The only option left: Freedom and Democracy in One Country
In the current “last chance” talks, the Palestine Authority is reported to have already given away Right of Return, while Israel has already pre-empted discussion of its borders: Netanyahu told his cabinet on 3 Nov that another barrier is on order for the border “of the State of Israel” along the Jordan River, completely encircling the West Bank.
Israel went into this game holding all the cards, because it has designed and already carried out the “two state” carve-up that it wants: the most land and the fewest Palestinian people, who have been walled in or driven out by cutting off their water and power, poisoning their crops, destroying their homes and workplaces, turning their space into firing ranges and setting up roadblocks to stop them making a living, getting an education, keeping their families together, or reaching a clinic or hospital.
Israel holds another card, too: the international consensus for a two state solution, which has created an assumption of a physical, territorial re-partition and segregation. This, in almost any shape, form or sovereignty, is supposed to bring the “dispute” to an end. However much that shape or form might change, the basic structure of a powerful Israel with total impunity sitting on top of a crushed and punished Palestine remain unchanged. No alternative is permitted.
If, the PA agrees to sign a deal this time, Israel will have got the major portion of the West Bank that it always wanted, with Gaza left to fester, and a green light to continue in business as an apartheid state
If the PA refuses, Israel will blame the “Palestinians’ lack of will for peace” and set up another indefinite “interim” mandate. And at a time of their choosing, they will annex Area C (according to the World Bank, worth an annual $3.4 billion). Having changed the demography of this 62% of the West Bank from Palestinian to Jewish, it will then claim that it is already effectively an integral part of Israel.
The wall, the segregated roads and the checkpoints will become the most complicated international border on the planet. Netanyahu or his successor will ride out any international displeasure on a wave of domestic adulation.
This is probably their preferred option rather than a “final status” agreement that will raise demands for ratification by the Palestinian people, be a focus for protests and demonstrations, and maybe de-stabilise the Palestine Authority. Gradualism has worked for Israel for the past 60 years. It’s time the rest of the world woke up to its salami tactics of doing away with the Palestinians by a thousand cuts.
The only fitting response must be a world-wide call for total non-recognition: of the new border AND the old border, and of Israel in all its shapes and forms both old and new, from the River to the Sea.
Instead of indefinitely extended occupation, or a nailed-down final agreement, or formal annexation, we urgently need to articulate and establish the demand of freedom and democracy in one country: No to apartheid, No to the phoney “peace process”, and No to the delusion of “two states side by side”. Freedom and democracy in ONE country is indeed the only alternative route for the Palestinian struggle that offers hope of a just and peaceful future for all the people living in or exiled from Palestine and Israel.
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