ONE STATE OR TWO, PRESIDENT TRUMP?
When asked in his February 15th press conference about whether the US was still wedded to a two-state solution, Trump broke with longstanding orthodoxy and responded:
“I am looking at two states or one state, and I like the one that both parties like.”
This statement implies that President Trump is undeterred by Netanyahu’s refusal to commit to a two-state solution saying he didn’t want to focus on certain “labels.” Netanyahu had no trouble, however, reaffirming two conditions he’d consider for “peace:” Palestinians must recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” and Israel “must retain overriding security control over the entire Occupied Territories.”
This formula amounts, at best, to a Palestinian Bantustan under continued Israeli control. See my book Israeli and Palestinian Voices: A Dialogue with both Sides for more details on Israel’s military occupation.
Advocates of a two-state solution, including all recent US administrations as well as many European governments, see this as a way to rescue Israel as a racist state that ensures its Jewish demographic majority through a battery of racist laws that they refer to as “peace,” meaning that Israelis have “peace” but the Palestinians don’t and won’t, ever.
Even before Trump’s remark, former Secretary of State John Kerry had already stated for the record that “the two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” He proved the opposite by describing in detail how Israel’s settlements are “increasingly cementing an irreversible one-state reality.”
Kerry went on to say: “Currently, there are a similar number of Jews and Palestinians living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. They can choose to live together in one state, or they can separate into two states. But here is a fundamental reality: if the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic – it cannot be both – and it won’t ever really be at peace.”
That Trump even mentioned a possible one-state option has opened the doors in Washington, D.C. to a broader debate. Republican Senator Bob Corker who chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations wondered, when questioning Trump’s nominee to be US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman “Are we helping the situation by continually talking about a two-state solution when having a military presence in the West Bank ad infinitum by Israel is really something different than a two-state solution?”
Such talk has been, until now, unheard of in the halls of Congress.
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, too, pressed Trump’s nominee to acknowledge that “the US could never support a one-state solution, or any solution, where Palestinians are deprived of their full and equal legal rights.”
While I cheer these suddenly fearless Congressional leaders, I would like to refer them and their colleagues to a top secret memorandum written on June 4, 1947 entitled “A Plan for the Future Government of Palestine. Even though this 70 year old memorandum was never approved at the highest levels of government many of its recommendations are still relevant to today’s policy debate.
Here are some of its proposals:
Palestine should become neither an Arab State nor a Jewish State but a single independent Palestinain State in which all its people of whatever religion or blood may live together in concord.
All the inhabitants of Palestine should accept the responsibilities and share the rights and privileges of a common Palestinian citizenship.
The government of Palestine should represent all Palestinian citizens and should protect their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Conversely, every effort should be made to foster the active participation of all Palestinian citizens in the government of their country.
The various Holy Places of Palestine, which are sacred to Christians, Jews and Moslems, should be forever safeguarded.
In light of these reasonable points I have a recommendation for both President Trump and our illustrious members of Congress: Dust off a copy of the 1947 State Department Memorandum and study it.
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