[News] Palestine - Kerry gives eulogy for two-state solution

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 29 11:48:15 EST 2016


https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/kerry-gives-eulogy-two-state-solution 



  Kerry gives eulogy for two-state solution

Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> 28 
December 2016

Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry delivered some of the harshest 
criticism ever heard from a US official of Israel’s settlements in the 
occupied West Bank, in a closely watched speech 
<https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2016/12/266119.htm> in 
Washington on Wednesday.

But whether he intended it or not, Kerry also delivered a eulogy for the 
two-state solution 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/two-state-solution> and set the 
stage for the emergence of the one-state solution 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/one-state-solution> as the most 
realistic path to justice and peace in historic Palestine.

Speaking for more than an hour, Kerry defended the US decision to 
abstain 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/us-lets-security-council-pass-resolution-against-israeli-settlements> 
in last Friday’s UN Security Council vote, thereby allowing the body to 
pass a resolution that for the first time in years demanded that Israel 
halt settlement construction. (video 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30zsPq6Z6gQ>)

“The vote in the UN was about preserving the two-state solution,” Kerry 
said. “That’s what we were standing up for: Israel’s future as a Jewish 
and democratic state, living side by side in peace and security with its 
neighbors.”

“Let’s be clear: settlement expansion has nothing to do with Israel’s 
security,” Kerry said, arguing that the land grabs are motivated by 
“ideological imperatives,” including preventing the establishment of a 
Palestinian state.


    One-state reality

“The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting 
peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” Kerry insisted.

But in attempting to make that case, Kerry proved the opposite. He 
described in detail how Israel’s settlements are “increasingly cementing 
an irreversible one-state reality.”

“Today … there are a similar number of Jews and Palestinians living 
between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea,” Kerry said, 
referring to the land that makes up present-day Israel, the West Bank 
and Gaza Strip.

“They can choose to live together in one state, or they can separate 
into two states. But here is a fundamental reality: if the choice is one 
state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic – it cannot be both – 
and it won’t ever really be at peace.”

Kerry’s insistence that a one-state solution would be a disaster is 
supposedly self-evident conventional wisdom. But it ignores the ideas 
that many Palestinian, Israeli and other writers and scholars, including 
<https://www.amazon.com/One-Country-Proposal-Israeli-Palestinian-Impasse/dp/0805086668> 
this one 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/my-new-book-battle-justice-palestine>, 
have discussed and developed over many years, based on lessons 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/putting-away-partitionists-knife-palestine-and-approaches-ethnic-conflict> 
drawn from South Africa, Ireland and other places.

“If there is only one state,” Kerry warned, “you would have millions of 
Palestinians permanently living in segregated enclaves in the middle of 
the West Bank, with no real political rights, separate legal, education 
and transportation systems, vast income disparities, under a permanent 
military occupation that deprives of them of the most basic freedoms. 
Separate and unequal is what you would have.”

This powerfully evokes the language of US segregation 
<http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/separate-and-unequal/> and the 
civil rights struggle against it. But what Kerry was describing is 
already the reality in historic Palestine. His two-state solution would 
cosmetically repackage this injustice as Palestinian “independence,” 
without fundamentally altering it.

What he offers Palestinians is a demilitarized bantustan 
<http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/homelands> with the singular pupose 
of preserving an all-powerful Israel as a racist state with a permanent 
Jewish majority.

Kerry’s parameters for a two-state solution make clear that its goal is 
ethnic gerrymandering: it would have to include Palestinian “recognition 
of Israel as a Jewish state,” which means, in effect, recognizing 
Israel’s right to discriminate against Palestinians and anyone else who 
is not Jewish <http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/abunimahs-justice-palestine/>.

Kerry called for “a just, agreed, fair and realistic solution to the 
Palestinian refugee issue.” But he made clear that “the solution must be 
consistent with two states for two peoples, and cannot affect the 
fundamental character of Israel.”

In plain English, this means that Palestinian refugees would not be 
allowed to go home, solely because they are not Jews. There is nothing 
just or democratic about that. It is raw racism that tramples universal 
human rights.

By contrast, the US-brokered 1995 Dayton peace agreement 
<https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/bostalk.htm> that ended the war 
in Bosnia guaranteed the right of refugees 
<http://thehill.com/opinion/op-ed/95055-breaking-the-middle-east-impasse> 
to return to their homes, even if they were in areas ruled by 
authorities dominated by a different ethnic community – that is as it 
should be.

Kerry posed the following scenario under the supposedly nightmarish 
one-state reality: “How would Israel respond to a growing civil rights 
movement from Palestinians, demanding a right to vote, or widespread 
protests and unrest across the West Bank?”

A better question is, how /should/ Israel respond?

If Israel actually held democratic ideals, the obvious answer would be 
for everyone to have the right to vote in a decolonized, nonsectarian state.

Instead of urging Israel to move in that direction, Kerry called for 
“advancing the process of separation now” – another term for that would 
be apartheid.

In the American civil rights struggle that Kerry invoked, the position 
of those holding democratic ideals was for the US to end all forms of 
legalized racial discrimination, to grant the vote to every person and 
to guarantee full and equal citizenship.

It was white supremacists who used the cover of “states’ rights 
<http://www.npr.org/2013/01/14/169080969/segregation-forever-a-fiery-pledge-forgiven-but-not-forgotten>” 
to argue that they should be allowed to continue segregation and other 
racist policies that guaranteed their power and privilege in Alabama, 
Mississippi or Georgia.

Today it is still white supremacists, including Nazi sympathizers 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/us/alt-right-salutes-donald-trump.html> 
like “Alt-Right <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/alt-right>” leader 
Richard Spencer <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/richard-spencer>, 
who argue 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/trump-bringing-white-zionism-white-house> 
that the United States should be partitioned so that there can be an 
“ethno-state that would be a gathering point for all Europeans.”

Spencer even has a name for this ideology: White Zionism.

Kerry and President Barack Obama, as good liberals, would certainly 
reject these ideas for Americans. But their two-state solution for 
Israelis and Palestinians is just another form of segregation.


    After the two-state solution

In any case, the US vision of two states is dead and the Obama 
administration helped bury it.

As Kerry confessed, the outgoing administration has done everything in 
its power to provide Israel with unconditional support and to frustrate 
any initiative to hold it accountable.

“We have strongly opposed boycotts, divestment campaigns and sanctions 
targeting Israel in international fora,” Kerry boasted, adding that the 
Obama administration recently signed a $38 billion arms giveaway to 
Israel that “exceeds any military assistance package the US has provided 
to any country, at any time.”

Things are not about to get any brighter for those who still believe in 
the two-state fantasy.

Unsurprisingly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his 
ministers have angrily rejected 
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.761880> Kerry’s speech.

Even before the Secretary of State spoke, President-elect Donald Trump 
tweeted <https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/814113616110751744> 
that “We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total 
disdain and disrespect” as the Obama administration supposedly has. 
“Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching,” Trump urged 
<https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/814114980983427073>.

The reality is this: Israel cannot be sweet-talked into ending its 
brutal regime of occupation, apartheid and settler-colonialism.

Like apartheid South Africa, it must be placed under increasing 
isolation and pressure until it is compelled to change.


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