In a story about the resumption of direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis today, the Times’ Ethan Bronner glumly concedes that the two-state solution is likely DOA:
Most Palestinians — and many on the Israeli left — argue that there are now too many Israeli settlements in the West Bank for a viable, contiguous Palestinian state to arise there. Settlement growth has continued despite a construction moratorium announced by Mr. Netanyahu.
Moreover, support for many of the settlements remains relatively strong in Israel. In other words, if this view holds, the Israelis have closed out any serious option of a two-state solution. So the talks are useless.
This is a significant development.
Anyone who has visited the West Bank and East Jerusalem can see that the idea of two states is all but utopian given the reality of Jewish colonization; but the ideal/fiction of two states must be endorsed in Washington and New York if you are going to be taken seriously, because saying otherwise means that you think the Jewish state is finished. I have known people to privately concede that the idea of a two state solution is crazy but publicly say that they believe in it–in order to be taken seriously. Yesterday on the beach here in Cape Cod, with my mom, I heard a leftwing friend explain to a rightwing friend that she is "for the two-state solution"– a good reminder of the fact that believing in two states is still an avant-garde position, in Jewish life, in complete defiance of the reality, that there is one state there, administered effectively by one side. Bronner’s statement opens the real hope that the Times will begin to inform its readers about the actual state of affairs in Palestine and allow them to start thinking of more creative ways to end the oppression and statelessness of Palestinians. As Noam Sheizaf does in the post above.
On a related note: Bronner quickly blames the end of the two state solution on the Palestinians, saying that they have repeatedly rejected Israel offers of Partition. I have some sympathy for this view—if I were Palestinian, I would think, if we hold out long enough, we will get a majority Palestinian state—but then wouldn’t you do the same thing in the same dispossessed situation?
Also Bronner quotes two Palestinians in the piece but, emphasizing the "Israeli perspective," far more Israelis. I count four Israelis, including neocon Dore Gold– who despite working for Israeli governments makes $96,000 a year as a scholar of the American Enterprise Institute. The Times says that the piece includes reporting from Ramallah by Khaled Abu-Akr. Naturally I wonder if one or both Palestinian quotes were provided by him; and if Bronner interviews Palestinians; or if the fact that his son is now serving in the IDF makes it hard for him to get Palestinians on the phone? Just making trouble.