The two-state solution is a dishonored cheque!
Rosana Boumonsef, Lebanese journalist
In the context of the repercussions of the most recent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, it is impossible not to shed light primarily on the visit paid by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to Israel and the West Bank, and to what he announced.
It must be recognized first that this war has put the Palestinian issue back on the agenda of the US administration led by Joe Biden. A government that has a prime regional focus on returning to the nuclear agreement with Iran and, to a lesser extent, halting the war in Yemen.
American interest began from a completely different point to the policy adopted by former President Donald Trump as the Biden administration reconsiders the two-state solution and, in light of an American discourse, is sympathetic and understanding of the Palestinian cause and the tragedy of the Palestinians.
Eleven days of devastating battles were a stark expression of the worsening Israeli reality considering the inability to form the Israeli government, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political and judicial crisis, just as the Palestinian reality worsened considering the inability to hold Palestinian elections as well.
While the Palestinians lost greatly on the human level, they have gained international sympathy – an area where Israel has retreated greatly, even in the base of its American audience, as well as in Western public opinion.
Israel made mistakes – and they were not acceptable to its global audience – in practicing a policy of apartheid in Jerusalem, especially since its eastern sector is the capital of the Palestinian state and not the capital of the State of Israel.
In this context, which was opposed at an international level, because Jerusalem remains one of the final status issues that must be resolved through negotiations, in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions.
It is not possible even with condemnation of Hamas and other Palestinian organizations and the escalating missiles, for the rights of all Palestinians, whether they are in the West Bank, Gaza, or the Palestinians 48, to be denied, including what they have in Jerusalem.
The repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, which fatigued the entire world, may be inappropriate at the level of the world’s acceptance of similar military battles, without the possibility of accepting Hamas’s missiles and control or Israel’s blatant racism.
But the importance of what happened is that it brought the Palestinian cause back to the forefront after years of absence, and it also shed new light on the role of the Palestinian Authority, which was completely absent during this war.
In addition, Palestinians have achieved a breakthrough at the level of media and political sympathy, in exchange for a complete condemnation of Israeli racism.
The United States met Israel in its misgivings about Iran, but Washington was and still is its ally and is not far from this concern.
What the Palestinians have oacheived is an American revival of the two-state solution, which constitutes an initial loss for Israel. On its own, this gain is not sufficient, but it is important and necessary in itself for the Palestinians and for the Palestinian Authority in particular, which bears the burden of finding means to secure ways of meeting and bringing the Palestinians together in light of the international consensus to support it without Hamas and the other Palestinian organizations.
The United States’ announcement of the difficulty of delivering a political solution at the present time is akin to giving the Palestinians a bounced cheque.
However, a new development is that Egypt has returned to play. On the one hand, this constitutes a point of convergence between all, and on the other hand it will bear the task of playing a pioneering role for the development of the truce that was reached.
The absence of a political horizon is a catalyst for further attempts to achieve victories for parties in a continuing political impasse. It is also a deterrent to any potential reconstruction or investment at a time when the Palestinians are suffering so much.
Egypt, along with Jordan and the European support group, may succeed in giving hope for a temporary political track – with American support. However, the two-state solution in itself is touted to have become a mirage for many in light of the realities of the changes imposed by Israel through the expansion of settlements, which have become an accumulation that is difficult or impossible to reverse.
It is feared that there will not be a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, because the Israelis are not interested in a similar solution, and America lost interest in it and is now returning to it.
An alarming statistic: there are more than 650,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, and more than a third of the population in the West Bank at present are settlers.
This raises questions about who can deport them or entice them to leave the West Bank. Even if the principle of land exchange is approved, there are 250,000 settlers in East Jerusalem who pose a real problem. What can be done about them and how can an exchange of land can take place in this case?
Israel intends to expel the Palestinians from their land. While this still seems unlikely, look at what happened in Syria, where the dramatic developments there led to the expulsion of more than six million people within six months. I assert that this possibility will no longer be surprising for Israel.