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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Two state solution may be dead as solution to Israeli Palestinian conflict

Award-winning UK journalist, author, and commentator, Mehdi Hasan, argues in an Al Jazeera article that the peace process attempting to reach a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is dead.
Hasan has been claiming that this was the case ever since 2009. He notes however that the U.S. still clings to the possibility of an agreement to a two-state solution. He said at a recent dinner he attended National Security Adviser Susan Rice said a peace agreement was still possible and she looked to the next Israeli government "to demonstrate...a genuine commitment to a two-state solution." President Obama also clings to the idea that there can be a two-state solution saying in response to a question recently: I'll just reiterate what I've said previously. I continue to believe that a two-state solution is absolutely vital for not only peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but for the long-term security of Israel as a democratic and Jewish state.Obama does note the new government does contain some "folks" who do not support the two-state solution.
Hasan shows "some folks" includes the vast majority of cabinet ministers in Netanyahu's new government. Hasan provides a list of 16 ministers in the government who explicitly have rejected the two-state solution. Netanyahu in a single speech in 2009 accepted the idea of a demilitarised Palestinian state. A statement recently released by the Likud party said: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that any evacuated territory would fall into the hands of Islamic extremism and terror organizations supported by Iran. Therefore, there will be no concessions and no withdrawals. It is simply irrelevant.”This hardly fits in with trading land for peace and a two-state solution. To placate the U.S., Netanyahu often draws back from remarks such as this. Member of parliament (Knesset), Tzipi Hotovely said during a panel discussion that the two-state solution is not part of the Likud Party platform and Netanyahu's speech in 2009 supporting that position was simply a tactical maneuver to placate world opinion. Hotovely is now deputy foreign minister. In her inaugural address to Israeli diplomats she said:"This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologise for that… We expect as a matter of principle of the international community to recognise Israel's right to build homes for Jews in their homeland, everywhere."
The Israeli Interior Minister, Silvan Shalom, told Likud Party activists in 2012: "We are all against a Palestinian State there is no doubt about it." Netanyahu appointed Shalom as the chief negotiator with the Palestinians. This appointment hardly bodes well for a two-state solution.
The Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, formerly head of the council that represents Israeli illegal settlements. plans to annex most of the West Bank. He claimed that international opposition is the "result of ignorance" and rejected the idea that there would be a Palestinian state:"There is not going to be a Palestinian state within the tiny land of Israel. It's just not going to happen. A Palestinian state would be a disaster for the next 200 years."
Danny Danon, the new Minister of Technology also explicitly rejected the two-state solution: "Enough with the two-state-solution. Land-for-peace is over. We don't want a Palestinian State. We need to apply Israeli sovereignty over all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. It's been about 20 years since the Oslo Accords. That's finished and now we're ready for new ideas."Several ministers claimed any separate Palestinian state would become a "terror state" right next to Israel, which was already surrounded by hostile Arab states. Many ministers also stressed the land belonged to Israel. Many defended the expansion of Israeli settlements including, Tourism Minister, Yariv Levin, who said that the two state solution was no solution and said a year ago: "We will try, slowly but surely, to expand the circle of settlements, and to afterwards extend the roads… At the end of this process, the facts on the ground will be that whatever remains [of the occupied West Bank] will be merely marginal appendage."This seems a reasonably accurate description of Israeli policy.While talking about a two-state solution and going through the motions of negotiation under pressure from the US, Israel has been occupying more and more territory in the West Bank. How the Gaza strip would fit into this plan is not clear. For now it remains a quasi-prison subject to Israeli control and a blockade. The government and inhabitants function at a minimal level as international welfare recipients remaining in a state of continual dependency.


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