The Arab world needs to move beyond the liberation of Palestine

A Palestinian demonstrator covers her face with the colors of the Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli security forces following a protest on the Gaza-Israel border, Apr 6, 2018. (photo: Mohammed Abed / AFP)

Israel is going nowhere, and we in the Arab world have to deal with it. That means offering Israelis prosperity, security and friendship; all Israel needs to do is overcome their prejudices and give Palestinians their rights.

By Khalaf Al Habtoor | Haaretz | Jun 4, 2018


Israelis and Palestinians should revolt against the useless old leadership and outdated playbooks keeping them on different sides of the fence. Tear down those figurative and material walls. People power could be a game changer. The men in suits bent on consolidating power have let you down. Peace engendered by the very people who have the most to gain (and to lose) could work where all else has failed.


For the people caught in the enduring Israeli-Palestinian conflict, their own leaders and Western intermediaries have failed.

Summits, conferences, accords and a roadmap going nowhere have been a waste of time and effort. Earlier attempts at finding solutions brokered by US presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were genuine — but were stymied. Those that followed were either fig leaves or half-hearted.

Today, there is not only “nothing on the table,” there is no table. When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced there would never be a Palestinian state on his watch — a statement he later retracted for international consumption — he meant every word. Just days ago, his government announced it would consider approving the construction of 2,000 more settler homes on the West Bank.

And, quite frankly, I am beginning to think President Donald Trump’s blueprint for peace is a figment of his imagination.

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Trump’s embassy move has triggered deadly protests — these maps explain why

Settlers’ rapidly growing presence in East Jerusalem, along with Monday’s embassy move, indicate that while Trump may still float the possibility of a “two-state solution,” his actions are pointing into the opposite direction.

By Rick Noack | The Washington Post | May 14, 2018


In this article:

  • Why do so many countries refuse to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital?
  • So, is it only about Jerusalem?
  • Why is a “two-state solution” so difficult to facilitate?

Israel is bracing for a tense week as the U.S. Embassy officially opens in Jerusalem on Monday — a move that has triggered fierce protests by Palestinians. Protests turned violent in Gaza, where dozens of Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers in clashes along the border fence Monday, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza, making it the bloodiest day of demonstrations in the past six weeks of protests.

Overall, more than 80 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers and almost 4,000 have been injured since President Trump announced the embassy move early in December.

Observers of the conflict had already predicted the tensions when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced the move. At the time, the decision was branded “dangerous,” “catastrophic,” “irresponsible” and being “against international law” by countries usually considered U.S. allies, including France, Germany and Saudi Arabia.

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EU warns viability of Palestine is being “constantly eroded”

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, left, greets Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir after a meeting of EU foreign ministers  in Brussels on Feb 26, 2018. (photo: Virginia Mayo / AP)

In Saudi Arabia, foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says Europeans and Arabs share common interest in Jerusalem.

By Raphael Ahren | The Times of Israel | Apr 16, 2018


“As Europeans and Arabs we share in particular an interest in preserving the unique status of our common Holy City, Jerusalem. And you know, you can always count on us Europeans to reiterate our belief that the only viable solution is the two-state solution, with East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine.”
— EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini


The prospects for the creation of a Palestinian state are “being constantly eroded,” the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned on Sunday, vowing that the EU would never cease its support for a two-state solution that would see East Jerusalem became the capital of Palestine.

At the Arab League’s annual summit in Dahran, Saudi Arabia, she also vowed to work toward “preserving the unique status of our common Holy City, Jerusalem.”

“The situation on the ground is getting worse and worse. Tensions are high on the border between Israel and Gaza,” Mogherini said. “The viability of a State of Palestine — including Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem — is being constantly eroded.”

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Tough on Iran, critical of “Palestine”: meet John Bolton, Trump’s new National Security Adviser

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Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, Dec 2, 2016. (photo: Mike Segar/ Reuters)

“The two-state solution is dead,” Bolton once wrote, claiming that Gaza should be given to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan.

By Haaretz | Mar 23, 2018


“Just as a matter of empirical reality, the two-state solution is dead. . . . As long as Washington’s diplomatic objective is the ‘two-state solution’ — Israel and ‘Palestine’ — the fundamental contradiction between this aspiration and the reality on the ground will ensure it never comes into being.”
— John Bolton, newly-appointed US National Security Advisor


John Bolton, who served as UN ambassador under President George W. Bush and was tapped Thursday to become Donald Trump’s national security adviser, has a long history of tough rhetoric against Iran and the Palestinians.

A vocal critic of the Obama administration, Bolton is strongly opposed to the Iran nuclear deal and is a known opponent of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Like Trump, he supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He has also sounded a tough line on negotiations with North Korea.

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Confederation: The one possible Israel-Palestine solution

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY CHARLES LEVINSON
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

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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

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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”

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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

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS
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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