The choice is Israel's: two states or apartheid
by MainStreet, Wed May 20, 2009 at 07:27:48 PM EDT
Thanks to Philip Weiss, who runs the site, Mondoweiss, for drawing attention to the choices Israel faces in the coming years, as it confronts the Obama administration's push for a final two state solution. What other solution is there? Just one: Apartheid, as Jimmy Carter so wisely warned about a few years ago in his book: Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. It would appear that "peace" in this context translates into two states, and that is precisely why not only Obama, but the rest of the world is now supporting the side by side solution. There is no other choice that Israel is giving the Palestinians.
In an LA Times Oped, Mustafa Barghouthi responded to the Obama/Netanyahu meeting with this observation: Can Obama meet Netanyahu's challenge?
More recently, Netanyahu has added a new demand: that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This is intended only to confuse and delay peace talks. And it's wrong. Palestinians in the occupied territories have no standing to sign away the rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel in order to get Israel to the negotiating table. To tell the truth, we don't believe that Israel can be a true democracy and an exclusivist Jewish state at the same time. Yet Israeli leaders seem oblivious -- or pretend to be oblivious -- to why Palestinians would decline to acknowledge Israel's status as a Jewish state.
Increasingly, Israel is out of step with a world hurtling into the 21st century with Obama. This is no longer the segregated world of President Truman and David Ben-Gurion at Israel's founding. Yet Netanyahu's selection of Lieberman, who once stated that "minorities are the biggest problem in the world," exemplifies Israel's tone-deafness in a changed world.
The choice is Israel's: two states, or increasing isolation by a world that will not accept apartheid dressed up as an economic development plan. Tragically, the consequences of further delay and oppression will be endured by Palestinians -- both in the occupied territories and in an increasingly exclusivist Jewish state whose self-definition comes at the expense of Palestinian citizens.
Philip Weiss remarked, "Barghouthi makes a point that we've made many times - Israel's demand for an exclusive Jewish state is an anti-democratic anachronism in a world that celebrated Obama's election. Israel is quickly finding itself on the wrong side of history."
A further note from Weiss tells us how far we are from getting to the two state solution from the Netanyahu camp:
Netanyahu senior aide Ron Dermer on the plane from Washington DC to Tel Aviv reoirtedly stated:
"This idea of two states for two peoples is a stupid and childish solution to a very complex problem."
Another top Netanyahu advisor referred to the two-state solution as "juvenile," in this Ynet article Fixation on two-state solution is childish.
Is Apartheid more mature?