On The So-Called “Two-State” “Solution” : Towards A Unitary, Democratic, Secular State of Palestine.
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The so-called “two-state” “solution” as an agreed final settlement to the ‘Palestinian Question’ is the final refuge of the Zionist colonial settler statelet. There is only one word to describe any Palestinian politician who signs up to such a disreputable settlement (as an agreed final settlement to this question) That word is ‘traitor’. It merely entrenches the current Zionist system of apartheid. The historic equivalent would be Mandela signing up to the Bantustans or Ho Chi Minh signing up to a separate southern state in Vietnam. The “two-state” “solution” is the final refuge of the Zionist scoundrel.
Such a “solution” will continue to be based on dispossession, theft, mass murder, expulsion and injustice. It will still be based on the existence of an apartheid, US-backed, militarised Zionist ghetto/enclave in the Middle East. An “independent” Palestinian state based on the West Bank and Gaza (it would be highly dependent on the Zionist state) would be unsustainable and unviable – and the Zionists know this – when the Zionist state would control all the resources, access, etc, especially water, that would make such a state viable.
Whether it is “viable” (which it most certainly is not) is not really the question which Marxists need to address but whether it enables a just and lasting settlement for the expelled Palestinian people. Even if it were “viable” it would not provide such a settlement and the potential for a further onward development towards socialism. It would continue to ghettoise the Palestinians into a landlocked, militarised enclave. Would such a “solution” fall in line with socialist traditions? The Jews themselves were subjected to the same inhuman ghettoisation and injustice in Europe but it took Zionism to re-create an anti-semitic ghetto for them in the Middle East.
Zionism was always a predatory, land-grabbing outlook and nothing whatsoever to do with socialism, never mind Marx, no matter how often some may wish to push supposed “democratic” credentials or the phoney “socialist experiments” of the Kibbutzim.The Jewish socialist experiments and settlements in Eastern Europe (Bund Socialism) in the first decades of the 20th century were not “Zionist”. In fact, they explicitly opposed Zionism.
The basic conception of the “Kibbutz movement” – and its practical outcome – was “a land without a people for a people without a land” which is a fascistic conception similar to the conception of Lebensraum. Land stolen and the local people expelled from their lands and homes. It was only a “land without a people” after they were forced out at gunpoint. Palestine was not an empty land but was a rich, living ancient culture amongst which were living communities of Jewish people. The Palestinian culture was not just “another Arab culture” but was a distinct, rich, culture which was thousands of years old. The belief that “Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people” is a reactionary conception which parallels the Nazi conception of an “Aryan homeland”. Completely anti-socialist to its very core. The Nazi ideologists had a similar outlook. They spoke of returning to “their” “Ayran” (Indo-European) homeland.
Historically, Palestine was always a crossroad for different human cultures and those cultures contributed to its rich unitary culture. The Jewish communities living there throughout its history were Palestinian. In ancient times, many were actually hellenised and later latinised when they moved around the empire. Abram Leon writes (in his book ‘The Jewish Question – A Marxist Interpretation’) that at least three-quarters of all Jews were actually living outside the Palestine area even before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Flavian emperors in the second half of the 1st century. It is a Zionist myth that it was simply a “Jewish homeland”. The Jews were, for many centuries, a nomadic tribal people. For thousands of years, this region has been a rich and diverse area of different cultures and religions. It has only been the illegitimate state of “Israel” since 1948 when its creation was backed by the imperialist powers in order to serve their own geostrategic interests.
Successive predatory wars have forced millions of Palestinians into exile in refugee camps in the Arab world. But in the process of doing this, the Zionist statelet has – with a certain degree of historic irony – created a ghetto for Jews in the Middle East in the interests of the aforesaid interests.
The very existence of the Zionist state has actually served to foster bigotry towards Jews. Over the decades of its warring existence, the hostility towards Zionism has often come with an absolutely false equating of “Zionist” with “Jew” which has actually served to feed prejudice and anti-semitism. In this respect, Zionism is itself anti-semitic. When I was teaching in the Arab world, I met some people (Arabs) who actually admired Hitler. I always took the trouble to explain that some but not all Jews are Zionists and that all Zionists are not necessarily Jews. One can be a anti-Zionist Jew. Or a Zionist non-Jew. I once knew somebody who was a devout English Roman Catholic and, at the same time, an ardent Zionist who supported the state of Israel. And yet I have known Jews who are militantly anti-Zionist and who refuse to accept any concessions to it.
Has the existence of the Zionist state increased or lessened anti-semitism in the region? Zionists tend to play the same old reprehensible trick card of inferring that Zionism is the inevitable outgrowth of the experiences of Jewish culture in various parts of the world and that anyone who opposes the Zionist state (including “self-hating Jews”) is “anti-semitic”. This is one of the favourite tactics of supporters of Israel and Zionism – to accuse their opponents of ‘anti-Semitism’. This argument is advanced in an attempt to prevent criticism of Israel from being presented, or to attack the individual or group, that is defending Palestinian human rights. The conception is purveyed that all Jews support the Zionist state and that those who do not are “self-haters” or “deranged”, etc. It also implies that the crimes of the Zionist state are “Jewish” crimes which they are not. Once again, the assertion of Zionist anti-semitism carries legitimacy here. When we actually look very closely at the doctrinal aspects of Zionism – and their significance for real social relations between Jews and Non-Jews – we almost inevitably arrive at the conclusion that Zionism is fascistic. There are so many parallels between Zionism and Nazism. Those tiny number of Arabs who admire Hitler should be aware of this.
Jews and Muslims had, generally, lived peacefully together for centuries in different parts of the Arab world, specifically in Palestine, until the Zionist state was established. It is reactionary, and resembles an apartheid conception, to imply that Jews and Arabs cannot live together in a unitary state. There are more than 30 laws that discriminate against the Palestinian citizens of the Israeli state. This is done either directly or indirectly, based solely on their ethnicity, rendering them second or third class citizens in their own homeland. This state discrimination against Palestinians can only breed hostility and the impression that cultural and religious co-existence is impossible.
Some Zionists have pointed to the writings of various “socialist” or “Marxist” Zionists. For example, in the writings of Ber Borochov. But is there any evidence of socialist internationalism, class-based and transcending cultural differences without recourse to pseudo-nationalistic doctrine in his writings? The attempt to synthesise Marx with Zionist Nationalism was a particular example of the general incompatibility of Marx and Nationalism. This is why Borochov was expelled from the Marxist movement in Russia. He was a divisive influence amongst the proletariat. He then veered off into Zionist nationalism, Paole Zion, etc, which the Jewish socialist Bund rejected at the turn of the century. Borochov tried to opportunistically adapt Marx to serve the needs of Zionist nationalism and, in the process, effectively left Marx behind. Borochov himself, towards the end of his life, became a self-confessed Social Democrat which was an admission that his attempted synthesis had failed and had revealed the truth of his doctrine as being essentially Zionist rather than socialist.
The so-called “two-state” “solution” really amounts to the maintenance of the oppression of a whole people in a phony, disingenuous arrangement which is really only a one-state solution for the Zionist enclave. One cannot be a Zionist and a Marxist at the same time. Zionism itself is a state-form and ideological-form of the rule of capital. If you advocate Zionism then, implicitly or explicitly, you advocate the oppression of a whole people. And the oppression of the proletariat itself within the Zionist entity. The perspectives of the Zionist state are not merely nationalistic but also class-antagonistic. They represent the interests of capital.
What is the significance of the outlook of any Palestinian politician who signs up to a two-state solution as the final settlement to the historic question of the rights of the Palestinians? Whether they are conscious of it or not, it articulates and represents the interests of the murderous Zionist colonial settler entity. It serves to entrench the Zionist state and maintain the oppression of a whole dispossessed and expelled people. A unitary democratic secular state is the only feasible, provisional solution. Everything else serves to entrench Zionist oppression even more deeply.
Such an unconscious articulation of interests is an intrinsic moment in the very nature of all forms of ideology. They articulate objective interests of which they are not necessarily aware as thinking subjects. If this were not the case, there would be an end to ideology which can only take place in the course of the unfolding of global communist human life. Those individuals who advocate a two-state solution as a final settlement are, ideologically – consciously or not – articulating the interests of the Zionist colonial settler regime. And yes, even those Palestinian politicians who advocate such a final solution.
A provisional solution would be the establishment of a secular democratic state in the region which includes, geographically, the current Zionist entity, the West Bank and Gaza within that unitary state. All occupied lands external to these areas to be returned to their original jurisdiction. Palestinian exiles must have the right to return and re-settle in their homeland and all present inhabitants – Jew and Arab – must have the right to remain, living according to full democratic rights, freedom of movement, compensation, re-housing, freedom of religion but keeping religion out of state policy and administration, etc. All Jews must have the right to settle within the boundaries and political conditions of this unitary state which would be a unitary secular state with full democratic rights for all regardless of ethnicity, religion, etc.
The so-called “two state solution” as a final permanent settlement is the bottom line for the Zionist state because it will guarantee its existence. It will maintain this statelet with the Palestinians isolated on the West Bank or enclaved in an overpopulated ghetto in Gaza. This is what the “liberal” Zionists want. A Palestinian enclave at the mercy of the Zionist state – dependent upon this state in every sense of the word – in their so-called permanent “two-state solution”. Once again, here we see that Liberalism is the “civilised” acceptance of class division and oppression. And specifically, in regard to the question of Zionism, the “civilised” acceptance of that as well.
The establishment of a democratic secular state in Palestine will simultaneously establish more favourable historical presuppositions and conditions for the struggle for socialism in the region. The most counter-revolutionary force in the region – the Zionist colonial settler enclave statelet – must be destroyed. Its negation and the positing of a democratic secular state therefore facilitates the class interests of the proletariat as a whole in the whole region. This is why this secular bourgeois democratic state can only be a provisional solution but, nevertheless, a “just” solution within the parameters of bourgeois norms of democracy and secularism. The position of the one-state solution is, therefore, to resolve the contradictory dynamic of the relationship between Zionism and the rights of the Palestinian people onto a higher secular democratic level which provides the historical basis and presuppositions for a higher form of struggle. The struggle for a socialist Palestine.