Sunday, March 11, 2007
By Gideon Levy
"A great surprise: The overwhelming majority of Israelis support a one-state solution. After years in which the binational solution was anathema, it has suddenly become apparent that this is the preferred solution. You don't believe it? Look at the opinion polls. Benjamin Netanyahu is again leading them. You don't believe Netanyahu advocates this solution? Listen to his words. Once again, Netanyahu "does not find" a Palestinian partner. The conclusion: Wait and do nothing.
Netanyahu is not alone. Judging by their inaction, the prime minister and the foreign minister are also unable to find a partner; it is furthermore doubtful whether the Labor Party will find one. There are heaps and heaps of preconditions - one time it is the democratization of the Palestinians and another time it is their recognition of Israel; one time it is a halt to terror and another time it is a revision of their covenant; one time it is "no" to Arafat, then "no" to Mahmoud Abbas (the "fledgling") and now it is "no" to the unity government.
And the result is plain to see. One state, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, is coalescing before our very eyes. Because what are Netanyahu and his ilk offering? To sit and do nothing, which simply translates into a binational state. Most Israelis declare that they are in favor of two states? This is a hollow statement - after all, they prefer Netanyahu.
In fact, this is the real "big bang": The political map of Israel has been upended. There is no longer right and left, no more hawks and doves. The center, the right and the margins of the left are united. From now on, one should say: Israel is divided between supporters of one state, the overwhelming majority, and supporters of two states, a negligible minority.
Whoever does not work immediately for the formation of two states is pushing for one state. There is no other solution, no third way. Anyone who supports the settlement enterprise is a devotee of the greater Land of Israel.
"Tibi or Bibi?" It is more correct to say: "Netanyahu and Khaled Meshal forever." Both are proponents of a one-state solution and their dispute is only over the nature of this state - one favors an apartheid state and the other an Islamic state. Only the extreme left advocates a single democratic state.
All of the talk about the questions concerning the future of Israel is misleading. While Netanyahu is running on his favorite ticket, the danger of a holocaust emanating from Iran, a more acute question mark hovers over the declared character of Israel: Has it not already become a binational state? It will soon be divided into two equal halves, and later there will be an Arab majority. What is Israel if not a binational state? And what are 3.5 million Palestinians, who have already lived under Israeli occupation for 40 years, if not subjects of a state that has existed with the occupation for twice as many years as it has existed without it?
No, the occupation is not temporary, nor is the current nature of the state.
Enough empty talk about "a Jewish state." There is no such thing. The fact that the Palestinians live under unequal conditions does not make them subjects of another entity. On the contrary, the state's control of their lives is immeasurably greater than its control over its Jewish citizens.
"What good will it do - the time that is slipping like sand between the fingers, without taking any action," Netanyahu asked in an interview with Haaretz, published on Friday, in which he was described as someone who has "shifted to the center." But of course the "moderate" Netanyahu was referring to Iran, defiantly ignoring the really crucial hourglass. In another moment, the Palestinians will be a majority here, and then what? A minority that continues to abuse a majority? Non-citizens forever? South Africa has already taught us how this culminates.
This grown child must now be called by its name - Netanyahu, Yisrael Beiteinu, the National Religious Party, the settlers, Kadima and all those who reject negotiation should now be called "fans of the binational state." If it becomes a just state, perhaps this is good news. But is this really what the majority wants?"