Confederation: The one possible Israel-Palestine solution


Palestinian boys playing soccer against the backdrop of the Israeli separation barrier that bisects their school playground in East Jerusalem, 2006. (photo: AWAD / AFP / Getty Images)

Talk of confederation sounds wistful in the current environment, but any talk of peace does. What’s really naïve is to suppose that only bad faith or ideological fanaticism has caused the two-state solution to fall into disrepute.

By Bernard Avishai | The New York Review of Books | Feb 2, 2018

The justification for the two-state solution is rooted, after all, in two persistent truths: first, that two separate national communities, each with a different language, historical grievance, sense of identity in the wider world, and dominant religious culture, have been squeezed by tragic events into a single small space. . . . Second, that a majority on each side prefers some form of compromise to a fight to the finish. . . . [But] moderate majorities “increasingly doubt its viability,” largely because they have grown jaded regarding the intentions of the other side, not because, in principle, they refuse the compromises two states would entail.

“The two-state solution is over,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters, responding to Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “Now is the time to transform the struggle for one state with equal rights for everyone living in historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.” As The New York Times subsequently reported, Erekat is hardly alone. The “over”-ness of “two states” — albeit with radical disagreements about the character of a hypothetical single state — has been claimed by ideological zealots, severe liberals, and exasperated peacemakers alike.

On the Palestinian side, one hears about the almost 700,000 Israeli settlers’ making annexation an established fact; on the Israeli side, about preventing recalcitrant Palestinian terrorists from firing missiles at Ben-Gurion Airport. For those of us living in Jerusalem, just speaking of two states, implying two capitals — but also, vaguely, some redivision of the city — invites skeptical, or pitying, stares from most Jews, as well as from Arabs, over a thousand of whom applied for Israeli citizenship in 2016.

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One state or two states? You’re asking the wrong question

Protest marking 12 years for the struggle against the wall, Bil

A Palestinian youth opens a gate in the Israeli wall, during a protest marking 12 years for the struggle against the wall and the occupation in the West Bank village of Bil’in, Feb 17, 2017.

We desperately need to go back to basics and recognize that guaranteeing Palestinians’ rights is the foundation for any political solution.

By Haggai Matar | +972 Magazine | Jan 29, 2018

During a recent trip to the US . . . I found devoted activists, all of them committed to resisting occupation and supporting peace . . . who refused to speak to each other solely based on the question of how many states we should have in this piece of land. I suggest that we hold off on that question and focus on the heart of the matter.

A new poll reveals that following Trump’s Jerusalem declaration there has been a drop in support for the two-state solution among both Israeli Jews and Palestinians in the occupied territories — with both communities dipping below the 50 percent level. Only Palestinians with Israeli citizenship who live inside the Green Line show overwhelming support for this solution.

The poll also shows that in tandem with this ongoing downward shift, there is a significant rise in the hostility of each group toward the other, as well as increasing support for armed struggle or a “decisive war” as a solution to the conflict. Conducted by veteran pollsters Dr. Khalil Shikaki and Walid Ladadwa from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), along with Israeli pollster and +972 Magazine writer Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin and the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research (TSC) — this is a poll to be taken seriously.

These new findings have significant value, as they expose Trump’s devastating impact on the chance to end the occupation in the foreseeable future, while sounding the alarm bells over the hopelessness of both sides, such that violence and bloodshed are actually gaining traction as possible solutions to our troubles.

And yet, we must not view the poll results as a harbinger of “the end of the two-state solution” or “final proof that one state is the only way to go.” One state? Two states? You’re asking the wrong question.

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Let the two-state solution die a natural death


An Israeli settlement sits to the right of Israel’s separation wall in East Jerusalem, diving the Palestinian neighborhood to the left, from other Palestinian neighborhoods in the area. (photo: Eoghan Rice)

The primary political and ethical question is how to create political traction for a secular state shared equally by Israelis and Palestinians.

By Richard Falk | Mondoweiss | Jan 8, 2018

All in all, it seems time to recognize three related conclusions:

  1. The leadership of Israel has rejected the Two-State Solution as the path to conflict resolution;
  2. Israel has created conditions, almost impossible to reverse, that make it totally unrealistic to expect the establishment of an independent Palestinian state;
  3. Trump even more than prior presidents has weighted American diplomacy heavily and visibly in favor of whatever Israel’s leaders seek as the endgame for this struggle of decades between these two peoples.

Despite all appearances to the contrary, those in the West who do not want to join the premature and ill-considered Israeli victory party, are clinging firmly to the Two-State Solution amid calls to renew direct diplomatic negotiations between the parties so as to reach, in the extravagant language of Donald Trump, “the ultimate deal.”

Israel has increasingly indicated by deeds and words, including those of Netanyahu, an unconditional opposition to the establishment of a genuinely independent and sovereign Palestine. The settlement expansion project is accelerating with pledges made by a range of Israel political figures that no settler would ever be ejected from a settlement even if the unlawful dwelling units inhabited by Jews were not located in a settlement bloc that have been conceded as annexable by Israel in the event that agreement is reached on other issues.

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Abbas Calls Oslo Accords Dead


President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, second from right, addressing the Palestinian Central Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday. (photo: Majdi Mohammed / Associated Press)

Palestinian Authority leader vows to reject any American role in peace talks.

By David Halbfiner | The New York Times | Jan 14, 2018

“The deal of the century is the slap of the century.”
— Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority said on Sunday that Israel had killed the Oslo Accords and angrily assailed the Trump administration over its handling of the conflict. He vowed to reject American leadership of any peace talks and urged Palestinians to reconsider their signed agreements with Israel.

“We will not accept for the U.S. to be a mediator, because after what they have done to us — a believer shall not be stung twice in the same place,” Mr. Abbas said.

“The deal of the century is the slap of the century,” he added, mocking the still-undefined peace initiative that the Trump administration has been working on and promoting in the region. “However, we’ll get back at them.”

Mr. Abbas, 82, stopped well short of embracing an alternative to a two-state solution, the project around which he has built his career. The number of Israelis and Palestinians who hold out hope that such a solution can be achieved is dwindling, but Mr. Abbas said nothing about abandoning it.

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US Ambassador Friedman says “settlements are part of Israel”


US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman during an interview with Walla News on September 28, 2017. (photo: Walla News)

David Friedman’s comments draw accusations of unilaterally changing US policy and “absolute ignorance of facts and laws.”

By Jacob Magid / The Times of Israel / Sep 28, 2017

“There was always supposed to be some notion of expansion into the West Bank, but not necessarily expansion into the entire West Bank; and I think that’s exactly what Israel has done. I mean, they’re only occupying two percent of the West Bank.”
— David Friedman, US Ambassador to Israel

[Ed note: Both US policy and international law recognize Israel as the occupying power in 100% of the West Bank.]

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Thursday that West Bank settlements “are part of Israel” and that the two-state solution “is not a helpful term” and “has largely lost its meaning,” drawing an angry response from the Palestinians.

Speaking in an interview broadcast on the Walla news website, Friedman was asked for his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to speculate on the Trump administration’s plans moving forward on the issue. Some of his answers largely contradicted long-held US positions.

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The Israeli Right’s “coexistence” in the West Bank


The separation wall near the Qalandiya checkpoint outside of Jerusalem. (photo: Maya Levin / Flash90)

The “colonialists” accept the status quo, the “apartheidists” want complete separation, and the “transferists” openly await a third Nakba.

By Naam Sheizaf / +972 Magazine / Sep 11, 2017

The Right’s imagined coexistence in the occupied territories is uncannily similar to the kind whites dreamed of in Rhodesia. That is, we can get our cars fixed for cheap, and they can come work for us, bereft of any rights. In the meantime, they can continue living in their crowded cities and squalid refugee camps.

There is nothing the Israel Right loves more than adopting the criticism of its rivals on the Left in order to justify its rule. Strangely, this criticism has turned into a main aspect of the language settlers use when describing their “coexistence” with the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Their argument goes as such: while Tel Aviv is a bubble where rich, liberal Jews love Arabs in theory only, in the West Bank we truly see the Palestinians as humans and as neighbors. The Left fantasizes about peace agreements with people it doesn’t even know, but the Right’s version of coexistence includes real people — who are sometimes filled with hate and sometimes are not, who work and live together but want to keep their own culture, and who see each other as equals.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

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U.N. Reiterates Support for Two-State Solution


Secretary-General António Guterres (left) and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah of the State of Palestine brief the press in Ramallah, August 29, 2017. (photo: Katrin Hett / U.N.)

In Palestine, the U.N. Secretary-General says a two-state solution “only way to guarantee peace.”

By U.N. News Centre
August 29, 2017

“I have a dream, a dream to see in the Holy Land two states: A Palestinian state and an Israeli state, living together in peace and security, in mutual recognition and allowing for this kind of suffering not to be possible anymore.”
— U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today reiterated his call for a political solution to the Middle East conflict that would end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and would create an independent Palestinian state, living side by side with Israel in peace and security.

“It is my deep belief that it is essential to restart a serious and credible political process of negotiation aiming at that objective — the two-state solution — as it is also important to create conditions on the ground to improve the situation of Palestinian populations,” Mr. Guterres said at a press conference in Ramallah after meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

“A two-state solution that will end the occupation and, with the creation of conditions, also the suffering even to the Palestinian people, is in my opinion the only way to guarantee that peace is established and, at the same time, that two states can live together in security and in mutual recognition,” Mr. Guterres said.

He said that Israel’s settlement activity represented a major obstacle to the implementation of the two-state solution although there are other obstacles.

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