Israel's settlement push kills two-state solution, leaving Palestinians few options
Israel's settlement construction in the E1 corridor and East Jerusalem sends a clear message. Unless President Obama stands up to Israel, he and Benjamin Netanyahu should not be surprised if Palestinians charge them with the death of the two-state solution and seek other paths.
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The same day Israel made its Nov. 30 announcement regarding E1 and plans for 3,000 new settlement units around the West Bank and East Jerusalem, I saw photos of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enjoying an evening with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and long-time stalwarts of the Israel lobby in Washington. She made a moderate expression of concern regarding new Israeli settlement activity, but there was certainly no laying down of the law.Skip to next paragraph
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A morally compromised United States will provide no succor. Europe, however, is showing signs of understanding just how serious Israel’s actions are. Several European nations voted in favor of upgrading Palestine’s status at the UN. US allies Germany, France, and Britain all spoke out against Israel’s latest settlement plans. But Europe must go beyond issuing statements, dressing down Israeli ambassadors, or threatening to recall European ambassadors to Israel. Resolute action from the Europeans is long overdue. Now is the time for Europe to review and discard economic relations that disregard Israel’s export of products from illegal settlements.
We Palestinians, with our new-found international standing, are also not as helpless as we once were. We can now go to the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. Those Israeli leaders pursuing illegal colonizing activity in E1 and elsewhere would be on notice that we will actively pursue legal action against them. Those European nations that prior to the vote did not want us to pursue legal action may well be convinced that we are right to push back in a limited fashion against Israel’s land-grabbing response.
Palestinians of my generation are at wits’ end. I have lived my entire adult life under Israeli occupation. Though I was born in East Jerusalem and worked there as a young doctor for 15 years, I am no longer permitted access. When I ran in 2005 to be president of the Palestinian Authority, I was detained and arrested four times by the Israelis. Three times I was injured while participating in peaceful marches against the closure of Jerusalem to most of the Palestinian population.