A Peace Process or Paltustans?
For almost two decades we have been hearing about a “peace process” – supposedly a historic reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians that will put an end to the conflict by creating a Palestinian state. The media repeats it, heads of states repeat it, commentators and pundits left to right repeat it, even the prospective Palestinian President is willing to give up his United Nations vote initiative if this elusive peace process were to resume tomorrow.
The problem is, as some keen observers have noted, that there never has been a peace process for the simple reason that there cannot be a peace process between an occupier and the occupied, between a state and a stateless dispossessed civilian population, between a warden and his prisoners. The “peace process” is just a code name for the Israeli attempt (together with its American enabler) to give an official state status to the Bantustans that it has already created for Palestinians with its well known policy of “putting facts on the ground”. It is a charade designed to hold off international pressure every few years when the Palestinians revolt against their oppressors. If you do not know what Bantustans are, you can look it up – the analogy is striking. To put it concisely, the Bantustan solution was an “ingenious” invention by the Apartheid S. African regime to relieve itself from the non-white population and maintain control of S. Africa by declaring non-whites as citizens of the “Bantustans” (a pejorative nickname, named after the Bantu tribe). The Bantustans (officially named “Homelands”) themselves were small enclaves created for that purpose by the Apartheid Government without any infrastructure, economic viability or any other such vestiges of a viable state. This way whites could continue controlling S. Africa. The world saw through this ruse and rejected the Bantustan solution off hand. (As a side note, not-so-surprisingly, Israel was the only UN member to have supported and granted some formal recognition to the Bantustans)
Thirty years later the exact same idea is being implemented in the West Bank and Gaza, but surprise, surprise, America supports the Bantustan solution and provides the diplomatic cover under the guise of a “peace process” – a never-ending set of talks in which the Israeli master makes “generous offers” to his subjects like a warden offering to improve his prisoners’ imprisonment conditions if they behave well. The Israelis are then deeply offended when their ungrateful subjects reject those magnanimous offers, instead of bowing down in gratitude at such display of generosity.
Why is the Palestinian Bantustans such a bad idea? Besides the fact that it is immoral and only rewards Israel for its intransigence and its policy of “creating facts on the ground” against International Law and the Geneva Convention – the emerging Paltustan solution is going to be an unstable situation in the long run as Palestinians will sooner or later revolt at such a “state” that the Israelis/Americans are preparing for them and intend to dictate to their selected Palestinian despot. That in return will result in the emergence of resistance groups, which will bring about the predictable cycle of violence in which Palestinians will be on the receiving side, as usual, and in the long run will enable Israel to execute its Nakba II plan – the completion of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that began in 1948. Gaza is just a preview of what the Israelis consider a “state” – a strip of land surrounded by barbed wire, fences and walls, with no control of its air, sea, water or borders and surrounded by Israeli military “security zones” (naturally, inside tiny Gaza…). In addition to these contraptions, the West Bank Bantustans will have settlement blocks and bypass roads in their midst, Israeli military checkpoints to move from one Bantustan to another and all other such inventions that the Israelis have perfected in their 44 years (and counting) of Apartheid rule in the territories. And they will call that a “state”.
The “two state solution” may have had a chance back in 1967 but the Israeli policy of “putting facts on the ground”, the building of large settlement blocks (and which not so incidentally were designed to prevent the partition of the land) contravening International Law and the Geneva Convention, the solidification of the infrastructure and the corralling of Palestinians into enclaves, have made the two state solution a formalization of the Bantustan idea, which the world must reject. Sure there are some good Israelis such as Uri Avnery who truly believe in a viable Palestinian state in the 1967 borders but those are few and far in between and since no Israeli Prime Minister is going to evacuate half a million settlers (and the ultra-nationalist settlers will not agree to become citizens of a Palestinian state), a viable Palestinian state is history at this point. As an Israeli pundit has noted “the egg has been scrambled and cannot be unscrambled”.
The only people who still believe in the “two state solution” are people who haven’t looked at the map in the last 20 years and are not aware of the realities on the ground. Let’s just take for example the settlement of Ariel, a town of 20,000 in the heart of the West Bank, positioned precisely by the Israeli planners as to put a wedge between the Nablus Bantustan and the Ramallah Bantustan. No Israeli Prime Minister will evacuate Ariel (which has since gained a city status) under any future “peace agreement”. The result will be an Israeli “lagoon” jutting into the heart of Paltustan. And Ariel is only one of dozens. So will be East Jerusalem. The Israeli planners were careful to surround the Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem with Jewish illegal settlements. Therefore, under any “peace agreement” the East Jerusalem Paltustan will be a small enclave with only an access road that the Israeli military will be easily able to cut off at any time of their choosing. Needless to mention, Paltustan will be “demilitarized” i.e. will not be allowed to have an army, therefore foregoing the right to defend itself, indefinitely.
Much like in S. Africa there is only one just solution that will be stable in the long run, ensures the security of Jews and Arabs alike, does not require the uprooting of populations and will enable all people, immigrants and natives alike, Jews Muslims and Christians, to build a better future for their children: that solution is equality for all in a state for all its citizens, regardless of their religion or ethnicity and a complete separation of state and religion. Some people call this the one state solution, I just call this the Democratic solution. The Paltustan solution which the Israelis are attempting to dictate is bound to fail. In the long run such failure will be disastrous for Jews and Arabs alike.