Israeli Minister Calls for Re-Occuppying West Bank, is this a Step towards One State?

Yesterday Yisrael Katz, Minister of Transport, called on Israel to reoccupy the West Bank if the Palestinians declare statehood in September in the UN. Now this is not news per se as every month, regardless of the statehood vote, an Israeli minister makes this call. Some argue for an annexation, and some argue for a reoccupying. I will say with wholehearted-ness I support these ideas. Now this is not out of love for Israel or anything of the sort. I believe in a one state solution, based off of secular democratic principles for Israel/Palestine. Unlike some others who believe in this, I do not think it is going to be this liberal, hold hands and sing kumbaya sort of event. I think the situation will get much worse here before it gets better. The situation now is bad, but it is tolerable for both Israelis and Palestinians.

For an increasing number of Israelis, they will never have contact with a Palestinian (minus military service). For a large number of Palestinians, they do not talk to Israelis except when they are in the military or settlers. For Israelis in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and the coast it is very easy to forget that 10 miles away there is a military occupation put forth in their name. They are able to think about other things such as pop culture, other political issues, etc and forget all about Palestinians. Palestinians are not so lucky and deal with the worst aspects of Israeli culture, namely the settlers and their military backers. This separation policy started with the 1st Intifada, when workers from the Occupied Palestinian Territories were not allowed to work in Israel in as high a number. This became more pronounced after the Oslo Accords when the West Bank was divided into Zones and passes were necessary to go to Israel and travel around the West Bank. The separation became even more explicit following the 2nd Intifada and we are still living in that mindset. Some have argued it is to produce a Palestinian state and disengage itself from the Israeli state. A nice sounding argument but it dismisses the necessity each have on the other, which is a colonizer/colonized relationship, or if you prefer to follow a nicer sounding name, the world systems dependency relationship.

I believe the relationship between the two needs to be shown for exactly what it is on many accounts. First it is a military occupation, exasperated by a settler movement that steals land and sets up colonies or for the more politically correct, settlements (an odd sounding word since in other contexts it means a sort of compromise where both give up something to gain together, which these are not). Second, the Palestinian Authority should not be doing a secondary role of occupation by making the occupation cheaper AND politically easier. By helping set up the Palestinian Authority (which was supposed to dissolve after 1999 as an interim establishment), Israel was able to shift the economic burden of occupation and the international community criticism and possible action. Third, for internal Palestinian politics they should be dealing with the occupation first and foremost and actually going after the reason for their misery. Instead emphasis is put on the divisions between parties, with the main one acting like the occupation will magically disappear (along with 500,000 settlers and economic independence) with neo-liberal economic reforms.

The road to the one state solution will have to get worse as I said and the best way to achieve this is through an open and explicit Apartheid State of Israel ruling over a disenfranchised majority of people. As of now the demographics in historic Palestine are almost equal or in the Palestinian favor. Israel practices a form of institutionalized racism (apartheid, if you do not believe me just look at citizenship and land laws of Israel) against its Palestinian population with Israeli citizenship and an even more explicit form of apartheid in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. By annexing these territories Israel would at least be honest in its policies. It would also allow the Palestinian people to start a campaign similar to the one in South Africa that demanded a one man, one vote policy. This is the only way I can see a one state solution that gives equal rights to all its citizens ever coming about. It will not be peaceful, it will not be pretty, it will involve international (organization and individual) action but will ultimately allow the people who inhabit this land to live freely with actual realization of their rights and opportunities as human beings.

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