For the pacifist Palestinian Sari Nusseibeh, Israel will soon have no choice but to integrate its Arab population. Sari Nusseibeh, Dean of al-Quds University in Jerusalem and committed Palestinian intellectual, was the author in 2002 of a peace plan co-written with Ami Ayalon, former head of Shin Bet, the Israeli security service.
LE FIGARO – Doesn’t the issue of Jerusalem, which resurfaced in 2009, complicate the resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians?
SARI NUSSEIBEH – Everyone kept putting off the issue of Jerusalem. Suddenly they rediscovered that it is undoubtedly the main problem. And also that the parameters of this problem are no longer the same. While the negotiators were working in their bubble towards a peaceful solution, the city was fundamentally changing: the 1967 state of affairs no longer exists today, and sharing it has become much more difficult.
What are these changes?
Geographically, the area of Jerusalem and its suburbs has grown from 20 sq km to 50 sq km: in the eastern part of this Greater Jerusalem, the Israelis have built 13 new neighborhoods, where 250 000 Jews now live, linked together by freeways. They encircle the Arab areas of East Jerusalem and separate them from one another. The Israelis have also invented the concept of the “holy basin”, which includes the Muslim Quarter of the Old City and the surrounding areas, which form the core of Arab Jerusalem. They are carrying out an active policy of expulsions, destruction and expropriation, making an eventual partition of Jerusalem much more difficult.
And yet the two-state solution is supported by the whole world?
In 1967, one of the first advocates of the two-state solution was Uri Avnery (historic figure on the Israeli pacifist left). He had no support at that time. Four decades later, his ideas have been immensely successful, as they are shared today by the entire world, even Bush. But in the meantime, the possibility of creating two states has faded away. Even if I do not rule out the possibility of a miracle, I do not personally believe anymore that the prospect is achievable. [continued…]
(H/t to Mondoweiss)