The death of the Israel-Palestine two-state solution brings fresh hope

Rachel Shabi writes: We could argue over who killed it, but what’s the point? It’s increasingly obvious that a continued insistence on zombie peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians is deluded, because the two-state principle framing them is dead. To précis: it’s now impossible to remove half a million Jewish settlers and infrastructure from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem; the international community is opposed to settlements on paper but does nothing in practice, and after 19 years of failed two-state talks, the fault plainly lies in the plan, not the leadership.

This view has grown more vocal on both sides, from unlikely quarters and for different reasons. In recent months, prominent Israeli commentators have declared the end of the two-state period, the latest to do so being the mainstream, veteran journalist Nahum Barnea, who in August wrote in the mass-circulation daily Yediot Aharonot that the Oslo two-state peace process is dead. His view – “Everybody knows how this will end. There will be a bi-national [state],” he clarified on Israeli TV – is shared by others once supportive of the Oslo framework but now calling time on it. “I do not give up on the two-state solution on ideological grounds,” wrote Haaretz columnist Carlo Strenger last month. “I give up on it because it will not happen.”

Alongside that, we’re starting to see the practical consequences of those Jewish settlers who, surprisingly, started talking about one-state approaches two years ago. Last week, a Palestinian village in an Israel-controlled area of the West Bank was given building permits – the first time that’s happened during a 45-year Israeli occupation – thanks to petitions from their Jewish settler neighbours. [Continue reading…]

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