Two-state solution doomed

An emboldened Israeli Right wing is moving quickly in the new year to make it far more difficult to create a Palestinian state, signalling its intention to doom hopes for a two-state solution to the conflict.

By David M. Halbfinger in Jerusalem
  • Published 3.01.18
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A Likud Party meeting in Airport City, Israel. (Reuters)

Jerusalem: An emboldened Israeli Right wing is moving quickly in the new year to make it far more difficult to create a Palestinian state, signalling its intention to doom hopes for a two-state solution to the conflict.

The actions have come on multiple fronts, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party for the first time has urged the annexation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and the nation's top legal officers pressed to extend Israeli law into occupied territory.

In addition, the Israeli Parliament, after a late-night debate, voted early Tuesday to enact stiff new obstacles to any potential land-for-peace deal involving Jerusalem, while abandoning at the last minute a measure that would have eased the way to rid the city of several overwhelmingly Palestinian neighbourhoods.

Coming on the heels of President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in defiance of decades-old US policy and international consensus, the moves showed that the Israeli Right senses a new opening to pursue its goal of a single state from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean.

"We are telling the world that it doesn't matter what the nations of the world say," public security minister Gilad Erdan told more than 1,000 members of Likud's central committee on Sunday. "The time has come to express our biblical right to the land."

But Palestinians and Israeli supporters of a two-state solution said the moves revealed the true colours of the country's ascendant Right wing.

"We hope that this vote serves as a reminder for the international community that the Israeli government, with the full support of the US administration, is not interested in a just and lasting peace," Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, said on Monday, adding that he would respond by revisiting the authority's existing agreements with Israel.

Daniel Seidemann, director of Terrestrial Jerusalem, which focuses on the Holy City's fate in a potential two-state solution, said that "what was winked and nodded about before is now being acknowledged publicly: 'We have no intent of sharing this land with anybody else except as a barely tolerated minority.'"

Netanyahu has publicly said that he supports a two-state solution even as his government has expanded settlements on the occupied West Bank.

New York Times News Service