Katja Hermann, director of the West Asia Unit at the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung in Berlin, in conversation with Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative (Mubadara), about the impact of the Israeli elections on the lives of everyday Palestinians.
Katja Hermann (KH): The preliminary results of the Israeli election show a likely victory for Benjamin Netanyahu from Likud and the right-wing coalition. What would that mean for the developments in the occupied Palestinian territories? [interview shortly prior to elections]
Mustafa Barghouti (MB): It is a very dangerous development. It means that the Israeli public has opted for extreme right wing parties that adopted a system of racism and national discrimination, the same parties that passed the Jewish Nationality Law, meaning systematic discrimination against Palestinians, whether citizens of Israel or of the Occupied Territories. Unfortunately, I would say that this is a vote for a system of apartheid. Taking into consideration that Netanyahu was elected three days after he declared his plan to annex the settlements, which means practically annexing the West Bank, this was a vote to end the dream of the two-state solution.
KH: If the two-state solution is no longer feasible, what kind of alternative scenarios do you envision?
MB: There are only two alternatives: one is what the Israeli government wants, which is apartheid, a system of racial discrimination keeping Palestinians in ghettos and Bantustans hoping they will eventually leave the country. Our alternative is the following: if they killed the two-state solution intentionally, we have nothing left to fight for but a one-state solution with full democratic rights, and unify all Palestinians in a struggle to end apartheid and racial discrimination and try to win people from Israel who believe in justice over to our camp against the system of apartheid.
KH: Do you believe that both societies, Palestinian and Israeli, are ready for a one-state solution?
MB: At the moment, of course, Palestinian society is much more ready, while Israeli society does not seem to be ready for any solution. In my opinion, to use a phrase that my friend Daniel Barenboim keeps using, “sometimes the impossible is easier than the difficult.” What we face here is a clear choice.