recent survey, only a third of the Palestinian public — in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem — supports it over one-state alternatives.
By contrast, 40 per cent of Palestinians support waging an armed struggle for the liberation of all Palestine, according to the Palestinian Centre of Policy and Survey Research.
As Israeli anti-zionist activist Miko Peled recently said on Al Jazeera: “The state of Israel is the problem, not the occupation… it is the obstacle to peace, the obstacle to justice.”
The only real options, or road maps, out of this crisis are Algeria, with all settlers expelled, or South Africa, where a democratic state replaces the apartheid regime across all the territory of the state, guaranteeing rights for all. The latter is preferable, for clear reasons.
Only a secular single state across Palestine-Israel, with cast-iron guarantees for all communities, could potentially solve the never-ending conflict caused by the apartheid regime that is now wreaking havoc, as it has done for the last 60 or more years.
Perhaps this will never happen, and two states will emerge, but they are not a goal that can inspire any hope for those who want to see an end to war and occupation in Palestine-Israel.
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