Benjamin Netanyahu has now joined the chorus of Israeli officials who say that Israel must avert a one-state future because it would be suicidal for the Jewish state. I haven’t seen this in the mainstream US press, but it’s in the Forward, picking up Haaretz, and the Times of Israel:
“The purpose of the future agreement with the Palestinians is to prevent the eventuality of a binational state and to guarantee stability and security.”
What will Netanyahu do about his fear of democracy? Surely nothing concrete to try and save the Jewish state; Netanyahu made no mention of John Kerry’s white horse, the new Arab Peace Initiative. Though even David Makovsky of the Israel lobby group WINEP is pushing that one.
Most absurd, however, is the renewed effort to change language in the Arab Peace Initiative to accommodate Israeli colonial behavior. Kerry sought and received statements from Arab foreign ministers regarding “land swaps” as part of a territorial agreement. After this, Kerry hailed the statement he’d been working to secure as a “very big step forward.”
If this is a step in any direction it is indeed a step backwards. PLO negotiators, the same party recognized by the Arab League, have long embraced the notion of land swaps. In fact, as leaked documents in the Palestine Papers archive show, land swaps were thoroughly discussed in negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis then led by Ehud Olmert. The problem was that when Palestinian negotiators objected to the extent of additional Palestinian land the Israelis wanted to keep, the U.S. representatives acted as an enforcer for the Israeli position. Then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice responded to Ahmed Qurei’s objection to Israel keeping Ma’ale Addumim, a massive colony deep inside the West Bank, by saying “Then you won’t have a state!”
The message from the U.S. was simple: If the Israelis don’t get to keep what they want, even if they took it illegally, then you, the Palestinians, will live under perpetual occupation.
This is not the first time U.S. mediators try to manufacture progress out of a step backwards