Foreign Policy Watch: India-Middle East

[oped of the day] One state push for Israel and Palestine?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Two state solution

Mains level : Two state solution and the future of Israeli peace

Context

The U.S. State Department’s recognition of the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank is another indication that the two-state solution is dead. 

Israel – Palestine

    • There are 600,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank. They will soon be one-third of the overall population. 
    • When the Zionist settlers in the 1930s became one-third of the population, Palestine was doomed.
    • Then, the Zionist leadership began to contemplate the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
    • The West Bank is under a similar danger. Vast areas have already been ethnically cleansed. The rest can turn inhabitable, as it did in the Gaza Strip. 

Imaginary homeland

    • The “Green Line” — the 1949 armistice line that separates Israel from the West Bank — is a figment of the imagination of those who support the two-state solution. 
    • It was replaced by a greater Israel, ruled by the Israeli nationality law passed in 2018. 
    • It states that only the Jews have the right of self-determination all over historical Palestine.
    • It sanctions the continued colonization of the country and upholds its apartheid system.

Requires new approach

    • This requires a different approach by anyone caring for the future of the Palestinians and respects their basic rights. 
    • The existing regime allows half of the population living between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean to have all the privileges.
    • It is robbing the other half of its living space, lands, rights, dignity, and life. 

Decolonization

    • It cannot be solved by a “peace process” but only by decolonization.
    • It should reformulate the relationship between the third generation of Jewish settlers and the indigenous population of Palestine on the basis of equality.
    • Decolonization is associated with processes that took place in the first half of the last century.
    • The process of decolonization, apart from Algeria and South Africa, has not affected settler-colonial projects which ended in the creation of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel.

Ongoing ‘catastrophe’

    • In some cases, the settler community acted upon “the logic of the elimination of the native”. 
    • This led to the genocide of native Americans and aboriginals. 
    • Even there the struggle continues for recognition, restitution, and equality. 
    • In Palestine, it was translated into an incremental process of ethnic cleansing. Palestinians call it “the ongoing Nakba”.
    • The Zionist movement succeeded in expelling half the Palestinian population in 1948.
    • Since 1967, it led to the departure of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from all over historical Palestine.
    • Today, the Israeli government continues to dispossess land and take away resources from Palestinians. This is creating conditions that become unsustainable for many Palestinians.

Early resistance

    • In the 1960s and 1970s, the Palestinians resisted this policy of colonization and dispossession with an armed struggle. 
    • In many ways, the Hamas in Gaza still seems to believe that this can be an effective tool in the struggle. 
    • Quite a few Palestinians seem to prefer a different kind of popular resistance given the imbalance of power.

Changing resistance

    • The “march of return” — the weekly peaceful demonstrations by thousands of Palestinians on the fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel is an example of a different kind of popular resistance.
    • It demands not only the end of the siege on Gaza and its two million people but also the right of return of refugees to their homes.
    • 80% of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are refugees who live near their lands, villages, and towns from which they were expelled in 1948.

International diplomacy

    • Popular resistance on the way to liberation would not have been needed if international diplomacy examined the origins of the conflict in Palestine. 
    • But the international community fully supports Israel and remain silent in the face of continued dispossession of Palestinians. 
    • It adopted the two-state solution as its mantra for what should be done and was supported by the Palestinian leadership. It hoped to salvage at least part of Palestine (22%). 

Failure of a two-state solution

    • Israel has established that any sovereign Palestinian state is impossible. 
    • We have an American administration that fully endorses Israel’s wish to de-politicize the Palestinian question.
    • It allows Israel to fully extend its sovereignty all over historical Palestine and also rejects the right of any Palestinian refugee to return.
    • We wasted 50 years trying to push towards this solution.
    • The end result of this effort was more Jewish settlements in the West Bank and total separation between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
    • Now we see an American recognition of the Judaisation of the West Bank.

Way forward

    • The situation in Palestine is not a conflict but a struggle against settler colonialism. Not unlike the struggle against Apartheid South Africa. 
    • Call upon the international community to divest from, boycott and sanction Israel in order to stop the “ongoing catastrophe”. 
    • BDS – Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, the campaign will continue until the people of the West Bank would be liberated from a military rule, the people of Gaza from the siege, the refugees return from their exile, and the Palestinians in Israel would be recognized as equal citizens.
    • An alternative Palestinian call for the establishment of one democratic state all over historical Palestine is being heard.
    • Rectify past evils by compensating and restituting lost land and property, enable the repatriation of refugees, and offer democracy for all who live in historic Palestine. 
    • Pressure from the outside, a continued popular struggle from the inside and a clear Palestinian vision for the future can turn this vision into reality.
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