[Marxism] Ilan Pappe: At the UN, the funeral of the two-state solution

Jeff meisner at xs4all.nl
Tue Sep 13 14:46:22 MDT 2011


At the UN, the funeral of the two-state solution
Ilan Pappe
The Electronic Intifada 12 September 2011

We are all going to be invited to the funeral of the two-state solution if
and when the UN General Assembly announces the acceptance of Palestine as a
member state.

The support of the vast majority of the organization’s members would
complete a cycle that began in 1967 and which granted the ill-advised
two-state solution the backing of every powerful and less powerful actor on
the international and regional stages.

Even inside Israel, the support engulfed eventually the right as well as
the left and center of Zionist politics. And yet despite the previous and
future support, everybody inside and outside Palestine seems to concede
that the occupation will continue and that even in the best of all
scenarios, there will be a greater and racist Israel next to a fragmented
and useless bantustan.

The charade will end in September or October — when the Palestinian
Authority plans to submit its request for UN membership as a full member —
in one of two ways.

It could be either painful and violent, if Israel continues to enjoy
international immunity and is allowed to finalize by sheer brutal force its
mapping of post-Oslo Palestine. Or it could end in a revolutionary and much
more peaceful way with the gradual replacement of the old fabrications with
solid new truths about peace and reconciliation for Palestine. Or perhaps
the first scenario is an unfortunate precondition for the second. Time will

A substitute dictionary for Zionism

In ancient times, the dead were buried with their beloved artifacts and
belongings. This coming funeral will probably follow a similar ritual. The
most important item to go six feet under is the dictionary of illusion and
deception and its famous entries such as “the peace process,” “the only
democracy in the Middle East,” “a peace-loving nation,” “parity and
reciprocity” and a “humane solution to the refugee problem.”

The substitute dictionary has been in the making for many years describing
Zionism as colonialism, Israel as an apartheid state and the Nakba as
ethnic cleansing. It will be much easier to put it into common use after

The maps of the dead solution will also be lying next to the body. The
cartography that diminished Palestine into one tenth of its historical
self, and which was presented as a map of peace, will hopefully be gone

There is no need to prepare an alternative map. Since 1967, the geography
of the conflict has never changed in reality, while it kept constantly
transforming in the discourse of liberal Zionist politicians, journalists
and academics, who still enjoy today a widespread international backing.

Palestine was always the land between the river and the sea. It still is.
Its changing fortunes are characterized not by geography but by demography.
The settler movement that came there in the late 19th century now accounts
for half of the population and controls the other half through a matrix of
racist ideologies and apartheid policies.

Peace is not a demographic change, nor a redrawing of maps: it is the
elimination of these ideologies and policies. Who knows — it may be easier
now than ever before to do this.

Exposing Israel’s protest movement

The funeral will expose the fallacy of the present Israeli mass protest
movement, while at the same time highlight its positive potential. For
seven weeks, mostly middle class Israeli Jews have protested in huge
numbers against their government’s social and economic policies.

In order to keep the protest as large a movement as possible, its leaders
and coordinators do not dare to mention occupation, colonization or
apartheid. The sources of evil for everything, they claim, are the brutal
capitalist policies of the government.

On a certain level they have a point. These policies disabled the master
race of Israel from fully and equally enjoying the fruits of Palestine’s
colonization and dispossession. But a fairer division of the spoils will
not ensure normal life for either Jews or Palestinians; only the end to
looting and pillage will.

And yet they also showed skepticism and distrust in what their media and
politicians tell them about the socio-economic reality; it may open the way
for a better understanding of the lies they were fed about the “conflict”
and their “national security” over so many years.

The funeral should energize us all to follow the same distribution of labor
as before. Palestinians urgently need to solve the issue of representation.
The progressive Jewish forces in the world have to be more intensively
recruited to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and other
solidarity campaigns.

Intifada at the proms

The recent disruption of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performance at
the prestigious BBC Proms in London shocked the gentle Israelis more than
any genocidal event in their own history.

But more than anything else, as reported by senior Israeli journalists who
were there, they were flabbergasted by the presence of so many Jews among
the protesters. These very journalists kept depicting in the past the
Palestine Solidarity Campaign and BDS activists as terrorist groups and
extremists of the worst kind. They believed their own reports. To its
credit, the mini-intifada at the Royal Albert Hall at least confused them.

Putting one state into political action

In Palestine itself the time has come to move the discourse of one state
into political action and maybe adopt the new dictionary. The dispossession
is everywhere and therefore the repossession and reconciliation have to
occur everywhere.

If the relationship between Jews and Palestinians is to be reformulated on
a just and democratic basis, one can accept neither the old buried map of
the two-state solution nor its logic of partition. This also means that the
sacred distinction made between Jewish settlements near Haifa and those
near Nablus should be put in the grave as well.

The distinction should be made between those Jews who are willing to
discuss a reformulation of the relationship, change of regime and equal
status and those who are not, regardless of where they live now. There are
surprising phenomena in this respect if one studies well the human and
political fabric of 2011 historic Palestine, ruled as it is by the Israeli
regime: the willingness for a dialogue is sometimes more evident beyond the
1967 line rather than inside it.

The dialogue from within for a change of regime, the question of
representation and the BDS movement are all part and parcel of the same
effort to bring justice and peace to Palestine. What we will bury —
hopefully — in September was one of the major obstacles in the way to
realizing this vision.

The author of numerous books, Ilan Pappe is Professor of History and
Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of

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