The two-state solution has welcomed two converts. In recent weeks, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas’s political bureau, have indicated they now accept what they had long rejected. This nearly unanimous consensus is the surest sign to date that the two-state solution has become void of meaning, a catchphrase divorced from the contentious issues it is supposed to resolve. Everyone can say yes because saying yes no longer says much, and saying no has become too costly. Acceptance of the two-state solution signals continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle by other means.
Bowing to American pressure, Mr. Netanyahu conceded the principle of a Palestinian state, but then described it in a way that stripped it of meaningful sovereignty. In essence, and with minor modifications, his position recalled that of Israeli leaders who preceded him. A state, he pronounced, would have to be demilitarized, without control over borders or airspace. Jerusalem would remain under Israeli sovereignty, and no Palestinian refugees would be allowed back to Israel. His emphasis was on the caveats rather than the concession.
As Mr. Netanyahu was fond of saying, you can call that a state if you wish, but whom are you kidding? [continued…]
US House Majority leader Steny Hoyer praised Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, called for the Palestinian Authority to drop any preconditions to negotiations, and said that Congress differentiated between building in east Jerusalem and in the West Bank, during an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Hoyer, currently in the country leading a delegation of 29 Democratic legislators, also said the rhetoric coming out of the Fatah General Assembly in Bethlehem was “unfortunate.”
The delegation, sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, arrived on Sunday evening and met Monday with President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and US security coordinator Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton.
Lieberman told the group that the continued control of Gaza by Hamas, along with the rhetoric coming out of the Fatah conference in Bethlehem, essentially buried chances of peace for the near future. [continued…]
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged on Sunday that he will never evict Jewish settlers from occupied Palestinian land as Israel did in 2005 in the Gaza Strip.
“The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip brought us neither peace nor security. The territory has become a base for the pro-Iranian Hamas movement and we will never make the same mistake again,” Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting.
“We will not evict any more people from their homes,” he added in comments carried by public radio. [continued…]
Even compared to the low ethical standards which most people, outside the United States, ascribe to the actions of the Israeli government of occupation, the recent decision of their Supreme Court to evict long-time residents of Arab neighborhoods and to replace them with Jewish Israelis signals a particularly low point in the Jewish state’s brutally harsh treatment of Palestinians.
In a sparsely reported incident which occurred on Sunday, August 1,Ofra Ben-Artzi, the sister-in-law of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, was detained by police in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem. The 58 year-old Ben-Artzi, an editor for the anti-occupation magazine, HaKibush, spent several hours in police custody before being released without any charges being filed. Her apparent crime was her sympathy with the Palestinians who had recently been evicted from their homes. [continued…]