Creating people's geographies
Ilan Pappe does a good job of refuting a recent piece by Uri Avnery (Bed of Sodom) that argues that advocacy of a one state proposal harms the Palestinian cause. Select excerpts below; it is worth reading in full at EI and Hagada Hasmalit (with thanks to the Fanonite). See also Sonja Karkar’s piece commenting upon Azmi Bishari’s campaign for Israeli democracy.
The South African model is young — in fact hardly a year has passed since it was seriously considered — while the formula of two states is sixty years old: an abortive and dangerous illusion that enabled Israel to continue its occupation without facing any significant criticism from the international community.
The facts on the ground are crystal clear: the two-state solution has dismally failed and we have no spare time to waste in futile anticipation of another illusory round of diplomatic efforts that would lead to nowhere. As Avnery admits, the Israeli peace camp has so far failed to persuade the Israeli Jewish society to try the road of peace.
Avnery ignores these facts and alleges that the one-state solution is a dangerous panacea to offer to the critically ill patient. All right, so let us prescribe it gradually. But for God’s sake let us take the patient off of the very dangerous medicine we have been forcing down his throat the last sixty years and which is about to kill him.
It is also very difficult to understand why Avnery underrates the importance of world public opinion. Without the support this world public opinion gave to the Zionist movement, the Nakba (catastrophe) would not have occurred. Had the international community rejected the idea of partition, a unitary state would have replaced Mandatory Palestine, as indeed was the wish of many members of the UN. However, these members succumbed to a violent pressure by the US and the Zionist lobby and retracted their earlier support for such a solution. And today, if the international community alters its position once more and revises its attitude towards Israel, the chances for ending the occupation would increase enormously and by that maybe also help to avert the colossal bloodshed that would engulf not only the Palestinians but also the Jews themselves.
Without the cultural and economical oxygen lines the West provides to Israel, it would be difficult for the silent majority there to continue and believe that it is possible both to be a racist and a legitimate state in the eyes of the world.
We need to wake up. The day Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush declared their loyal support for the two-state solution, this formula became a cynical means by which Israel can maintain its discriminatory regime inside the 1967 borders, its occupation in the West Bank and the ghettoization of the Gaza Strip. Anyone who blocks a debate over alternative political models allows the discourse of two states to shield the criminal Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories.