The discussion regarding what sort of Middle East outcome the U.S. Peace Council, World Peace council and the world progressive movements have historically supported has often lacked historical accuracy. This discussion has often also, in my view, not done justice to reality but rather has been full of idealism and wishful thinking.
Does the majority of the Palestinian people, the working class, now say that a two-state solution is the wrong direction, or does it say that that solution has been corrupted and abused by the PA together with the Israeli ruling class? Or has the question not been asked of the Palestinian people but the answer assumed to have changed from what polls historically show it has been?
Currently it has become quite obvious that the balance of forces favors neither a one-state nor a two-state solution. It ensures continuation of a state/no-state solution. It ensures continued suffering and continued violence.
It is a mistake to think that the balance of forces will have nothing to do with the solution to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Who thinks that the Israeli people or their rightwing government, not to mention that government’s backers in the US, are prepared to agree to one state and, given the demographics, cede elections and state control to a Palestinian majority any time soon? Issam Makhoul, Israeli Arab, former MK, leader in the Israeli peace movement spoke at a workshop the World Peace Council sponsored at the Riverside Church Disarm Now conference last spring. He called the demand for a one-state settlement basically a surrender to the status quo.
It is a mistake to act as if we in the U.S. or a handful of individual actors in the Mid East have either the ability or the right to decide who represents the Palestinian or Israeli peoples, or to decide what the proximal or distal arrangements will be. We have after all opposed the U.S. government’s efforts to thwart a just settlement through all its manipulation and bribery. Do we on the left now assume we have the right to tell our friends in the Middle East how they must go into the future?
It is a mistake to think that the result of any agreement made in the past or in the near future is etched in stone and that evolution won’t take place. As we now observe, the uprising in Egypt has created tremors from Tel Aviv to Riyadh to Washington, D.C. So it appears that the balance of forces is shifting. How do we in the U.S. encourage that shift? Not by ignoring reality.
Our responsibility in solidarity with the oppressed people and working classes of both Palestinian and Israeli peoples is to ensure that they, not the transnational corporations and not the current reckless ruling classes, have the final say. Our responsibility is to support International Law and UN resolutions, both of which currently back the rightful demands of the Palestinian people, and to support future such laws and resolutions that promote peace and justice both along the way and in the end.