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On eve of Paris talks PA support for two-state solution not shared among Palestinians

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At least 72 countries are set to meet on Sunday in Paris for the most recent effort in reaching a two-state solution in Palestine and Israel, neither of which are expected to be represented at the meeting.

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly criticized the conference during talks with the Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, where he said the Paris initiative was “rigged by the Palestinians with French auspices to adopt additional anti-Israel stances.”

However, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, also on Thursday, reiterated his support for future negotiations of a new two-state solution.

In a press release, the PM’s office said it believed “only a negotiated two-state-solution will lead to an end of occupation and an agreement on all final status issues.”

But Hamdallah’s sentiment does not seem to be echoed on the Palestinian street, where confidence in the two-state solution has taken a drastic hit.

Issa Amro, head of Youth Against Settlements, a Palestinian-led organization in Hebron, told Mondoweiss that most Palestinians feel disenfranchised by the continuous cycle of negotiation attempts.

“The majority of the Palestinians don’t have any faith in the Paris Peace conference because no matter what, the conference won’t force Israel to fulfill its obligations to international law or human rights treaties,” Amro said.

He added that any attempts at negotiating a solution at the moment are futile because in his opinion, as Israel is not interested in ending the occupation in the near future.

“Israel doesn’t want one-state, two-state, or any other solution right now, so the first step, before any negotiations, should be to hold Israel accountable for its behavior,” he said.

Ramzi Baroud, a Palestinian analyst and author, also told Mondoweiss that the political discussion surrounding the two-state solution was far from the on-the-ground reality of today’s Palestine, and that is wasn’t just the Israeli government Palestinians feel disenfranchised by.

“Palestinians have progressively been losing faith in the two-state solution for some time now. That loss of faith is going hand-in-hand with the growth of Israeli settlements, and the loss of legitimacy of the Palestinian leadership among ordinary people,” Baroud said.

According to Baroud, Israel, the US and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have  “labored to give an impression that they are working jointly to reach a peace agreement,” but in reality, all three parties have no interest in a long-term solution, he said.

In September, a year after the start of the most recent Palestinian uprising, a poll from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey research found that 56 percent of Palestinians had lost hope in any two-state solution. In just three months, the same poll found that number had increased to 65 percent.

“That trio is no longer able to uphold their make-believe ‘peace process’ anymore,” Baroud said. “The US-Israeli rift widened, and the PA is busy with its own factional fight. With Donald Trump as the new US President, the entire ‘peace process’ sham is rapidly collapsing. In view of this, and of the reality on the ground, most Palestinians now realize that a two-state solution will not take place, not now, or ever.”

Renewed discussion over the two-state solution was sparked last December, after a speech presented by US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington D.C.. The speech was presented just days after the US abstained from a UN vote to halt all Israeli settlement activity — a main reason Israel has sought to delegitimize the Paris conference.

During his speech, Kerry said the two-state solution for peace between Israel and Palestine was “in jeopardy.”

“The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It is the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace and security with its neighbors. It is the only way to ensure a future of freedom and dignity for the Palestinian people,” Kerry said.

Ahmad Lahham, Media and Advocacy officer of BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights told Mondoweiss that the political discussions around a two-state solution or any other attempt at negotiations was premature.

“We cannot have a political discussion about one or two states as long as the rights of the Palestinian people are not realized,” Lahham said. “The focus should be on bringing justice and the recognition of the fundamental rights of Palestinians, including the right of return and self-determination.”

“Political decisions cannot be made as long as fundamental rights are violated on a daily basis. Changing this state of affairs represents a matter of great urgency and it can only be done through the application of concerted pressure on Israel by the international community through all available channels,” he continued.

“These joint efforts should be based on identifying the root causes of the conflict and adopting and supporting rights-based durable solutions as a long-term strategy,” regardless of which long-term solution comes to pass.

Sheren Khalel

Sheren Khalel is a freelance multimedia journalist who works out of Israel, Palestine and Jordan. She focuses on human rights, women's issues and the Palestine/Israel conflict. Khalel formerly worked for Ma'an News Agency in Bethlehem, and is currently based in Ramallah and Jerusalem. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sherenk.

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16 Responses

  1. Theo on January 14, 2017, 1:25 pm

    According to the latest news Abbas will not attent the Paris conference!
    One should ask him, what are his plans to free his people, the palestinians? After the UN vote he already should be at the ICC in The Hague filing charges against israeli occupation, instead he refuses to go to a very important conference, important for Palestina.
    In my opinion he has absolutly no interest to change the status quo. His mandat ended good two years ago, so he is holding that office without proper authority. He refuses to call elections, because he knows that most likely he will lose it and must give up his office. Besides, in my opinion, he is just a paid agent of israeli/US interests.

    • annie on January 14, 2017, 1:35 pm

      i’m beginning to wonder if he’ll live to be 105. is there no getting rid of him or is he guaranteed to be in office for life?

      • pabelmont on January 14, 2017, 2:39 pm

        Annie, is this (“105”) another “Not in my lifetime” joke? Remember when God was asked when there might be I/P peace?

        “Then there is the story about the Korean, Indian and Israeli leaders asking God when they might live in peace. “Not in your lifetime,” is the answer to the first two, who get up and leave the room sobbing. To the Israeli, God says “Not in my lifetime” and gets up and leaves sobbing.”

      • annie on January 14, 2017, 3:26 pm

        actually i don’t remember when god said that pabelmont — but thanks for the story! yes, my 105 reference was sort of a joke of this nature. i think abbas is perhaps destined to live until they find what they deem to be a suitable replacement. we’ll see, and probably (hopefully!) in my lifetime.

      • gamal on January 14, 2017, 3:48 pm

        “i don’t remember when god said that pabelmont”

        thats not the version of the Joke Tony Clifton and Catherine Leroy (I have the 1st edition but its a bit battered) opens their amazing book, God Cried with, it’s a record of Lebanon ’82 everyone should read and get the right version of the joke with

        Reagan Brezhnev and Arafat

      • annie on January 14, 2017, 4:08 pm

        gamal, the book has all 5 star reviews:

        here, from the editor of the book:

        Its title derived from a piece of Palestinian black humour circulating in the Middle East at the time, it being said that God had agreed to answer one question each from Ronald Reagan, Leonid Brezhnev and Yasser Arafat. The American president asked his question first, wanting to know when an American would become leader of the whole world. ‘In fifty years,’ said God. And Reagan cried. When God asked him why he cried, he said, ‘Because it won’t happen in my lifetime.’ Next it was the turn of Brezhnev, who wished to know from God when the whole world would be communist. ‘In a hundred years,’ said God. And Brezhnev cried for the same reason as Reagan. And when it came to Arafat, he asked God, ‘When will my people have a homeland of their own?’ And God cried.

      • gamal on January 14, 2017, 6:22 pm

        you so good Annie, thanks.

      • jd65 on January 16, 2017, 11:53 am
      • jd65 on January 16, 2017, 11:56 am

        @ gamal:

        Tony Clifton and Catherine Leroy (I have the 1st edition but its a bit battered) opens their amazing book, God Cried…

        I’d not heard of this book. Thanks for mentioning it, as it looks like one I should have already. I will be ordering today…

  2. joemowrey on January 14, 2017, 1:48 pm

    It’s sadly disappointing that anyone is still flogging this dead horse. Look at a map of the West Bank showing the settlements. There will never be a two state solution. Israel/Palestine is already one apartheid state controlled by an iron Zionist fist.

    • pabelmont on January 14, 2017, 2:41 pm

      This is so, Joe, and there will never be a “fair” 2SS or a democratic 1SS (either of them to replace the present apartheid 1SS) until an even stronger thing than Israel’s iron fist comes along and actually (for whatever reason) actually wants to get the job done. It’s either war or sanctions or indefinitely continued apartheid.

      • echinococcus on January 14, 2017, 5:50 pm


        “Indefinitely continued” until the Zionists decide they can just bury everyone.

  3. Boo on January 16, 2017, 2:35 pm

    The Palestinians are the only ones who have the authority to make the final decision in this matter. I really have no say in it since I have no skin in the game, and on that day I’ll get down off my soapbox.

    However, from an objective standpoint any 1S solution will deny them any chance at their own nation and their own government. This causes me great sorrow and pain because it’s so unjust.

    Justice demands an end to the Israeli occupation. Let them leave — lock, stock and barrel — then they can “stand in line and wait their turn to get back in again” just like the GOP has demanded that illegal immigrants in America should do.

    No peace without justice.

    • Maghlawatan on January 16, 2017, 4:58 pm

      Settlers out plus the northern half of greater Israel would be fair

      • Mooser on January 16, 2017, 5:22 pm

        “Settlers out plus the northern half of greater Israel would be fair

        Can Israel guarantee enough Jews will stay in Israel under these vastly different conditions? Enough to make Israel viable? The Zionists have never held Palestine except on their terms, they may find any others too insecure..

  4. shaun patrick on January 16, 2017, 11:44 pm

    To paraphrase a quote from scripture we have seen the “weeping and gnashing of teeth’ by the Israeli right and settlers over the court decision to demolish the Amona settlement which is a small group of huts and mobile homes. There is no way that it will be possible to move even the smallest settlement to make way for a Palestinian State so to me the argument is not about is there time to save the two state solution its about two states are impossible because the settlers will start a civil war rather than be moved.They are motivated by some messianic crazy thinking that causes them to believe that God wants them living there despite the chaos and suffering this causes. Based on my reasoning, we have to move on from two states for two people to one person one vote for Jews and Palestinians in a greater Israel.

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