Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to London for the centenary commemoration of the Balfour Declaration included an interview with the BBC. It was made clear that both the one-state and the two-state scenarios are not what Netanyahu envisages as an outcome. The statements given during the interview should provide ample proof that deliberate diplomatic procrastination is the only favourable option for Israel, as during such delays it consolidates its colonial expansion with the intent of eliminating Palestine completely.
The two-state paradigm, which the international community has endorsed for the purported creation of “an independent, viable Palestinian state” was criticised by Netanyahu as vague. “The other state,” he explained, “if it’s not demilitarised, if it doesn’t recognise the State of Israel, which the Palestinians still refuse to do, then it merely becomes a platform for continuing the war against the one Jewish State.” Israel’s illegal settlements eating away at Palestinian territory on a daily basis, he insisted, are a “side-issue”.
As far as Israel is concerned, Palestinians should only exist within a limited framework that facilitates their own annihilation. “I think they should have all the powers to govern themselves and none of the powers to threaten us,” added Netanyahu.
The implications of the Prime Minister’s words should be reversed in order to analyse their implicit violence. Israel’s very foundation and existence is based upon such violent intent, terrorism and aggression. As such, its survival is dependent upon an extension of the same tactics which have been perfected and normalised to look like routine acts necessitating nothing more than condemnation without any repercussions for the perpetrators. Politically, that same violence has led to strategies encompassing the Palestinian leadership’s betrayal of its territory and people; this includes the endorsement of the two-state compromise.
Seen within the context of the Balfour Declaration, the two-state paradigm is another example of how ambiguities were ultimately constructed into benefits for colonial plunder. In the same way, proponents of the one-state or two-state possibilities are immersed within the same predicament. The two-state imposition, endorsed by the international community and yet declared obsolete by the so-called Middle East Quartet, is vague for both Israel and Palestine. The difference lies in how the ambiguities are translated into benefits for Israel, rather than favouring the colonised Palestinians in their quest for autonomy.
Meanwhile, the one-state notion, which is gaining tract as an alternative based upon democratic principles, has been rejected by Netanyahu. If implemented, though, there is a chance that it would reflect the colonial narrative instead of enshrining Palestinian rights, the reason being that political uncertainty for Palestinians consolidates territorial expansion for Israel. A single state without decolonisation will, in that case, become a reflection of Israel’s current demands.
For Netanyahu, paradigms lacking specifics are an ideal platform. If, one hundred years ago, a declaration paved the way for Palestine’s plunder, the current impasse, particularly the lack of defined objectives, is part of a solution for Israel. The ideal scenario for Netanyahu is, obviously, the geophysical elimination of Palestine; that is, after all, a mainstream Zionist objective. Contrary to the implication of his BBC interview, there is no existential threat and no war against Israel.
As long as decolonisation is not given a political platform – a step which would propel the Palestinians’ right to resist Israel’s military occupation away from the confines of international law and into practice – Israel can refute any purported solution at leisure, since the lack of clarity will ensure that any hypothetical implementation conforms to its demands. In that sense, Israel’s manipulation of the current situation mirrors the objectives and endeavours inherent in Balfour’s infamous century-old letter.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.