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The Two-State Delusion?

Feb. 14 2017

Conventional wisdom—whether in Riyadh or Washington, Brussels or Jerusalem—insists that the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel (or, more precisely, on both sides of it) is the one tenable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Therefore, writes Joel Fishman, it’s worth noting that the PLO’s leaders came to the idea not as a goal, but as a ruse—inspired by North Vietnam:

During the Vietnam war, the North Vietnamese originally employed the “two-state” formula in order to hide their strategic goals. They thus presented themselves as fighting for the North’s independence alone and concealed their aspiration to rule over South Vietnam as well. They adopted a strategy of phases which, by devoting attention to the intermediate stages of their struggle, would enable them to reach their goal by gradual steps. Their real intention was that North Vietnam would conquer South Vietnam, but they spoke of the “two-state solution,” a tactic whose purpose was to disguise their aims and manipulate world public opinion. . . .

In the early 1970s Salah Khalaf—one of the founders of the Black September [terrorist group], led a PLO delegation to Hanoi to learn from the North Vietnamese. There, they met the legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap and political advisers who coached them on how to present their case before the international community, and how to cease to be perceived as terrorists. . . . Khalaf recounted [in his memoir] that the North Vietnamese advised the Palestinians to devote attention to the intermediate stages of their war and to accept the need for “provisional sacrifices.” . ..

We live in a high-technology culture of sound bites and text messages, of quick and simple communication, of one-line messages, and such habits discourage the public from the careful study of past experience. In order to understand what is wrong here, we must remember the history of the slogan “two-state solution,” which was designed from the start to be a swindle. It began as a tool of political warfare, and its purpose never changed.

Read more at Mida

More about: Israel & Zionism, PLO, Two-State Solution, Vietnam War

Hamas Sets Its Sights on Taking over the PLO

Oct. 20 2017

Examining the recent reconciliation agreement between the rival Palestinian organizations Fatah and Hamas, Eyal Zisser argues that the latter sees the deal as a way to install its former leader, Khaled Meshal, as head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and thereby the Palestinian Authority. It wouldn’t be the first time something like this happened:

Even the former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat . . . took the PLO leadership by force. His first steps, incidentally, were with the Fatah organization, which he cofounded in January 1965 in Damascus, under Syrian patronage. Fatah was meant to serve as a counterweight to the rival PLO, which had come into existence [earlier] under Egyptian patronage. Arafat, however, was relegated to the sidelines in the Palestinian arena. It was only after the 1967 Six-Day War that he exploited the resounding defeat of the Arab armies to join the PLO as the leader of Fatah, which led to his gaining control over [the PLO itself].

Meshal [most likely] wants to follow in Arafat’s footsteps—a necessary maneuver for a man who aspires to lead the Palestinian national movement, particularly after realizing that military might and even a hostile takeover of [either Gaza or the West Bank] will not grant him the legitimacy he craves.

It is hard to believe that Fatah will willingly hand over the keys to leadership, and it is also safe to assume that Egypt does not want to see Hamas grow stronger. But quasi-democratic developments such as these have their own dynamics. In 2006, Israel was persuaded by Washington to allow Hamas to run in the general Palestinian elections, thinking the Islamist group had no chance of winning. But Hamas won those elections. We can assume Meshal will now look to repeat that political ploy by joining the PLO and vying for its leadership.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Fatah, Hamas, Khaled Meshal, Palestinian Authority, PLO, Politics & Current Affairs, Yasir Arafat