[News] Palestine - Kerry gives eulogy for two-state solution
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 29 11:48:15 EST 2016
Kerry gives eulogy for two-state solution
Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> 28
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
Washington on Wednesday.
But whether he intended it or not, Kerry also delivered a eulogy for the
<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
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
“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
“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
“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
have discussed and developed over many years, based on lessons
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
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
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
to return to their homes, even if they were in areas ruled by
authorities dominated by a different ethnic community – that is as it
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
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
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
like “Alt-Right <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/alt-right>” leader
Richard Spencer <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/richard-spencer>,
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
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
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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