Fragmentary Notes from the United Nations

Vijay Prasad in CounterPunch:

ScreenHunter_55 Dec. 04 13.40In October 1998, Said wrote in al-Ahram against Yasser Arafat’s promise to declare a Palestinian state in May 1999. The demographic and geographic realities of a “Palestinian state,” eaten into by Israeli settlements and hemmed in by the security barriers of Israeli paranoia, would not allow anything close to a state with actual sovereignty to become reality. What Arafat’s declaration would do, Said argued, is to accept the social conditions of apartheid – to invalidate the tradition of liberation and self-determination and to accept the crumbs of Bantustan. Those who believed that this was a first step to true self-determination, Said cautioned, were thinking illogically. “If by declaring that what, in effect, is a theoretical abridgment of true statehood is the first step towards the realization of actual statehood, then one might as well hope to extract sunlight from a cucumber on the basis of the sun having entered the cucumber in the first place.”

After the current vote, Joseph Massad weighed in at The Guardian. Massad correctly points out that the UN vote offers the Palestinians at most 18% of historic Palestine. “The vote is essentially an update of the partition plan of 1947,” Massad argues, “whereby the UN now grants Jewish colonists and their descendants 80-90% of Palestine, leaving the rest to the native inhabitants, and it risks abrogating the refugees’ right of return.” In other words, the Palestinian political project has been reduced to possession of a statelet.

Both Said and Massad drive their analysis away from the two-state solution toward binationalism – better to create one secular state where Palestinians and Israelis can live together. Such a state would abrogate Zionism, which is a form of supremacy, and end the apartheid social conditions that would otherwise be institutionalized in the two-state arrangement.

More here.