You’re fed up with Israel’s settlement policy. You’ve read about Obama’s offer to give Israel the moon for a three month moratorium that excludes East Jerusalem, and you’re furious.
On the other hand, you might be someone who could care less about settlements. Your chief concern is Israel’s security and you believe that any daylight between the US and Israel when it comes to Mideast negotiations undermines that security. You’ve read about an offer to give Israel the moon for a three month moratorium, an offer the United State won’t commit to in writing, and you’re furious.
Either way you’re wondering – who’s the genius setting the stage for this T-boning of an American Administration?
While the question of “who” is murky right now, and no doubt involves both American and Israeli officials, the mechanism being used to create “realities in the mind” before the facts are in, is clear: Reporters, pundits and their unnamed “sources” have circulated such a blizzard of contradictory rumors that by the time any final deal on this particular issue is reached all sides will feel betrayed by the process that led to the announced result.
Betrayed, that is, unless the Obama Administration comes out swinging sometime soon, upending both realities-in-the mind and facts-on the-ground. In the end, restoring confidence in the negotiating process, and US leadership, might be as straightforward as telling the simple truth – Settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is incompatible with credible negotiations whose goal is a two-state solution.
If past performance are any indication, Israel’s plan for East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza – in the absence of a negotiated settlement – is the same now as it has been since 1967: To retain effective control over the land, its borders, air space, aquifers, and other resources, while giving Palestinians a stark choice between emigration or statelessness.
But forty years of settlement have made continued reliance on that plan impossible. According to the Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, after decades of negotiating while Israel continues appropriating, 42% of the West Bank is now under the jurisdiction of settlement blocks inhabited by over 400,000 Israeli citizens. New generations are being born in these enclaves who will never have known any other home. No Palestinian leadership can continue to be played like this and retain credibility in the eyes of their people.
So, given the present state of affairs, is the two-state solution dead? That remains to be seen. It’s my contention that at the present moment we, the general public, can’t know for sure what’s really going on as the United States makes what is probably a final effort on its behalf.
But one thing we do know for sure: Our nation can’t afford to be played any longer either, and retain its credibility in the eyes of the world.
Léa Park is volunteer website manager for Friends of Sabeel–North America, an international peace movement initiated almost twenty years ago by Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land. The views she expresses on Mondoweiss are her own, and not necessarily those of Fosna.