Opinion

The Israeli Right Will Bring About Justice for the Palestinians

When the right gathers the courage to declare a one-state solution, the world will gain the courage to declare a war on its regime

Gideon Levy
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An Israeli policeman stands guard during a protest by Palestinians in the Old City of Hebron, West Bank, September 3, 2017.
An Israeli policeman stands guard during a protest by Palestinians in the Old City of Hebron, West Bank, September 3, 2017.Credit: MUSSA ISSA QAWASMA/REUTERS
Gideon Levy

Perhaps the right will be the one to bring about true, egalitarian justice in Israel. Maybe it will bring about the only possible solution left. After the right proved that only it dares to evacuate settlements, maybe the next stage will come and the right will once more prove it can do so, even if unintentionally. That would be a huge irony of fate. Those who insist on not returning to the Palestinians 22 percent of their land will give them (and us) all of it, egalitarian and just, on the silver platter of both peoples.

The road is long, of course, and even its beginning is not yet in sight. But the defeated and desperate speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday proves there’s a chance this is the direction.

Abbas spoke of one state as a possible solution and of equal rights for all inhabitants of historic Palestine. As far can be remembered, he never publicly made such a statement before. Bound by his historic way and the establishment he heads, he has not yet given up the two-state solution for good. But he also knows, like any politician who recognizes reality, that the two-state solution has expired and only the declaration of its death remains. Some Europeans and perhaps even also the Americans know this, but don’t dare admit it. President Donald Trump mumbled something about it, possibly inadvertently.

Abandoning the two-state solution is a fateful reboot. It is not simple to do. But when Abbas and the others finally resolve to cross the Rubicon, the wildfire they ignite could spread with amazing speed.

When the Palestinians abandon the “two states for two peoples” solution and move on to “one person, one vote,” the world will not remain indifferent. It will begin with the Palestinians, 57 percent of whom already don’t believe in the two-state solution, according to a recent Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research poll, and will then move on to Israeli Arabs, most of whom still hold fast to that solution.

The easy-to-grasp message will then go out to the world. Just and familiar from another historic struggle: “One man, one vote.” Who can oppose it? And what can Israel say in its own defense? Jewish-democratic? Where? A just apartheid?

This revolution might also blow away the smokescreen and confusion around the arbitrary and baseless division Israel has made between an “Israeli Arab” and “Palestinian” – sometimes members of the same family; between East Jerusalem and residents of the West Bank; between residents of the West Bank and Gaza; it will reunify the people that Israel maliciously cut apart. It will also eliminate the confusion around the artificial distinction between the Jewish democracy with the Arab High Court of Justice and the third largest party in the Knesset, and zero human rights for most of the other members of that people, who live under the government of that same state, in the same country. It will cancel out all discrimination and all privilege, from the Law of Return to the right of return. Can any true democrat oppose this?

The left will not do so. It is bound by slogans of the past – two states – most of the left was never serious about anyhow. The right wing, which talks more and more about annexation and non-occupation, is taking giant steps toward this state. Of course, it doesn’t mean democracy or equal rights – what does the right have to do with that?

But when the right gathers the courage to declare a one-state solution, the world will gain the courage to declare a war on its regime, against the new apartheid state in the 21st century. What other choice will the world have in the face of a declared apartheid? It will be a much more determined struggle than the hollow one against the establishment of the outpost in the “illegal” expansion of Mitzpeh Rehavam Gimel.

The racist MK Bezalel Smotrich is doing more for justice and the Palestinian people than Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay. The nationalists, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, are doing immeasurably more than Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid or even the peace-seeking Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Galon.

The right is moving ahead on the only solution. We should keep our fingers crossed.

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