Obama and Israel are walking away from two-state solution with Palestinians (+video)
By refusing to support the Palestinian bid at the UN, President Obama has essentially endorsed a No State Solution between Israel and Palestine. Changing course is possible. A good place to start would be threatening to remove US aid to Israel, given its plans for more settlement building.
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“[T]he status quo is unsustainable,” former CIA Director David Petraeus told The New York Times in 2010. “If you don’t achieve progress in a just and lasting Mideast peace, the extremists are given a stick to beat us with.”Skip to next paragraph
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By refusing to support even modest moves toward Palestinian self-determination through official international channels, the US is now willfully disengaging from its own interests in the region, at an immense and as-yet unknown cost. By failing to forcefully challenge Israel’s settlement expansion and demand an end to a 45-year occupation, or to meaningfully support Palestinian aspirations, the US has essentially, if unofficially, endorsed the end of the two-state solution in favor of a system of one-state dominance by an occupying military power.
Changing course is always possible. An excellent place to start would be to threaten the removal of American aid to Israel given its bellicose actions in the West Bank, in particular its announcement of plans for more settlement building on the landscape of Palestine’s last hope. There’s precedent for that: In 1992, Secretary of State James Baker, with the full backing of President George H. W. Bush, refused to approve loan guarantees for Israel unless it agreed to halt settlement expansion. The threat worked, for a while, until the Oslo era arrived.
Now would be the time to try again. Such a condition could be accompanied by assurances that the US is not abandoning Israel, and a stated understanding of Israelis’ deeply-rooted fears of isolation and vulnerability. But friends shouldn’t let friends drive drunk – especially when you’re both in the same car. Such a frank talk would require both a vision and political will on the Palestinian question that have been absent from US policy for too long.
Sandy Tolan is author of “The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East,” and associate professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. He blogs at ramallahcafe.com.