How one-state solution is inevitable now

Gideon Levy in Haaretz on how the two-state solution in Israel/Palestine is long dead – thank you America, settlers, the Israeli government and the Zionist Diaspora – and there’s only one outcome now:

Even a dead body can sometimes twitch reflexively. Here we go again: The settlers have occupied another building. Their lawyer isn’t ashamed to boast about the deceptive way the property was acquired. The ministers make their pilgrimages. The defense minister pulls a surprise eviction. The right is furious, the remnants of the left utter praise, and even Europe and America seem satisfied – look, another settler real estate grab has been thwarted.

If it hadn’t involved the private property of an unfortunate Palestinian family it would have been one more laughable farce. If we weren’t talking about a hopeless rearguard battle there would be a reason for outrage.

But there’s no point in outrage now. Migron, Hebron, whatever – the war is over. The victor was declared long ago, the vanquished was defeated long ago, notwithstanding yesterday’s evacuation in Hebron. All that’s left is the reflexive twitching of the corpse: the targeted removal – a drop in the bucket – and a last gasp from the moribund left.

The part of Hebron under Israeli control, H2 under the 1997 Hebron Protocol, has for years been a ghost town, with hundreds of abandoned apartments and dozens of shuttered stores; a mute testament to the purest and most undeniable form of apartheid. But the “protest” continues: Another house on the wild prairie was saved.

But we could have given the settlers that house; it wouldn’t have changed anything. Let them have Migron, that won’t make or break anything either. Even the 50 homes in Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood won’t change the bigger picture. The occupation is more entrenched than ever, its end more remote than ever, and the settlers have won in a stinging knockout.

It’s time to raise the white flag, to admit publicly that the two-state solution has been foiled. There’s no point in celebrating yesterday’s evacuation of Hamachpela House, because there are thousands of other buildings just like it. It doesn’t even pay to fight for the rule of law; if the state has the audacity to try to circumvent a ruling of the High Court of Justice, as it tried to with Migron, even that looks like a lost cause.

If the apartheid neighborhood in Hebron could not stir Israelis from their moral fog – and any decent person who visits there is shocked to the depths of their being – and if life goes on undisturbed, with no moral questions, even as this horror occurs in our own backyard, then what difference does another stolen house make? Let it go, let other houses go; the chance for a solution is long past.

Even the twitching of the dead are moving. The determination of organizations such as B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence and Gush Shalom not to surrender should evoke admiration here and abroad. But it’s hard to revel in them when they are fighting a final battle.

Hamachpela House was evacuated. But like its predecessor in Hebron – known variously as “Peace House,” “The Brown House or “Beit Hameriva” (“The House of Contention” ), which has stood empty for more than three years, and hundreds of abandoned homes whose sole occupants are the ghosts of justice and of Israeli democracy – its owners will presumably never be able to return to live there.

The battle for Hebron has been decided. All that remains is to ask what will replace the solution that was put to death. There will not be two states. Even a child knows the alternative: one state. There is no third option. Israel’s most radical left won. For years it said one state, even as we played with ourselves at two states. Now everyone says two states, in unison, only because they know that train has left the station, and the great train robbery was pulled off.

From now we need only take care with our definitions: The extreme left is whoever endeavors toward a single state – the plundering settlers, the establishment that embraces them and the majority of Israelis, who do not lift a finger to stop them.

The Palestinians, as everyone knows by now, aren’t going anywhere. There is even a handful of settlers that has begun talking about giving them citizenship. If this, too, is not a ruse, then this little group is openly reconciling with the great victory of Israel’s most extreme left.

The struggle? From now on it must focus on human rights. Yes, equal rights for everyone who lives in Greater Israel, just as you wanted.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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