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Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
UK architects, planners and other construction industry professionals campaigning for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.


Opinion: The Two-state Solution Is Already Dead

Supporters of a two-state solution respond aggressively to anyone who tries to undermine their magical faith in a miracle that what is dead will somehow be resurrected.

by Gideon Levy     1 January 2017   Haaretz
Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department in Washington, Dec. 28, 2016.
Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department in Washington, Dec. 28, 2016.
A question for declared supporters of the two-state solution, which means almost everyone, from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Prof. Shlomo Avineri: You all say that this solution is in great danger, maybe even in its death throes. So what needs to happen for you to admit that it has breathed its last? What else needs to happen for you to declare it dead? Another 10,000 settlers? Or 20,000? Another five years of stalemate? When will you admit it?
Most people know the truth but refuse to admit it. They know that the number of settlers has reached a critical mass. They know that no party in Israel will ever evacuate them. And without all of them being evacuated – and this, too, is something they know – there is no viable Palestinian state.
They know that settler Israel never intended to implement the two-state solution. The fact is that all Israeli governments – all of them – continued the settlement enterprise.
Two-state supporters are worried about the situation, even fearful. They are acting like the relatives of a moribund patient who is already brain dead, and whose organs are needed for transplants, but they refuse, hoping that somehow, a miracle will happen and the living dead will be resurrected. There are rabbis who promise them it’s possible. From Kerry to Avineri, this is exactly how proponents of two states are acting – hoping for a miracle and therefore preventing the life-saving transplants.
It’s hard to begin again from scratch. The two-state solution was ideal. It guaranteed relative justice to both sides and a state for each nation. But Israel did everything it could to destroy it via the settlements, the one irreversible factor in the equation of the Israel-Palestine relationship.
That’s why the world’s anger at the settlements has suddenly increased: It knows they are irreversible. Yet two-state supporters, both in Jerusalem and in Washington, never did anything to stop them when it was still possible. The conclusion is unavoidable: declaring the death of the two-state solution. But instead, they continue waiting for a miracle.
Kerry, Avineri and their ilk are full of good intentions. They’re also right in saying this was the only solution. But by denying its death, they are merely solidifying the status quo, the occupation, which is the Israeli government’s goal.
In Europe, the United States, the Palestinian Authority and Israel, people continue to parrot “two states” out of inertia and fear of the ramifications of change. And they thereby anesthetize and suffocate any thinking suited to the new situation.
Clinging to yesterday’s solution with all their might, two-state supporters also respond aggressively to anyone who tries to undermine their magical faith in a miracle. That’s standard practice for religious, almost messianic beliefs – woe to anyone who tries to undermine them. And that’s how they’re behaving now toward A.B. Yehoshua, who proposed a typical old-style Israeli solution to the new situation.
Yehoshua proposed granting permanent residency to Palestinians living in Area C, the part of the West Bank under full Israeli control. That’s too little, too nationalist and too discriminatory. Yehoshua still believes in the superiority of the Jews, in interim agreements and small leaps over the abyss. But in contrast to upholders of the two-state solution, he at least has the courage and integrity to recognize the new reality and try to offer solutions to it. And therefore, he’s already considered a heretic by his peers.
Indeed, the solution of a single democratic state is heresy against everything we were raised on. It requires us to rethink everything – to rethink Zionism and the all privileges that were bestowed on one people only. This is the beginning of a long, painful road, but it’s the only one that’s still open to us.
This road leads to one of two destinations: an apartheid state or a democratic state. There is no third option. The growing talk of annexation and the hasty anti-democratic legislation attests that Israel is now laying the ideological and legal foundations for implementing the first option, an apartheid state. The battle against it must focus on promoting the second option – the democratic state. Those who continue to prattle about two states are sabotaging this effort.
One reminder: A single state has already existed for a long time. In the new year that begins today, it will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding. The time has come to launch a battle over the nature of its regime.
Gideon Levy
Haaretz Correspondent
Israel's Curse of Annexation

Discussion of annexation is a cancerous debate that must be uprooted before it becomes a legitimate political program and a plan of action.

Haaretz Editorial    1  January , 2017 
Palestinian protestors stand facing the Israeli settlement of Qadumim (Kedumim) during clashes with Israeli security forces following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near Nablus, in the occupied West Bank on December 30, 2016.
Palestinian protestors stand facing the settlement of Kedumim during clashes with Israeli security forces on 30 December 2016   Credite:JAAFAR 
Annexation of territories to the State of Israel is beginning to take root in public discourse as if it is the next natural and very best step. Some demand “only” annexation of Area C and some aspire to more. One grasps the Bible as proof of Israel’s ownership of the areas conquered in 1967 and another is filled with compassion for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who don’t receive medical care and national insurance like Israeli citizens do and, out of a growing sense of responsibility, wants to heal the curse of the occupation through annexation. It seems that the day is not far in which the words of the old song “Two banks to the Jordan, this one’s ours and that one too,” will become our anthem.
We should first of all recall that the areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem are occupied territories, to which the Fourth Geneva Convention applies. Millions of Palestinians living there aspire to establish an independent state. The countries of the world have recognized the right of the Palestinians to establish an independent state, the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, continues to say that he supports the formula of two states for two peoples, and the UN Security Council re-affirmed this formula in a resolution it passed last week, which stated categorically that all the settlements, including the Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, are illegal.
But Netanyahu and the government he heads feel that at this point of transition between one administration and another, they have been given free rein to do whatever they like without the need to account to anyone. They rely on President-elect Donald Trump’s tweets, which promise a package of pampering diplomatic moves just around the corner, such as moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or loosening the restraints on construction of the settlements in the territories. Wait for January 20, Trump encourages, everything will change.
But the Trump celebration has actually already begun in Jerusalem. The old American guardians of the gate are no longer relevant, the United Nations is a hollow institution and Israel will properly punish the rogue states, in Africa or Central Europe. Israel is now free to leap into the abyss, to its death. Netanyahu and the annexation chorus have forgotten to tell the public one thing. That annexation of any kind will make the State of Israel unnecessary as the national home of the Jews, will crush the Zionist vision and turn Israel into a formally apartheid state, and could trigger a bloody civil war.
Discussion of annexation is a cancerous debate that must be uprooted before it becomes a legitimate political program and a plan of action. Otherwise, no American president will be able to save Israel from itself.
Haaretz Editorial
Opinion:  Conforming to Israel's Malignant Occupation

A.B. Yehoshua toes the line by subdividing the Palestinians into various categories and thus overlooks their general predicament.
by Amira Hass     I January 2017 6:07 PM
An Israeli flag hangs on the wall of a building that was taken over by settlers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.
Residency – just like citizenship – didn’t protect Palestinians from the theft of their land and expulsion from their homes in the Est Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. Olivier Fitoussi
Author A.B. Yehoshua (“Reducing the malignancy of the occupation,” Haaretz, December 31) was right when he attached the word “malignancy” to the occupation. But under cover of innovation, daring and humanitarian considerations, his proposal for a temporary and partial easing of the malignancy conforms to traditional Israeli policy: to split the Palestinian people into various bureaucratic categories, in separate and divorced enclaves, and of course without asking their opinion.
In order to seem daring, but to propose something that is just what the government of Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (both of Habayit Hayehudi) wants, some of the facts Yehoshua cites became distorted. Following are several of the distortions:
* “A binational space.” There is no need to go as far as the poverty-stricken neighborhoods engineered by Israel in East Jerusalem in order to toy with the idea of a “laboratory” for a binational life. It’s true that the Palestinian people have been scattered since being expelled from their homeland in 1948. But they didn’t stop being a nation for that reason, including the 1.5 million Palestinians who are presently Israeli citizens. Israel in its recognized boundaries is a binational space, regardless of its definitions and its discrimination against its Palestinian citizens.
* “The Gaza Strip is completely separated from Israel.” Not true. The two million residents of the Gaza Strip are registered in the Population Registry controlled by Israel. Like the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Like Yehoshua and like me. The identity card issued for every 16-year-old from Gaza requires Israeli approval. It is Israel that decided whether, how many and which of the Palestinians returning from abroad will receive residency status in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The main currency traded in the Strip is the shekel.
About a quarter of Gazans have family in the West Bank, in occupied East Jerusalem and in Israel itself. All the residents of Gaza have a historical, familial, real estate and emotional connection to the area inside Israel, regardless of what we decide for them.
* “Area A is under Palestinian civil and military rule.” Incorrect. In Area A the Palestinians have civil and policing powers, but not military. When every week our soldiers raid neighborhoods and homes in this area, the Palestinian security forces have to hide on their bases. If they oppose the invading Israel Defense Forces – we will kill them or convict them of terrorism.
* “[It is] the Palestinians living in Area C who confront the Israeli occupation, facing both the army and the settlers.” What are you talking about? The settlers don’t discriminate and they harass everyone, and they’re eager to get their hands on the land in “C,” of Palestinians living everywhere in the West Bank.
* “The number of Palestinians living in Area C is only about 100,000.” Where does this number come from? Bimkom, Planners for Planning Rights, estimated in 2008 that 150,000 Palestinians live in Area C. A mini-census conducted by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in occupied Palestinian territory found that the number is double – 300,000, as of the end of 2013. Some live in communities that are entirely in Area C, others in communities “divided” between C, A and B, which are in any case artificial categories, in contradiction to any planning rationale. What is certain is that about 30,000 Bedouin in Area C would be happy to return to their land in the Negev, from which they were expelled after 1948. Next to the communities of Al-Arakib and Umm al-Hiran, which as we know are prosperous and enjoy the many rights that Israel has bestowed upon them..
* “Residency with basic (social) rights.” The model of course is the residency status of the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, or to be more precise, the Israeli delusions of how good life is for the Palestinians there. If it’s so good, how is it that we have turned about 80 percent of them into poverty-stricken welfare cases? In addition to the inferior socioeconomic situation to which we have brought the Jerusalem Palestinians, their residency status itself is very shaky. It relies on the Entry into Israel regulations, in other words, it relates to such residents as though they chose to move and live in Israel, rather than having been invaded by Israel.
Therefore, it’s a conditional status that Israel can revoke as it pleases, according to criteria that it has determined (proof of “center of life” or “loyalty to the state”). Before 1994 (when the civil authorities were transferred to the Palestinian Authority), Israel could expel residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as it desired, and revoke their status. The Oslo Accords abolished that prerogative of the occupier (one of its few positive clauses). In Jerusalem, the Palestinians remained more exposed than ever to the danger of expulsion and revocation of residency. Now Yehoshua wants to add another 100,000 people to them?
* “Such residency would prevent the dispossession of their lands (or make it much more difficult).” What is Yehoshua talking about? Residency – just like citizenship – didn’t protect Palestinians from the theft of their land and expulsion from their homes. Silwan. Isawiyah. Jabal Mukkaber. Sakhnin. Jaffa. Al-Arakib. Are those enough examples?
The distortion makes it easier to create an emotional and intellectual separation from the significance of the facts. The separation is understandable. It’s hard to admit that the Zionist ideology and its creation – Israel – have created a thieving, racist, arrogant monster that robs water and land and history, which has blood on its hands using the excuse of security, which has been deliberately planning today’s dangerous Bantustan situation for decades, on both sides of the Green Line. All Yehoshua is doing is toeing the line and suggesting another sub-definition that helps Israeli bureaucracy to subdivide the Palestinian people and separate them from their spaces and their land.
Amira Hass
Haaretz Correspondent