In his parting speech, former Secretary of State John Kerry described a future of a “one-state” scenario — Palestinians living in enclaves without rights — but he was actually describing the situation of today.
By Jonathan Ofir / Mondoweiss
January 3, 2017
“I say [the two state solution] was not born because I think that there was not one Prime Minister in Israel who ever really intended it. Because if there had been a PM who would have really intended it, then they would first of all stop with the settlements. And no PM has ever stopped with the settlements.”
— Gideon Levy
In his recent speech titled “Remarks on Middle East Peace,” US Secretary of State John Kerry offered a wide historical symmetric trajectory including “milestones” which Kerry believes “illustrate the two sides of the conflict and form the basis for its resolution.”
His three-point trajectory was based upon three dates: 1897, 1947 and 1967.
It started out 120 years ago, 1897, with the First Zionist Congress in Basel, “by a group of Jewish visionaries, who decided that the only effective response to the waves of anti-Semitic horrors sweeping across Europe was to create a state in the historic home of the Jewish people, where their ties to the land went back centuries – a state that could defend its borders, protect its people, and live in peace with its neighbors. That was the vision. That was the modern beginning, and it remains the dream of Israel today,” as Kerry appraises.
It continued with a point nearly 70 years ago, marking the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 which Kerry says “finally paved the way to making the State of Israel a reality. The concept was simple: to create two states for two peoples — one Jewish, one Arab — to realize the national aspirations of both Jews and Palestinians.”
It ended with 1967, where as Kerry notes, 2017 marks “50 years since the end of the Six-Day War, when Israel again fought for its survival. And Palestinians will again mark just the opposite: 50 years of military occupation. Both sides have accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242, which called for the withdrawal of Israel from territory that it occupied in 1967 in return for peace and secure borders, as the basis for ending the conflict.”
I would like to offer an even more symmetric trajectory, which does not dismiss Kerry’s mentioned events (albeit with a somewhat different appraisal of their nature), yet starts a bit later, exactly a century ago, with the 1917 Balfour Declaration which Kerry interestingly omits completely from his historical appraisal; it continues with the 1967 occupation that Kerry notes; and it ends with today — 2017, which I would like to mark as a particular point in a historical trajectory.