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Is the one-state solution the only democratic future for Palestine-Israel?
Source: The New Arab
By Ramona Wadi
Published May 31, 2023
Book Club: One State: Ghada Karmi’s latest book, One State: The Only Democratic Future for Palestine-Israel advocates for the one-state solution as the only possibility – a vision that is faced with many political impediments.
"The one-state envisages a possibility
in the face of Israel’s colonial exclusionary politics
and the Palestinian people’s anti-colonial resistance.
… the book points out many stumbling blocks to its achievement,
despite its vision."
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is fond of stating “There is no Plan B” to emphasise the refusal to veer away from the two-state paradigm, over which there is international consensus. Yet Israeli colonialism in Palestine has rendered the two-state framework defunct.
“Israel was established against a historical trend of mass decolonisation that ran through the second half of the twentieth century"
Ghada Karmi’s latest book, One State: The Only Democratic Future for Palestine-Israel advocates for the one-state solution as the only possibility – a vision that is faced with many political impediments.
In the introduction, Karmi notes, “Israel was established against a historical trend of mass decolonisation that ran through the second half of the twentieth century.”
Despite steadily gaining Western political and diplomatic support, more recently through the Abraham Accords which normalised relations between some Gulf states and Israel, Israel’s privilege and policies, it is argued, will likely bring about the very outcome it wants to prevent.
Conversely, the Palestinian people and their trajectories of displacement lack regional and global political support, although international solidarity among the people is gaining momentum.
Palestinian anti-colonial resistance is also growing, despite not being able to alter the tide of colonisation or influence the Arab states’ relations with Israel.
Karmi writes, “Like all brutal regimes, Israel will fight ferociously to keep the status quo, and it is an irony that it was the Israelis’ obdurate, short-sighted and avaricious tactics over the years that will lead inexorably to this result: an outcome Israel never sought, one that would spell the end of Zionism and bring the whole Israeli project to an end.”
Packing a discussion of the main historical influences in the colonisation of Palestine, Karmi lays out the political intricacies – how the weakness of Arab states enhances Israel’s strength, Israel’s preoccupation with stifling any threat to its colonial existence, the colonial premise within the Balfour Declaration, Israel’s preoccupation with the demographic threat and the exclusionary politics of the two-state paradigm, which excludes Palestinian refugees.
The complexities of the Arab world in relation to Israel are also spelt out for the reader, particularly the splits Israel created through its separate dealings with Arab states, thus weakening any possibility of resistance.
“The Arab response to Israel,” Karmi notes, “has wavered between war and appeasement.”
Additionally, due to Israel’s ethnic cleansing and forced displacement of Palestinians, Arab states bore the ramifications of Palestinian refugees unable to return home.
"PLO leader Yasser Arafat legitimised Zionism, the very ideology that had created and still perpetuates the Palestinian tragedy”
Meanwhile, peace agreements after 1967, as Karmi writes, were “constructed at the expense of Palestinians, although various parties tried to do something for them.” However, for the main part, the core issues for Palestinians remained untouched, while Israel continued expanding its settlements and encroaching further upon Palestinian land.
Israel's carceral system will not defeat Palestinian resistance— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) May 20, 2023
✍ Samar Saeed https://t.co/2BzTqINw1A
The period of the Oslo Accords, notably, juxtaposed against the Intifada, resulted in the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s (PLO) betrayal of Palestinians when in return for a semblance of a state, PLO leader Yasser Arafat “legitimised Zionism, the very ideology that had created and still perpetuates the Palestinian tragedy.”
Karmi states that Arafat’s concept was to project “an image to the world of a state-in-waiting” in the absence of being able to challenge Israel.
Karmi’s book brings out the fact that more of the same diplomacy accelerated territorial loss for Palestinians, even as Israel remained concerned about security and demography.
At the UN, which passed UN Resolution 181 in 1947 to partition Palestine, the concept of two states was enhanced when the PLO recognised Israel and based the Palestinian struggle on independent Palestinian statehood. “The retreat from the original PLO goal of Palestine’s total liberation, which had become evident since 1977, was regarded by this constituency as a craven capitulation to Israeli hegemony,” Karmi writes.
Recent events have illustrated that Palestinians have unified under new resistance tactics which are unlikely to be abandoned.
"As Israel ensured the two-state paradigm could never be implemented as a result of its ongoing expansion, the Palestinian people’s fight for liberation was not daunted"
Several factors brought about the renewed resistance – Israel’s ongoing expansion, the PA’s political failures, and the periodical and intensive bombings of Gaza which rendered the enclave uninhabitable, all illustrated the power imbalance between the colonised and the coloniser, and the will of the former to fight on.
As Israel ensured the two-state paradigm could never be implemented as a result of its ongoing expansion, the Palestinian people’s fight for liberation was not daunted.
The one-state envisages a possibility in the face of Israel’s colonial exclusionary politics and the Palestinian people’s anti-colonial resistance. However, the book points out many stumbling blocks to its achievement, despite its vision.
A lengthy process that starts with a vision, for there is little hope in altering international complicity with Israel, for example, notably the US.
Yet, Karmi’s discussion of Palestinian and Israeli concerns points towards the one-state as a possible solution. What hangs in the balance, however, is that while the one-state vision takes root, Israeli plunder and colonialism will continue to usurp Palestinian land, unless Israel collapses on itself due to the unsustainable nature of Zionism.
Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger specialising in the struggle for memory in Chile and Palestine, colonial violence and the manipulation of international law.
Follow her on Twitter: @walzerscent
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