“Ilhan Omar went to Washington to shake up the status quo, not to parrot it. So why is she trying to prove her bona fides by adopting the discredited ‘two-state solution,’ which is a fancy way of saying racial segregation and apartheid?” — Palestinian journalist Ali Abunimah
WASHINGTON (Opinion) — Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) — Congress’ fiercest critic of the Zionist lobby and the apartheid policies of Israel — has come out in support of a two-state solution, a weak and outdated proposition that has long been doomed.
Increasingly, Palestinians are recognizing that a single secular democratic state with equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis is the only way forward — and so too are advocates in the West, including American Jews. We welcome Rep. Omar to join us in this righteous cause with open arms.
Omar made her endorsement of a two-state solution in response to an article in Haaretz, Israel’s first daily newspaper. The piece argued that American Jews are largely in support of a two-state solution, which is true. As Haaretz succinctly put it:
The alphabet soup of organizations comprising the so-called American Jewish establishment – from the muscular pro-Israel AIPAC to the ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’ J Street, through the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, the policy arms of the Reform and Conservative movements, the Jewish Federations of North America and the rest – are all in lockstep agreement that a two-state solution is a declared goal to securing a Jewish and democratic state.
Though the leadership of such groups isn’t elected, they faithfully reflect their constituency on this issue. Surveys conducted over the past decade show that these major bodies of American Jewry support the solution their rank-and-file believe in: In poll after poll, the vast majority of American Jews — who vote in large numbers for the Democratic Party — see two states as the best way forward.”
Jewish American support for a two-state solution puts them at odds with many Israeli Jews, who seek no solution besides the final solution.
Omar suggested that Jewish American support for a two-state solution doesn’t have to put them at odds with Israel. She tweeted:
It doesn’t have to! Being against obsessive policies is a morality issue and it’s time for people to show they have moral courage to stand up and say not under our watch.
Peace requires justice.”
In the face of threats against her life, Omar has been the strongest ally in Congress to Palestinians and anti-Zionists. It is for this reason that I implore her to reconsider her stance.
One State is the only way forward
One of the driving forces behind the Israel-Palestinian conflict, though not the driving force, is Jerusalem’s holy sites. Both Palestinians and Israelis consider the city their rightful capital. At the center of this dispute is the al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad is said to have been transported there from Mecca.
Jews and Christians, however, also find a holy site on this hill. Two temples are said to have previously stood there and it is where Jews believe the Messiah will return to bring about the end of times. Jewish extremists have made retaking the mount their primary rallying call.
A two-state solution would surely hamper Muslim’s access to this site as the Israeli government is increasingly putting up roadblocks to prevent not just Palestinian pilgrimage, but access to schools and hospitals.
Meanwhile, a two-state solution would guarantee that Palestinians are reliant on Israelis for access to things like electricity and clean drinking water. In Gaza, 97 percent of the drinking water is contaminated due to Israel’s destruction of infrastructure. There is also access to electricity for only a few hours each day.
A one-state solution wherein Jews and Palestinians have equal rights as full citizens, and the democratically-elected government is charged with resource allocation, is the only way to alleviate the disparity in political power. Separating the tiny blots on the map that is what is left of Palestine today, and granting it statehood, does nothing to ensure that Palestinians would have the human rights they have been deprived of for so long. Ilhan Omar, who undoubtedly seeks this end, should support a true beacon of democracy in the Middle East such as this, not a segregationist policy even further marred by decades of land theft.’
The Two-State Solution is segregation
It isn’t clear exactly how much Palestinian land isn’t occupied by Israel, but the State of Palestine is said to be about 2,400 square miles. Today, 4,750,000 Palestinians live in that area, and about 6 million live abroad as refugees. While Jews who have lived in Europe, or any other country for that matter, for hundreds or even thousands of years are guaranteed a ‘right of return,’ Palestinians enjoy no such assurances.
By comparison, Luxembourg is 2,586 square miles with a population of less than 600,000.
A quick glance at a map should be enough to dispel the myth that the Israel/Palestine conflict is a conventional war between equal aggressor states. Land officially designated Palestinian is divided, occupied, bombstruck. Its resources are nearly totally controlled by Israel pic.twitter.com/Xpi8UVYd5h
— Eleanor Penny (@eleanorkpenny) September 5, 2018
Unlike Luxembourg, however, Palestinian land has been shattered into tiny bits. Any state lacking so much in contiguity is not a meaningful state.
It is worth looking at the analysis of Ali Abunimah, one of the most prolific Palestinian journalists and a supremely effective publisher working to beat back apartheid:
Ilhan Omar adopts segregationist logic of separate ‘sanctuaries’ for Palestinians and Israelis, same logic used to justify South African apartheid. But supporting the racist ‘two-state solution’ is [the] price of being a Serious Person in D.C.
Let’s be clear: the sole purpose of the so-called ‘two-state solution’ is to perpetuate Israeli apartheid by keeping ethnically cleansed Palestinian refugees from returning to their homeland and birthright solely and exclusively for being the wrong religion. It’s pure racism.
Ilhan Omar went to Washington to shake up the status quo, not to parrot it. So why is she trying to prove her bona fides by adopting the discredited ‘two-state solution,’ which is a fancy way of saying racial segregation and apartheid?”
He could not have been more correct in saying that if you want to play ball in Washington, you have to support a two-state solution. That goes for politicians and civilians alike. Years prior to recently canceling author Max Blumenthal, the preeminent bookstore in D.C., Politics and Prose, canceled an event by Palestinian author Saree Makdisi. That’s because his book Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation advocates for a one-state solution with equal rights for Palestinians and the Jewish settler community. As he recalls the cancellation unfolding:
I was scheduled to speak at Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse last month about my latest book … My appearance was canceled when the bookstore owners realized that my book concludes by questioning the viability of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead it proposes a single democratic, secular and multicultural state in which Israelis and Palestinians live peacefully as citizens with equal rights.
‘I do not believe that your book will further constructive debate in the United States,’ one of the owners wrote to me in an email. ‘A single state is not a solution.’ … the cancellation seems to fit into a larger pattern of nationwide censorship about this issue.”
Abunimah stipulated in his Twitter thread on Omar that he “Support[s] Ilhan Omar against [a] racist, Islamophobic smear campaign, and applaud her courage on raising taboo issues.” For our part, MintPress News has done much the same. You can read Abunimah’s full analysis here.
I support a two-state solution for Germany and call for two German states living side by side in peace and security. https://t.co/bKl0y7MiWD
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) November 9, 2017
While the final nail has already been put into the two-state delusion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent threats to officially annex the West Bank should he be re-elected buries it six feet under.
The Two-State Solution has long been doomed
In truth, the final nail in the two-state coffin was the E1 plan, which seeks to bisect the West Bank with Israeli settlements. Though the plan has yet to be fully implemented, Israel is on the path to do so and is preparing to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, one of the only remaining villages not yet under Israeli control.
While liberal Zionists may blame all of Israel’s problems on Netanyahu, and apartheid has undoubtedly ramped up under him, it has been ongoing since Israel’s inception. This ideology was showcased by Democratic candidate for president Robert Francis (Beto) O’Rourke over the weekend. O’Rourke called Netanyahu a racist, which he is, but failed to mention that the entire project that is Israel is, in fact, racist.
Beto calls Netanyahu a racist but says in the same breath that the prime minister with the longest term in Israeli history “doesn’t represent the true will of the Israeli people.” Maybe, just maybe, Netanyahu’s racism falls on very fertile soil. https://t.co/hnkUALe35l
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) April 7, 2019
Here is what former Prime Minister, then-Foreign Minister, Ariel Sharon had to say in 1998 about settling the West Bank as he stared down a two-state threat:
Everybody has to move, run and grab as many [Palestinian] hilltops as they can to enlarge the [Jewish] settlements because everything we take now will stay ours… Everything we don’t grab will go to them.”
While supporting a one-state solution in the U.S. may get you blacklisted, supporting a two-state solution in Israel may get you killed. The Oslo Accords, which were intended to carve out a path to a two-state solution are what led to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by an Israeli far-right-wing fanatic.
Netanyahu rode the wave of anti-Oslo sentiment to the position of prime minister. In 1995, he even led a protest march against Rabin and the Oslo Accords in which participants pretended they were carrying nooses and Rabin’s coffin as part of a funeral procession prior to his assassination. The two-state solution may even have been buried alongside Rabin.
Ilhan Omar, for all her good intentions, could be an even stronger advocate for Palestinians, who are increasingly in support of a one-state solution, if she examined this history. She should also listen to her colleague, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who made history books with Omar in becoming the first Muslim women in Congress. She has rightly stated that “It has to be one state. Separate but equal does not work.”
Top photo | A student wrapped in a Palestinian flag walks over Israel’s apartheid wall between the West Bank and Israel, Nov. 2, 2015. Mahmoud Illean | AP
Alexander Rubinstein is a staff writer for MintPress News based in Washington, DC. He reports on police, prisons and protests in the United States and the United States’ policing of the world. He previously reported for RT and Sputnik News.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.