quotes The two-state solution for Israel and Palestine is very much alive

22 June 2024
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Updated 21 June 2024

The two-state solution for Israel and Palestine is very much alive

When the establishment of the state of Israel was proclaimed by David Ben-Gurion on May 14, 1948, the eve of the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine, there was no reference at all to any borders except for the use of the term Eretz Israel (Land of Israel), which many Israelis have always considered as encompassing the entire Biblical land of Israel.

The UN General Assembly Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947 had mapped suggested borders, but Israel’s proclamation and the subsequent war between Israel and Arab neighbors all but erased that initial international basis for an Israeli and a Palestinian state.

Ever since, the very idea and potential of a Palestinian state has been deliberately deconstructed by each generation of Israeli leaders. It has been their clear intention to make the establishment of a Palestinian state as difficult in every possible way, both practically and politically. After pockmarking remaining Palestinian lands with Israeli settlements ever since the 1967 war, Israel now claims that this self-made reality makes a Palestinian state inconceivable today.

This fundamental misconception and dishonesty made me think of an episode in India’s history that was powerfully represented in the movie, “Gandhi.” The episode concerns the Amritsar massacre of April 1919, in which Indians protesting the arrest of pro-independence activists were trapped by British troops under the direction of General Dyer on the Jallianwala Bagh and fired at until the British had no bullets left. Up to 1,500 people are said to have died, with many more injured.

In the movie, Gandhi attends a meeting with Lord Chelmsford, the viceroy of India, who is forced to repudiate the massacre perpetrated by his troops.

Gandhi responds: “Despite the best intentions of the best of you, you must, in the nature of things, humiliate us to control us,” concluding: “It is time you left.”

The viceroy, stating that India is British, asks Gandhi: “You don’t think we’re just going to walk out of India?” — to which Gandhi simply answers: “Yes.” Gandhi adds that “in the end, you will walk out, because 100,000 Englishmen simply cannot control 350,000,000 Indians if those Indians refuse to cooperate.” The British mocked Gandhi’s statement, considering the concept of an independent India as simply not possible.

Colonial Britain’s standpoint on India was not so different from Israel’s insistence today that a Palestinian state is simply not possible because there are too many Israeli settlements dotting Palestinian territories — facts on the ground that they claim can no longer be removed.

Israeli leaders would do well to note that India did indeed receive its independence and today constitutes the world’s largest democracy. The transparent intentions of Israeli policy, seeking to prove to the world by any vicious means that a Palestinian state cannot be viable, constitutes a litany of breaches of international law.

We should also remind everyone concerned that the intent to commit a crime can be as great a violation as the crime itself. Every Israeli war, every Israeli settlement, every act of violence against Palestinians and every tool of “divide and rule” employed by Israel, should be provided as evidence that Israel carries full responsibility for the current situation and must be held responsible not only for its crimes but also for doing everything in its power to see off the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The world has long seen through Israel’s actions and cannot give up on a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which necessitates the establishment of a viable Palestinian state and a resolution to the issue of refugees. No one should fall into Israel’s trap and consider that a Palestinian state is somehow no longer possible — it is the only basis for a just resolution of an almost century-old conflict.

There was no such state as Israel before 1948 and there cannot not be a Palestinian state today. Israel must immediately halt its wars, its violence and its sophistry, for the international community is very much aware of Israel’s intention to victimize, starve and simply make Palestinians disappear, as has been officially stated by current Israeli ministers who called for a nuclear bomb on Gaza or cutting off all food, water and electricity to the territory. As ever-more countries recognize a Palestinian state, now is the time to call Israel’s bluff and without delay make that Palestinian state a reality.

 • Hassan bin Youssef Yassin worked closely with Saudi Arabia’s petroleum ministers, Abdullah Tariki and Ahmed Zaki Yamani, from 1959-1967. He led the Saudi Information Office in Washington from 1972-1981 and served with the Arab League’s observer delegation to the UN from 1981-1983.