How rational is it to believe that a Palestinian state is achievable within the context of the two states solution? Is there a real process in place that may lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state through direct negotiations, which went so far for almost twenty years?
The Two-states solution:
The two-states solution is based on dividing historicalinto two states, as was proposed in the 1947 UN partitioning resolution; one which is already existing, the Zionist state of Israel and the other state for the Palestinians in the remainder of Palestine. The Palestinian share in Palestine has been dramatically shrinking since the 1947 resolution to the tiny area of the so-called Armistice Demarcation of the 1948, which was accepted by the and all Arab countries, and has gained some kind of acceptance by Hamas as truce borders of the future Palestinian state without granting any recognition of Israel. This Armistice Demarcation has divided the Palestinian entity to become two politically separated territories, with only 22% of Palestine left for the Palestinians.
For more information on Historical Palestine, readers may refer to the Conventions of Sykes-Picot and San-Remo, the British Mandatory doctrine by the League of Nations, and the United Kingdom act in 1922 to divide the area into Palestine and Transjordan: west and east of the River Jordan with the consent of the League of Nations. The Armistice Demarcation represents the limits that the Zionists terrorists could reach in confrontation with the poorly equipped Palestinian villagers at the time and the poorly trained Arab armies, in addition to the territories that the Zionists captured in different scenarios after the war such as the Triangle and the Negev areas, in 1948 and 1949, especially after the Rhodes Truce, flagrantly exceeding their share as proposed by the the partition resolution. These odd borders became the aspiration of the Palestinian negotiators that they are trying to achieve as the ultimate geographical goal. At the same time such borders are linked to the issues of the Jewish settlements, Palestinian refugees, Jerusalem, and security. In other words, the Palestinian negotiator's dream is actually the borders that the Israeli gangs were able to reach during the war of 1948.
To summarize, based on the two-states solution, the Palestinian side is calling for the following to establish a permanent peace:
- Israel's withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories during the war of June 1967 and that Israel withdraw forces to the borders of June 4, 1967, including East Jerusalem, which will become the capital of Palestine.
- The right of return to the Palestinian refugees (or solving the problem of Palestinian refugees) who were expelled from Palestine in 1948 on the basis of Resolution 194 of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
- Agree on a settlement for the Israeli colonies (usually called settlements) where an exchange of land could be considered as an acceptable solution in order to maintain as much as possible of the population without being forced to relocate, on both sides of the borders.
Obstacles that are challenging the two-states solution:
The following challenges may undermine the entire approach of the two-states solution and may render the peace process as only a waste of time. What may make it even worse is that these challenges are intractable; they are not linked to temporary circumstances; they rather constitute the foundations of the conflict between the Palestinians and the Zionists.
The Israeli colonies (settlements):
On ground, Israel is frantically building new settlements and expanding others since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967. These settlements are being constructed everywhere in the West Bank as a de-facto on all levels: geography, demography, economy, security, and urban fabric. Israel in perpetuating the existence of these settlements is also establishing major bypass roads and ensuring the settlements security and economic needs, causing tremendous pressure on the economy and lives of Palestinians in the nearby towns and villages. Looking at the map of these colonies, their distribution, numbers and locations confirm that these colonies have fragmented the West Bank in a way that it'd make it impossible for a Palestinian state to survive in case of these colonies with their roads are going to be under the sovereignty of Israel. The removal of colonies in Gaza Strip can not be invoked as a preceding example because the twenty-first colonies were primarily of agro-industrial and entertainment settlements with (1500) houses and 7,500 of total settlers only, compared to the West Bank problem. (Colonies in Gaza Strip have been removed following the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in August 2005). Furthermore, Gaza has no correlation with the Old testimony. This may also explain the agreement "Gaza-Jericho first" as on the other hand, Jericho city was cursed in the Bible and may not be inhabited by Jews.
The Apartheid wall:
Israel has constructed an apartheid wall to isolate the Arab areas in the West Bank from those captured in 1948, where this wall nibbles large parts of the West Bank passing within the territory of the West Bank and not on the so-called Green Line that separates the occupied territories in 1948 and 1967. And thus divided the West Bank to two areas: inside and outside the "Wall". This factor is a less determining factor compared to the others, but at the same time, it establishes again the de-facto that Israel is trying to impose on the Palestinian side, in consideration of the security, geographical, economical and political aspects and it constitutes another step of the continuous nibbling out of Palestine. On the other hand, this "Wall" is establishes a similar policy to that took hold of the ghettos, which is putting all Palestinians within racist controlled pockets. Moreover, Israel has located 800 security checkpoints between the West Bank towns and villages in the process of the dismemberment of the territory.
The ideological context:
In the main theme of the founding of Israel in Palestine:
Since its beginning, the Zionist movement adopted some interpretation of the Old Testament in the shape of racist ideology, despite its secularism as declared by its founder Theodore Herzl. Theodore Herzl said: "I am not subjected to any religious scruples". According toin his book "Theodore Herzl - diary" where he (T. H.) described the Bible as a "mighty myth", indicating the myth ability to attract Jews on religious basis. Zionism adopted the extremists' Interpretations of the Old Testimony in order to create a Jewish state in Palestine on the basis of the divine promise to Abraham and his descendants "chosen people" on the so-called "Promised Land", such adoption by the secular Zionism, contributed decisively in persuading Jews to emigrate to Palestine by giving this region a theological advantage on any other place in the the world as was proposed to the Zionists as alternatives to Palestine.
The West Bank actually comprises most of the historical spots claimed by the Israelis including Jerusalem, Hebron, Nablus and Bethlehem, and containing the alleged site of the Temple in Jerusalem and the patriarchs tombs in Hebron in addition to other graves and stones here and there. So this is the bottom line. The so-called biblical Palestine according to the interpretations adopted by the Zionists is concentrated in the West Bank and not in the territories occupied in 1948 in what is called currently "Israel". Whereas, at the same time, it is not possible for Palestinians to imagine the West Bank without Jerusalem and Hebron, in a time Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal capital and Hebron as a holy city. The "peace" negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis on the two- states solution have been strongly shaken by this obstacle, including losing the essence of reaching a final solution that can be acceptable by both parties.
The entire Arab and Muslim nations stand Behind the Palestinians side, who consider Jerusalem as a holy city, and the Arab Christians consider Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth sacred cities and look for having these cities under their Palestinian sovereignty. On the other hand, the Zionists are being backed by the U.S. Christian fundamentalism, which is deeply rooted in the Judeo-Christian culture. The Christian fundamentalists seek to support Israeli control over Palestinian territories and even to extend this control to include parts of Lebanon. The historical/religious analogy between the arrival of the pioneer "Puritans" to America in the 17th. century and their fight of the Red Indians and taking over their land, in resemblance to the Israelis lead by Joshua in the biblical invasion of Palestine according to the Torah, and, with the Zionists by occupying Palestine, conducting killing of Palestinians, expelling them and robbing of their land. Such analogy plays a vital role in the American Fundamentalists conscience to consolidate and mobilize political and military support at the official and grassroots levels to Israel.
Therefore, the background and magnitude of the Zionist imperial colonization project of Palestine must be absolutely clear and not to be confined to the oil interests and the other important elements. The fundamentalists forces in the USA in cooperation with the Israeli lobby are joining forces to intensify work to waive any possibility of the withdrawal of Israel from any part of the Palestinian territories, especially Jerusalem. As, Jerusalem for them, is the spot for the construction of the Jewish temple to complete all required conditions for the Adventism, after the gathering of the Jews in Palestine and the establishment of Israel in preparation for the return of Christ, alleged in the Book of Revelation.
Such factor explains the extents to which the rulers of Israel can reach to in regard to final peace settlement on the basis of two-states solution, through which the Palestinians hope to the establishment of their state on what the Zionists in Israel and America consider as a critical territory that has a decisive role in the future of Christian fundamentalism and its victory on the "forces of evil in "Armageddon". Accordingly, it is clear that ideologically, Jerusalem, Hebron and the West Bank in general are of much more importance to Zionists than Tel Aviv and Haifa based on their interpretations of the biblical prophecies, which have always formed a fundamental factor in the Zionist's project and the U.S. position on the Palestinian cause.
Senatorsaid in 1980 in the course of his report on the magnitude of the U.S. economic and military aid to Israel: "The impact of the Prime Minister of Israel on American foreign policy in the Middle East exceeds by far his impact in his own country."
Nahum Goldman, the Zionism famous and influential leader, founder of the "Conference of Presidents of Jewish organizations" in America, one of the most important institutions of the Israeli lobby in America with the, according to Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State during Carter's administration said that, Goldman asked the U.S. President with the presence of himself and Brzezinski, the national security adviser, for the elimination of the Israeli (Jewish) lobby in the United States because they undermine peace, but the president and his foreign minister answered that this is not something that they could do, as it may open the door for anti-Semitic tendencies.
To put things in perspective, Lady Churchill, biographer of Arthur Balfour, the owner of the famous promise of granting homeland for Jews in Palestine, said that Balfour was responding to his religious emotions when he issued the promise, and that he acquired his sympathy with Judaism from his mother's breasts, and he said that Judaism is "our heritage" that we encountered with kinds of denial and that it is time for us, Christians, to pay back our dept.
Since Israel's occupation of the West Bank in 1967, the Israeli governments intensified actively for the Judaization of Jerusalem and the establishment of a new reality which seeks to erase any connection that the city has with its Palestinian context and surroundings, especially after its annexation to Israel. On ground, the Israeli governments worked hard to transfer the Arab population remaining in the city in order to eradicate the Arab-Islamic/ Christian identity of the Holy City. The Israeli settlements in the city are expanding rapidly that it is radically re-shaping the contours of the city, enabling Israel to enforce a new cultural and urban identity, by that, Israel is hoping to erase completely the City's spiritual and cultural identity and history. Such reality is compounded seriously to reach to its goal of building the Temple, which it considered by the Zionist extremists, as a critical milestone as stated previously for the return of Christ. The location of this temple is on the same spot where Al-Aqsa Mosque is existing now since around 1,400 years. Therefore, reaching to a consensus to restore a claimed Jewish temple on the same spot where a very holy Muslim Mosque is existing seems to be insanity. Just imagine that a place like this and the two sides will attract visitors and tourism who need outdoor plazas and ancillary buildings, services and public facilities, arrangements for ceremonies, prayers and rituals. How would this solution - the two-states solution can be realistic, within the context of the city of Jerusalem without one of the parties waiving a basic ideological pillar, which none of them is expected to dare to approach, whether he/she is an Israeli official or a Palestinian negotiator. This is how the Two-States solution looses its basics.
The Palestinian refugees
Around ten million Palestinians are Living outside Palestine in different diaspora countries, many still in refugee camps. The Palestinian negotiators call for the "address of the refugees issue," where their return to Palestine, is one of the options, in addition to the compensation. The place of return is one of the conflict issues, where these who were expelled from Jaffa, Lod, Haifa, the Negev, Safed, Tiberias, Nazareth and other cities of the 1948 occupied Palestine, these Palestinians do not believe that a return can be for non-indigenous towns. This applies to all Palestinians in the diasporas countries; Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and others. It also applies to the camps in the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinian negotiators will never dare to ask the Palestinian refugees to accept the return to cities in the West Bank or Gaza. In the mean time, the Israeli negotiator will not consider such return of refugees to Palestine within the 1948 borders as realistic option or even a possibility.said in his book "The Racist nature of Zionism and the Zionist state of Israel" he said that Israel has removed 385 Palestinian villages and towns out of 475 found in 1948 occupied Palestine in order to erase any parameters refer to the original land owners, and asserting the intention of the Zionist movement and its ultimate goal of the complete capture of Palestine. Professor Ilan Pappe in his book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" also provided a comprehensive survey, detailing the manner in which Palestinian villagers were deliberately killed and others forced to leave in 1948 by the use of excessive force and terrorism, contrary to what the Zionists propaganda is trying to fabricate the story of the Palestinians fled out of their own.
Therefore, the refugees question, remains as one of the most difficult and complex point within the context of the two-states solution, rendering the overall approach as absurd. While it is true that Palestinians are not expected to conduct collective migration from all over the world in the event they were allowed to do so, but at the same time, many of them will do. What remains essential here is to grant the right of return to the Palestinian people, regardless of whether they will practice it overwhelmingly or not.
Any hope for this solution?
This might sound somehow provocative after the previous review. And I admit it. However, in view that the right-wing governments in Israel are not bothered with the current status quo in the West Bank and Gaza, which is for them, the cheapest occupation in history, as, the day-to-day security management is being handled by the Palestinian Authority in addition to its jurisdiction on some municipal affairs and quasi-governmental role in some areas. Israel has absolute control over the security of the West Bank, on its land and air. Israel is controlling everything coming in and out of the Palestinian towns. While for Gaza Strip, the world is indifferent, even if besieged by Israel until the Day of Judgment.
However, it is worth mentioning here that there are some Israeli liberal groups who believe in coexistence and peace and desire to live without fear. These groups while constituting an insignificant percentage of the Israeli society, but I think that the Palestinians can invest in such liberal tendency, which is a natural tendency for the majority of Israelis who are not religious in origin and can be dragged to a dialogue based upon mutual interests and understandings to limit the greed Zionist campaign on the land and its people. I am not claiming here that this course is necessarily efficient, but at the same time, this kind of path has never been tried at the intellectual elite level and by genuine activists who seek to break the ice and reach to a just and fair settlement. I am claiming here that there are Israelis who are aware of the American extremists obsession of arming Israel for colonial and religious motives that will end up with the vanishing of the Jews according to the prophecy, and that it is to their interest to reach to an understanding with their neighbors.
The One-state solution:
There are those who promote the One-state solution form a strategic and practical perspectives using many of the previously discussed challenges, to ensure a sustainable settlement. Theorists see the practical aspects of this solution in terms of the non-recourse to the division and fragmentation of lands and to keep most of the Israeli colonies.
However, Such proposition Collides with many similar issues including the most important one; the right of return for the refugees. On the other hand, such solution would contrast perfectly with the ideological goal that Israel was established for.
The contradiction that we are discussing here is going through all of the Israeli governments practices, left wing and right wing, and the momentum shown by the extreme fundamentalist groups in America to keep Israel a Jewish entity and to strongly support its call for Israel as a "Jewish state." On the other hand, we already have an evident on the way Israeli governments would treat its Palestinian citizens, considering the racist conduct on its own non-Jewish citizens within its own claimed borders of 1948. The Israeli governments applied discrimination policies, treating them in inferiority and deprivation of rights and discrimination in employment, services, and restrictions on construction and commerce and the pursuit of political rights and the withdrawal of citizenship. Many Israeli rabbis issue from time to time calls of racism based on contempt for all peoples and not just the Palestinians and the permission of murder for the non-Jewish.
The most serious matter here is how to address the issue of the return of Palestinian refugees and the currently applied Israeli "Law of Return" for Jews, which calls for every Jew, even Peruvian Indians who converted to Judaism one hour ago of immigration to Palestine.
It is a super complicated conflict, thanks to US support to Israel.