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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Two-State Solution

Mick Hall • 9 May 2006

During the troubles of 1969-97, if Republicans gave their support to a group beyond Ireland's shores, in all probability loyalist para-military groups would support the group in question's opponents. When the PRM supported in solidarity the ANC, the UDA without a blink of the eye fell in behind the apartheid State of South Africa. To an even greater degree much the same happened with the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict.

Republicans, after the 1967 war in the Middle East which resulted in the State of Israel occupying the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, the Sinai Desert and the Golan Heights, quite correctly supported the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian people it represented, whilst the Loyalists threw their support behind the State of Israel. It helped, I'm sure, that both the Israeli and the Apartheid State's security services were always on the lookout for prospective allies, having been given the blackball by much of the world's respectable societies, bar, that is, the USA, whose weird and illogical foreign policy more often than not placed the keepers of the the Statue of Liberty in the same company as some of the worst tyrants and rogue states the third world had to offer.

In practice this support for Israel and the PLO could be seen on the streets of Belfast by the fluttering of the blue and white Israeli flag within Loyalist areas, and within Republican strongholds the Palestinian tricolor was occasional flown alongside murals proclaiming "Beirut, Belfast: one struggle, one trench", or something similar. Beyond these Rangers-Celtic like displays of loyalty, one wonders how deeply people within the two communities in the north understood how the Middle-East conflict affected the average Israeli or Palestinian.

On the Republican side support for the Palestinians was almost instinctive. The Palestinian people were being shafted by a power much greater than their own, so as a socialist-republican organization, and seeing itself as part of the wider anti imperialist struggle, PRM members thought it was their duty to offer the Palestinian people what support they could. There was also a similarity in the Palestinian struggle which Republicans understood only too well, as it had a resonance with their own and that was the hand of Perfidious Albion, which had only too clearly been at work in the Middle East.

Loyalist support for the State of Israel was far less ideological. Instead it was based almost entirely on 'my enemies friend is my enemy'. The strange contradiction about this Loyalist support for the Jewish State is they are far from natural bedfellows and one cannot help thinking the love-fest was entirely one way. It would not have gone unnoticed within Shin Beit that throughout most of the period of the armed conflict in the north, what politics loyalism possessed were well to the right, especially within the UDA. Indeed, the UK Nazi parties the BNP, and its predecessor the National Front, along with the English nazi para-military outfit Combat 18, forged links with the UDA. So for the UDA to claim to support the State of Israel can only be described as weird, if not surreal.

As I have already said the Republican links with the PLO were far more logical, not least because both the PLO and the PRM were partly born of the political radicalization which grew out of the struggles that erupted across the world in the 1960s. In the Third World this radicalization was mainly expressed around the completion of national revolutions and the removal of the last of the imperialist powers. In the West, although linked to these liberation struggles, they were also accompanied with demands for more equality at home, along with an extension of human and civil rights for the working classes and all races.

Understandably given the pressure cooker environment Republican's found themselves in during the years of armed struggle, their support for the PLO and its policies rarely gave much thought as to what would happen to the millions of Israelis who would, had the PLO taken power in the 1970's, have been driven into the sea. The same goes for those Loyalists who supported the Israeli State blindly, and could see no wrong in whatever it did, including the occupation of yet more Arab land in 1967. They gave little thought to the fact that the Palestinian people must have rights and a homeland of there own.

Gradually as political reality slowly began to sink into segments of the Israeli body politic and the PLO, more and more people realized that the only viable alternative to continuous war-fare and the oppression of the Palestinian people would be a two-state solution. Yes, this would mean legitimizing a great injustice done to the Palestinians in 1948, when Israel was carved out of their land by the international community, via the United Nations. Nevertheless at times for the greater good real-politics must be recognized, as, just like the Palestinians, the Jews are going nowhere but the piece of land many of them call home.

After the Holocaust that was inflicted on Europe's Jewry during the years 1933-45, few Jews would ever again willingly, once Israel was created, take the chance of annulling the Jewish State, even with all its imperfections. For unlike during the Nazi period, the world's Jews are not going to allow themselves to have no nation of their own which they can retreat to when the cancer of anti-semitism erupts, and from which they can defend themselves if necessary to the death.

Just as the world paid the Jews penitence for the Holocaust by creating a Jewish State, it must now do the same for the gross neglect it has shown to the suffering of the Palestinian people. Such a two-state solution will not satisfy all, understandably as it is neither just nor fair, but it is the best that can realistically be achieved at this time. To allow the running sore which is the Arab-Israeli conflict to continue indefinitely is a far worse option than a two-state solution.

The recent general election in Israel has shown, given good leadership, the overwhelming majority of Jews would accept a viable Palestinian State within the borders of the West Bank and Gaza. (The Golan Heights must be returned to Syria, the occupied part of the Sinai Desert has already been returned to Egypt.)

The issue of the Palestinian Capital being within East Jerusalem is more contentious with Israelis; but it must be so, for just as the city of Jerusalem is important to Jews, so is it too for Muslims. Thus, for Jews and Palestinian Arabs to once again share this city as equals would be fitting. It would also remove from under the feet of the likes of bin Laden one of his most basic demands, i. e., the return to full Muslim control of Al-Haram al-Sharif, which includes Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Palestinian people have long been ready to accept a two-state solution, all we are waiting for is a US President ready and willing to play the role of honest broker. Let us hope we are not waiting in vain.










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Index: Current Articles

11 May 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

The Incorruptible
Anthony McIntyre

Ruarí Ó Brádaigh: Robert White's biography of a Republican idealist
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Can of Worms
John Kennedy

The Wrong Man
Martin Ingram

Gotta Be Cruel to be Kind
Dr John Coulter

Revising the Rising?
Forum Magazine Editorial

Solving the Irish Problem
Michael Gillespie

Geoffrey Cooling

Thank You, Bobby Sands
Fred A. Wilcox

Welcome Back, David. Now, Go Away Again!
Eamon Sweeney

Give Them That Auld Tyme Religion
Dr John Coulter

Meal Ticket
John Kennedy

Examples of Dialogue
Conn Corrigan

Two-State Solution
Mick Hall

Peter King - Still Irish America's Champion
Patrick Hurley

Statements on the Murder of Michael McIlveen
RSF; 32 County Sovereignty Movement

Profile: Chahla Chafiq
Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Speech index

18 April 2006

Grave Secrets
Anthony McIntyre

Spoiled Rotten
David Adams

Let Bygones be Bygones
Mick Hall

Urgent Memo — Judas Was One of the Bad Guys!
Dr John Coulter

Cluedo in Donegal
Anthony McIntyre

Easter Message
John Kennedy

Óglaigh na hÉireann Easter Statement
The Sovereign Nation

IFC Easter Statement, 2006
Joe Dillon

Lincoln's Despair
John Kennedy

Fred A. Wilcox

Hamas Being Forced to Collapse
Sam Bahour

Profile: Philippe Val
Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Speech index



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