For all of the energy, emotion, for all of the massacres that have occurred over the past several decades in the Holy Land, for all of the advocacy of one-state or two-state solutions, there has never quite been an acknowledgement that there has yet really to be a problem.
Yes, you’ve heard me correctly. What is the problem?
True, Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have been herded, abused, concentrated into enclaves and deprived of basic human rights, but to an Israeli government who routinely and periodically ‘mows the lawn’ by launching ever more fancifully and bizarrely named ‘operations’, the plight of Palestinians is really not aproblem. And to the United States government, whose aid to Israel, whose business relations with Israeli corporations and whose use of Israel as a client state in a resource-rich region are not affected by war crimes or ethical violations, there is noproblem either.
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And where there is no problem there is no need for a solution.
Now that Benjamin Netanyahu has openly asserted he will never allow a Palestinianstate in his successful bid for reelection, the mask has been torn off the face of the Oslo accords, the Roadmap for Peace and the charade of an internationally sanctioned so-called ‘two state’ solution. There is in fact One State and One State it will remain, albeit an apartheid state, unless other pressures are brought to bear on Israel to alter its political behaviour.
This is where the matter becomes more and more interesting in debates on the Left. On one side, ably represented by Noam Chomsky et al., are those who press for means to force Israel into recognition of international law and independentPalestinian political autonomy by pressuring the United States government from within, as it were. And on the other side are those of the so-called BDS movement who are advocating economic constraints on Israel, and ostensibly take no position on definitive political arrangements as long as Palestinian human rights are won and preserved. BDS has been called a cult, has been accused of covertly seeking the dissolution of the Israeli nation, and has been deemed disingenuous or naive by its critics for its tactical position.
The matter is further complicated by the near universal equation of criticism of Israel the nation-state with anti-semitism.
So what, under the circumstances, can be done?
As I said earlier, as long as there is no problem, there will be no solution. The atrocities carried out against the Palestinians are a problem for the Palestinians alone – and of course, albeit in a vastly more removed manner, for those who sympathize with their plight. Now that the world has seen the ruthlessness and criminality of Israel’s last escapade in Gaza with an irrefutable transparency, and done nothing in response, the fate of the Palestinians will be the fate of a marginalised suffering population too powerless to stem the tide of Israeli aggression and international passivity, unless …
Unless their problem becomes a problem for others. Unless corporate and political entities decide that they can no longer stomach the murder and massacre of civilians, the violation of internationally sanctioned refuges, and the macabre and perfidious cruelty against the helpless, which occur daily in the Occupied Territories.
Unless a clear message is sent to the state of Israel that it will no longer be business as usual. That in fact it will no longer in fact be business at all.
Then who knows? Maybe enough will be finally be too much, and maybe Israel’s great supporter might suffer a qualm or two of conscience and be less forthcoming of its ‘charitable donations’ and military support.
Unlikely, yes, improbable, no doubt.
But one thing is certain: without any such appeal to human morality, the status quo will remain just that, the status quo: a non-problem that will never need to be solved.