Now that Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu is reinstalled as Israel’s commander, expect the “one-state solution” to be nudged closer and closer to reality. It is easy to laugh off the one state solution. It seems a crazy, unthought-out plan: How could Israel deny the Palestinians a state and still be a democracy? After all, there are almost five million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and if they got the vote they would make Israel’s Jewish population a minority. And surely even the Israelis know that if they take the Palestinian state off the table they will eventually have to give the Palestinians a vote?
No, that is most certainly not what Netanyahu is thinking. What many misunderstand is that to Netanyahu and his cohorts Gaza is not a failure… rather it is the blueprint for the one-state solution.
The one-state solution means Palestinian urban populations will be walled in much like Gaza is. Theirs will be made garrison towns and city-states completely encircled by a walled barrier mounted by snipers and reinforced with the best military technology on the planet.
The blueprint for this is already in place. It has been publicly advertised; it is now demarcated on maps for the tourists. Israel has divided the West Bank into Areas. Area C accounts for almost two-thirds of the West Bank but only 5% of its population. The remaining area contains 95% of West Bank Palestinians. And for those Palestinians, they will simply be surrounded by extending an existing wall. An international human rights lawyer explained to me late last year in East Jerusalem, “in practice nothing changes. The [Palestinian Authority] has no real control of Area C already”.
Make no mistake, this is not fake news. It is what Netanyahu means when he talks about annexing the West Bank; it is what the Palestinians expect from the Trump administration’s peace plan for the Middle East.
The one-state solution is a Gaza model for all Palestinians. And why not? The Israeli government has convinced the world that its practices in Gaza are acceptable. While Russia is under international sanctions for taking Crimea and giving its locals citizenship and voting rights, Israel has never been sanctioned for its taking of Gaza, even though that population has no voting rights and no autonomy. And regardless of the vocal protests of UCT academics and European diplomats, actions speak much louder than words.
Israel’s founding father, Theodor Herzl, said in 1903: “If you will it, it is no dream”. Herzl was right except for one major part. If you will a dream you don’t get a dream you get a nightmare. Like that Chinese curse, “I hope you get everything you ask for”, what one dreams of rarely delivers what is expected. In this case, Israel has everything it dreamed of, an indomitable military, a booming economy (Israel is now richer GDP per capita than the United Kingdom), energy independence (a quarter trillion dollars of natural gas in the Mediterranean) and an American president that vetoes every criticism and blesses every Israeli decision.
The problem is the cost.
Instead of Israel’s children growing up to a proud military that defends the state, soldiers will now spend their years in conscription shooting Palestinian protestors, humiliating Palestinians in checkpoints, guarding pasty, trust fund-fattened, lunatic American Zionists in their quest for ever-expanding settlements in the West Bank.
Instead of an Israel that has graduated to be a global intellectual leader like its founders dreamed of, all of its success is wrought null in the minds of the global academy, an academy where Israel’s defenders become a rare oddity to be protected for fear of distinction.
Instead of a Jewish community with its head held high, the community turns on itself rendering Jewish institutions into puppet theatres for Israel to bash Jews like Justice Goldstone who disagree with the consensus. And globally, Jews will continue to be hated for Israel’s uncompromising aggressions while also being victimised by angry Islamic terrorists and right-wing white extremists alike.
Now that Israel finally has what it wants, expect more of the same. It will cast aside the Jewish diaspora: they already don’t have enough cash to matter and are, in any case, an unwanted check on Israel’s excesses. The military, the pride of the nation, will fragment. Cosmopolitan Israeli soldiers already wonder why they need to risk their lives to escort Jews in their unholy crusades to build settlements in places Hebron or to defend sociopath cretins who make a point of praying at the Muslim Dome of the Rock and calling for its very destruction.
And, socially and economically with Israel’s embrace of rabid capitalism, growing inequalities will continue to grow more visible making apparent for millions of Israelis that they will never break into the upper class of dotcom billionaires. And the international community, in reality, is already tiring of criticism. Even Arab States could not muster the enthusiasm to protest Israel’s annexation of the Golan nor the moving of the American embassy to Jerusalem. With Israel’s gas reserves and technology advances, the world has a real incentive to intervene less; Israel will be left to its own devices as it always dreamed of.
What will remain is a Palestinian population wavering on the edge of poverty in open-air prisons across Israel. Their plight will worsen: the Palestinian population grows at double the rate of Israel’s and they will never be given more land. And for Jews the world over, the question of loyalty to Israel will slowly morph into nothing more than about maintaining and denying a never-ending occupation.
If you will it, it is no dream, if you succeed, it is no dream… what is left is a black hole of misery and despair with no hope in sight, a nightmare that could have been imagined only by Israel’s most sadistic foes. But hey, it works for Netanyahu, it works for Israel’s rich and it works just fine for the settlers and their legions of supporters the world over. DM