The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is in dire straits but observers differ on whether the framework of negotiations towards a two-state solution is in poor health, comatose or dead.
The arrival of Donald Trump in the White House, along with an Israeli government and opposition that are either explicitly opposed to Palestinian statehood, ambivalent or believe it is not the right time, are all further evidence of an era of uncertainty and danger. But there is also an opportunity for a rethink by the international community about how they relate to Israel and Palestinians. And it is vital that any new approach must end the subordination of Palestinian rights. Read more
There is a growing consensus that the status quo in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is fatal to the possibility of an independent Palestinian state.
This was the take-home message of a recent, high-profile speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry, and, as pointed out recently by Yousef Munayyer, the diplomat himself warned four years ago that the window for the “two-state solution” would definitively close in two years.
Versions of this warning, that Israel’s colonisation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank is becoming irreversible, have been issued by Palestinians, Israelis and international diplomats and commentators for decades. Read more
A eulogy for the two-state solution? Maybe – but Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech Wednesday sounded suspiciously like yet another desperate attempt to sustain the so-called ‘peace process’.
It is only possible to understand the Security Council resolution and Kerry’s speech, how to view them – their weaknesses, and the opportunities they represent – by beginning with a reality check about the two-decade old, US and internationally-led peace process. Read more
The settlers of the Amona outpost are but a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands who live in colonies, established by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory since 1967. Their fate has seen Benjamin Netanyahu challenged by the pro-settler right both inside and outside his coalition government.
For some, the fact that the court-mandated removal of settlers living on privately owned Palestinian land is taking place at all proves that Israel is not, in fact, being led by the “settler lobby”.
For others, the fact that such a protest, and contrived “compromise”, can be generated over one outpost suggests that a large-scale settler withdrawal is perhaps impossible. Read more
Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) are illegal, constituting a grave violation of the Geneva Conventions. They are also an impediment to a long-term negotiated deal, in that they eat up land, and their continued growth is a clear sign of bad faith.
But Israel’s colonies in the oPt are also part of a violent, inherently discriminatory regime of segregation and displacement – in other words, they have an immediate, ongoing human rights impact. And their “footprint” goes well beyond the built-up areas of houses and caravans. Read more
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat likes to present himself to a Western audience as the head of an open, pluralistic city, a place at ease with its ethnic and religious diversity, despite complex “security” challenges. The reality is somewhat different.
As reported in Haaretz (with thanks to Ofer Neiman for translation), while speaking recently with Likud party members, Barkat boasted of inflicting collective punishment on Palestinian neighbourhoods of Occupied East Jerusalem. Read more
“[Israeli] settlement activity…is corrosive to the cause of peace,” the statement began, describing Israel’s recent steps as merely “the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution”.
Settlement construction and the demolition of Palestinian homes, it went on, “is part of an ongoing process of land seizures, settlement expansion, legalisations of outposts, and denial of Palestinian development that risk entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict”. Read more
The Israeli government and its supporters routinely play down the significance of West Bank settlements as an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians. One recent example of this came from a Jewish Agency spokesperson, who tweeted: “Jewish communities in the West Bank take up under 2% of the land; that is, over 98% of the West Bank contains no Jewish residents at all.”
So is this true – and exactly how much of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) do Israel’s settlements take up? Read more
Benjamin Netanyahu is a busy man; he certainly doesn’t have time to deal seriously with international objections – even from allies – to petty topics such as settlement expansion.
That was the impression Israel’s prime minister gave on Wednesday, when he dismissed US concerns about the recent approval of 800 new housing units in settlements. “A few more apartments near the municipality of Ma’ale Adumim” are not “preventing peace”, Netanyahu said.
This was classic Bibi disingenuousness. Read more
On June 3, a few days before the 49th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, diplomats gathered in Paris for a conference framed as a preliminary step towards reviving official Israeli-Palestinian peace talks – though without the presence of either’s respective officials.
The gathering did not amount to much; the final statement was characterized by generalities and included phrases copied and pasted from recent statements issued by the Middle East Quartet, or the Diplomatic Quartet. Read more