For several years, those of us warning that we already face a one-state solution in Israel-Palestine have been regularly dismissed as nay-sayers, ivory-tower intellectuals, and/or utopian crackpots. So it’s noticeable when these dismissive comments begin to falter and flicker out.
True, over the same period we’ve heard rounds of worried agreement that if ‘something’ is not done, the two-state solution would be dead and one-state solution upon us within three months, or six months, or simply ‘soon’. Most of those ‘six-month’ warnings were issued years ago but never seem to expire. The problem was that most people weren’t sure what precise signal would tell them, beyond doubt, that the two-state option is truly defunct. All the diplomatic theatre-the Oslo Accords, the Road Map, Annapolis and the Paris Protocol-gave people such an impression of seriousness that they interpreted every new contradiction, like a doubling of the settlement population in the West Bank, as a mere ‘impediment’ or ‘setback’ to the supposed diplomatic process rather than evidence that it was all a sham. Bearing the burden of this increasing unreality show, the two-state project became less a real programme than a tenet of faith: however elusive it appears in reality, the two-state solution must be defended or ‘saved’, resuscitated as the ‘only way’. Lofty rhetoric about ‘sacrifice’ on both sides added gravitas to this masquerade. No one knew what to do if the two-state notion finally collapsed, so no one wanted to say that it had.
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