State Department’s alternate reality on Palestine

The US State Department says Israeli settlement construction is cementing a one-state reality in Palestine.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

The Obama administration just handed Israel the largest military aid deal in US history. Now it is feigning outrage that Israel keeps colonizing the occupied West Bank, as it has done for decades, in defiance of the White House’s wishes.

“We strongly condemn the Israeli government’s recent decision to advance a plan that would create a significant new settlement deep in the West Bank,” State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said on Wednesday.

Toner added that “this settlement’s location deep in the West Bank, far closer to Jordan than Israel, would link a string of outposts that effectively divide the West Bank and make the possibility of a viable Palestinian state more remote.”

Though this was worded more robustly than usual, similar condemnations have been issued by the State Department countless times before.

“Cementing a one-state reality”

But there was a new element in the US condemnation: “Proceeding with this new settlement is another step towards cementing a one-state reality of perpetual occupation that is fundamentally inconsistent with Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state.”

This generated cynical reactions from critics of US policy:

That particular sentence also caught the interest of Associated Press reporter Matt Lee, who pressed State Department spokesperson John Kirby about it during Thursday’s press briefing.

The exchange that followed can be watched here:

During the exchange, Lee asks for elaboration on the previous steps – as implied in the statement – which the State Department views as undermining a two-state solution.

Kirby replies that the State Department was referring to earlier settlement building, adding that “what we need to see is leadership across the board moving towards a two-state solution.”

Lee then asks whether the Obama administration believes that Israel is “just flat-out either lying or doesn’t care about its stated commitment to a two-state solution and is, in fact, while saying publicly that that’s what they want, actually actively taking steps to cement a one-state solution?”

Emphasizing the State Department’s use of the word “cementing,” Lee says that the verb generally isn’t used to describe something “that happens by accident … It’s doing something intentionally.”

Kirby can only say that it is hard to see settlement building as consistent with Israel’s stated support for a two-state solution in historic Palestine (the land now partitioned into Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip).

Jewish and democratic?

Lee eventually pierces the core of the anguishing – for the US government – reality in Palestine.

Lee asks: “The Obama administration believes that the current government of Israel wants a perpetual occupation and a one-state reality that is not Jewish, or not Jewish and at the same time democratic?”

Kirby responds: “All I can go by is what they’ve said they want, and they say they want a two-state solution. What we’re saying is that this kind of activity is actually moving them in the other direction. It flies in the face of those comments.”

After a few more go-arounds concerning Israel’s actions versus its words, Said Arikat of the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds asks Kirby: “Would the United States support equal rights for the Palestinians in a one-state situation?”

“I’m not going to get into a hypothetical situation,” Kirby responds. “What we continue to support is a two-state solution.”

And yet, as Lee pointed out, the State Department said a one-state solution is being actively cemented – one in which Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and inside Israel live under a single regime of occupation, colonization and legal discrimination that affords them vastly inferior rights to Jews.

The White House will soon have to concede that it is not a hypothetical situation, but an extremely unequal reality that can only be maintained with brutal violence – and a blank check from the United States.

That reality is not lost on a growing number of Americans who are tired of funding it.




All signs are the Israeli government does not care a damn for a 2 SS, and you have got to be naive to see the illegal settlements being built by the thousands, the occupation going on, and the Palestinians suffering for decades, and think otherwise. The US government has been an accessory to these crimes, simply by sending endless aid and weapons, and even increasing it periodically. When will the US government and the media stop pulling the wool over our eyes, and admit to this?


The US government knows it is lying and it also knows that people know that it is lying, but it remains the expedient domestic electoral policy to NOT CONFRONT Zionist forces, AIPAC and all the other rabid pro-Zionist organs within the domestic political spectrum.


I can no longer read or listen to this man's words. They make me feel crazy-- like I'm being gaslighted by
a not-too-clever mental abuser. How can this poor excuse for a President not realize that most bright Americans see that his double speak/actions are revoltingly obvious?


Mealy-mouthed words for the benefit of the worlds press with no real intent behind them. These apologists for zionistan (the zionistas) would have not tolerated such actions on European soil but as it is happening on Arab soil it seems to be acceptable even in the face of evidence to the contrary.


Those who know the history of Zionism and the the so-called
"history of the Jewish people" are ahead of this government pablum.

It's rather like a prison warden offering participation in the running
of the criminal criminal in-"justice" system providing the prisoners
remain in their cells.

Isn't that wonderful??

Meanwhile billions of dollars are given to the prison system
including wardens for tighter and tighter
"security" (aka enforcement and oppression of the "equal"

"All men are created equal but some are more equal than others."
---George Orwell.

----Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA


Mr. Kirby's repeated insistence that "all we can go by" are the statements Israel issues - which are really nothing but bones Israel throws to the US government so the the US government isn't put in a politically untenable position within US domestic electoral politics by the pro-Zionist lobby, e.g., AIPAC - is NOTHING other than a demonstration that at this point in time there REMAINS no political will in the US government to face up to the despicable situation of unquestioned diplomatic and financial support for the Zionist project.


I think ei should be careful about this new use of 'one-state'. For us supporters of one DEMOCRATIC state it feels like the term 'one-state' is being stolen from us, being used to refer to one UNDEMOCRATIC state. We shouldn't, but we often refer to ourselves as 'one-state solution' supporters. We should always include the 'democratic'. Otherwise the hasbarites can slowly but surely co-opt the term 'one-state' for the situation that now de facto exists and would still exist were the West Bank actually annexed.
This whole shift in the narrative is giving 'one-state' a bad name so we must never use it alone. Always with the 'democratic'.

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Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.