Wednesday, November 18, 2009

John Whitbeck: Palestinians should push for a one state solution

In the Christian Science Monitor, John Whitbeck, who is presented as "an international lawyer who has advised the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel" advises that Palestine's leadership commit to a one state solution to the conflict over Zionism if two states have not been agreed to by some specifically set date.

Throughout the long years of the so-called peace process, deadlines have been consistently and predictably missed. Such failures have been facilitated by the practical reality that, for Israel, "failure" has had no consequences other than a continuation of the status quo, which for all Israeli governments has been not only tolerable but preferable to any realistically realizable alternative. For Israel, "failure" has always constituted "success," permitting it to continue confiscating Palestinian land, expanding its West Bank colonies, building bypass roads for Jews only, and generally making the occupation even more permanent and irreversible.
In this context, Israelis might wish to talk with some white South Africans. The transformation of South Africa's racial-supremicist ideology and political system into a fully democratic one has transformed them, personally, from pariahs into people welcomed throughout their region and the world. It has also ensured the permanence of a strong and vital white presence in southern Africa in a way that prolonging the flagrant injustice of a racial-supremicist ideology and political system and imposing fragmented and dependent "independent states" on the natives could never have achieved.
The problem is that Abbas, Fayad, Erekat and Dahlan do not work for the Palestinians, they work for the Americans on behalf of the Israelis. He also says the Arab league should threaten to abandon its offer of accepting Israel in favor of one state. Unfortunately, Mubarak and the Abdullahs of Jordan and Arabia do not work for the Arabs. They work for the Americans on behalf of the Israelis.

A competitive political process in Palestine would produce leaders and organizations, like Hamas that call for a single state. The process that produced Abbas, where the US directs money to the personalities it chooses and who sometimes, if the result can be determined in advance, are put before the Palestinians for stage-managed elections produces leaders who call for what Israel tells them to call for.

This means though, that Hussein Ibish' big point that Palestine's leaders do not call for one state really just means that Israel does not call for one state. Based on this, and only this fact, it appears to me that Ibish is an apologist for Zionism.

Anyone, including Barack Obama, who says that the only imaginable way for the conflict over Zionism to be resolved is through a two-state solution, while they are saying that, is an apologist for Zionism.


Lysander said...

It is clear that Abbas and the whole PA is collaborationist and so will never do what Israel forbids them. But I do not understand why Hamas does not announce, as the legitimate elected Palestinian leadership, that it calls for a bi-national single state with equality for all its citizens. Admittedly, Hamas does call for something like that now, but its really all in the phrasing.

They should make clear that the conflict is no longer about territory, but about equality.

Such an announcement by Khalid Mashal at an appropriate time and place designed to attract maximum media attention, (in Tehran alongside Ahmadinejad) would be a serious change in the equation.

I fear however that Hamas is following the PLO footsteps of the 80's that led to Oslo.

lidia said...

Dear Lysander. I doubt VERY MUCH that colonialist Jews in Palestina 1) deserve "equality" (what about the French in Algeris?)
2) want it

All the story is not about equality but about the end of a colonial entity, period. If Hamas is unable to stand for it, there will be another people to do it.

Arnold Evans said...

Lysander, I've thought that there is a problem that anti-Zionists in the Middle East do not speak the language of Western liberal values well and that could be one thing that disadvantages them generally.

Hamas has been pretty quiet as Abbas melts down after the embarrassment by Clinton. There may have been a decision not to make any statement that he could grasp onto to try to regain his balance.

Lidia: Jews in Palestina certainly do not want equality. It's unclear how many US resources they'll be able to devote to ensuring such an outcome does not prevail.

Anonymous said...

You keep calling this Ibish guy, whoever he is, an apologist for Zionism, but you really don't seem to have any evidence for that. His last article in the Washington Post, and a lot of other stuff he's written and said over the years that I've seen seems to make that a completely preposterous claim. He seems to be a pretty strong critic of Israel, although in favor of some kind of peace agreement. I guess you can call anybody anything, if you really want to. But as far as I'm concerned, that's a heavy charge that needs a lot of evidence and as far as I can tell it seems completely ridiculous.

Arnold Evans said...

I personally have no issue with Ibish, don't know enough about him to have an issue with him and don't see a strong need to educate myself about him, by going out of my way to read his writing.

The person I was describing in that sentence as an apologist for Zionism is Barack Obama and people who share a specific viewpoint with Obama.

Maybe Ibish shares that viewpoint, in which case, as I say, just based on that I consider him an apologist for Zionism. Maybe he does not. In which case I do not.

I can't say I care enough to find out.

His name has crossed my path one time, when he was referenced on Juan Cole's blog. (Juan Cole shares Obama's idea that justice requires a Jewish state, and so I put him into the category with far more confidence than I do Ibish. Cole referenced Ibish specifically to reinforce that position.)

I truly am not on any anti-Ibish vendetta or anything. Abbas, Obama, Cole, Erekat, Dahlan, the Clintons, George Mitchell - to the degree they say only a two state solution could resolve the dispute are apologists for Zionism.

I'd guess, from my limited exposure to him, that Ibish is also on that list. If you say he's not, I believe you. I don't really care one way or the other.