Feature

Israel: The one-state solution

Secretary of State John Kerry's effort to negotiate a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians has come crashing to earth.

“Well, God bless John Kerry for trying,” said Jeffrey Goldberg in BloombergView.com. After a year of attempting to negotiate a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, the secretary of state’s valiant effort has come crashing to earth. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last week accused Israel of reneging on a pledge to release 26 political prisoners, and retaliated by seeking United Nations recognition of a “State of Palestine.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in turn accused Abbas of violating an agreement not to seek statehood outside negotiations with Israel, and vowed to keep the prisoners locked up. A clearly dejected and frustrated Kerry declared that it was time for a “reality check” on his peace initiative. With Kerry’s self-imposed April 29 deadline for an agreement looming, said Serge Schmemann in The New York Times, Abbas and Netanyahu are probably “maneuvering to blame each other for failure.”

If failure comes again, it may be time to give up on the two-state solution, said Michael Barone in the Washington Examiner. For 20 years, successive U.S. administrations have tried to coax and muscle Israeli and Palestinian leaders into an agreement, but “none of these extraordinary efforts have worked.” In a one-state solution, Israel would officially make the West Bank a part of Israel, and let the Palestinians living there fully participate in the thriving Israeli economy. As for the fear that Palestinians would eventually outnumber Jews in Israel, studies have now shown that this is a myth based on false statistics. Still, a one-state solution would be disastrous for everyone, said Peter Berkowitz in RealClearPolitics.com. Many West Bank Palestinians want their own nation, and might refuse Israeli citizenship and the right to vote. “This would transform the ugly slander that Israel is an apartheid state into an ugly reality.”

The sad truth is that no Israeli or Palestinian leader will sign any deal in the near future, said The Economist. Netanyahu knows he’d anger supporters if he gave up Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The unpopular Palestinian leadership, meanwhile, lacks the standing to make the bitter sacrifices needed to secure an agreement. That leaves both sides caught in a horrible status quo, in which Palestinians remain forever stateless, and “Israelis are forced to keep a permanent boot on the neck of a people that hates them.”

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