US Secretary of State John Kerry is in despair over the all-too-predictable fact that negotiations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel have made no progress.
He should get used to that. The only thing his renewed “peace process” was ever likely to achieve was to provide a convenient cover for ongoing Israeli theft and colonization of Palestinian land.
Kerry seems to know this. In an interview he gave jointly to Israel’s Channel 2 and the PA-controlled Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation on 7 November, he addressed this rhetorical question at Israel:
How – if you say you’re working for peace and you want peace and a Palestine that is a whole Palestinian [sic] that belongs to the people who live there, how can you say we’re planning to build in the place that will eventually be Palestine? So it sends a message that somehow perhaps you’re not really serious.
“No such thing as a one-state solution”
So with hopes of a “two-state solution” slipping away, Kerry is having to reckon with growing talk about a single, democratic state in historic Palestine – a “one-state solution.”
During the interview, Kerry was asked by Palestinian journalist Maher Shalabi about the growing support among Palestinians for a “one-state solution.” Kerry’s answer was categorical:
Secretary Kerry: Well, there is no one-state solution. There’s no such thing as a one-state solution. You cannot have peace on any one side with the concept of a one-state solution. It just won’t happen. You can’t subsume other people into one state against their will. And it simply is not a reality. And anybody who’s talking about it doesn’t know really what – it’s just not possible. So you’ll have a perpetual state of conflict if somebody tries to achieve that.
Kerry is wrong
Kerry’s answer is predictable, but is it convincing?
On 29 October, I addressed precisely the question of the likelihood and possibility of a single state outcome in a lecture I gave at Middlebury College in Vermont.
The above video includes my talk titled “Palestine, Israeli Jews and the One-State Solution,” followed by questions and answers.
I go through the arguments why I believe Kerry – and so many others – have got it wrong. They fail to understand that the seeming impossibility of alternatives to partition is a symptom, not a cause, of the present settler-colonial regime.
I argue that as the Palestinian struggle changes the balance of power (it’s already happening), so the political possibilities will also shift and open up.
The talk is an abridged preview of a chapter in my forthcoming book (to be published early next year) from Haymarket Books.
I’d love to know what you think too.