By Alan Hart
The headline over a recent article in The Times of Israel by the paper’s Middle East analyst, Avi Issacharoff, was The end of the two-state solution. And the strapline (secondary headline) underneath that was a quote from the body of his article. “It’s time to say it out loud: The Israeli right has won – a temporary, pyrrhic victory that has set Israel on the path to becoming a Muslim-majority state.”
Issacharoff’s opening thoughts were the following.
“Conditions are now such that an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank has already become impossible.
“And here it must be said: The watershed line seems to have been crossed. The two-state solution is no more.
“No Palestinian state will exist here beside the State of Israel.”
He went on to ask if anyone believes that an evacuation of (illegal) Jewish settlers from the occupied West Bank is possible. His own answer was the following:
“During the disengagement, the Israeli army managed to evacuate the settlers from Gaza in just a few days. But there were fewer than 10,000 settlers then, and the army looked different as well. Does anyone seriously think that the army in its present form – an army that has undergone such significant social transformations over the past two decades, whose best officers are members of the religious Zionist movement and live in the settlements – can carry out a task of that nature? The idea seems so unrealistic as to be ludicrous.”
What Issacharoff didn’t say is that the real reason for Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip was the need to do some defusing of the ticking demographic time-bomb of occupation.
In reality the two-state solution was never on from the moment the UN Security Council passed Resolution 242 on 22 November 1967.
The Six Days war of June of that year was a war of Israeli aggression not self-defense. Given that fact (as opposed to Zionist propaganda to the contrary), and that 242 did emphasize “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”, the resolution ought to have demanded that Israel withdraw from all occupied Arab territory without conditions. It didn’t. But there was more to the Security Council’s surrender to Zionism than that.
An early draft of 242 required Israel in exchange for peace to withdraw from “the territories occupied in the recent conflict.” By definition that meant withdrawal from all Arab territory grabbed in the 1967 war. But at Zionism’s insistence, which the Johnson administration in America endorsed, the definitive article (“the”) was dropped from the final text of the resolution; and that left Israel free to interpret the resolution as it wished and determine the extent if any of its withdrawals from newly occupied Arab territory. In other words, 242 put Zionism’s monster child in the driving seat and effectively gave Israel’s leaders a veto over any peace process.
It also has to be said that 242 was by default a Security Council green light for Israeli settlement/colonization of newly occupied Arab territory. How so? Resolution 242 ought to have put Israel on notice that if it proceeded with illegal settlement it would be condemned and sanctioned. It didn’t.
Why did the Security Council surrender to Zionism?
My summary answer, which was endorsed in private by one of the senior British diplomats who participated in the drafting of 242, is the following.
Those responsible for framing Resolution 242 were very much aware that Israel’s hawks were going to proceed with their colonial venture come what may – in determined defiance of international law and no matter what the organised international community said or wanted. So some if not all of those responsible for framing 242 were resigned to the fact that, because of the history of the Jews and the Nazi holocaust, Israel was not and never would or could be a normal state. As a consequence, there was no point in seeking to oblige it to behave like a normal state – i.e. in accordance with international law and its obligations as a member of the UN.
My own complete awakening to the impossibility of an Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 lines to make the space for a Palestinian mini-state came during a private conversation I had with Shimon Peres in early 1980 when he was the Labour opposition leader to Menachem Begin’s Likud government. At the time I was in the process of becoming the linkman in a secret, exploratory dialogue between Peres and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.
As I revealed in Goodbye to the Security Council’s Integrity, the title of Chapter 3 of Conflict Without End?, the sub-title of Volume Three of the American edition of my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, the following is what Peres said to me.
“I fear it is already too late (for peace). Every day that passes sees new bricks on new settlements. Begin knows exactly what he’s doing (by expanding his settlement programme on the West Bank as fast as possible). He’s creating the conditions for a Jewish civil war. He knows that no Jewish prime minister is going down in history as the one who gave the order to the Jewish army to shoot Jewish people (out of occupation).”
At the time Peres was hoping to replace Begin as prime minister after Israel’s next election and he added, “I’m not” (going down in history as the one who gave the order to the Jewish army to shoot Jewish people out of occupation).
The obvious question contains its own answer. If it was too late in 1980 when they were only about 70,000 illegal Jewish settlers, how much more too late is it today when there are in excess of 500,000 and with that number rising on a daily basis?
Back now to Issacharoff’s statement that Israel is on a path to becoming “a Muslim-majority state.”
His assumption seems to be that when the Palestinians become the majority in the Greater Israel of today, Zionism will accept that it has failed to cause the occupied Palestinians to surrender to its will by making life hell for them and say something like, “We are ready to concede that the only solution is one state with equal rights and security for all.”
Is that, really, likely to happen?
In theory that might be a possibility IF there was American-led, real pressure on Israel and IF that resulted in a significant majority of Israel’s Jews seeing the need for them to do what is in their own best interests. (I really do believe that Jews are the intellectual elite of the Western world and the Palestinians are by far the intellectual elite of the Arab world. And that’s why I am convinced that what they could do together in peace and partnership in one state is the stuff that dreams are made of. They could also change the region for the better and by doing so give new hope and inspiration to the world).
But I think there is a much more likely scenario.
To prevent the Palestinians becoming the majority in the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and thus to kill even the most remote prospect of a one state solution, Israel’s leaders resort to a final round of ethnic cleansing.
As I have indicated in previous articles, I believe that would guarantee the transformation of the rising, global tide of anti-Israelism into anti-Semitism (Jew hatred) and set in motion another great turning against Jews everywhere, possibly starting in America.
And that is perhaps what Netanyahu and those of Israel’s leaders to the lunatic right of him really want to justify in their own deluded minds (1) a decision to tell the whole world to go to hell; and (2) an announcement that Israel is prepared to go nuclear – launch its nuclear missiles – if it is pushed too far.
The only faint ray of hope I can see is what could happen in the White House when Netanyahu and the Zionist lobby and its allies fail to secure enough votes in Congress to override an Obama veto on their efforts to kill America’s participation in the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran. Such a significant and humiliating defeat for Zionism could open the door for Obama to say to Israel: “Enough is enough. I am now going to use the leverage I have to try to cause you to do what is in your own best interests as well America’s.”
– Alan Hart is a former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent who has covered wars and conflicts wherever they were taking place in the world and specialized in the Middle East. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. He blogs on AlanHart.com.