The Press conference of Trump and Netanyahu in Washington has generated a flurry of comments. It is argued that the most friendly US President to Israel in a generation has paved the way for a one state solution.
While on the one hand, to some Palestinian supporters this has come as a blow to their dream of ever having an independent state. On the other hand, to some left-wing Zionists this has been interpreted as an end to Israel as a Jewish state. This is because the population of this new one state would have an equal number of Jews and Palestinians. This reality of an equal ‘one-state’ would be catastrophic to right-wing Zionists, who have been pushing for the “Jordan Option”. This calls for pushing Palestinians into Jordan, while appropriating the maximum amount of West Bank land area. Such policies are not new having been endorsed by many including Golda Meir, 4th Prime Minister of Israel who famously said: “There were no such thing as Palestinians ..They did not exist..” as a means to deny the right of Palestinians to a state.
Further, the two-state model of many pundits, which is the normal discourse for resolving the conflict, has been halted by Trump’s comments at the conference:
“I’m looking at two states and one state, and I like the one both parties like.”
FOA differs in its analysis from the above. It would be foolish to suggest we know what Trump meant by his comments. If not only because in the first month of his presidency, the one thing that everyone can agree on is that Trump says what he does not mean, and does what he does not say.
Therefore, to make any deductions about his comments taking without taking a broad view would be foolhardy. It is the wider context that provides a perspective of his comments. First, this includes looking at the alliance between Israel and the US that is now expanding to include the Gulf and neighbouring Arab states. The Arab states’ ongoing fear of a strong Iranian influence has seen a form of bartering take place between these states and Israel/US alliance. Sectarian divide in the region feeds into the Arab states’ wish to support influences that counter Iran.
Second, all of these actors are at one against the uprising of what has been dubbed Political Islam. Political Islam has been equated with those calling for Palestinian rights by the Israelis. While the monarchs and corrupt leadership in the region have labelled “Islamist” all those who challenge their autocracy. Third, most of the above states are on convergence on how to deal with Assad and Syria. It is these concordances that indicate we have to analyse Trump’s comments with great caution, but at same time with great gravity.
In these circumstances, Trump has given Netanyahu, and by extension the Israeli government, carte blanche to do what they like. Therefore, it must not be misinterpreted that when Trump speaks of a one-state solution, that he is referring to one state that would be equal for Palestinians and Jews. Trump’s one-state solution must be considered where the right-wing Zionist fears of an equally mixed state disappear, and therefore Palestinians are ethnically cleansed. Netanyahu’s actions and insistence in commission the first new settlement building in 20 years, and Trump’s reluctance to condemn it are signs of extending the Jewish state.