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I was quite dismayed by Franklin Spinney’s recent column regarding the two-state solution. While I respect and value his graphics regarding the water resources, his logic is simply in error and requires a mature critique.
First, the very basic outlook of this article is that one cannot impact the behavior of the Israeli settlers. This is a simple logical flaw. The reality is that the settlers are there precisely because of a subsidy that involves American tax monies. This in turn means that, should Americans demand of their tax dollars cease being used to fund the illegal settlements, the Israelis will either have to do some serious financial restructuring or the settlers will have to move to subsidized housing inside Israel proper. Those who refuse to budge will have to do so in a Palestinian state. Think removing this subsidy is impossible? How long did it take Bill Clinton to get rid of the subsidy to poor mothers via Welfare?
Second, in all frankness, one must ask seriously whose agenda is benefitted by this logic. Omar Barghouti, founder of the BDS Movement, comes from a Palestinian family that has ties to both Fatah and Hamas. Mohammad Barghouti was a labor minister of the Palestinian Authority and Abdullah Barghouti was a leading commander in Hamas’ armed wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. I have no interest in casting dispersions here but I think the BDS program is much more beneficial for Fatah than Hamas. For illustration, let us just consider the instance of a destroyed house in Gaza. Under a single state solution, it is highly likely that such a house would be rebuilt under a loan package administered by the Western financial system. It is also likely that the major military and political leaders in Hamas would be neutralized under the auspices of anti-terrorism. Such a loan would include in its fine print typical neoliberal financial devices that almost guarantee default, not unlike the sub-prime housing instruments that were sold by Countrywide in the lead-up to the 2008 economic crash. As such, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine would go from overt violence, as exemplified by home demolition, to covert forms, as in the case of gentrification. But under a two-state solution, the BRICS nations, along with things like the Development Bank within the Shanghai Cooperative Network, would be able to finance Palestinian reconstruction under loan terms that would be much more beneficial for the population.
Third, while the two state solution might seem further and further away due to the settlements, the reality is that the international consensus remains overwhelmingly in favor of the pre-June 1967 borders defining two states. There is nothing in the international consensus otherwise. My own opinion is that the hasbara 2.0 system sees the BDS platform as useful to its efforts and can utilize an argument for a one state solution to actualize the completion of the annexation of Palestinian land. Combined with the norms of gentrification, we could see this made a reality within a generation, thereby invalidating the so-called “demographic problem” that would invalidate the land as a “Jewish state”. Whether or not this is the motivation or goal of Omar Barghouti and the larger movement is incidental, the neoliberal power structure knows how to play this game much better than any activist does because it knows how the deck is stacked. I therefore am hesitant to engage with the BDS program’s conclusions while certainly respecting those who advocate for Palestinian rights. It is simply a matter of knowing that having one’s position advocated for by The New York Times is a bad sign for those you are advocating for.
The Palestinians deserve a state of their own wherein, through democratic means, they can finally rid themselves of the wretched Fatah collaborators like Abu Mazen. Under a single state, he would be ensconced in power under the banner of “moderation” and “appeasement of Israelis”. Who in their right mind wants such a thing?