Israeli society is an example of denials and contradictions. The polling survey in view of the elections scheduled for next week provide us with a good example. An unusual phenomenon is repeated in dozens of these projects to feel the political pulse of society. While a clear and significant majority bet on Netanyahu as the preferred candidate for the role of prime minister, a much larger, even larger majority, point to the lack of veracity in his public statements, that is, they see him as a liar.
This troublesome behavior is not the only example. Israeli society, mainly its Jewish component that leads the state through the representatives it elects, lives with a much more significant contradiction, and perhaps tragic for its future. Of all the proposals to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the one that mobilizes the greatest opposition in that component of Israeli society is the constitution of a state for the two peoples throughout the territory from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. However, the repeated electoral processes of the last decades have shown that a vast majority supports the formation of political coalitions whose policies regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict promote progress, slow but gradual, in the consolidation of irreversible facts and conditions that precisely lead to the constitution of that binational state.
If the ideological positions of the components of the Knesset of Israel that project the vision regarding the conflict with the Palestinians are analyzed, 50% clearly support the project of the “Greater Israel, while 35% of the political parties labeled center, they are very comfortable with the continuity of the current situation (conversations without solving anything – status quo). This 85% live in denial and assume that the Palestinian population of the region will magically disappear at some point. Only a small minority of 15% of Israel’s electorate argues for the need to dismantle the colonies to allow for a two-state solution.
The Palestinians learned from their mistake in ’48. Today they are not leaving the place, even though they have to live under an apartheid regime imposed by Israel in the West Bank. In Jerusalem they know very well that all ethnic cleansing plans are destined to fail. The past has already shown them (“Yohanan and ethnic cleansing” D. Kupervaser, 2-18-2016, in Spanish).
The creation of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank is nothing more than a fantasy that is now history. It would be a great mistake to ignore the reality that, both on the Israeli and Palestinian sides, extremist groups coexist that defend the principle of “all or nothing” and express their positions with dissuasive and generally violent messages. The Palestinians have the Hamas and Jihad groups and in Israel the extremist groups within the settlers and their supporters. The frustration of previous negotiations through the Hamas suicide bombings and the assassination of Rabin are a good example. These groups will not hesitate to frustrate and even sabotage any effort to sign an agreement based on the two-state principle, in particular, to implement it. As long as both parties do not repress these groups, there is not the slightest possibility of reaching and fulfilling any reasonable political agreement between the parties. It does not take a great expert to verify that precisely these sectors are the ones that day by day increase their power in the internal politics of each side.
The solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the formula of two independent states and Jewish colonization in the West Bank is an unsolvable basic antinomy. The most recent example is Trump’s century peace plan based on that principle and taking into account the reality of the Israeli colonies. Result: the Palestinians rejected it outright and Netanyahu, as a good merchant, wanted to receive the gift (annexation of West Bank territories) but refused to pay the basic price of the business (Palestinian state in the remaining territories of the West Bank and cession of regions of the Israeli Negev to the new Palestinian state).
The only possibility, although highly theoretical, of creating more or less acceptable conditions for both parties to resolve the conflict, could arise from a drastic change in the administration’s position in Washington. This path would only be feasible if the US leadership jettisoned its historic servility towards Israel based on a two-pronged game. On the one hand, accentuate the illegality of Israeli colonization in the West Bank, but at the same time, finance and defend it in the world. In practice it is a fantasy. It would be more than unreasonable to assume that this leadership is willing to lose the most important source of funding for its electoral campaigns that comes from Jewish moguls.
The dynamics of Israel’s consolidation as a binational state is already underway and no return is in sight. Already today the entire territory from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean is under Israeli control of security, borders, customs, currency, population registration, taxes and other characteristics of an independent state. To this must be added the basket of resolutions that the expansionist parties, despite the US opposition, intend to launch from the new government to be formed. The limited autonomy of the Palestinians does not basically change the existence of a single state. It remains for the Palestinian Authority to abandon its current functions and to dedicate itself only to demanding Israeli citizenship for its population in the West Bank.
As much as the Palestinian leadership, out of personal interests, prefers to continue its efforts to fight politically for an independent Palestinian state, reality shows that its population and a large part of its historical allies are abandoning them in the face of the appreciation that the departure of joining Israel as a binational state as citizens represents the most practical option, and probably, given the conditions, the most convenient for the Palestinian people.
Ohad Hemo, renowned analyst of the Palestinian population of the West Bank, highlighted in his recent book this new tendency of the Palestinians (Ohad Hemo, “The Palestinians, an inside view”, Ketter, 2020, in Hebrew). At the same time, the rain of citizenship applications from Palestinians in East Jerusalem demanded a change in the procedures such that it is estimated that thousands of Palestinians will obtain this civil status per year (Haaretz, 11-25-2020).
In this context, it is worth analyzing again the change in attitude of those Arab countries that recently abandoned the old position of conditioning normalization with Israel to the materialization of the two-state formula. It seems to me that these countries have also become convinced of the obsolescence of the two-state solution and the convenience for the Palestinians of the solution of a binational state where they will be able to enjoy 50% of the decision-making power. Fighting for citizenship, leaving aside the demand for an independent state, will significantly strengthen them at the international level in the face of a significant deterioration in Israeli positions.
The cards are drawn. The continuity of the status quo, with permanent expansion of Israeli colonization in the West Bank, will necessarily become the fertile ground so that sooner or later the demand for a binational state with 50% Palestinian population grows. Two alternatives to Israel. First: grant full citizenship to the Palestinian population of the West Bank with the danger of losing control of the state. Second: keep the Palestinian population of the West Bank without citizenship, projecting itself to the world as an apartheid state, discriminating against a large part of the population in territory under its de facto sovereignty.
That is the fate that Netanyahu and his accomplices promise us.
Herzlya – Israel 15-3-2021