Dissolve the PA and embrace a One-state solution strategy… Now

Palestinians Taking the Initiative: Policy brief by Hamada Jaber

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), Sep 2019

This paper is grounded on three assumptions. First, it takes for granted the death or the impossibility of achieving the two-state solution due to the non-stop Israeli settlement expansion across the territories of the long-yearned for Palestinian state. Moreover, the Palestinian cause is off the agenda of the various Israeli parties and there is no genuine international willingness or ability to bring pressure to bear on Israel to have the withering solution off the hook. Many Palestinians and Israelis believe that by failing to provide a just solution to the problem of the Palestinian refugees, the two-state option, even if achieved, would not bring the conflict to an end.

Second, the collapse of the Palestinian Authority (PA), either due to economic causes or to internal conflict over power, is a mere matter of time. Falling short of the Palestinian people’s expectations, the PA has lost the grounds of its raison d’être and has failed to prove itself as a midwife for a corruption-free democratic state that respects citizenship rights and adheres to the separation of powers. For example, while 57 per cent of the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip deem Israel’s democracy good or very good, only 23 percent do the same for the PA regime.[1]

Third, it is impossible to perpetuate the status quo that prevails today between the sea and the river. The status quo depicts a picture of a one-state reality in which Israel imposes every day more facts on the ground in its favor, with a growing discrimination against Palestinians. This discrimination renders the one-state reality as an advanced form of racism. Still, the Palestinians do have a chance, which may not last for long, to change the status quo by exposing the racism of this developing de facto reality and forcing the establishment of a democratic one-state solution in historic Palestine, one that can serve the interests of the Palestinians and compensate for the losses inflicted by the Oslo Accords.

The continued determined adoption and promotion of a two-state solution by Palestinians or other parties contributes to the perpetuation of the suffering of the Palestinian people. What is more, marketing the two-state solution as a viable option might cost the Palestinians a second Nakba (catastrophe). Bottom line, the two-state solution is dead and gone. It is, furthermore, nonsensical and incorrect to hold President Trump responsible for this eventuality, and thus rely on the day after the Trump Administration. Indeed, Trump, quite unwittingly, might be an opportunity to be seized on before it is too late. What he has done, and is doing, puts a stop to the Palestinian false hope dealers, railroading the Palestinian leadership to admit its mistake and adopt a new strategy.

Israel is the one and only ruling power in historic Palestine since 1967, and this rule continued even after the Oslo Accords and the establishment of the PA. Israel weaved its way through the “peace process” by circumventing the first intifada by establishing the PA to get out of the racism stigma hook. Zionism was recognized as a form of racism and racial discrimination by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379.[2] It did not take but forty-five days after the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991 for that resolution to be nullified by Resolution 46/86 of 1991.[3] However, after only a few years of the Oslo Accords, Israel’s intentions started to unfold. Israel won the very best 25 years in its history. On all levels, Israel distracted and deluded Palestinians with a never-ending peace process; meanwhile it enforced its control and power over all aspects Palestinian daily life. Buying time, Israel went on extending its control over more land and resources and imposing a new fait accompli. From the perspectives of many Israelis, some international actors, and even few Palestinians, whoever calls for changing the new status quo is disconnected from reality.

Israel succeeded in exploiting the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) weakness and its leadership’s eagerness to remain relevant — not to mention the collapse of its allies and the exhaustion of its financial resources. Israel used this state of affairs to impose on the PLO a poor agreement through the Oslo Accords. Striking two birds with one stone, Israel got rid of the racism stigma, which the first intifada revealed, while creating the PA to manage the affairs of the Palestinians on its behalf. From day one, the PA leadership began to act toward its people and allies as if it were an independent state, promoting itself as the nucleus of the desired Palestinian state. This made it difficult for it to consider going back to the pre “state” status. After the Camp David summit in 2000, the Palestinian leadership realized that it could not sell false hope to its people. Instead of turning the tables on the occupation, by taking a step back and returning the situation to what it was before Oslo, by dissolving the PA, the PA leadership showed an unwillingness to give up its formal and individual gains.

Ironically, two decades after the end of the transition period (1999) and the failure of the Camp David summit and as the strategy of internationalization and isolation of Israel fails, the dissolution of the PA remains the only option to try to save what can be saved. The proof for this can be clearly seen in the constant threats and warnings by the PA leadership, repeated many times during the past decade, to dissolve the PA and ‘hand over the keys’ to the occupation. This also applies to the Palestinian leadership’s decision to terminate the agreements signed with Israel last July in response to the demolition of Palestinian homes, some of which were located in area ‘A’ such as Wadi al-Hums in the town of Sur Baher, in Jerusalem. Like other decisions, the new one lacks credibility and remains unimplemented.