|Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center) shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (right) as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (left) looks on at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, Israel, on September 15, 2010. Department photo/ Public Domain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
|English: Barack Obama meets with Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
|DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 24JAN08 - Tzipi Livni, Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel and Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, captured during the session 'Middle East: After Annapolis, After Paris' at the Annual Meeting 2008 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 24, 2008. Copyright World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org) Photo by Richard Kalvar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The negotiations for final borders, status of Jerusalem, and ending the occupation, began as symptoms towards a final solution to the conflict. The symptoms of a two-state solution were never treated.
The reason is that both sides to the conflict are intransigent and show no desire to end the conflict in a manner that would satisfy the parties in the conflict.
PM Netanyahu supports the two-state solution because he knows that it has passed away and will never be resurrected. It is like the belief in the coming of the Messiah among the religious. It is just not going to occur.
President Barack Obama has sent the two-state cure, "Dr" John Kerry, to try and bring the Palestinians and Israelis to the negotiation table. He will not succeed in achieving this as his predecessors had also started with enthusiasm and then gave up. Some of the US envoys in the past were more resilient in this quest. The two-state solution is moribund, and no matter how much one applies artificial resuscitation, it will not be revived.
The two-state solution exists as a slogan only. It suits Netanyahu because he can manipulate it the way he wishes, using it as a sop to the Obama Administration.
It is obvious that preconditions do exist on both sides despite Israel's denials. Israel is not prepared to freeze settlements apart from minor cosmetic token freezes. Illegal settlement activity in the Occupied Territories continues unabated. There are close to 350 000 settlers in the West Bank and the numbers are increasing like a cancer in the middle of the areas destined to be the areas for the establishment of a Palestinian State. Is this not a precondition for talks with the Palestinians in practice? Israel does not build settlements in the occupied territories for the purpose of removing them in a two-state settlement, apart from small illegal outposts that do not have government approval.
The previous Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, was on a pragmatic track to build viable infra - structures in the occupied areas that have some autonomy under Mahmoud Abbas. He was partially successful but he resigned from his position as he lacked popularity. He had no power support base even from Mahmoud Abbas.
On the Palestinian track, there are also preconditions. As a first step, they demand a total settlement freeze before they are even prepared to come to the negotiation table. This will never be accepted by the Netanyahu Government. He gave his Minister of Justice, Tzippi Livni, the task of responsibility for negotiations with the Palestinians as soft serve maintenance of Israel's position vis a vis the occupation. Under these conditions none of the sides will ever come to an agreement and the slogan - two-state-solution will for ever remain as such - an idea that will fade into the mists of memory as an impractical solution, which the parties to the conflict will never achieve.
When a person passes away, the family grieves. When a possible solution passes away, there is no grieving but accusations as to who who was to blame. The two-state idea passed away because both sides did not want to bring it to fruition. Both sides engaged in rhetoric to support it as this is what the US wanted to hear very soon after the failed Oslo agreements. The naivety of the US as a peace broker also played its part in the passing of the two-state idea. They lack the knowledge of the dynamics of the Middle East.
Now Israel is burying its head in the sand and putting the idea of negotiations for a viable and just solution to the conflict on the back-burner. The Netanyahu Government is involved with internal problems and giving haircuts to Nocki Dankner, the tycoon, who has burnt his fingers with the employees pension funds and the budget tailored to burden the Israeli citizens with increased direct and indirect taxes.
An atmosphere of indifference towards peace and a solution to the conflict exists in Israel. It is as if mention of the conflict has become taboo. This is dangerous for both parties to the conflict as a new intifada can take us all by surprise - not to mention increased incidents of violence against the settlers. The settlers will remain a thorn in the flesh of the Palestinians quest for a homeland whatever form that.may take. There will be increased racist attacks towards the Palestinians by Israeli settlers in the occupied territories. This will take the form of increased destruction and damage to Palestinian property not to mention the destruction of their orchards and olive tree plantations.
Other options need to be put on the table once the two combatants are brought screaming at each other to the negotiating table by enthusiastic peace facilitators such as the US. It is doubtful if John Kerry will achieve this. Possible options that could be discussed are a federal solution, confederal solution or even a bi-national solution. There does not seem to be anything else on the market. Each possibility has its advantages and disadvantages. Time is running out for both sides to fiddle around. One thing is certain and that is the Israeli occupation must end. It is ruining the credibility of Israel in its desire not to rule another people against their will.