Theodor Trump, the visionary of the single state. Without Herzl’s beard or Basel, the site of the First Zionist Congress, Donald Trump may become the founder of democracy in Israel-Palestine. Just as his vulgarity and sexism boosted the #MeToo movement, his blatant bias toward Zionism and the occupation might create a backlash that could effect the only remaining conceivable solution. Sometimes you need a defiant bully to shake things up. Trump’s the guy. We should thank this dangerous man: He tore off the disguise and put an end to the masquerade.
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Trump told the world the truth: The United States is not an honest broker, it never was and never will be. It is the greatest collaborator with the Israeli occupation, supporting, arming and funding it. It wants the occupation to continue. It never recoiled from it and of course did nothing to end it. Before Trump, it also mocked the world: the an endless “peace process” that never led (and was not intended to lead) to anything but the perpetuation of the occupation; countless purportedly balanced “peace plans” that America never tried to implement; countless purportedly neutral brokers, a majority of them Zionist Jews; and after all that, the appearance of an impartial peacemaker.
Trump came and put a stop to it. In deciding to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and only of Israel, he left no room for doubt: America is with the occupation, with Israel and only with Israel. Of course that’s its right, and the right of its president — most Israelis are surely happy about it — but it won’t bring about peace or relative justice.
Trump also conducted the sad funeral of the two-state solution, after its long decline into death. Now the heir must be found. In his horrifically one-sided announcement, Trump declared that there aren’t two nations with equal rights in this land of two nations. There is one nation with one capital and all the rights, and another, inferior nation with no rights. That other nation is not deserving of a state if it is not deserving of a capital in Jerusalem. That other nation must now recognize its situation and adjust its goals to the reality declared by Trump.
The first to do so was Saeb Erekat, the veteran Palestinian negotiator. He said, fine, one state. The Palestinian Authority will have to go with it. It will no longer be able to talk about a two-state solution. It needs to start fighting for the obvious: equal rights for all. One person, one vote. One democratic state for two peoples. That’s the only remaining option other than apartheid. More than 700,000 Jewish settlers, including in East Jerusalem, were already there, and now America is officially behind them. The occupier received another prize, while the occupied received another blow.
The European Union will also have to adjust to reality and understand that winter is coming. Up to now, the EU has been in America’s shadow, its faithful servant when it comes to Middle East policy. Other than a few insignificant symbolic steps, it hasn’t pursued a policy in keeping with public sentiment in Western Europe, most of which is opposed to the occupation.
Perhaps Trump’s extremism will shake the EU out of its complacency and spur it to more courageous and, most important, more independent positions. And maybe Europe will also stop invoking the two-state mantra now that a few of its heads of state have recognized that it’s no longer viable. Perhaps Europe will take the lead in a new dialogue about equal rights for all.
And whom do we have to thank? The president of the United States. When the only genuine democracy in the Middle East is finally established, one day in the distant future, he should be invited. This American ultranationalist, who would have nothing to do with morality or justice or international law or human rights or minorities or Palestinians, should be made an honorary citizen of the new, just state.