With the exception of Syria, Iran and certain parties in Lebanon, Palestine and elsewhere, most of the world continues to favour the so-called ‘two-state solution’ as a means to settle the decades long “Israel-Palestine conflict”. While most states tend to favour a two-state solution, others continue to argue for a South African style one-state solution which would see a unitary sovereign come into being over Palestine, wherein all individuals would have equal rights and protections under a single constitution.
Assuming that two-state solution remains a priority for the wider world, there is a big issue that even the most seemingly equitable two state solution will not solve. Assuming that it is the desire of the international community for both states in a two-state solution to achieve some level of regional economic and security parity, the fact that “Israel” has nuclear weapons would immediately put any Palestinian state in a two-state solution at a clear disadvantage.
While “Israel” dropping a nuclear weapon on Palestine would have clear physical fallout implications for both states, “Israel’s” nuclear arsenal is designed less for a specific use in war, that it is used as a means to intimidate, bully and ultimately blackmail the wider world. The term “Israeli” officials themselves have given this strategy is the Samson Option, meaning that if Tel Aviv feels sufficiently threatened or indeed sufficiently angered, it will unleash nuclear war on its neighbours who cannot defend themselves against such a threat in any way. This Samson Option could otherwise be called a blackmail option and thus far it has been used to suppress any rational international consensus on Palestine.
No superpower has thus far been safe from “Israel’s” nuclear blackmail, as former US President Richard Nixon discovered during the 1973 war between “Israel” and an Arab coalition led by Egypt and Syria. During that war, Tel Aviv threatened to use nuclear weapons on its neighbour if the US did not agree to airlift supplies to “Israel”. Richard Nixon who unlike his direct predecessor was often sceptical of Tel Aviv’s motives, ultimately capitulated and what resulted was an oil embargo which had grossly detrimental effects on the economies of the US and its allies.
Today, “Israel” retains its nuclear blackmail option while Palestine has lost almost every friend it ever had in the Arab world except for an embattled Syria. Meanwhile, the US has become increasingly energy self-sufficient, thus taking away the power of a would-be 21st century oil embargo assuming the oil rich nations of the Arab world would be willing to do so under the present day crypto-Zionist leadership of countries like Saudi Arabia and much of the rest of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).
A two-state solution could therefore be a backdoor to infamy for Palestine if a nuclear armed neighbour bifurcating its territory would be able to threaten would-be economic and security partners of Palestine at every turn. Thus, one could see a healthy “Israel” next door to a Palestine isolated from economic partners due to “Israeli” blackmail towards those who would otherwise want to do business with Palestine.
In a one state solution, the matter would be far simpler. Either the one state could sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (as “Israel” never has) and normalise its nuclear arsenal or otherwise, agree to work to cooperatively disarm, as South Africa peacefully dismantled its nuclear programme beginning in the late 1980s.
But if a two-state solution is going to remain the preferred method of pushing for peace for Palestine, among most countries of the world, the only way for this solution to work is to demand that as part of any deal, “Israel” must denuclearise. Indeed, in a saner world, Tel Aviv’s denuclearisation would be a pre-condition to any peace process.
While North Korea has not formally invaded or occupied any foreign nations since the 1953 ceasefire which froze the technically ongoing Korean War, “Israel” has occupied Egypt and Lebanon while it continues to occupy Syria and Palestine, according to the United States. In addition, “Israel” has fought with neighbouring Jordan on multiple occasions, illegally bombed Iraq in 1981 and in 2010, illegally boarded a Turkish flagged ship in international waters, the MV Mavi Marmara before executing 9 Turkish activists while a tenth died of his injuries sustained during the illegal “Israeli” raid. This is not the behaviour of a nation considering peace let alone denuclearisation.
But there is another big difference between a North Korean state making peace with the South versus an “Israeli” state which continues to occupy and threaten its neighbours.
In 2017, North Korea’s GDP was $16.12 billion. To put things in perspective, in 2017 the US gave “Israel” $3.10 billion in ‘aid’ which means that the money was something that amounts to nothing more than a geopolitical gift. When one includes various deals passed off as investment or cooperation schemes, the amount of American cash being injected into the economy of the regime occupying Palestine is in fact much higher.
In spite of a comparatively low GDP and a deluge of sanctions, North Korea has managed to remain remarkably self-sufficient, while the Kim Jong-un years have seen a rapid growth in the economy, especially when contrasted with the nadir of the 1990s. This should not be entirely surprising.
Ever since its founding, the guiding principles of the Juche idea of Kim Il-sung have stressed the importance of self-sufficiency at every level of the DPRK’s economy. After the 1990s demonstrated that external geopolitical factors could still have a negative impact on the DPRK’s productivity, the 2000s saw a great leap forward in respect of Pyongyang’s investment into new technological and infrastructural projects. North Korea’s continued exploration and extraction of off-shore oil means that even if a global oil embargo were to be in place, North Korea could still manage to get by based on the capacity of existing oil refineries. If further efforts were made to expand refining capacity, North Korea would likely have a surplus of oil.
Imagine if the tables were turned and it was “Israel” rather than North Korea which was targeted by US military threats, totally cut off from the western financial system and even many parts of the pan-Asian financial system. Would such a regime be able to survive the pressure?
Before continuing, it is crucial to note that far from being a hypothetical situation, this would be a desirable situation. While North Korea has not been actively at war with any nation since 1953, “Israel” has been at war with every one of its neighbours during that same period. Likewise, Israel has occupied Egyptian and Lebanese territory, while it continues to occupy part of Syria and all of Palestine. Likewise, in 1981, “Israel” illegally bombed non-neighbouring Iraq.
When it comes to weapons of mass destruction, not only does “Israel” have more nuclear weapons than North Korea, but while North Korea was a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) before withdrawing due to US provocations, “Israel” has never signed the NPT nor does it even officially acknowledge its illegal stockpile of nuclear weapons.
If there was ever a case for a country to be isolated by the international community due to its dangerous weapons of mass destruction and violence against its neighbours, that country is certainly not the DPRK – that regime is “Israel”.
While “Israel” is 80% dependent on agricultural imports which have become increasingly expensive in recent years, regime supporters boast of becoming self-sufficient in arms production, in spite of vast supplies from the United States.
In terms of energy, throughout its entire history of occupation, “Israel” has been dependent on energy imports. Furthermore, while Iran has built nuclear power plants while not producing nuclear weapons, “Israel” has taken the opposite approach and opted to build nuclear weapons rather than nuclear power plants. As the regime becomes increasingly hungry for imported energy, it is not surprising that many regime officials have recently provoked neighbouring Lebanon over Beiruit’s desire to cultivate its off-shore gas fields which “Israeli” officials say belong to Tel Aviv.
With all this in mind, it would seem that if the so-called international community was able to pass the kind of UN Security Council Resolutions against “Israel” that it has done against North Korea, that the regime would soon collapse, not least because the capitalist economy of Tel Aviv means that ordinary people have become accustomed to the kinds of international luxury items that are alien to North Korean society.
The fact that none of the five permanent members of the Security Council have attempted to do this, demonstrates that one of “Israel’s” most powerful weapons is the weapon of intimidation. By any statistical calculation, from the number of countries Israel invades, occupies and threatens, to the number of nuclear weapons “Israel” illegally maintains, to the documented human rights abuses against an occupied people, to the fact that Tel Aviv never signed the NPT, it is clear that “Israel” is far more dangerous to world peace than North Korea ever could be, even if it wanted to be. There is also the matter of the Samson Option, whereby “Israel” maintains a strategy to unleash all of its nuclear arsenal on regional states in the event of “Israel’s” conventional forces becoming overwhelmed during a military conflict. If this alone isn’t enough to incur condemnation from the UN, it is difficult to know what is.
There is something else which highlights the difference between how the US gives absurdly preferential treatment to “Israel”, while threatening to “destroy” North Korea. In 1967, the American Naval Ship USS Liberty came under a sustained attack from the “Israeli” air-force and torpedo boats without any warning or justification. In spite of Liberty’s commanders sending communications informing “Israel” that they were an “allied” US ship, the attack persisted for hours. Archival material has revealed that some of the pilots were aware that the ship was American, but that they were ordered by their superiors to keep attacking.
Ultimately, 34 Americans died in the attack while 171 were severely wounded. The incident was systematically hushed up by the US government and media. Many researchers suspect that “Israel” had attempted to stage a false flag incident that would later be blamed on Egypt, in order to coerce the US into attacking Egypt and its Soviet ally. Because “Israel” was not able to kill all the men on board, the plan failed as the survivors knew full well that it was “Israel” and not Egypt nor any other Soviet ally that had attacked their ship.
By contrast, the US media could not stop talking about the DPRK’s capture of the USS Pueblo in 1968. There is still no consensus as to whether the US Naval ship that was captured by the DPRK was in North Korean or international waters. Unlike the allied USS Liberty in the Mediterranean, the USS Pueblo was an enemy ship conducting espionage activities against a communist Asian state at the height of the US war in Vietnam. The incident therefore ought to be viewed in this wider content. In any case, the DPRK captured the ship where it remains to this day as a museum piece. One American died during the capture and the rest of the crew were eventually released into US allied South Korea.
Objectively, any American should be able to see that what “Israel” did to the USS Liberty is a vastly bigger issue than what the DPRK did to the spy-ship USS Pueblo. Yet decades later, it is an ever more militaristic “Israel” that is given billions by the United States, while North Korea continues to be sanctioned and threatened by the United States, in spite of the fact that 2018 has seen Pyongyang and Seoul reach a new detente including and especially when the two Koreas from both sides of the 38th parallel marched together in the Olympics under a flag of unity.
The events mentioned in this piece are one of the reasons that Palestinians and North Koreans alike, have no faith whatsoever in the United States and the so-called international community it endlessly asks to unite against North Korea, while equally imploring it to abandon Palestine.
Whatever one’s views on Palestine or the DPRK, it is imperative that if a two-state solution is to be contemplated, it must be a solution in which the international community works to denuclearise “Israel” leaving no option off the table.