The final demise of the two-state delusion

The final demise of the two-state delusion
Comment: Netanyahu’s victory means the world has to embrace the reality of the one-state solution, and this might just be a game changer, writes Said Arikat.
6 min read
20 Mar, 2015
Netanyahu's election campaign ended the delusion that a two state solution was possible [AFP]

With all due modesty, I predicted it. I said so in every possible forum; my articles, - Arabic and English - my encounters in the ceaseless Washington events, on TV programs; to my students, to everyone who would listen, that the conniving, shrewd, Machiavellian, lying; at once crude and sophisticated, Binyamin Netanyahu would win big, and he sure did win big.

Never-mind the malarkey of, "Bibi fighting for his political life", or "Netanyahu's era is history", or "it is a very close election-too close to call." No sir! I called it right on the money and I said that Netanyahu will win comfortably. He did; "King Bibi".

Sadly, I always had faith in the solidness of the foundation of Israeli racism and belligerence. Faith in the majority of Israeli voters' will to prevail, and go with guy who can be more brazenly racist, and unabashedly too willing to keep more than for million Palestinians under.

These are the same Israelis, after all, that took lounge chairs and watched the fireworks, sipping beer and soda, and munching on popcorn and nachos, looking through their binoculars, whistling, cheering, high-fiving one another with exultation and delight, while American made Israeli F-16s and long range artillery shells ripped Palestinian children to shreds by the hundreds as they slept, or played on the beach, or desperately sought a desperate shelter never to be had.

These are the same Israelis who for 48 years have brutalized Palestinians in the occupied territories and at the more than 700 check points that pierce the bleeding Palestinian landscape, and innumerable terrorising nightraids on homes and villages. This is an Israel where everyone over seventeen (except for the ultra-orthodox) has served in Israel's occupation army taking part in the orgiastic brutality.

Ongoing violations

I always had faith in the solidness of the foundation of Israeli racism and belligerence.

These are the same Israelis - by and large lest I be accused of gross generalisation - who built settlements, expropriated land, relished in watching the fear and anguish of Palestinian sons and daughters; brothers and sisters; mothers and fathers. All this violence that has been visited upon Palestinians: tying them up, stripping them naked, unleashing killer dogs, stopping them at bridges and points of entry for hours on end, taking apart their clothing, outerwear, underwear, their cameras, computers, telephones, childhood pictures, baby-bottles, dolls, toys, books, food... You name it, they still do it, in plain sight of a self-delusional world that is all too willing to duck under the lie that the Israeli perpetrator is somehow the victim.

To be sure, no one should feel vindicated or happy when racism and oppression win the day. But the day was precisely won by such. Here is how it happened: Netanyahu managed his "stunning turnabout" from the last pre-election polls published four days before the elections, which showed the Zionist Union, led by Isaac Herzog, with a four- or five-seat lead and building momentum, and the Likud polling close to 20 seats.

To bridge the gap, Netanyahu, always perspicaciously underhanded, embarked on a last-minute scorched-earth campaign, promising that no Palestinian state would ever be established as long as he remained in office and insulting Israeli Arabs, stoking the fears of a public never willing to share space and rights with their "fellow citizens" warning "The rule of the right is in danger," Netanyahu says in a video posted on Facebook, just hours before polls closed. "Arab voters are coming in droves to the ballot boxes. Left-wing NGOs bring them in buses."

Imagine if you will a Western leader uttering such a racist comment, warning his constituency that his rule is in jeopardy because, for example, Black, or Latinos, or Portuguese, or whatever voters are coming in droves to the polling stations... It harkens back to Selma, Alabama, doesn’t it?

The legendary Israeli Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy puts it this way in his column Wednesday, March 18, 2015 "Netanyahu deserves the Israeli people, and they deserve him." He goes on to explain, "If after six years of nothing, if after six years of sowing fear and anxiety, hatred and despair, this is the nation's choice, then it is very ill indeed. If after everything that has been revealed in recent months, if after everything that has been written and said, if after all this, the Israeli phoenix succeeded in rising from the ashes and getting reelected, if after all this the Israeli people chose him to lead for another four years, something is truly broken, possibly beyond repair."

He adds, "Netanyahu deserves the Israeli people and they deserve him. The results are indicative of the direction the country is headed: A significant proportion of Israelis has finally grown detached from reality. This is the result of years' worth of brainwashing and incitement."

Levy warns," If Netanyahu succeeds in forming the next government in his spirit and image, then the two-state solution will finally be buried and the struggle over the character of a binational state will begin. If Netanyahu is the next prime minister, then Israel has not only divorced the peace process, but also the world. Piss off, dear world, we're on our own. Please don't interfere, we're asleep, the people are with Netanyahu. The Palestinians can warm the benches at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, the Israel boycotters can swing into high gear and Gaza can wait for the next cruel attack by the Israeli army."

Accepting reality

President of the hapless, hopelessly bankrupt Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas with almost broken resignation said a two-state solution cannot be reached while Netanyahu heads the Israeli government, Thursday, in his first remarks since the Likud leader cruised to a fourth term in Tuesday voting. During a meeting with his other worn-out PLO colleagues on Thursday, Abbas said, "Netanyahu’s declarations against a two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state, if they are correct, prove the Israeli government has no serious intention to reach a diplomatic solution."

His chief negotiator Saeb Erakat, the longest serving negotiator of any kind in history, declared that if only Netanyahu would reconsider, and commit himself to the two-state solution (and stop building settlements, "I would go to his house right now; I know where it is; I have been there; I have known Netanyahu for 31 years."

Abbas with almost broken resignation said a two-state solution cannot be reached while Benjamin Netanyahu leads Israel.

This sounds to me that the self-anointed Palestinian leadership has no strategy. At best they are going to pass the hat for meagre funds, beg for US pressure on Netanyahu to release the tax revenues he has hijacked since early January, a knock on the doors of the UN for another futile attempt at international recognition. After decades of suffering this Palestinian leadership remains without "the vision thing."

But not all is lost. In a wider perspective, Netanyahu’s victory in the Israeli election may represent a positive game-changer for the Palestinians. The realization that successive Israeli governments have rendered the two state solution beyond reach even in the most truncated of shapes, and created in reality a one state in all of the Land of historic Palestinian which has become finally an irrefutable, and irreversible reality.

This is the game-changer of this election. Since Israel itself eliminated the two-state solution deliberately, consciously and methodically over the course of 48 years, and since it created with its own hands this single de facto state we have today, the way forward should be quite clear. We must accept this ultimate "fact on the ground," the single state imposed by Israel over the entire country, but not in its apartheid form. Israel has left us with great opportunity and only a one way out: to transform that state into a democratic state of equal rights for all of its citizens.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.