Friday, 7 December 2012

The Two-State Scam

Bibi has seen better days. Election dramas, victories for  Fatah and Hamas, and a diplomatic backlash have kept Netanyahu busy. “E-1,” the name of the thin strip of land that connects Jerusalem with the eastern settlement of Ma’ale Adumim has once again become a prominent phrase after he announced that Israel would move forward with construction plans there.

In understanding the controversy over E-1, we need to look at it from two perspectives. The first is the obvious one, the issue everyone is raising: building up E-1 renders a Palestinian state in the West Bank unviable, as it largely bisects the territory, something that would be upsetting to most of the world as it would seem to imply that there is no solution to this destabilizing conflict. The other view has the potential to demonstrate that the whole two-state process has been a charade to begin with: that bisecting the West Bank has been Israel’s plan for decades, and foreign leaders who looked at a map even once had to know this. In that case, the support for a peace process has always been about supporting a process, not about supporting peace.

To begin with, there’s no doubt that Israeli settlements in E-1 moot any real possibility of a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank. Ma’ale Adumim sits far out to the east, close to the Jordan River and forces anyone trying to drive from one side of E-1 to the other to go a long way around to avoid crossing into Israeli territory, if it should become fully part of Israel. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called construction in E-1 a “red line” and you can see why.

Without a diplomatic option to the two-state solution, and without the ability to think of that solution in any way other than the formulation that evolved from the Oslo process, the international community must see E-1 construction as the death knell it is for that beleaguered formulation. The difficulties of simple travel for commerce and community that exist under occupation would become entrenched in the very physical nature of a Palestinian state. Links & More

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