A Palestinian State must not be defined as an Israeli interest
Last June, the Israeli organisation, Peace Now’s Settlement Watch project released a report describing how the Bennett-Lapid government increased settlement expansion planning by 26 per cent. Under the heading, ‘The government of unequivocal annexation: one year of the Bennett-Lapid government’, the report shows how the coalition government entrenched former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s settlement expansion and forced displacement of Palestinians.
Peace Now is committed to the two-state compromise, which explains its banner featuring an Israel and Palestinian flag welcoming US President Joe Biden to Israel, whose visit commences tomorrow. Peace Now’s statement, as reported by several Israeli media outlets, sheds more light on the travesty of committing to a defunct paradigm, which essentially means accepting Israeli colonisation by default.
“We welcome President Biden, a true friend of Israel, and thank him for his efforts to advance interests and strengthen Israel,” Peace Now stated. A true friend of Israel can never be a friend of Palestine – diplomacy has proved that through the two-state compromise.
“This sign seeks to remind the [US] President – an avid supporter of the two-state solution – that a Palestinian state is, first and foremost, an Israeli interest and that the region cannot have a better future without peace with our Palestinian neighbours,” Peace Now elaborated.
A Palestinian state which is an Israeli interest is a corrupted vision to speak of. The 1947 Partition Plan is one of the first visible examples of how the international community made Palestine a Zionist interest to pave the way for a settler-colonial state to replace the indigenous population. Since then, Palestine has been treated either as a collective international project to deplete for Israel’s interests, or else Israel’s project to annihilate as its government wishes. In neither perspective are Palestinians recognised as the indigenous population whose political rights have been stolen through the Zionist colonial project.
In a blatant show of impunity, the international community’s insistence on the two-state compromise has obliterated any mention of Palestinian political rights and autonomy. With Israel having colonised and occupied Palestine, gradually entrenching an apartheid system, speaking of the two-state paradigm as the only solution, or stating that an entity is working towards its fruition, is tantamount to an admission of supporting the colonisation process. Settlement expansion, while obviously directly related to colonialism, is now spoken of in terms of how it removes prospects of the two-state hypothesis only. But there is almost no mention of how the insistence upon the two-state obliterates the Palestinian people’s political rights and, with that, the prospect of a state, even one completely controlled by Israel and which does not even acknowledge the Palestinian right of return as a political right.
In 1967, Israel entrenched its military occupation across Palestine. Any support for the two-state compromise, at best, is merely theoretical. Yet advocates know full well that insisting on the two-state as the only option eliminates the Palestinian people’s political rights, because there is no way that Israel will relinquish an inch of Palestine. Seeing as settlement expansion has impeded even the realisation of such a pro-colonial framework, Peace Now calling upon Biden to pay heed to the status quo reads as a pro-Israel and pro-colonial move. A Palestinian state is a Palestinian interest, and the Palestinian interest is incomplete without decolonisation.