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Recognition of a “Palestinian state”—A step toward One Democratic State?

States look for their own interests, not others’, and their recognizing a Palestinian state is no exception to this rule. Others determining our state for us closes our space for political imagination and infringes on our right to self-determination. The decision to recognize a Palestinian state on the borders of 67, in particular, delegitimizes ODS: Any aspirations to establish a Palestinian state on all of Palestine would be classified as expansionist terrorism.

One also wonder what the recognition would entail on the ground:

  • Would Israel give up its military and economic control over the 67 territories and withdraw its settlers from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem?
  • Would these borders be defined?
  • Would the Palestinian state have actual sovereignty, including control over security and an army capable of facing the IOF?
  • And would those making the recognition be willing to enforce this on Israel?

In practice, past declarations regarding the recognition of the state of Palestine have not affected the reality on the ground. The UN and imperial powers, including the US, have already declared their support of the establishment of a Palestinian state, and this hasn’t changed a thing. Any future recognition would likely be a naive or malicious formality granting the so-called “Palestinian Authority” even more legitimacy while leaving “details” about borders and the right of return to negotiations between the two “equal” states.

Even if such a recognition might turn out to help toward the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state over all of Palestine, we shouldn’t forget that even despotic governments, fascism, massacres or civil wars have on occasion helped societies progress toward better political structures. The two-state variant of Zionism might eventually lead to something positive, and we’ll deal with that if it happens, but it’s not something we can advocate.

More importantly, viewing a future development as either favorable or unfavorable to the solution presents this development as something that affects the outcome but omits the fact that our decisions can use such a development to affect the outcome. This frame that normalizes passive submission is extremely dangerous. While there is nothing wrong with analyzing the effect of a certain development as we are doing here, our focus should be on how to deal with current and future developments in order to affect the outcome.

In practice, this means having a clear objective in mind—liberation—and keeping up the struggle to tip the balance of power in its favor. And one important aspect of this struggle is the fight to reclaim the narrative and center it around the solution, namely, a transition from the “Jewish state” to its fundamental antithesis: One democratic Palestinian state, from the river to the sea.