Permalink | Date posted: January 24, 2012
Last week, blogger and Inter Press Service correspondent Mitchell Plitnick reported that an otherwise little-noted Republican National Committee (RNC) meeting in New Orleans produced a potential foreign-policy firebomb: a unanimously adopted resolution apparently disavowing the party’s commitment to a two-state solution for Israel-Palestine and endorsing the Israeli annexation of the Palestinian territories.
The relevant text reads: “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that … Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.”
The curious trope that Israel is “neither an attacking force nor an occupier” harkens to an annexationist, right-wing audience that sees the West Bank in particular—or “Judea and Samaria”—as an integral part of Greater Israel, meaning the Israeli soldiers there in abundance are not properly foreigners but locals (the occupation itself notwithstanding). Proponents of this worldview often further suggest that the Palestinians themselves are “occupiers,” as implied by GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich when he called Palestinians an “invented people” who had missed their “chance to go many other places.” Although Palestinian lands are considered occupied territories under international law, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a standing ovation from the U.S. Congress when he declared, “in Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers.”
The allusion to “one law for all people” is quite clear about the number of states the GOP would favor in the region, but it leaves unresolved questions about the final status of Palestinians. Would they be fully absorbed and assimilated into a democratic Israel, or would they live on as second-class citizens, a potential Arab majority in an officially Jewish state? Might they be expelled from the region altogether?
Plitnick himself speculated that the RNC activists “do not understand the implications of their resolution and that it would mean either the end of Israel as a Jewish state or would necessitate the mass expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank.” Indeed, an RNC spokesman played down the report, noting that the official platform, which currently calls for “two democratic states living in peace and security,” can only be formally amended at the presidential nominating convention. But the unanimous one-state resolution speaks volumes about the attitudes of the GOP base toward Israel-Palestine.
One wonders why the party would seek to downplay this shift away from the two-state formula, which is already apparent in deed if not word. In addition to the party’s grassroots, its presidential candidates (at least the ones who aren’t Ron Paul) have been utterly unshy about advocating a pro-settlement policy in the West Bank that would render a viable two-state solution completely unworkable.
In addition to his other impolitic remarks, for example, Gingrich has expressed his support for “development in the [occupied] areas” as a way for the Israelis to “[maximize] their net bargaining advantage”—acknowledging but not condemning the fact that the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories makes good-faith negotiation about the division of land impossible. Mitt Romney has criticized President Barack Obama for supposedly going “to the United Nations to criticize Israel for building settlements” in the West Bank, despite the fact that the Obama administration actually spent considerable diplomatic capital to veto a UN resolution condemning the settlements in defiance of its own stated policy. Most curiously, Rick Santorum has claimed—and repeatedly refused to clarify—that “all the people who live in the West Bank are Israelis, they’re not Palestinians.”
Perhaps the GOP’s reluctance to embrace its own one-state bent is purely tactical. If the party can continue to claim support for a stagnant “peace process” geared toward the eventual creation of a Palestinian state—all the while supporting the settlement program that has fatally hamstringed recent negotiations—it can continue to place the onus on Palestinians to recognize Israel’s “right to exist” as “a Jewish state,” and even to end their supposed “war on Israel,” as though these were the crucial stumbling blocks. Nominally clinging to the two-state formula enables Republicans to shirk tougher questions about the fate of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza that would inevitably arise should the party fully back a one-state solution.
Of course, if even the right-wing Israeli government is unwilling to own its positions on these matters, one could hardly expect better of today’s Republican Party.
The former GOP presidential candidate and Speaker of the House has been a vociferous proponent of the idea that the America faces an existential threat from “Islamofascists.”
Although sometimes characterized as a moderate, business-oriented political figure, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney embraced a hawkish foreign policy during his 2012 presidential campaign.
Rick Santorum, a former GOP presidential candidate and senator from Pennsylvania, has championed starkly right-wing social programs as well as a militarist overseas agenda.
The past week has seen the United States effectively relinquish its role as the key negotiator of Middle East peace…
The tide may have finally begun to turn in a drawn out battle over what entails legitimate criticism of Israel…
Mitchell Plitnick, "GOP Officially Endorses One-State Solution," MitchellPlitnick.com, January 19, 2012.
Plitnick, who broke the story, has the text of the resolution and a confirmation from a spokeswoman of its authenticity.
Right Web is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
For media inquiries,
or call 202-234-9382.
Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations and a former official in the Obama State Department who has been called Washington’s “go-to” Iran analyst. He has for years taken a stridently alarmist tone with respect to Iran’s nuclear program and has been critical of the Obama administrations nuclear negotiations with Iran. In July 2014, Takeyh co-authored a report by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs that called for increasing “pressure” on Iran during the on-going negotiations.
Michele Flournoy is a former undersecretary of defense for policy in the Obama administration and head of the “liberal hawk” Center for a New American Security. Recently named to the president’s Intelligence Advisory Board, Flournoy has warned against a preemptive U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran, although she once told the rightwing Jerusalem Post that “Israel can rely on Obama to stop a nuclear Iran. … [T]he policy is not containment and I think he is serious about that.” Flournoy has also called for increases in defense spending, writing in an op-ed with former Bush Pentagon official Eric Edelman that "the U.S. military must be able to deter or stop aggression in multiple theaters, not just one, even when engaged in a large-scale war.”
Ashton Carter, former deputy secretary of defense in the Barack Obama administration, is a longtime academic and Pentagon bureaucrat who has advocated using military force as part of controversial nuclear counter-proliferation programs. During his time as deputy defense secretary, Carter strongly criticized cuts in the defense budget. One observer responded to Carter’s criticisms arguing that the cuts “resulted in part from the inefficient and unsound choices the Pentagon has made over the past decade, much of it occurring on Carter’s own watch.” Carter was recently appointed senior executive at the Markle Foundation, an organization that “works to realize the potential of information technology to address previously intractable public problems, for the health and security of all Americans.”
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, is now arguably better known as a member of the NCAA’s College Football Playoff selection committee. As an official in the George W. Bush administration, Rice was closely associated with the government’s warrantless wiretapping and interrogation programs, during which detainees were tortured. In 2014, it was revealed that she helped kill a 2003 New York Times story about a failed CIA attempt to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. The journalist behind the story, James Risen, eventually put the story in a book and endured several years of court battles with the U.S. government over the identity of his sources, which he eventually lost.
A professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Eliot Cohen has been described as "the most influential neocon in academe." Cohen has been a vociferous critic of the Obama administration, accusing it of being insufficiently committed to using military force abroad and "promiscuous" in its diplomacy with traditional U.S. adversaries. Cohen, who had multiple roles in the Bush administration, recently was given a position at the “liberal hawk” think tank Center for a New American Security, which is widely viewed as having played an important role shaping many of the Obama administration’s military policies.