Is the solution in Palestine to create two states? Certainly, that’s what US president Joe Biden believes.
Last month he “affirmed that the United States supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
But the claim that such a process is viable is being increasingly recognised as a myth. It is a deliberate distraction from tackling the injustice and oppression faced by the Palestinians.
No Israeli government has ever shown any sign of allowing a Palestinian state. Giving Palestinians a state would mean Israel falling short of its endeavour to occupy all of the territory.
The two-state solution originally appealed to some Palestinians as it appeared to offer the possibility of a peaceful route to a stable society.
But the talks and deals that claimed to signpost such a solution merely legitimised the Israeli occupation and maintained the oppression of Palestinians.
The idea of a two-state solution was central to the Oslo Accord In 1993, which the president of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Yasser Arafat, signed.
The “peace process” which followed the Oslo Accords shows that the two-state solution doesn’t work.
In the following three decades Israel has consistently sabotaged any hopes of “peace” while the Palestine Authority (PA) took responsibility for managing and policing Palestinians under occupation.
All the while Israel has massively grown the size and population of its settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
There are currently 800,000 Israeli settlers residing in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Palestinian farms and homes are cleared to make way for the new settlements.
Israel would simply be unwilling to see that land returned to the Palestinians.
Any Palestinian state based on the land that’s left would be fragmented and totally under Israeli military control.
Israel spends over £14 billion on its armed forces annually. The US with its enormous military is Israel’s main ally—it relies on Israel to police and monitor the rest of the Middle East.
The PA, on the other hand, is weak and relies financially on charity handouts from international allies. And Hamas, the governing organisation of Gaza, is shunned by most other states and international organisations, because it fights back.
In reality, the partition of Palestine in 1948, creating a state of Israel based on discrimination against Arabs, could only be racist. By agreeing to the two-state solution the PA accepts that racial division.
The collapse of the realistic prospect of a two-state solution has given greater currency to a one-state solution.
There are two versions of such a state. One is the constant expansion of Israel through settlements and the squeezing of Palestinians. When they resist, they will be offered only repression and death.
This is the one-state solution Israel is driving, with intensified repression marginalising the Palestinians.
The other is a democratic and secular state where Arabs, Jews and others could live alongside each other as they did before the British occupation after the First World War.
To achieve this will require tackling the Israel state and its imperialist backers.
It will mean a revolutionary movement against imperialism and the reactionary Arab rulers to overturn the present order, not just armed struggle for reforms.
Negotiations and “peace talks” orchestrated by the US will never return the land to Palestinians.
The recent Palestinian resistance and the solidarity in the region and more widely should give hope.
Instead of retreading the failed project of two states, there has to be a new impetus for a liberated one state.
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Historian John Newsinger writes