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Several mainstream publications say the two-state solution is dead

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Israel’s latest landgrab in the West Bank has caused several more mainstream media outlets to offer eulogies to the two-state solution– and note that Israel has isolated the United States diplomatically. Here are a few of them: 

Karl Vick, at Time Magazine, describes the new Israeli settlement as a “game ender” for the two-state solution and says it will only isolate Israel further:

“The impact,” says [Israeli attorney Daniel] Seidemann, whom foreign embassies routinely consult as an expert on settlements and the boundaries of the contentious city, “is basically the creation of facts on the ground that would make the two-state solution dead. It’s not only a game changer, it’s a game ender.”

The reaction to Netanyahu’s bold move, both in Israel and abroad, was swift and negative. Britain and France summoned Israel’s ambassadors to hear protests, and reportedly were considering ordering their own envoys home, a move without precedent. 

LA Times has this statement:

As U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, it would deal “an almost fatal blow” to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because it would make it extremely difficult to configure a reasonably contiguous Palestinian state. (The Obama administration described the Israeli announcement as “counterproductive,” and a State Department spokesman said that construction in E-1 “would be damaging to efforts to achieve a two-state solution.”)

Ian Black at the Guardian also says the two-state solution is finished, and calls on the EU to take charge.

[A]uthorising illegal settlements in the area known as E1 is plainly provocative. It is, as the UN’s Ban ki-Moon put it, a near-fatal blow to the fading hopes for a two-state solution. Britain’s foreign secretary, Wiliam Hague, made the same point starkly…

Swift and concerted diplomatic protests across Europe were certainly headline-grabbing. But what counts is whether they will be followed by more united and robust action. Even more important, what will be the response of the US, the only member of the security council to vote no to Palestine last week?

At Al Jazeera, Neve Gordon and Yinon Cohen post graphs demonstrating that the West Bank settlers have been demographically successful– that is to say, they will never leave:

[D]emographic changes within the West Bank obstruct the possibility of the two-state solution. The numbers suggest that Abbas’ bid to the United Nations was too little, too late.

The two scholars point out that immigration to the West Bank collapsed after the Second Intifada, but the settlers have more than made up for that by having lots of kids. Twenty years ago, there were 9,000 new settlers and 2600 births in a year. Today, the numbers are reversed: 3600 new settlers, but nearly 11,000 births.

And here’s a brilliant piece by Henry Siegman at Foreign Policy asking who doomed the two-state solution, Obama or Netanyahu? And answering: Obama.

This continuity of U.S. Middle East peace policy was promptly reinforced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she assured Israel [Friday] that despite her condemnation of its decision to proceed with new construction in the E1 corridor of the West Bank that will doom the two-state solution, this administration will continue to “have Israel’s back.”

The decision confirms America’s irrelevance not only to a possible resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict but to the emerging political architecture of the entire region, the shape and direction of which will increasingly be determined by popular Arab opinion, not autocratic regimes dependent on the United States for their survival.

The efforts promised by President Obama to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will be seen universally for the empty and purposeless exercise they will be. To be taken seriously, a new U.S. peace initiative would have to begin with an insistence that Israel’s government accept the pre-1967 border as the starting point of resumed negotiations. Without such a U.S. demand, backed by effective diplomatic pressure, the United States will have no right to ask Palestinians to return to negotiations that have no terms of reference, and therefore no prospect of producing anything other than cover for Israel’s continuing predatory colonial behavior in the West Bank….

A U.S. administration that since the third year of its first term has been pandering to the Israel lobby by withdrawing its insistence that Israel’s illegal settlements project must end, followed by a muting of its demand that resumed negotiations be framed by reasonable terms of reference, should exercise considerably greater restraint before presuming to preach to others on the subject of political courage.

Netanyahu’s decision to proceed with massive new construction in the Jerusalem area and elsewhere in the Occupied Territories is not what doomed the two-state solution. It was always clear this is what he intended doing. What doomed the two-state solution was Obama’s decision to give Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the veto over Palestinian statehood.

Robert Wright in The Atlantic, seeking to resuscitate the two-state solution for the sake of the U.S., advises Obama to take Israel on: to inform Netanyahu that he’s planning to deliver a speech that calls the Israelis out over their latest plans and says that the U.S. will no longer support Israel at the U.N. Netanyahu will then cave, Wright predicts.

But he adds a big disclaimer:

I’m not saying Obama will take this approach; obviously, it would be out of character for him to be so bold. I’m just saying that if he did take this approach it would work. I’m also saying that if he doesn’t do something to rein Netanyahu in, he’s not doing his duty as president.

Glenn Greenwald, at the Guardian, says Israel is now a rogue state, with the U.S. at its side.

So essentially, it’s the entire planet on one side, versus the US, its new right-wing poodle to the north, Israel, and three tiny, bribed islands on the other side.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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23 Responses

  1. jimbowski on December 5, 2012, 11:15 am

    It’s interesting that Israel, by stealing Palestinian land, has set the stage for a one-state solution and thus the demise of a Jewish state. Demographics show that the Palestinian birth rate is dramatically higher than the Jewish birth rate and that, in 25 years, Arabs will out-number Jews in Judea and Samara. Consequently, the apartheid system in Israel will be too obvious for the world to ignore (just like South Africa in the 1980s). In 25 years, the world will overwhelmingly condemn Israeli apartheid and it will come crashing down. The result will be a “one state solution” with an Israeli Kennesset dominated by a Palestinian majority. And this majority will oppress the Jewish minority and around the merry-go-round we go!

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on December 5, 2012, 11:56 am

      ” Arabs will out-number Jews in Judea and Samara.”

      Arabs already outnumber Jews in ‘Judea and Samaria’, by quite a considerable margin. Pretty soon, they will outnumber them in all of the land currently controlled by Israel.

    • Light on December 5, 2012, 1:16 pm

      Even the Israeli government admits that there are already more Palestinians in historic Palestine/Greater Israel than Jewish Israelis. Only by excluding Gaza is there a Jewish majority.

    • russgreen on December 6, 2012, 3:34 pm

      “And this majority will oppress the Jewish minority and around the merry-go-round we go!”

      Hey “Humble Goyem” jimbowski: that will not happen. Not in Israel any more than it did in South Africa.

      Jews will (finally) write a constitution that guarantees the rights of minorities. Jews will retain control of the police and security services, which will make sure Jews will be safe even though they are a minority. One state is entirely workable. Jews do not need a Jewish majority to make sure Israel stays a safe refuge for Jews.

      All truly successful democracies have constitutions in place to prevent the “tyranny of the majority” (including the United States.) And the Jewish minority in the one state (Israel/Palestine) will be much larger than that of whites in South Africa or of African Americans in the US, too.

  2. HarryLaw on December 5, 2012, 11:16 am

    The Israelis want neither a one state or a two state solution, definitely not a one state one, they would accept a series of Bantustans [prisons] sealed off and surrounded by settlements, these uneconomic areas would be kept viable with huge amounts of aid from Europe/US, after all the “Land of Israel” is for the Jewish people, Palestinians are interlopers and should be treated as such, they will be denied control over their airspace, entry in or out of the prisons would be by Israeli permission, all the while Israeli military incursions and assassinations of trouble makers would make life there a living hell, the Israelis would hope to whittle the population down until a more permanent solution can be found. The Israelis hope they can emulate the US treatment of the indigenous American Indians, yes I think they and a not insignificant number of US Politicians genuinely think they can pull this lunacy off.

    • MHughes976 on December 5, 2012, 1:18 pm

      The trick with the indigenous Americans was partly based on vastly outnumbering them so can’t be repeated exactly. This time the idea would be to clear the enclaves one by one – humane relocation schemes and all that.

  3. amigo on December 5, 2012, 11:32 am

    I’m also saying that if he doesn’t do something to rein Netanyahu in, he’s not doing his duty as president.Robert Wright.

    And he is doing nothing to earn that Nobel Peace Prize.

    Au contraire–he is doing everything to endanger Peace.

    Give back that Nobel Obama.

    You disgrace it.

    • AhVee on December 6, 2012, 5:22 am

      It’s already disgraced, at the latest since the EU was awarded one.

  4. seafoid on December 5, 2012, 12:28 pm

    Obama didn’t kill the 2 SS. He should bury it. It died a long time ago.
    Some time in the 70s probably.

  5. Maximus Decimus Meridius on December 5, 2012, 12:42 pm

    ”Ian Black at the Guardian also says the two-state solution is finished, and calls on the EU to take charge”

    I’ve had a few run-ins with Ian Black on the Guardian’s comment pages. That paper has lost all credibility in its ‘reporting’ on the Middle East. Their ‘live blogs’ on Syria are a joke – they’re no longer even trying to hide the fact that they’re just relaying FSA propaganda. Similarly, their ‘live blogs’ on the Gaza war were a string of IDF tweets, complete with editorial references to ‘Hamas houses’ and strong implications that everything and anything bombed by the IDF was a legitimate target.

    Shame. The Guardian used to be quite good.

    • seafoid on December 6, 2012, 4:25 am

      It appears that the grauniad wants to reinvent itself as a mostly internet liberal flagbearer that leans towards the US . So those letters in the paper version from decent people in localities in non metro england may have to go. The big question is how does the graun generate cashflow from the net. For every dollar earned via online ads Yank newspapers have lost 7 dollars in print ad revenue.

  6. DICKERSON3870 on December 5, 2012, 12:55 pm

    RE: “At Al Jazeera, Neve Gordon and Yinon Cohen post graphs demonstrating that the West Bank settlers have been demographically successful . . .” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Curiously, these graphs no longer appear to be available at Al Jazeera, but they can still be found at
    GRAPHS – []

  7. doug on December 5, 2012, 1:12 pm

    IMO Israel has long intended a “One State Solution.” The strategy has been to do it in such a way as to bring along the bulk of liberal Jewish Americans. The meme is that Israel has been forced down this path through Palestinian intransigence. The rationalization must be provided and is the ususal much like the classic “The Constitution is not a suicide pact.”

    I think the Israeli Right is thrilled at how muted reaction from the American Jewish establishment, including the “liberals,” has been so far. Sad, but not unexpected.

    • Citizen on December 6, 2012, 9:04 am

      @ doug
      The American Jewish Establishment always looks the other way when Israel thumbs its nose at any POTUS, so why should Obama have expected something different? This has been especially true over decades regarding the Settlements.

      How long before the US regime realizes Israel has never had any intention of a just peace with a sovereign Palestine state like any other sovereign state?

      So long as Israel always gets more carrots, never any sticks, not even threats of being on the receiving end of a stick or two, no matter what it does, Israel has no incentive to comply with the lone superpower and dishonest broker of world renown. As Hillary says, “We (always) have Israel’s back.” Yes indeed, even when Israel is standing on our head.

  8. Kathleen on December 5, 2012, 2:15 pm

    “Now a rogue state” mild words for Glenn Greenwald. How about has been and continues to be a rogue state

    “near fatal blow, dead, game ender” And the US comes up with “counter productive’ can you say wienie comment.

    And then Hillary just puts her ass print all over the Aipac/Saban crowd. Hillary would be as bad as 43 on foreign policy if she gets close to the presidency spot

  9. pabelmont on December 5, 2012, 2:37 pm

    [1] As to population, the population of Israel should include the exiles of 1948, who have a right to live in their ancient homeland (a land, a territory, a place) irrespective of which regime rules it (Ottomans, British, Israelis, someday perhaps Palestinians). Be nice to hear the nations make THIS point as well as the E1-settlements point, the quasi-Statehood point, and the Israel’s nukes-should-be-inspected sort of point. In fact, be good to hear the nations say, once again with feeling, that the settlements — all of them — and the settlers — all of them — and the wall, none of them belong there and should be removed.

    [2] As Greenwald writes, w.r.t. tyher USA and Israel as “rogue states”:

    If you’re a member in good standing of the Washington-based US foreign policy community, then the way you describe these matters is as follows: “the international community stands by Israel and supports its position” – because, in that warped, self-affirming world, “international community” is a synonym for “US dictates”.

    But for those fortunate enough to reside outside of that realm of intense imperial propaganda: who is actually opposed to the consensus of the international community here? In other words, who are the real “rogue nations”?

    • American on December 6, 2012, 10:56 am

      “In other words, who are the real “rogue nations”?….Greenwald

      We are, we the US are now a rouge nation….don’t know how it could be clearer.
      Our government rejects all laws, international and our own, reject basic morality, ethics, indulges in unnecessary wars of choice, supports violations of human rights, call innocent civilians killed in our wars of choice necessary collateral damage ….yep, we are totally rouge, might as well admit it.

  10. Donald on December 5, 2012, 7:34 pm

    I think the original title of this article was better because it made the interesting point that the end of the 2ss is an idea that is becoming mainstream. The new title is cute, but doesn’t convey that point.

    • philweiss on December 5, 2012, 8:23 pm

      thanks, i’ll switch it back, donald
      someone liked the original title which was the one you dont like, and so i used the more prosaic straightforward one,– oh well its too complicated

    • Citizen on December 6, 2012, 9:11 am

      @ Donald, go read the article at the Daily Beast Open Zion from yesterday; it posits while the Jewish Establishment ignores the settlement issue and its direct conflict with US policy, the mainstream is just slightly waking up to the fact obvious to all except Washington & US mainstream press and Congress that Israel has had no intention of working towards a 2-SS.

  11. piotr on December 5, 2012, 10:21 pm

    Today I was pondering, which oxymoron is more epic: “honest broker” or “mature content”? More precisely, there is a broker, and there is content, but honesty? maturity?

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