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Israel’s Suicide Mission

| January 7, 2017

israel palestine two-state solution

The two-state solution is in the gutter. (Swithun Crowe)

There was a time before America turned the Middle East into a mosaic of Waterloos when the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was the only regional crisis that kept American presidents up at night. Before 2001 I’d often have conversations about it with friends or newspaper colleagues. I’d hear a common complaint: that the conflict was too old, too complicated to understand, too far gone to resolve.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive But it’s not complicated, and historically speaking it’s no older than the Truman Administration. Palestinians were robbed of their land. They could have agreed to several partition plans in the 1930s and 40s. They didn’t, which was a mistake, but they’ve been paying for it ever since, even after recognizing Israel and agreeing to a two-state solution, with what land promised them shrinking every year. The Palestinian West Bank and Gaza are the world’s two biggest, poorest ghettoes, one of them under military occupation, the other an open-air prison. Israeli colonists continue to steal Palestinian land with impunity, expanding so-called “settlements” found illegal under any definition of international law.

The only American president to successfully negotiate a peace treaty involving Israel was Jimmy Carter in 1978 when he pulled off the Camp David agreements that resulted in a peace treaty with Egypt. Carter wanted to include Palestinians in the bargain. Israel did not. It’s been official policy since Henry Kissinger’s catastrophic concession in the early 1970s–one of too many to count–that Israel gets veto power over American-mediated proposals. So the treatment of Palestinians as second-class creatures, if that, has continued since. There’s been other attempts at peace treaties. The only successful one, between Israel and Jordan, did not involve the United States except for a photo op on the White House lawn. Everything else since the assassination of  Yitzhak Rabin has been Israel’s lip service to a two-state solution, broken promises, invasions and repression. The Likud Party under Menahem Begin, Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu has made a mockery of the zionist principles of Israel’s founders, adopting expropriation as a matter of course. Palestinians periodically turned to terrorism—ruining my former homeland along the way—but only because they tired of Israeli terrorism, which continues to torture, denigrate and decimate Palestinian lives.

There is no equivalency here: Israel is the assassin of Palestinian identity and Palestine’s right to exist. Israel’s existence has never been threatened—not even in 1948-49, when a bunch of ragtag Arab armies pretended to wage war against it on Palestinians’ behalf, certainly not in 1958, 1967 or through the innumerable wars of choice Israel has launched since (with 1973 the sole exception), all the while portraying itself as the beleaguered victim in a sea of barbarians. It’s been killer propaganda, but the jig’s been up for decades: the rest of the world hasn’t been buying it since the 1980s, seeing Israel’s behavior in the occupied territories for what it is: apartheid at the point of a gun, and the continued erosion of Palestinian land. Just since 2000, when Israel has claimed to accept a two-state solution, the number of colonists in the West Bank increased from 200,000 to 600,000.

The United States has unconditionally stood by Israel, continuing to pay for its military occupation at the rate of nearly $4 billion a year. So Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech decrying Israeli intransigence last month was accurate in its analysis of the current regime, which he described as “the most right-wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements.” And he was right in his analysis of an Israel long contemptuous of sincerely reaching a peace agreement and agreeing to a Palestinian state.

But Kerry’s speech was laughable for its duplicity. If the United States was serious about wanting an independent state for Palestinians, it would have used the immense leverage it has by making the aid package contingent on Israel muzzling its guns and signing on the dotted line of a two-state solution. Instead, Israel has continued to insult the Obama administration almost with as much abandon as it insults Palestinian rights while ordering us to pass the ammunition. And we have. It’s no wonder America’s word has become as meaningless as its influence in the Middle East.

We’re Israel’s puppets. With Donald Trump, we’re about to become its bellhops, or at least the willing pallbearers of the two-state solution. If Trump makes good on his pledge to break with nearly 70 years of American policy and move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it may have the same effect as former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in 2000, a Muslim shrine in Jerusalem. Sharon intended the visit to be insulting to Palestinians. It worked. It triggered the second uprising and another round of disproportionately Israeli terrorism.

It may not take a provocative act for the next uprising: For Jews, the wailing wall is a 1,600-foot shrine. For Palestinians, the wailing wall is the length of every lifetime. Jews slip little pieces of paper scrawled with their prayers in the cracks of their wall. Palestinians slip fuses in theirs. Keeping them unlit won’t last forever.

This year marks the 50th year of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, where 3 million citizens live without citizenship, without rights, their history and identity denied by that occupation. Instead of talking independence for Palestinians, Israel’s reigning Likudists, who have become indistinguishable from the zealots occupying the territories, are talking annexation. Israel is not about to extend citizenship rights to 3 million Arabs. So it’s one of two roads: either it’s the end of Israel as a democratic state and the formal embrace of apartheid, or it’s the perpetuation of that “separate and unequal” state Kerry referred to and that Palestinians have been forced to live under for 50 years. It’s Jim Crow for Arabs. Either way, outside a two-state solution, it’s suicide for Israel.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him @PierreTristam. A version of this piece aired on WNZF.

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20 Responses for “Israel’s Suicide Mission”

  1. A.S.F. says:

    The ISRAELI government never seriously considered a “two-state” solution? Like the Palestinian governments, leaders and people EVER have?? Give me a break! “From the river to the Sea, all of Palestine will be free?” What do you think THAT means? Do you think that the Israelis should be expected to risk everything they have worked and died for the sake of hostile neighbors who are still declaring Intifadas and stage random acts of terror against Jews–after which their governments reward them with “stipends” and glorify them in posters and song and name streets after them? The Palestinians in the Gaza are parking their butts there because Israel kicked out their own settlers to make it happen. That giant step towards a possible “two-state”solution was rewarded with increased rocket fire and terror. THat’s the accustomed Palestinianr response that every Anti-Zionist, once confronted with that fact, responds to by saying, “Yeah, BUT…” Sorry, but there is no reasonable justification for your “BUTS” just as you think there is no reasonable justification for any more Israeli settlements. Bowing under to pressure from the world community, Netanyahu oversaw a 10 month freeze in settlement building. The Palestinians were not moved to come to the table as a result. How is Netanyahu supposed to convince his people that further risks and sacrifices are warranted, given Palestinian conduct–that nobody seems willing or able to make them accountable for? The only consistent thing about the Palestinian governments have been their threats to destroy Israel utterly and, as an added inducement to their people, kill as many Jews as they can manage in the process. To that end, they have repeatedly refused to come to the negotiation table to deal with their Israeli counterparts face-to-face, unless their “preconditions” are met–which sort of cancels out the definition of the word “negotiation.” When Bill Clinton begged Arafat to accept Israel’s offer to give the Palestinians 95% of what Arafat. himself, was demanding in that round of Peace Talks, Arafat refused to give the offer any further consideration. His words were “”I did not come here to negotiate. I came here to receive.” That’s the Palestinian attitude in a nutshell–And I DO mean “nutshell.” How does one negotiate with that? If the world is expecting Israel to prove their worthiness to exist by agreeing to put, not only their security and viability as state in jeopardy but also the lives of millions of Jews as well, the world is just going to have to live with their disappointment when Israel refuses. You have no right to levy those expectations at Israelis (and Jews) when you would never consider applying anywhere near the same to the Palestinians (or Muslims)–or even yourself, in the same circumstances. I think it is time for the Palestinians to put something of their own up for risk at the table. The Israelis have done it time and time again. Your turn.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      ASF, thirty years on, I’m no longer interested in debating with Likudist blind spots, just exposing them a bit in just about the only country in the world where its delusions still have a significant audience (Israel’s Likudists themselves being a minority party that depends on the illegal votes of West Bank occupiers to hold on to power. If you only counted the votes of Israeli citizens in Israel proper they’d have been history a long time ago).

  2. footballen says:

    Those people have problems we are not going to solve for them. As long as they keep their fighting over there with one another then have at it, we want a peaceful country.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Pierre–You have yet to address ONE of the points that I made about the Palestinians lack of follow through on the peace process, even when Israel has made concessions–huge ones, at the risk of their own security, I might add. I know that you care just as much about the the plight of the Palestinians as I do about the equally distressing plight pf the Israelis. Pierre Tristam (with all due respect)–Plenty of Jewish people and Israelis are vocal in their criticisms and protests when they feel that corrections in the Israeli government’s course is warranted. On the other hand, Hamas has executed quite a few Palestinians over the past few months for “Collaboration with the Enemy.” And the PA this past Fall arrested four Palestinians and summarily jailed them, simply for accepting a Jewish neighbor’s invitation to break bread with him in his Sukkot (if you don’t know what it is, look it up.) The PA has also jailed numerous Palestinians who had the audacity of criticizing PA policies publicly. So, I would suggest to you that, as a friend of the Palestinian people, you urge them to spend a little more time and effort cleaning up their own backyards. I would love to see you write an article to that end, for a change.

  4. Knightwatch says:

    Their will be outrage and fighting in the region if we move our embassy to Jerusalem. Wait for it.

  5. Pogo says:

    @Pierre Tristam


    A large part of the schnooks who voted for Trump are Christian Zionists looking forward to doomsday as soon as possible. They remind me of jihadists looking forward to their heaven.

    And so it goes.

  6. William Bilek says:

    “Palestinians were robbed of their land.”
    Can you tell us when exactly, and by what law, or legal process did ANY land become “Palestinian”?

    “agreeing to a two-state solution, ”
    Can you link to where the Palestinians have ever agreed to “Two states for Two Peoples”?

    “one of them under military occupation”
    How exactly did this “military occupation” come to be?

    ““settlements” found illegal under any definition of international law.”
    Can you please point out the competent court which has handed down a legally binding verdict of “illegality”?

    ” visit to the Temple Mount in 2000, a Muslim shrine in Jerusalem.”
    Was the Temple Mount not the site of the Jewish temple, believed to be the site of the Binding of Isaac, and the holiest of holies in the Jewish religion?

    “It triggered the second uprising ”
    So these are untrue??
    Arafat planned and led the Intifada:
    Testimonies from PA leaders and others

    Suha Arafat:
    “He had already decided to carry out an Intifada
    after the Oslo Accords and the failure of Camp David”

    Nabil Shaath:
    “[Arafat] saw that repeating the first Intifada in new forms would bring the necessary popular, international,
    and Arab pressure upon Israel”

  7. Patrick says:

    Here is a few books and authors all Jewish to educate yourself on the real happings of the USA sponsored apatharthied of the country of Palestine, The 51 day war max blumenthal , The generals son , Mike peled. The punishment of Gaza Gideon Levy, The Way Of the spring .Life and Death in Gaza , Ben Ehrenreich Gaza in crisis Noam Chomsky ,also subscribe to the Haaretz Israels oldest new paper or any new paper from Israel and you will get the real going on over there by there own citizens

  8. I/M/O says:

    Israel offered Yasser Arafat 95% of what he demanded.

    Arafat balked and demanded Jerusalem.

    When he was told NO he left the 95% on the table and walked away from negotiations.

    I still remember Madeline Allbright chasing his limousine down the driveway yelling “Come Back!”

    So why does anyone blame Israel?

    P.S. When Arafat died 1 billion in foreign aid payments meant for the Palestinian People were found in a Swiss Bank account in Yasser Arafat’s name. He had stolen the money.

  9. Patrick says:

    And f you think Israel are our friends google uss liberty ,and Also google If America only knew

  10. mark101 says:

    These people will fight till the end of time, its in their nature . Just like all the countries in the middle east, these wars have been going on forever and nothing anyone in the West is going to prevent these wars from occurring.

  11. Katie Semore says:

    There is no reason for there to be a 2-state solution. Israel is one country, they have not denied their Arab citizens a place in the government or economy of the country. It is the Arabs who refuse to live peacefully with their neighbors, regardless of religious preference or lack there of. If they can’t or refuse to live peacefully in the country of Israel, let them migrate to one of the Arab countries neighboring Israel. Israel is a tiny slice of land located within the vast area that is predominantly Arab and it is the only country in the area that practices democracy and is fair to all their citizens who are willing to live within the laws of the land. For the US to not support 100% their efforts for survival is a disgrace.

  12. William Moya says:

    I’ll comment on what is the historical paradox in human history, religion; which in one hand it offers us a template for life and perhaps even more important it “solves” the riddle of death, one does not really ceases to exist, in fact you go to a better place. If you need lyrics start singing in your head Bobby Mcferrin’s Don’t Worry be Happy. To that we add the other parallel form of religion, the root of horror.
    The Middle East presents in raw form this dilemma, my god is all knowing and all powerful subsequently you god is at best a hoax. This plays out in our country too, when we are quick to criticise muslims extremists, but somehow forget that we have “our god” every where, I suspect that one day i’ll be going to McDonald’s’ and the clerk will ask me to hold hands and bless the hamburger.
    I recently attended a meeting in which a Jewish man was introduced and we learned that he had been a member of a group advocating separation of Church and State, to him I sincerely say, as an agnostic, God bless. Weren’t we supposed to be a secular nation? Where did we go wrong? This is in a very succinct form, is what the Middle East will have to unravel.
    To get away from metaphysics and to a historical political issue that started in the 16th century and looks as it will come to a head this century is the struggle between antiquity and modernity, on second thought, we’re still in metaphysics.
    I’ll end on a lighter note, I heard on the radio about a woman who wanted to divorce her husband when she learned that he was attending an atheist bible reading group, I almost hit a mailbox.

  13. Diana L says:

    What do you mean,”keep it over there”? We are financing it.

  14. truthsayer says:

    It is and always be a pissing contest.

  15. Lebby Non says:

    Ah, can some one please tell me when in history was there EVER a Palestine or a Palestinian ?

  16. F Section Home Owner says:

    I agree with your perspective and have thought this for years. There is no two state solution at this point because there is no land left for the Palestinians. Israel should also address why they haven’t signed the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. Israel should also stop occupying, it only makes things worse.

  17. John Boy says:

    They are of the synagogue of satan.
    They called Jesus Christ a bastard in the Babylonian Talmud.
    They called the Theotokos–the Mother of God–the Virgin Mary a whore.
    They hate the LOGOS…..they love USURY.
    They are their own worst enemies.
    The Zionists are their worst enemies.
    They are of a revolutionary spirit.
    They are Anti-Christs.
    They rule this world through their satanic banking system.
    They will not prevail.
    Glory to God.

  18. R. A says:

    Palestinian lands were stolen by the law of the jungle through Israeli terrorism.

  19. William Bilek says:

    None of you people can ever respond to my challenge to detail when, exactly, and by what law or legal process ANY land became “Palestinian”.

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