Since Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza in the Six-Day War of June 1967, France, in unison with the entire international community, at the forefront of the international community, in fact , promoted the two-state solution. With various joys, in a style that is sometimes raspy to Israeli ears, French diplomacy affirmed the inevitability of the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel and living on good terms with it, and defended the ethical and legal principles underlying it.
Now, in the name of the realpolitik, she seems to turn her back on them. High ranking diplomats, including the French Ambassador to Israel Eric Danon, take note of the “new situation” on the ground to send the two-state solution to the radius of lost illusions. A state ? Two states? It’s up to the protagonists to see. Of course, they say, we prefer two states, but hey, if Israelis and Palestinians decide otherwise, who are we to oppose it? This is exactly what this paragon of diplomatic wisdom, Donald Trump, said in February 2017.
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The Jewish state is now a key ally of the Sunni camp
What happened ? What is this “new situation” which justifies this change of course? It happened that, indeed, the Middle East had radically changed. The emergence of the Iranian threat and the so badly named “Arab Spring” have blasted even the fiction of an Arab world. Israel has become a formidable regional, if not global, power. In the standoff between Iran and its “Shiite bow” against the Sunni camp led by Saudi Arabia, the Jewish state is now the latter’s essential ally, especially as the states -Unis are disengaging in the disorder of a region that was until recently its preserve. In this configuration, the Palestinians, weak, divided, ruled by a clique devoid of legitimacy and unable to offer even a semblance of a coherent strategy, are no match. Their distress and helplessness ended up tiring many people, including, apparently, the chancelleries. They had at least on their side the dual international and Arab-Muslim consensus, that normalization with the Jewish state was conditioned by the creation of a Palestinian state within the borders before the Six-Day War. The so-called “Abrahamic” agreement between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain shattered it.
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It must be said that, before reaching the ears of diplomats, this disenchanted little music has crept into the heads of many good minds. His refrain is simple: if the two-state solution is no longer relevant, let’s boldly go for the unitary Israeli-Palestinian state. It is heard more and more from the Palestinians, among whom support for a sovereign state of their own is losing ground every day. And it’s all the rage on the Israeli and Judeo-American left. It is that it is humanly unstoppable: in view of the oppression to which the Palestinians are subjected in the Territories and the unwillingness of their oppressor to grant them their national rights, what could be more democratically natural than the vision of two peoples living in harmony under the same law? And too bad if those who hum it forget that it was already serving PLO propaganda in the 1960s of the last century, in the heyday of bombs and hijackings.
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The only reasonable outcome is sharing
As we know, hell is paved with good intentions. In the Middle East more than elsewhere, a binational state of “Istratin” is certain to resemble Iraq, Syria or Lebanon rather than Switzerland, or even Belgium, which however does not provide the example of a happy inter-community cohabitation. Those who aspire to civil war, or a brutal apartheid regime, are urged to continue this chimera. But fear not, that will never happen, for the good reason that Israelis, except for a tiny minority of dreamers, will never want it.
Full disclosure, as our Anglo-Saxon friends say: I am an activist in an NGO called Policy Work Group, whose objective is to defend the two-state solution abroad, especially among decision-makers and opinion-makers. My friends from the PWG and I represent the leading edge of the Zionist left in this country. Our hatred of the occupation is matched only by our desire to liberate the Palestinians from our domination and allow them, like us, to have a dignified national existence. If none of us, I mean none, cultivates the myth of the unitary state, it is because it has no chance of being realized.
Forgive me for recalling this truism: when two peoples fight for the same piece of land, the only reasonable outcome is sharing. It was proposed as early as 1937, in the wake of the great Arab revolt in Mandatory Palestine; it was endorsed by the UN in the partition resolution of November 1947, then engraved countless times in stone in international law; and it had a start of realization with the Oslo accords of 1993. That it has not yet succeeded does not mean that it is not the right one; it just means we failed him.
I say this to my French friends with all the force of which I am capable: do not abandon the two-state solution, because there is no other.