BLOG 338 February 21, 2017
For a long time no one wanted to say the words out loud. With President Trump’s talk of moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem, the thought has again become more current. Sh-h-h. Say it quietly. Could the two-state solution to the Israel – Palestinian problem really be dead? The appointment of David Friedman (whose father is a Rabbi) points in that direction. Is it possible that Prime Minister Netanyahu had this intention in the back of his mind all the time? Have these new settlements in East Jerusalem on land considered belonging to the Palestinians been part of an intention to kill a Palestinian state?
The last time I was in Israel, I was picked up at the airport by a man who worked in Netanyahu’s offices. As we chatted driving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he made it clear that he personally saw no future for a Palestinians state. None.
This is not new talk. As far back as May 2013, an entire issue of Moment magazine was given to a discussion of the death of a two state solution. Nine public figures ranging from Noam Chomsky to deputy defense minister of Israel Danny Danon weighed in with their view of the problem.
Although they have made political progress in the United Nations, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) is seen by their own people as inept and corrupt. The rise of Hamas and Hezbollah bear witness to the failures both political and financial of the leadership within the Palestinian camp. Many Israelis would say, “Negotiate with them? Are you kidding? There is nothing there.”
On the other hand, Israel’s continued encroachment on Palestinian claimed territory has put Israelis in a bad light. The problem is that many Israeli politicians aren’t bothered by the negativity. During the week of February 10, sixty politicians in the Knesset had voted into law the legalization of 4,000 homes built in the West Bank. Jewish communities that would otherwise be demolished are now declared legal. Surely, the wrath of the International Criminal Court will fall on them. The ultimate result will be the further isolation of Israel if the law stands.
This action personifies the current status of the conflict: Aggressive Israelis vs. Inept Palestinians. Jews believe the Bible is on their side. Palestinians maintain history supports them. And where is this going? Nowhere.
In the September 15, 2013 New York Times, Political Science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Ian Lustick wrote about his experience analyzing the Middle East political situation for the American government. His first-hand conclusion was that the two-state solution is a fantasy that impedes progress. He maintained that continued negotiations only camouflage the impossibility of a two-state solution.
With the change in the new political climate in Washington, these issues are going to surface in a new and potentially dangerous way. Keep your ear to the ground – far more will be said by politicians on all sides.
You heard it first here!