The proposed end to Israeli occupation of the West Bank is a NATO occupation of 40,000 troops.
A large portion of the ridiculous proposal put forth as the “two-state solution” in the Middle East is the condition that the Palestinian nation-state be a demilitarized one, sectioned off by weaving Israeli settlements and infrastructure on land stolen from Palestinians.
A nation-state being defined by its monopoly of force transforms this illusion into little more than a self-detonating concept. In practice, media outlets are reporting, that this entails a NATO occupation of the West Bank.
“One of the reports suggested that French President Nicolas Sarkozy had proposed the idea, and that it included 40,000 NATO troops for the West Bank,” Jason Ditz writes at AntiWar News.
Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai approved 1,600 new settlement units in March—during a visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden—for Israelis to further occupy the West Bank. He recently stated, “There is not and never has been a freeze on construction in Jerusalem, nor will there ever be,” Ha’aretz reported.
No matter when individuals in the legislative and executive branches of Washington express in public, the truth is that this isn’t rogue Israeli policy. Washington refuses to set conditions on the $3bn of military welfare it continues to annually ship to Israel and the House of Representatives recently approved a bill, 410-4, to send an additional $205m as a supplemental.
The immunity consistently granted to Israel’s blanket violations of international humanitarian law and U.N. resolutions to this dispute, dating back over four decades is directly hypothetical for sanctions pressed on other nation-states—notably Iran and Iraq—over this same time span. The actions of the U.S. government in the international community toward other criminal nation-states define the U.S. government’s enabling actions as criminal, unacceptable and rogue.
Palestinian diplomats are publicly refuting reports of a NATO occupation as some sort of compromise, but—whether the reports are true or not—such a proposal would just never fly. The Arab League and the Palestinian people would never hand over the political capital. The extent to which the Palestinian Authority would collaborate to such an existential alternative will decide its viability.
University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer recently spoke at an event coordinated by The Palestine Center. The Realpolitik co-author of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy accurately noted:
Contrary to the wishes of the Obama administration and most Americans—to include many American Jews—Israel is not going to allow the Palestinians to have a viable state of their own in Gaza and the West Bank. Regrettably, the two-state solution is now a fantasy. Instead, those territories will be incorporated into a “Greater Israel,” which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa. Nevertheless, a Jewish apartheid state is not politically viable over the long term. In the end, it will become a democratic bi-national state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens. In other words, it will cease being a Jewish state, which will mean the end of the Zionist dream….
There are three possible alternatives to a two-state solution, all of which involve creating a Greater Israel—an Israel that effectively controls the West Bank and Gaza.
In the first scenario, Greater Israel would become a democratic bi-national state in which Palestinians and Jews enjoy equal political rights. This solution has been suggested by a handful of Jews and a growing number of Palestinians. However, it would mean abandoning the original Zionist vision of a Jewish state, since the Palestinians would eventually outnumber the Jews in Greater Israel.
Second, Israel could expel most of the Palestinians from Greater Israel, thereby preserving its Jewish character through an overt act of ethnic cleansing. This is what happened in 1948 when the Zionists drove roughly 700,000 Palestinians out of the territory that became the new state of Israel, and then prevented them from returning to their homes. Following the Six Day War in 1967, Israel expelled between 100,000 and 260,000 Palestinians from the newly conquered West Bank and drove 80,000 Syrians from the Golan Heights. The scale of the expulsion, however, would have to be even greater this time, because there are about 5.5 million Palestinians living between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.
The final alternative to a two-state solution is some form of apartheid, whereby Israel increases its control over the Occupied Territories, but allows the Palestinians to exercise limited autonomy in a set of disconnected and economically crippled enclaves.
These are the only possibilities for the foreseeable future. And though we disagree with Prof. Mearsheimer that the “final alternative” is the “best of these alternative futures”, we agree it is “no longer a serious option”, as he continued:
The main reason that a two-state solution is no longer a serious option is that most Israelis are opposed to making the sacrifices that would be necessary to create a viable Palestinian state, and there is little reason to expect them to have an epiphany on this issue. For starters, there are now about 480,000 settlers in the Occupied Territories and a huge infrastructure of connector and bypass roads, not to mention settlements. Much of that infrastructure and large numbers of those settlers would have to be removed to create a Palestinian state. Many of those settlers however, would fiercely resist any attempt to rollback the settlement enterprise. Earlier this month, Ha’aretz reported that a Hebrew University poll found that 21 percent of the settlers believe that “all means must be employed to resist the evacuation of most West Bank settlements, including the use of arms.” In addition, the study found that 54 percent of those 480,000 settlers “do not recognize the government’s authority to evacuate settlements”; and even if there was a referendum sanctioning a withdrawal, 36 percent of the settlers said they would not accept it….
In addition to these practical political obstacles to creating a Palestinian state, there is an important ideological barrier. From the start, Zionism envisioned an Israeli state that controlled all of Mandatory Palestine. There was no place for a Palestinian state in the original Zionist vision of Israel. Even Yitzhak Rabin, who was determined to make the Oslo peace process work, never spoke about creating a Palestinian state. He was merely interested in granting the Palestinians some form of limited autonomy, what he called “an entity which is less than a state.” Plus, he insisted that Israel should maintain control over the Jordan River Valley and that a united Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel. Also remember that in the spring of 1998 when Hillary Clinton was First Lady, she was sharply criticized for saying that “it would be in the long-term interests of peace in the Middle East for there to be a state of Palestine, a functioning modern state on the same footing as other states.”…
In short, it is difficult to imagine any Israeli government having the political will, much less the ability, to dismantle a substantial portion of its vast settlement enterprise and create a Palestinian state in virtually all of the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem.
Prof. Mearsheimer goes on to say that this “final alternative”:
is not going to happen, because no American president can put meaningful pressure on Israel to force it to change its policies toward the Palestinians. The main reason is the Israel lobby, a remarkably powerful interest group that has a profound influence on U.S. Middle East policy. Alan Dershowitz was spot on when he said, “My generation of Jews … became part of what is perhaps the most effective lobbying and fund-raising effort in the history of democracy.” That lobby, of course, makes it impossible for any president to play hardball with Israel, especially on the issue of settlements.
This is true, but somewhat narrow. The “two-state solution” is dependent on a mutual agreement between the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority, but also the Arab League, the United States and the European Union. Israel continues to break international law, the entire international community responds with denouncement, but the latter two external parties continue to provide to means for which the Israeli government—without pretense—continues its brutal occupation.
The proposals brought to the table by the Israeli government, the U.S. and the European Union are purposely always devoid of the recognition of Palestinians’ right to self-determination, right of return to or adequate compensation for stolen land and the strategic placement of Jewish settlements in the West Bank to monpolize the natural resources under the authority of the Israeli government.
The perpetuity of rejectionism riddles the practice of the so-called ‘peace process’. The latest proposal to transfer occupation of the West Bank to NATO is the latest example. In the meantime, the occupation expands and the human rights of Palestinians are marginalized by the dominant narrative of exerted powers of establishment.