Monday, March 30, 2009

Juan Cole: One State Solution Increasingly the Likelihood

Juan Cole giving a presentation with the Washington Note's Steve Clemmons. This is the first time I've come across him discussing the possibility of a one state solution. Juan Cole is in the liberal end of mainstream US thought about the Middle East, and the idea of a post Zionist arrangement is not unthinkable to him and apparently to at least that part of the US foreign policy community.

Isolated Statement:
So, I think personally that Israeli policy is digging its own grave and I think increasingly the likelihood is that you will have a one state solution ultimately.

Wider Context:
The situation in Palestine has deteriorated even since Obama has been in office, which isn’t very long. People tend to forget this it hasn’t been very long as I speak.

But a recent Lancet report came out suggesting that the Israeli blockade, which is a blockade of the civilian population, half of whom are children doesn’t let enough food in and there’s actual malnourishment among Gazan children There’s even evidence of stunting Some 10% of the children are stunted and in some parts of Northern Gaza is 30%.

This is a humanitarian disaster and it is the result of deliberate policy It is a war crime. You may not, in international law, collectively punish a population by half-starving its children to get a political result

And of course it’s been revealed that the Israelis have plans for 75,000 new housing units in the West Bank

And then the American side, Secretary of state Hillary Clinton says, we’re going to restart the peace process. I don’t understand. How would you have a peace process when there is ongoing land theft by one side of the other Even George W. Bush late in his term said the West Bank looks like Swiss cheese. That’s not a basis for a state.

And I admit this is a very tough nut to crack as are the issues that the United States has with Iran, but I think they’re actually all connected because if you really could make progress towards pace in the Levant, a lot of the problems the United States has with Iran would go away. I mean Gaza isn’t going to be interested in Iranian support if it’s not under that kind of blockade.

How to get forward on that Israel Palestine issue is a real question.

Now you have a very right wing government forming in Israel which has typically rejected the whole idea of giving back the West Bank and was opposed to the troop withdrawal from Gaza. So Obama is not going to have much to work with.

It seems to me that that issue will continue to fester. It will continue to cause terrorism And I believe that If you have a long term apartheid regime in the West Bank and the continued blockade of Gaza by the Israelis that ultimately the international community will begin imposing sanctions on Israel and I don’t believe that Israel will be able to withstand those sanctions. That is to say its economy is actually pretty dependent on its relationships economic, technological and diplomatic with Europe.

So, I think personally that Israeli policy is digging its own grave and I think increasingly the likelihood is that you will have a one state solution ultimately.

What’s not recognized in the United States typically is that the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are stateless. And it’s not acceptable for them to remain stateless. The minimum necessity for a dignified life in the contemporary world is citizenship in a state. Without citizenship, without a state an individual has no real rights. And you can see this because Palestinian property is being taken at will every day.

And how do you even travel? You have to depend on the good will of countries to recognize your Laissez-Passer.

So it's not acceptable that 3 and a half million people in the West Bank and Gaza should be without citizenship nor that the ones, refugees in Lebanon and elsewhere should remain that way.

And you know it’s ironic because in 1938, 39 when Hitler took the Sudetenland, he stripped the Jews in Czechoslovakia, in the part of Czechoslovakia they took, from citizenship and they became stateless. And at the same time in 1939 the British government issued the white paper in which it called for restrictions on Jewish emigration to Palestine. And there was an uproar that you have now 100,000 newly stateless Jews and the British are not letting them to go to the one place where they could get papers. So statelessness was a human rights issue in 1938, 39. Statelessness should be a human rights issue today.

So I admit that the new administration has a set of tall orders before it.

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