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The UN and Israel are on the same page

January 25, 2024 at 8:00 pm

The United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres speaks at a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on the Middle East, including the situation in Gaza and Israel on January 23, 2024 in New York City [Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

Even in the midst of Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians, the UN Secretary-General is still pursuing the defunct two-state paradigm. While addressing the UN Security Council earlier this week, Antonio Guterres called for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestine, while calling out Israeli officials on their rejection of the two-state “solution”. However, if this so-called solution is defunct as a result of Israel’s colonial expansion which the UN allowed — as it is — what exactly is Israel rejecting and what is Guterres upholding?

“The right of the Palestinian people to build their own fully independent state must be recognised by all,” Guterres stated. “And any refusal to accept the two-state solution by any party must be firmly rejected.”

At this point, rejecting the two-state diplomacy means rejecting a defunct hypothesis. Guterres, however, continued: “What is the alternative? How would a one-state solution look with such a large number of Palestinians inside without any rights and dignity? This would be inconceivable.”

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There are many implications to Guterres’s statement, none of which are favourable for Palestinians. Primarily, he is assuming that the one-state concept emanates solely from the Israeli colonial narrative, which would see a single colonial entity established over the entirety of Palestine. Moreover, by promoting the two-state paradigm, Guterres is advancing the one-state colonial reality for Israel, for the simple reason that the UN is completely behind Israel in its endeavours. This is besides the fact that two states are no longer viable, not to mention still unfavourable for Palestinians in terms of land ownership and liberation, even if it were still possible to achieve.

The secretary-general’s rhetoric gives Palestinians no options. The two-state “solution” is defunct, which means Palestinians can aspire to nothing in that regard. A one-state colonial reality only entrenches the current reality and leaves Palestinians exposed to even more Israeli colonial terrorism. However, there is an alternative, and one which Guterres pretends does not exist. It’s called decolonisation.

The Palestinian anti-colonial struggle is legitimate.

This is a fact which the UN and Guterres have eliminated completely from their discourse because it doesn’t suit the two-state propaganda. In a post-colonial era, Palestinians are still living a colonial reality and decolonisation is the only viable option for a population which was ethnically cleansed in 1948 and is now experiencing genocide in a tiny besieged enclave. The UN has done nothing but talk about another humanitarian ceasefire — even though in November that led to an increase in Israel’s killing of Palestinian civilians — and remind the world that Palestinians deserve nothing better than rhetoric about “two states”. Essentially, Guterres is stating that Palestinians are undeserving of political rights, of their land, and of liberation, which takes the UN full circle back to when it endorsed partition in 1947 based on colonial superiority and indigenous subjugation. The UN and Israel are on the same page.

When Guterres states that everyone must recognise the Palestinians’ right to build their independent state, does he include himself in the equation? And when he speaks of the two-state “solution”, does he realise that the UN is thus condoning the ethnic cleansing since 1948 and the deprivation of Palestinians of their land? Just like Israel, the UN endorses the colonial approach and implementation, and just like Israel, Guterres is depriving Palestinians of their political rights by refusing to promote the only viable solution: decolonisation.

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