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Thursday, December 06, 2012

Who killed the 'two-state solution'?

Douglas Murray gets a lot right about the Israeli-Arab conflict. But even he seems unwilling to accept his own conclusion, that the 'two-state solution' is dead.

Here is some of what he gets right.
Contrary to the wisdom of the Foreign Office et al, the blockage to peace is not Israeli settlement-building, unhelpful though that undoubtedly is. The bar to peace remains, as it always has been – as it was at Oslo, Camp David and over all the decades before and since – an unwillingness on the part of the Palestinians to accept the existence of the Jewish state and an almost completely ignored Palestinian insistence that the final-status Palestinian state should be completely and wholly free of Jews. Why otherwise could the borders not simply be drawn around the largest Jewish and Palestinian towns and for some Jews to continue to live in the Palestinian state as minorities, as much as Palestinians can, and do, live happily as minorities within the Jewish state?
The international resistance even to acknowledge this issue is the reason why all the onus is still put on Israel. It is so much easier for the international community to pour all of its ire onto details of Israeli policy rather than to focus – and over time change – the totality of the Palestinian policy.


However, putting all this aside, the disparity in the international reactions to Israel and the PA’s recent moves tells you everything you need to know about the playing field Israel currently finds itself on. All the current heavy-handed grandstanding aside, countries like this one know that the Israelis are our allies and that we see not only in this Israeli government, but in any government in Israel, one half of a final-status negotiating partner. The same cannot be said of the other party in those talks. Mahmoud Abbas has no control over the Gaza and has not even bothered to return to Palestinians in the West Bank to see if they still want him as their representative. Outsiders like France and Britain should know where pressure, both real and rhetorical, needs to be applied and where it does not.
As I have said here before, the two-state solution is dead. But it was not the Israelis, and not the settlements, that killed it. Rather, it is the fact that after nearly seven decades the Palestinians are no closer to accepting reality and coming to the negotiating table than they were all those years ago.
And yet Murray cannot take his own reality and bring it to its logical conclusion. If the 'two-state solution' is dead, why is building 'settlements' 'unhelpful' and 'unwise'? Why shouldn't Israel build anywhere and everywhere that it is legal under Israeli law, and where it is advantageous from the position of Israel's security and future?

The 'two-state solution' is dead. Let's stop trying to awaken the carcass and move on. 

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