Palestine Papers: Why there will never be a State of Palestine

This piece originally appeared in Mondoweiss:

One core lesson from the “Palestine Papers,” Al Jazeera‘s leak of secret documents on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from 1999 to 2010, is that there will never be a State of Palestine, living side by side with Israel.  This was known before, but the papers confirm it.  The mainstream narrative–that Israel and the Palestinians have been talking for nearly 20 years and are very close to reaching an agreement but just have to sit at the table for a little more time–is not credible anymore.  Why has Israel refused the Palestinian Authority’s offers, which offered up most of East Jerusalem, major illegal settlement blocs and a complete denial of the rights of Palestinian refugees?

Writing in Al Jazeera, Alastair Crooke offers this explanation:

Zionists are also likely to conclude that a Palestinian state, established alongside Israel, would be active in efforts to generate international support for the principle of minority rights in Israel – and thus threaten the Zionist basis of the state by delegitimizing their state as racist.

Ultimately the issue of differential rights for Jews and non-Jews is not in principle eased by establishing a Palestinian state. Its magnitude may be reduced from 40-50% to 20%, but the inherent contradiction remains unresolved – in either outcome. Against this ambivalent calculus, it is not surprising that the Zionist argument for keeping borders undefined, leaving Palestinians in deliberate uncertainty and hostage to their good conduct, whilst holding on to water and land resources, has trumped other Israelis arguing for downsizing the differential rights problem, and improving the minority’s treatment – albeit short of granting full rights to non-Jews in all matters. This is the calculus that has predominated. This is why we do not have a Palestinian state.

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