Palestine: The one-state future

Palestine: The one-state future
Comment: Peace talks have been going nowhere for decades. It's time for a completely different approach, writes Ali Anouzla.
4 min read
26 Mar, 2015
Netanyahu celebrated his election victory last week [Getty]
Binyamin Netanyahu made a pledge to the Israeli electorate that he would not allow the formation of a Palestinian state if he won the recent general election.

He did win and, although he back-tracked somewhat under US pressure afterwards, his words could be viewed as the final nail in the coffin of the peace process, preparing the ground for the burial of the two-state solution on which negotiations have been based since 1967.

But the process of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis failed a long time ago. It has simply been waiting for someone to put it out of its misery.

The reality is that negotiations had run their course as soon as the Israelis achieved their desired goal, Palestinian recognition of Israel and dropping the racism charge against the Zionist movement in United Nations literature. Since that goal was achieved, Israel has done nothing to advance the peace process.
     The anticipated settlement between the two sides... remains unattainable.

As for the anticipated settlement between the two sides that was the stated reason for launching the peace process 20 years ago, it remains unattainable.

Israeli actions since talks began have been little more than manoeuvres to buy time and create realities on the ground: expanding settlements, solidifying the new borders of their state, segregating Palestinians within disconnected ghettos in Gaza and the West Bank and entrenching the Jewish exclusivity of the Israeli state.

All that has been achieved since the long series of negotiations started with the Oslo Accords is an expansion of the Zionist project for the Israeli state, while the dream of Palestinian statehood has gradually declined.

Time to abandon peace talks?

But it is not in Israel's interests to announce the failure of negotiations once and for all. The current stagnation benefits Israel, helping it to ensure the preservation of its ever-expanding state.

Therefore the Palestinians must not wait for such an announcement to come from the Israelis. Instead, they must look for an alternative before finding themselves, once again, facing a reality that they cannot change. Palestinians need to find an alternative that achieves the national objectives of freedom, independence, self-determination and the Right of Return.

Their options, however, are limited. A return to the strategy of armed resistance poses very serious dangers for the Palestinian people and their cause.
     Israel cannot be expected to completely abandon negotiations, but it is in the Palestinians' interests to do so.

Yet they will be the only losers if the unproductive talks are drawn out. Israel cannot be expected to completely abandon negotiations, but it is in the Palestinians' interests to do so.

They should proclaim the failure of negotiations and announce the abandonment of talks along with all that has resulted from them, including the Palestinian Authority, which Israel uses as a border force to contain the Palestinian people within their ghettos.

But before this can happen the Palestinians will need to prepare the ground for an alternative: the "one-state solution", a secular, pluralist and democratic state in which everyone in historic Palestine enjoys the same rights and freedoms.

This is the only solution that could ever be reached even if the conflict and pointless negotiations continued for several more decades. It is the final resolution, a single, binational state.

It will not be an easy task to convince Israelis of its merits.

The Jewish exclusivity of the Israeli state is a pillar of Zionist thought. Nor will it be easy to popularise this idea within Palestinian society, for it will conflict with the ideological stances of many nationalists and Islamists, in addition to Arabs and Muslims outside Palestine who see the Palestinian cause to be a national and religious issue.

Palestinians should start giving the idea more weight if they want to defeat the Zionist project. The present course of pointless negotiations will only legitimise its further entrenchment.

One factor that Israel perceives as a danger to the Zionist settler project is the Palestinian "demographic threat".

For despite all its attempts to encourage Jewish migration, Israel has not been able to change the demographics in its favour. That is why Israel has resorted to disconnecting Gaza, as it represents the largest Palestinian demographic block.

Israel is also attempting to do the same with the West Bank through its apartheid wall. But through these actions, Israel is itself indirectly pushing towards the "one-state solution", as it is turning into an apartheid state and moving towards a scenario where such a solution must be imposed on moral and practical grounds.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.