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The diminution of Palestine

A recent interview with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on CNN has elicited a barrage of criticism against current incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu. According to Barak, his successor has a "hidden agenda" which does not incorporate the two-state paradigm. In turn, Barak's comments were countered by Netanyahu's spokesman David Keyes, who blamed Palestinians for the stalling of negotiations.

"The present situation is very dangerous for Israel," declared Barak, "because it will end up with one state from the Mediterranean to the River Jordan with millions of Palestinians in it." The possibility of voting rights, added Barak, would result in a "binational state overnight and within a generation or so, [a] binational state with [a] Muslim majority and probably a civil war between its two different peoples."

In his response to Barak's comments, Keyes is reported to have stated: "You can't negotiate with yourself," adding that the Palestinians are refusing offers to negotiate. Between the conflicting assertions by Barak and Keyes, the discussion has not altered much, although it does bring a purported comparison between the one-state and two-state hypotheses.

The one-state scenario is at times viewed as an alternative to the two-state imposition which the international community has admitted is no longer feasible but still continues to promote as part of its efforts to secure the complete colonisation of Palestinian territory. A one-state alternative, hypothetically, would ascertain rights for Palestinians and possibly change demography which would eliminate the concept of the "Jewish state". Netanyahu has been accused by critics and opponents alike of driving Israel towards the possibility of a binational state, or of coercing Israel into a situation where it is a party to its own downfall.

Such detached opinions are either a distraction from the unfolding reality, or else an instigation to accelerate further colonial expansion. There is little chance that Netanyahu, in collaboration with the international community, would allow Palestinians to reclaim a semblance of their rightful position. Symbolism has become the official response, masquerading as support for Palestinian rights.

Furthermore, the international community has not been averse to flaunting the discrepancies visible when insisting upon the two-state imposition whilst simultaneously declaring it to be obsolete. The scheming behind such overt contradictory assertions is clear: settlement expansion in the absence of an agreement is assured, more Palestinians will find themselves displaced and the cycle of internal exile will add to the deprivation of rights.

Since the Palestinian Authority has already flaunted its willingness to bargain over Palestinian lives and concede to settlement expansion countered by predictable wounded rhetoric at the UN, Israel does not need a partner to negotiate. Keyes' statement is replete with coinciding interpretations. In the absence of a negotiating partner, Israel tramples over Palestinians with impunity. If the negotiating partner — with reference to the PA — is accessible, Israel can colonise through belligerence and collaboration.

Seen within the wider context, any purported disagreements with Netanyahu are more likely to provide an incentive for Israel to colonise more rapidly, rather than usher in a moment of doubt. As long as complicity remains intact, it matters little what the theoretical conjectures of the one-state and two-state paradigms offer. The facts on the ground speak for themselves, reaping various degrees of shame from the UN and the PA due to their willingness to compromise the fundamental principles of resistance for thwarted negotiations until there is nothing left to negotiate about.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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