Sunday, November 30, 2003

The Geneva Accords – Text and Context

1) Even the most serious detractors of the Geneva Accords (GA) on the left and in the peace movement admit that the political, psychological and diplomatic impact of the initiative has been tremendous. The serious impact stems from the fact that the GA are based on a comprehensive text which represents a serious and honest attempt to balance the interests of both peoples. Of course, the balance is not perfect. The text fails to reverse the effects of many unjust actions committed against the Palestinian people. However, even with this limitation, the GA do create a serious political option that could reverse current trends and plots against the Palestinian people.

2) Though support for the Accords implies a sincere readiness to make peace on their basis, there is no need for a reverential approach to the text. Negotiations will create a basis for trade-offs that can improve the text for both sides and of course the text is always open for mutually accepted changes and amendments. One can also hope that there will be more room for generosity and a sense of rapprochement, especially regarding the suffering of the Palestinian people.

3) Without in any way minimizing the importance of the text of GA text, it is important to realize the decisive importance of the context. At the current point in time, it is the context which imparts so much importance to the GA.

4) Any analysis concerning the struggle for the self-determination of the Palestinian people must start with the examination of the main forces arraigned against them. Indeed, the struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination faces an immensely powerful coalition of reactionary forces. Sharon and the settler right are linked up with Bush, and the neo-conservative cabal in Washington where the ‘special relationship’ grants special status to Sharon as a junior partner in the ‘anti-terrorist’ alignment of repression.

5) In the absence of any indication of an imminent revolutionary transformation of international reality, we must, of necessity relate to the actual, very real, contradictions in the anti-Palestinian coalition. We must focus our observations and our actions on every gap and contradiction in the alignment of the forces, which have imposed and are backing the present status quo.

6) The setbacks of the U.S. forces in Iraq, together with a number of social and economic processes on the global level, have created a serious crisis for the U.S. unilateralists. As the U.S. finds itself increasingly isolated, there are increasing possibilities of a serious and important shift in the international political arena that will stem either from a set of retreats by the Bush administration or the possible defeat of Bush in the November 2004 elections.

7) The genuine possibility for such a shift is based on the independent role of Europe, dissent in the few important capitalist countries whose governments still support the United States and the intensified activity of globalist elements in the United States. The massive international peace movement and the movement against globalization both express these processes and accelerate them.

8) These new elements in the international scene create a possibility for a shift in the present relationship of forces. This shift can negate Sharon’s privileged status and create opportunities for a two state solution that is not a mechanical reflection of U.S.-Israel superiority. Whatever the odds on this kind of positive development, they represent the only real option that can bring an end the occupation and the terrible suffering of the Palestinian masses.

9) The Geneva Accords are a reflection of this shift. They were not “made in the U.S.A”, but are a product of the direct and indirect influence of the European countries (mainly, ‘Old Europe’). They represent the refusal of Europe, and the overwhelming majority of the international community, the UN and its Security Council and even to a certain degree Bush’s loyal ally, England, to tail after Bush and Sharon on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. In addition, these trends are reflected in almost daily expressions of Washingtonian unease with the total identification between the United States and Sharon.

Real, (often) Messy Politics versus the Pleasures of Utopian Dreaming

10) There is renewed interest and even a certain increase in support for the one-state solution (1SS) as opposed to the two-state solution (2SS), especially in intellectual circles in the West. Of course, support for a 1SS reflects despair over the fact that the rulers in Washington and Israel appear to have sufficient force at their disposal to prevent any pressure on Israel for concessions. This being the case, hopes for the Palestinians are transferred, according to this logic, to long-range processes that would bring into existence a Palestinian majority in the area between the sea and the Jordan. In these circumstances, it is suggested, the path would be open to demand and receive full Palestinian enfranchisement and a democratic state.

11) However, the one state solution is highly Utopian and its adherents can point only to rather hazy long-range processes as the basis for its highly speculative materialization. The increased magnetism of the idea of the 1SS seems to stem less from the idea of any solution, proper, and more from the justified sense that the peaceful demise of Israel would be a just and proper sanction against Israel for its criminal behavior towards the Palestinian people. This sentiment may be totally justified from the ethical and moral point of view. However, it is blind from the political point of view.

12) No one has pointed out how we are going to reach the safe shores of a single democratic state (nor have we any conceptual framework re the mechanisms of single state remotely resembling the detailed blueprint offered by the GA). Time in itself cannot promise the minimum level of generosity and sensitivity required from both national groups for life in a united state. This is, of course, especially true for the Israeli Jews, who have been corrupted with a sense of superiority. At any rate, the time frame for a one state solution is so blurry and so far fetched as to lack any kind of concrete significance. Hence, the 1SS is not a real option or an authentic alternative to the struggle for a reasonable, practical and logical.

In Summary

It is the special responsibility of those among us on the left who are ideologically and philosophically committed to the traditions and the aspirations linked with revolutionary thinking to define the present period without embellishment. Our current epoch is not revolutionary, and it is characterized by a war of positions. This being the case (despite our hopes for an early reversal of the dominant non-revolutionary trends) our efforts and intentions must be riveted to intervention at specific points in international politics. The most important of these is to stall, frustrate and defeat the machinations of the Bush-Cheney cabal. This gang would have us live in a perpetual state of war and reactionary intervention in the name of the holy war against ‘terrorism.’ They would like to define the politics of the struggle for the freedom of Palestine as just another arena in the battle against terrorism. In countering their schemes, we have, on a global scale, serious allies and a broad coalition of forces, which oppose the Bush-Sharon politics of repression, expropriation and expulsion. In this vital sense, the GA are an excellent tool to activate our forces and to isolate Bush and Cheney’s Enron-Halliburton clan.