Is the Two-State Solution Dead?

The struggle over the Holy Land has become the most intractable political conflict in the world and despite decades of calling for a two-state solution, this remains as elusive as ever
Adnan Khan Adnan Khan1st June 202111 min

Over ten days have now passed since a ceasefire was agreed between Israel and Hamas that ended the recent escalation in the on-going crisis in Palestine. The US and a number of regional nations are now calling for this ceasefire to be expanded into a more permanent settlement. The two-state solution has for decades been the strategy to integrate the Zionists that arrived as settler colonialists in the early 20th century and the indigenous people but it has been elusive for decades. The struggle over the Holy Land has become the most intractable political conflict in the world but for reasons such as foreign interference, rather than just the two parties to the conflict. As a result, it is foreign powers that will most likely determine the future of what happens in Palestine.

At the turn of the 20th century the British Empire was carving up the Middle East. Whilst it was at war with Germany in WW1, British officials ensured its empire from the Caribbean to Singapore remained intact. It did this by reaching out to tribal leaders in the Arab world and promising them territory for collaborating with them against the Ottomans who had sided with Germany. Influential Jews concluded they needed their own homeland due to the severe discrimination they were experiencing under the Europeans and after being turned down by the Ottoman Caliph Sultan Abdul Hamid II for territory in Palestine the Zionist leaders turned to both the British Empire and the emerging USA. In 1917 they received a positive response from British Foreign Secretary in the Balfour Declaration where he declared the British government viewed the establishment of a home for the Jews positively in Palestine.

Vassal Nations

Britain and France saw the establishment of new nations in the Middle East and rewarded those who collaborated with them against the Ottomans by making them rulers. They saw the establishment of such small kingdoms as a way to maintain control over the region and saw the Zionist demand as something they could use for their own colonial aims. Britain created Iraq, Transjordan and Saudi Arabia, and rewarded the Saud family and the sons of Sharif Hussain with new nations. Sharif Hussain’s sons, Abdullah and Faisel were given Transjordan and Iraq as rewards for their father’s rebellion against the Ottomans. Both were from Hijazi tribes and thus foreigners in the new Iraq and Transjordan. This was a common strategy used by Britain and the French did the same in Syria by placing the minority Alawites in power over a country that was overwhelmingly Sunni.

The British Empire kept historic Palestine for itself under the guise of the mandates from the League of Nations. Britain’s strategy was to introduce European Jews to the region, but it was unsure if this would be accepted by the majority Muslims in the region. This was why it did this under the guise of the League of Nations. The British Empire revived the crusader strategy of establishing a forward base in the region and protecting and maintaining it in the region, similar to what the Catholic Church attempted in the 12th century. It was from 1922 –1948 that Britain facilitated Jewish migration to Palestine. According to British census data of 1922, there were 83,790 Jews in Palestine. By 1931, it was 175,138. And by 1945, the number had jumped to 553,600 people. In 25 years, Zionists had gone from 11% of the total population to 31%.[1] When Britain ended its mandate on 13 May 1948, the day after the Zionists declared the establishment of Israel.

The British Empire revived the crusader strategy of establishing a forward base in the region and protecting and maintaining it in the region, similar to what the Catholic Church attempted in the 12th century

Forward Base

After World War 2 things had changed for the British Empire. The US and the Soviet Union were the new global powers and as the 1950’s progressed US foreign policy was focussed on the Cold War and the US promised support for any nation that was threatened by communism. The newly emergent Zionist entity was surrounded by huge nations with large populations that would overwhelm it in any wars. Israel needed to rapidly develop its military to stand against the Arab nations. It was here that the close relationship between the US and Israel first began. Israel needed a foreign patron for its own survival, which Britain could no longer provide and for the US, Israel came to be seen as an important “forward base” from which the American military and intelligence services could work against communism in the Middle East. America promised Israel that she would help her develop her military capabilities so she could defend herself against any enemy in the region, by working with it.

In the Six Day War in 1967 where Israel launched a pre-emptive strike against Egypt, Syria and Jordan, the US armed and provided extensive support to Israel. The war came to be seen as a war between a US armed military and the Arab nations that were armed by the Soviet Union. Egypt and Syria received significant military support from the Soviet Union and structured their armies on Soviet doctrine. The loss of the Arab armies to superior US weapons in the hands of the Zionists undermined the Soviet Union in the Middle East as Israel, who used western weapons, was able to defeat three Arab armies who were using inferior Soviet weapons. The Zionists of Israel were able to occupy the Golan heights, it seized the West Bank from Jordan and took over the Sinai Peninsula. Israel had significantly expanded, and its arrogance reached the point of accusing the Arabs of having a cultural problem with modern warfare.

Israel after the six day war in 1967

The US never wanted to share the region with Israel. It was looking to shape the Middle East region after WW2 and saw Israel as a tool to achieve this, not as an equal partner in the region. The Zionist entity’s expansion during the Six Days War was against the US vision for the Middle East who envisaged two entities with defined borders, a Zionist state alongside a Palestinian state. After the Six Days War the US plan became “Land for Peace,” under which Israel had to return the Sinai, Golan Heights and the West Bank to the Arabs, who in return would sign formal peace treaties with her and thereby acknowledge and accept her existence. The problem the US faced was the Zionist regime in Israel did not want to return anything. This was why the US stood by in the 1973 Yom Kippur war and Israel believed its worst nightmare was coming true, that she was on the verge of annihilation. When the US did begin supplying weapons the Zionists of Israel realised they were now dependent upon the US for military and economic protection.

The 1973 war also completely devastated the idea that Israel could not be militarily defeated. The US used this to impose its land for a peace plan upon Israel. Throughout the 1970s US officials held meetings with Israeli and Arab rulers to bring to fruition its plan for the Middle East. President Ford of the US held a series of meetings with Anwar Sadat of Egypt, King Hussein of Jordan, Prime Minister Khaddam of Syria (the first assistant of Hafez al-Assad) and Yitzak Rabin of Israel to finalise a regional framework, these were all formalised at Camp David in 1978. Israel promised to hand back control of the lands she had taken during the 1967 and 1973 wars and to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state, in return for formal recognition and acceptance of its existence.

The 1973 war also completely devastated the idea that Israel could not be militarily defeated. The US used this to impose its land for a peace plan upon Israel. Throughout the 1970s US officials held meetings with Israeli and Arab rulers to bring to fruition its plan for the Middle East

Strategic Depth

The establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, for the US is an instrument of containment over Israel. With some Zionists having ambitions of Israel being the regional power and expanding its borders well into the region the US has always looked upon a Palestinian state as a way to contain the ambitions of these Zionists. Israel lacks strategic depth and its core runs from Haifa, through Tel-Aviv to the Gaza Strip and is overwhelmed by the West Bank, that is highland that dominates the width of historic Palestine. For Israel, a foreign state with the advantage of highland over its core, this would pose a major national security threat for it, for which it lacks the resources, manpower and finance to defend against. This is why successive Israeli leaders have tried to stand against a Palestinian state, but were forced to agree to a Palestinian state by the US. Despite its dependency on the US, Israel from its inception attempted to assert itself and oppose US regional policy in the pursuit of its own interests. Yitzhak Shamir alluded to this point when he said: “Much as we want to coordinate our activities with the United States, the interests (of the United States and Israel) are not identical. We have to, from time to time, worry about our own interests.”[2] Israel’s main strategy of opposing the US is via settlement expansion in the West Bank, by establishing settler communities in the West Bank the Zionists in Israel are attempting to influence where the final borders will be.

As the US is the global superpower it has global interests, and the Middle East is one region amongst many the US has interests in. In the Middle East the US also has nations other than Israel it works with and it has interests beyond Palestine within the Middle East. In the 21st century the US got bogged down with two wars and as a result Palestine was not a priority and Israel even came to play a role in America’s invasion of Iraq. Despite criticism from Israel against America’s nuclear deal in 2015 with Iran the US prioritised this over its relations with Israel in the region. This has all allowed Israel to increase settlement construction and swallow even more territory as the US has been busy with other priorities.

When Donald Trump became president of the US his priority remained throughout his term his approval ratings and maintaining a strong and popular image in the global media. Trump was not necessarily pro-Israel, he was pro-Trump. Through his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is an avid Zionist who has invested in settlements in the West Bank Trump saw he could shore up Zionist support for his presidency. Trump showed no interest in challenging Israel on settlements or its oppression of the Palestinians. He embraced Benjamin Netanyahu, as one of his favourite foreign leaders and rubber-stamped Zionist expansion into Palestinian-held territory. Trump officially recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US embassy there despite successive administrations not doing so. The normalisation agreements between multiple Arab nations that Trump concluded was to shore up his own position, but it did not go against US foreign policy interests. In Trump’s case he used these political issues for his own personal political benefit. All this open Zionist support saw Trump go up against the US establishment. When President Trump said he would support a one state solution in February 2017 Nicky Healy, who at the time was the US ambassador to the UN confirmed: “First and foremost, the two-state solution is what we support. Anyone he says that the United States does not support a two-state solution would be mistaken … certainly we support the two-state solution, but we also think outside the box … which is needed to attract the two sides to the table, which is what we need in order to make them agree.”[3]

Unless another power is able to challenge this strategy Israel will continue to be a forward base for the West

The Arab rulers in the Middle East, the PLO and Hamas long accepted the two-state solution. It is only Israel that does not support it as it wants to swallow up all of historic Palestine. A Palestinian state in the West Bank is something that would pose a major national security problem for Israel for which it lacks the resources to deal with. It is by design that the US wants a Palestinian state as it would constrain any Israeli regional ambitions. It will keep Israel dependent upon US support and will allow the US to use Israel to achieve its own regional interests. Whilst Israel undertakes extensive lobbying in the US and even funds many senators, Israel and US interests are not the same, despite them often converging. The US will need to impose the two state solution upon Israel, much like it did the peace plan in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but like any global power it has global interests and these interests are all impacted by the priorities of any given time and Palestine is also shaped by this. Unless another power is able to challenge this strategy Israel will continue to be a forward base for the West. 

 


 

[1] Tessler, Mark. A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. 2nd ed. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2009, pg.266

[2] See, http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1981/eirv08n50-19811229/eirv08n50-19811229_036-begin_blowtorches_the_mideast_ma.pdf

[3] US ‘absolutely supports’ two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

 

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