Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations are over. Hardline British Zionist commentator Melanie Phillips hopes that Israel or America will now bomb Iran. Israel complained to the UN about its use of the word "Nakba" to describe the Palestinian experience. US President George W Bush told the Knesset that "one of Israel’s greatest leaders", Ariel Sharon, "a man of peace", should still be present with the Jewish State’s "best friend in the world".
In Australia, NSW Premier Morris Iemma told more than 700 guests last week that, "Israel endures … and longs for nothing more than peace". Unreported were the ham-fisted and ultimately futile attempts by the local Zionist lobby to cancel the commemoration of the Nakba at the NSW Parliament on the same night as Iemma’s speech.
In Palestine, Palestinians and their supporters tried to mark the solemn occasion but were physically assaulted by the Israeli Defence Force. Some Israelis also wanted to show their solidarity with a people whose existence and history was denied throughout the anniversary. Some American Zionists – unlike in Australia, where the sycophancy towards the Jewish State knew no bounds – at least acknowledged that the illegal settlement program in the West Bank was leading to the country’s destruction.
A leading Israeli commentator, fearful of a global campaign to allow every Palestinian the vote in elections (what an indictment of mainstream Zionism that the concept of true democracy for all Israeli and Palestinian citizens is viewed as a threat to "Jewish democracy") now calls for "unilateral" withdrawals from occupied territory.
These last weeks, Australia has experienced a voice and political position all-too-rarely heard in the mainstream. Palestinian-American writer Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada website and irregular columnist for the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, has travelled around the country speaking about the one-State solution. His article in the Sydney Morning Herald on 13 May was a rare opportunity for the one-State argument to be advanced. His book, One Country: A Bold Proposal to end the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse, is a considered examination of the reasons why a bi-national State, with full rights for all and an end to Israeli rejectionism, is the only humane way to resolve the struggle.
Remarkably, Israel’s 60th anniversary saw a flurry of news articles around the world explaining this argument, a sure sign that the two-State solution has been dead and buried by Israel’s addiction to the colonisation project (despite leading local Zionist lobbyist Mark Leibler dishonestly arguing in the Melbourne Age last week that "Israel is not building any new West Bank settlements, and has not for many years"). Even US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told an American Jewish audience in early May that, "increasingly the Palestinians who talk about a two-state solution are my age".
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is coming under increasing pressure from his own Party to abandon the fruitless talks with Israel and America and demand a single state. His officials recently told the Jerusalem Post that Israel’s current proposals, including keeping many illegal colonies in the West Bank, were "completely unacceptable".
"If the Israelis and Americans think that they will ever find a Palestinian leader who would accept less than the 1967 borders", one said, "they are living under an illusion."
The underlying agenda, articulated by Haaretz journalist Amira Hass, is that the Israeli and Palestinian establishment have neither the interest nor desire for true peace.
Hass told Salon.com: "You can’t talk about 60 years of Israel without talking about the Nakba, the Palestinian disaster. Neither Israel nor the Palestinian elite, with their vested interests in maintaining the status quo, are interested in peace. One of the Palestinian negotiators has a son whose company supplies materials for building the border wall. The wall is making him rich. Both [Mahmoud] Abbas and [Ismail] Haniyeh, the political leader of Hamas, are playing Israel’s game. The only purpose of the negotiations is to lead to more negotiations. What it’s all about is a people refusing to give up its privileges."
The Los Angeles Times ran two major pieces in the last weeks, outlining the compelling reasons why an ethnically-exclusionary nation, today’s Israel, is anti-democratic by definition. The country’s blatant racism against Arabs and Palestinians is only growing.
Abunimah, speaking exclusively to newmatilda.com, says that the Australian media was far more willing to discuss the Palestinian Nakba and the cost of Israel’s birth than the American press. Since his book was released in 2006, he is "more convinced that it’s right" – during the writing process he felt it was a "difficult" argument to make in the mainstream. Back then, in 2005-6, Abunimah thought that, "within three to five years they’d be widespread recognition that the two-State solution is finished." The growing international movement only confirms this thesis. The "moral" argument for a one-State solution – "equal rights for all is simply more just" – should be posited against the "comforting illusion" of two-States.
Despite this realisation, "people are still clinging on to the two-State solution because it’s all they know" – for example, Jewish establishment Australian leftist Philip Mendes has spent decades mouthing platitudes about two-States yet fails to acknowledge the impossibility of now achieving it.
Abunimah was determined to express in his book "empathy" towards Zionists but wanted to assert that the vast majority of Israelis and American Jews wouldn’t "give up power voluntarily". Therefore, he supports sanctions, boycotts and divestment against Israel to generate international action.
Abunimah, who become a regular acquaintance of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama in Chicago in the 1990s, now speaks critically of the senator. Despite once articulating positions that supported Palestinian rights, Obama has been thoroughly bought by the Zionist lobby, to the point where he recently denied a quote provided by Abunimah about his compassion towards the occupied people.
Although Abunimah acknowledges that people are "desperate for a change" in US politics, he doesn’t believe that Obama has the interest or power to seriously change his country’s relationship with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. "Two words for you," he says. "Kevin Rudd."
Abunimah warns people against "overestimating the power of a President" to affect real change. Powerful interest groups will first need to be addressed. "Governments will not lead the way" on bullying Israel, he says. Outside forces will have to be harnessed. Likening the struggle to the anti-apartheid movement against South Africa, civil society was a key constituency in convincing the major powers that the country had to shift.
When one of Israel’s leading historians, Benny Morris, wrote on Israel’s 60th anniversary of a "[Arab] demographic threat that threatens Jewish dominance", alarms bells should be ringing around the world. Is this truly the Zionist dream? Tragically, it is – a desire to maintain a Jewish majority and still claim the "democracy" tag.
As Abunimah argued on the 60th birthday: "Official projections show that by 2025, Palestinians, due to their much higher birth rate, will exceed Israeli Jews in the country by two million and though few in the international community have woken up to this reality, a surgical separation between these populations is impossible."
The two-State solution has been made redundant by Israel’s belligerence and settlement project. The one-State equation will inevitably take its place.
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