Tag Archive | "Two-State Solution"

Jared Kushner: ‘Two-state solution didn’t work’


Two-state solution didn’t work, Jared Kushner says, signaling possible support for Israeli annexation

The Trump administration’s lead Middle East negotiator, Jared Kushner commented on his forthcoming plan two days ago at a Time Magazine forum in New York. It’ll come out after Netanyahu’s “great victory” and after Ramadan.

We were getting ready at the end of last year, and then obviously they called for Israeli elections. Prime Minister Netanyahu had a great victory, and he’s in the middle of forming his coalition. Once that’s done, we’ll probably be in the middle of Ramadan. So we’ll wait till after Ramadan and then we’ll put our plan out….

They’ve talked with people “from the region.” I.e., not so much Palestinians.

When my father in law asked me to work on this project, the Middle East peace process, it’s about as tough a problem set as you can get. So we’ve taken I think an unconventional approach. We’ve studied all the different past efforts and how they’ve failed and why they’ve failed…. We’ve tried to do it a little bit differently. Normally they start with a process and then hope that the process leads to a resolution for something to happen they haven’t been able to resolve for a long time. What we’ve done is the opposite. We’ve done very extensive research and a lot of talking to a lot of the people, we’re not trying to impose our will. I think that the document you’ll see which is a very detailed proposal, is something we created by engaging with a lot of people from the region and people who have worked on this in the past. I hope that it’s a very comprehensive vision for what can be if people are willing to make some hard decisions.

So we started with a proposed solution then we’ll work on a process to try to get there.

Time’s White House correspondent, Brian Bennett, asked Kushner about the “two state solution.”

Yes, so we have not said today, we are going to lay that out very clearly… I think that if people focus on the old traditional talking points, we will never make progress. Right? You had the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 which I think was a very good attempt. If that would have worked, we would have made peace a long time ago on that basis. So what we’re going to put out is different. Our focus is really on the bottom up, which is how do you make the lives of the Palestinian people better? What can you resolve to allow these areas to become more investable? We deal with all the core status issues because you have to do it, but we’ve also built a robust business plan for the whole region. I think that the two together have the opportunity to push forward. And then from Israel’s point of view, their biggest concern is just security. And I think that what we do, is something that allows for Israel to maintain security, but there’ll be tough compromises for both.

That implies an “economic” peace. Palestinians get more investment, no sovereignty.

And I hope that when they [Israelis and Palestinians] look at our proposal, I’m not saying they’re going to look at it and say, this is perfect and let’s go forward. I’m hopeful what they’ll do is to say, look, there are some compromises here, but at the end of the day, this is really a framework that can allow us to make our lives materially better. And we’ll see if the leadership on both sides has the courage to take the leap to try to go forward.

Liberal Zionists are expressing alarm over the comments. “I think this may be the first time that Kushner has clearly disavowed two states on the record,” writes Michael Koplow. Koplow posted an analysis at the Israel Policy Forum saying Kushner has ditched the two-state solution “altogether” and is allowing annexation, and making clear that “Palestinians should give up any hopes of political sovereignty.”

[The] peace initiative… is branded as the deal of the century but is in fact a thinly veiled attempt to shift the Overton window so that it is centered on the Israeli right’s most ambitious fever dream. This would not actually be a deal in any normative sense of the word since there is no expectation of it being accepted by the Palestinian side, or even being balanced enough to allow for any type of negotiations. It would instead set a new baseline of unrealistic expectations for the Israeli side that would sabotage any potential future deal by moving the Israeli and Palestinian sides even further apart, with an even greater likelihood of paving the way for Israeli annexation of the West Bank as the U.S. cheers it on.

And it is this final step that would cement the disaster for Israel, as any claim to having moral authority as the only democracy in the Middle East, or shaking off the occupation of the West Bank as a temporary measure born from having no partner, would be gone forever. It would mean an endless fight against an empowered BDS that at some point will get real buy-in from European governments, the death of Israeli dreams of eventual integration into the wider Middle East and normalized relations with Sunni states, and a security hellscape dealing with Palestinians who want either their own state or Israeli citizenship but are not willing to countenance permanent second class status through autonomy on 40% of the West Bank. It would mean an Israel that never has quiet and sustainable borders, is never treated as a normal country, and is fated to fight a never-ending battle against its neighbors, the world, and its own conscience.

Leading Democrats have come out against Israeli annexation of portions of the West Bank.

P.S. Kushner was mildly critical of Saudi Arabia’s response to the Houthi rebellion. “Maybe they haven’t done the best job,” he said, but Saudi Arabia is in the same position as Israel is with Hamas in Gaza. “They need to be able to defend themselves.” And it’s “very pragmatic” for the U.S. to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia.

“We’ve urged the Saudis to try to loosen up a lot of the aid to get in to the people,” Kushner said.

The president’s son-in-law is said to be close to Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Crown Prince, and at a dinner Tuesday night the film star Hasan Minhaj called on Kushner to reach out to MbS to get him to release women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul,

Thanks to Allison Deger. 

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Moshé Machover: Burial of the two-state ‘solution’


By Moshé Machover

Moshé Machover

Moshé Machover

On February 15 the desiccated corpse of the two-state ‘solution’ (2SS) to the conflict between the Israeli Zionist settler state and the colonized Palestinian Arab people was finally laid to rest. One it tempted to say ‘RIP’, but it is far more likely to rest in war than peace. The interment took place at a White House press conference during which the new leader of the ‘international community’ absolved his smiling protégé Benjamin (‘Bibi’) Netanyahu from even pretending to pursue the phantom of the 2SS.1This ended a long-standing official commitment of the US to the 2SS, formalized by GW Bush in his Road Map speech (June 24 2002),2 but  which informally dates back to the Bill Clinton presidency.

As I explained in previous articles,3 no major Zionist party is genuinely prepared to accept a sovereign Palestinian state ‘alongside Israel’ west of the river Jordan. But whereas Labour Zionists (now part of the Zionist Camp led by Yitzhak Herzog) were ready to play along in the endless ‘peace process’, Netanyahu and most of his Likud party, egged on by their ultra-fanatic partners, had lost patience with this pretence, and were eager to edge towards annexing the West Bank (the tiny densely populated Gaza Strip is not on the menu just yet). So in April 2004 Obama’s secretary of state John Kerry concluded that due to Israel’s obstructiveness the ‘peace process’ had gone “poof”.4

Secret summit in Aqaba

In order to understand the full significance of Trump’s declaration, which effectively allows Netanyahu a free hand in dealing with the Palestinian issue, we must note two previous landmark events. The first of these was a summit meeting summoned by the preternaturally persistent Kerry as a last-ditch attempt to resuscitate the 2SS. It was held during the last week of February 2016 in the Jordanian Red-Sea port of Aqaba and was kept secret for a year, until the story was leaked to Ha’aretz (probably by someone very close to Kerry), which published it on February 19 2017.5 The participants, apart from Kerry, were Netanyahu, Jordan’s king Abdullah II and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi. The president of the Palestinian (so-called) Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, was not invited (in order not to embarrass him with the concessions that would be forced on him), but was kept informed.

Netanyahu was presented by his three interlocutors with an offer he could not openly refuse, as it addressed all his previous pretexts for demurring. According to Ha’aretz,

Kerry … crafted a document that included principles for the renewal of talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians in the framework of a regional peace initiative with the participation of the Arab countries. The plan he formulated in early 2016 was identical to the one he presented at the end of that year – three weeks before Donald Trump entered the White House. The following are the six principles.

  • International secure and recognized borders between Israel and a sustainable and contiguous Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with agreed-on exchanges of territory.
  • Implementation of the vision of UN Resolution 181 (the Partition Plan) for two states for two peoples, one Jewish and one Arab – which recognize each other and give equal rights to their citizens.
  • A just, agreed-on, fair and realistic solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees that conforms to a solution of two states for two peoples and will not influence the basic character of Israel.
  • An agreed-on solution for Jerusalem as the capital of both countries, recognized by the international community and ensuring freedom of access to the holy sites in keeping with the status quo.
  • A response to Israel’s security needs, ensuring Israel’s ability to protect itself effectively and ensuring Palestine’s ability to give security to its citizens in a sovereign, demilitarized state.
  • The end of the conflict and of demands, which will allow a normalization of ties and increased regional security for all, in keeping with the vision of the Arab Peace Initiative.

The reference to UN General Assembly Resolution 181 is extremely significant, as it includes recognition of Israel “as a Jewish state”, a demand often raised by Netanyahu in the hope that it would be rejected by the Arab side.

Netanyahu did not, could not, reject this plan outright, but – true to form – procrastinated. Apparently he indicated that in order for Israel to accept the plan he would need to enlarge the ruling coalition to include the Zionist Camp. Accordingly he conducted talks with Herzog, telling him about the Aqaba plan and inviting him to join the government. But the latter got a clear impression that Netanyahu was not serious, and had no real intention to commit to the Aqaba plan. Nothing came out of the talks, and Netanyahu appointed the thuggish extremist Avigdor Lieberman as defence minister. Once again, Netanyahu managed to deflect a 2SS plan, this time in its final form, most favourable to Zionist ambitions.

No wonder Kerry’s parting speech on December 28 2016, in which he recapitulated his Aqaba plan, was so angry and frustrated.6

Legislation prelude to annexation

The second landmark event was the enactment by the Knesset on February 6 2017, by 60 to 52 votes, of the euphemistically named Judea and Samaria Regulation Law, better and more fittingly known as the Expropriation Law,7, empowering the Israeli government to legalize retroactively Jewish settlements in the West Bank located on land privately owned by Palestinians. What is most significant about this legalized theft is that it implicitly changes the legal status of the West Bank. Zionist robbery of Palestinian land has been going on in the West Bank since it was occupied in 1967. But so far the ‘legal’ instrument for implementing it has come in the form of edicts issued by Israeli military commanders, quoting ‘security’ or ‘military’ needs for the stolen land. This in effect treated the West Bank as occupied territory rather than sovereign Israeli territory. But – as pointed out by no other than Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin and former justice minister Dan Meridor, both Likud members – the Knesset has no power to legislate on property rights of foreigners outside Israel’s sovereign territory.8 Moreover, Israel’s attorney general Avihai Mandelblit has announced that he would be unable to defend the new law in the Supreme Court, as it is unconstitutional and is vulnerable to international legal challenge. Indeed, it is quite possible that the Supreme Court will rule accordingly. But what this legislation clearly shows is that the Israeli leadership is moving towards formal or semi-formal annexation of the West Bank.

Ominously, calls for annexation have been increasing in number and volume. At the more ‘liberal’ end of the ruling Zionist circles is president Rivlin. As noted above, he opposes the new Expropriation Law because it applies to areas outside Israel’s sovereign territory and to property of persons who are not Israeli citizens. His solution: annex the whole of the West Bank and grant its Palestinian Arab inhabitants Israeli citizenship.9 In this he is a true follower of Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder of right-wing (‘revisionist’) Zionism, who called for Jewish colonization of Palestine, suppressing forcibly the anticipated opposition of the indigenous Arabs, but then granting them equal rights.10

However, Jabotinsky was writing in the inter-war period, when there was a large oppressed Jewish population in Poland and other countries of eastern Europe, and he counted on massive Jewish immigration to Palestine that would rapidly reduce the indigenous Palestinian Arabs to a minority. The situation of the Jewish diaspora today is very different indeed. East-European Jews were for the most part exterminated by the Nazis; and the present major Jewish communities in Europe and America are not oppressed but thriving. There is little prospect of new massive Jewish immigration to an expanded Israel, sufficient to ensure a Jewish majority.

So Rivlin’s scheme is unrealistic from a Zionist viewpoint, as Ha’aretz has politely pointed out.11 The Zionist regime will not allow it. The decidedly illiberal religious fanatics and racist bigots who are in Israel’s driving seat will do it their own way, now that they feel they have been dealt a Trump card, a carte blanche from the White House. They will probably proceed stepwise, beginning with areas that are already compactly colonized by Israel and have sparser Palestinian population. Palestinian population concentrations will be isolated, squeezed and warehoused, pending eventual ethnic cleansing, when an opportunity – such as a regional conflagration – presents itself. And with the present occupant of the Oval Office this may be sooner than we may think. The outcome will be one state, Zionist style.

Will the ‘international community’ allow it? Well, Zionist expansionism can rely on promising precedents: in addition to the original 1947–49 nakba, there is also the case of the Syrian Golan Heights. Israel is not Putin’s Russia, and the Golan is not Crimea: whereas the Putin gang went through the motions of conducting a referendum before annexing the peninsula, Israel took the simpler route of ethnically cleansing most of the Golan’s inhabitants in 1967, before annexing it officially in 1981. And were any sanctions imposed on Israel? No, stupid, you have just been told that Israel is not Russia. In fact, although no country has formally recognized the annexation and accepted the ethnic cleansing, the world has got used to regarding the Golan Heights as part of Israel, and the line separating it from the rest of Syria is usually referred to in the media as Israel’s border with Syria.

The only hope of preventing a new nakba is a massive mobilisation of progressive world public opinion.



  1. ‘Trump, Netanyahu Full Press Conference’, ABC News, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmfseeZt5fA>.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_map_for_peace.
  3. For example, ‘Israel’s quest for legitimacy, <http://www.israeli-occupation.org/2014-09-18/moshe-machover-israels-quest-for-legitimacy/>.
  4. Mark Landler, ‘Mideast Frustration, the Sequel’, New York Times, April  8 2014 <http://tinyurl.com/pn3vrto>.
  5. ‘Exclusive: Kerry Offered Netanyahu Regional Peace Plan in Secret 2016 Summit With al-Sissi, King Abdullah’ <http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.772531>.
  6. https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000004843773/watch-live-kerrys-speech-on-israeli-palestinian-peace.html.
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Regulation_Law&oldid=765605300.
  8. Itamar Eichner, ‘Rivlin lashes out against Regulation Law’, Ynet, February 13 2017, <http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4921846,00.html>; D Meridor, ‘5 Reasons Why Israeli Lawmakers Must Vote Against the Outpost Legalization Bill’, Ha’aretz, February 3 2017, <http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.769360>.
  9. Jonathan Lis, ‘President Rivlin: Israel Should Annex West Bank, Give Palestinians Full Citizenship’, Ha’aretz, February 14 2017, <http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.771526>.
  10. Vladimir Jabotinsky, ‘The iron wall’ (O Zheleznoi stene), published November 4 1923 in the Russian-language journal Rassvyet (Dawn); English translation <https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/ironwall.html>.
  11. Ha’aretz editorial, ‘Rivlin, Liberal or Annexationist?’, February 16 2017, <http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/1.772039>.

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Thousands of Israelis rally for two-state solution in support of Palestine

Israeli demonstrators waving Israeli and Palestinian flags during a protest rally supporting the two states solution between Israel and the Palestinians, in Rabin square (EPA Photo)

Israeli demonstrators waving Israeli and Palestinian flags during a protest rally supporting the two states solution between Israel and the Palestinians, in Rabin square (EPA Photo)

Some 15,000 Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv Saturday evening in support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Banners reading ‘Two states, One Hope’ were seen in the hands of many demonstrators, who demanded an end to Palestinian occupation, which will soon mark its 50th anniversary.

A message from the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was read during the rally.

“It is time to live together in harmony, security and stability. The only way to end the conflict and the fight against terror in the region and the entire world is a solution of two states based on the 1967 borders, Palestine alongside Israel,” Abbas said.

The Palestinian leader went on to say that Palestine accepted the U.N.’s decisions, the two-state solution and recognized the State of Israel, adding that it was now Israel’s turn to recognize Palestinian state and end the occupation.

The leading organizers of the demonstration, Israeli NGO Peace Now, said that the rally was to protest “the lack of hope being offered by a government perpetuating occupation, violence and racism.”

“The time has come to prove to the Israelis, the Palestinians and the entire world that an important segment of the Israeli population is opposed to occupation and wants a two-state solution,” Peace Now head Avi Buskila said.

The Palestinians want the West Bank, as well as the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, —areas captured by Israel in the 1967 war— as part of their hoped-for state. The Palestinians want these areas along with the Gaza Strip for the establishment of a future Palestinian state. International law views the West Bank and east Jerusalem as “occupied territories” and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land as illegal. Roughly 500,000 Israelis now live in more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built since Israel occupied the Palestinian West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967.

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Palestine’s Last Hope for a Two-State Solution

  • The future is bleak, both for Palestine and Israel.
    The future is bleak, both for Palestine and Israel. | Photo: AFP
The Palestinians lead the hellish existence of an open prison, surrounded by Israeli walls and checkpoints.

The Christmas season is when people in the Christian world are encouraged to think of those less fortunate, including of course people oppressed for no other reason than being a particular ethnic or national group by birth. Iconic in such misery are Palestinians. Palestinians are both Christian and Muslim. Few in the West know, for example, that the late President Yasser Arafat’s wife is Christian. Also Hanan Ashrawi the notable scholar, legislator and activist, and her mentor the late Edward Said.

RELATED:Palestine Celebrates UN Condemnation of Israeli Settlements

Among the most unfortunate of oppressed peoples, the Palestinians lead the hellish existence of an open prison, surrounded by Israeli walls and checkpoints. Originally one-fifth were Christian, some of the families in fact the original Christians, although their numbers have now diminished. Given the number of instances of Palestinians needing urgent medical attention being snarled at checkpoints instead of being rushed through, one fears if Joseph and Mary, in the apocryphal tale, had traveled to Bethlehem today, Jesus would have been born at a checkpoint.

The 22 percent of the land left to the Palestinians out of the original Palestine is sometimes quietly, sometimes noisily, getting gobbled up by illegal settlements. In theory, the U.S. opposes them but in practice does nothing. So it came as a pleasant surprise when the U.S. did not cast its expected veto against the recent U.N. Security Council resolution condemning them. Congratulations are in order to the all too gutless Obama administration and to our Compromiser-in-Chief, a Peace Nobelist, who has remained nobly aloof (at least apparently) while a swathe of countries stretching from North Africa through the Arabian Peninsula and into the Pakistan border have been devastated, not to mention Ukraine destabilized through a coup.

Yet out of this cauldron of death and destruction plus a resulting refugee tsunami destroying a European experiment, comes a chance, a small chance, of some legacy — even Obamacare the health initiative has taken to its sick bed. In the three weeks remaining of this president’s term, he can recognize Palestine as a state. It would enable Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations and press its legitimate rights. Otherwise the future is bleak, both for Palestine and Israel.

President-elect Trump has signaled the last gasp of the two-state solution through his choice of ambassador to Israel. His friend and bankruptcy lawyer (used often) David Friedman is noted for his affinity with extremist Israeli settlers, illegally squatting in universally condemned settlements that also violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. He is president of the American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva and Bet El Institutions, raising money to support settlers.

RELATED:Palestine Solidarity Day

Since the end of his presidency, Jimmy Carter and his exemplary foundation have undertaken many admirable challenges including the eradication of certain waterborne diseases in Africa. He has also written about the plight of Palestinians, the latest of which is an op-ed in the New York Times (November 28, 2016) titled America Must Recognize Palestine. He exhorts President Obama to recognize Palestine as a country and annul U.S. objections to it becoming a full member of the United Nations.

It is perhaps the last hope for a two-state solution.


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