The State of the Two-State Solution
The Two State solution is dead but rather than bury it, the US and the EU want to embalm it, in the off chance that it can be brought to life in a decade or two. In the meantime they are doing their utmost to prevent Israel from building Jewish homes east of the armistice lines, including in Jerusalem. They do this in knowing violation of Israel’s rights.
Moshe Arens, a former Israel Ambassador to the US, Israel Defense Minister and Minister of Defense, noted in Haaretz, Israel’s version of the New York Times:
These critics (of settlement construction) should be required to reread Article 6 of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which states: “the Administration of Palestine ... shall encourage … close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.” The “Palestine” referred to here is the entire area west of the Jordan River, including Judea and Samaria.
Those who prefer to believe that this provision has lost relevance since the establishment of the United Nations and the termination of the League of Nations Palestine Mandate should refer to Article 80 of Chapter XII of the UN Charter. It states that the rights shall not be altered “of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.” The United States chose not to join the League of Nations, but the U.S. Senate ratified the Palestine Mandate in 1925.
The EU and the US justify these actions on the alleged basis that settlements are illegal or illegitimate, respectively, pursuant to the Fourth Geneva Convention (FGC), which prohibits forced transfers of populations.
Israel on the other hand argues that the FGC doesn’t apply and that even if it did, it doesn’t prevent Jews from building east of the armistice lines and in this case the movement is entirely voluntary. Recently, the Israel Foreign Ministry, published a document which affirmed the legality of settlements. This document was sent to all of her embassies informing all personnel to make the case, publically, for their legality.
The legal niceties of Israel’s position are set out in The Truth About 'The Occupation' and 'The Settlements'.
The US and the EU are not content to just strong-arm Israel to prevent Jewish construction. They are also backing illegal Arab construction in Area C contrary to the Oslo Accords to which both were witnesses. Regevim, an Israel NGO recently reported that in one area alone between Maaleh Adumin, an Israeli town of 37,000 inhabitants, and Jerusalem that over 1000 such structures have been illegally built by the Arabs and encouraged and funded by the EU.
Aside from this clearly illegal activity on the part of the EU, the EU is demanding that all products built by Jews in Judea and Samaria be so labelled so that their West Bank origin is fully noted. Israel considers this to be a boycott move and discriminatory, and argues that the EU does not require such labeling in any other place it considers to be in occupation.
The US, under the radar, has also boycotted the territories acquired by Israel in a defensive war in 1967.
Indeed, in 1985, the late Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina questioned the Second Reagan Administration about its allocation of funds for Israel: “It is my understanding that when foreign assistance funds are disbursed to Israel, the U.S. Government requires Israel to sign a stipulation that none of the funds will be used for settlements on the West Bank. Is that correct?”
The State Department answered bluntly:
The stipulation requiring that foreign assistance funds provided to Israel only to be used in the geographic areas which were subject to the Government of Israel’s administration prior to June 5, 1967, has been the policy of every Administration since 1967.
In effect the EU and the US are doing exactly what they are preventing Israel from doing, namely putting facts on the ground. In supporting illegal Arab building in Area C they are violating the terms of the Oslo Accords. In preventing Israel from building they are preventing Israel from exercising her rights.
Israel’s official position is that she is ready to negotiate the Two State Solution without preconditions. The Palestinian Authority (PA) will have none of it as they do not wish to make any concessions to Israel. Instead that are working on the international community to recognize Palestine with ’67 lines as their western border.
Lately, Abbas has threatened to disband the PA and hand the keys to Israel. Others have suggested that the PA is on its last legs. In response Prime Minister Netanyahu held a cabinet meeting to discuss the potential fall of the PA. It was decided to support the PA so it wouldn’t fall. In addition they discussed what actions Israel should take if it did fall.
Abbas was quick to say that the PA is here to stay and will be followed by a Palestinian state. Nevertheless, Uri Savir a left wing Israel journalist, explained what the PA had in mind when it talked about “dismantling” the PA.
A senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah Central Committee told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that Abbas may be forced to make good on the warning given in his speech to the UN General Assembly Sept. 30 and pass responsibility over the West Bank to Israel as the occupying power.
This new approach/possibility of handing over the responsibility for West Bank security and civilian affairs to Israel means first and foremost moving the Fatah leadership headquarters from Ramallah to Cairo or to Amman. It also means the dismantlement of the West Bank’s separation into Areas A, B and C, as Israel would regain full civil and security control.
The source detailed other key elements: Palestinian security cooperation with Israel would come to an end, and instead of assisting the PA directly, international aid would be channeled to Palestinian nongovernmental organizations and refugee camps in coordination with the Palestinian leadership abroad.
In parallel, he said, the UN General Assembly would pass a resolution by September 2016 declaring the West Bank a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines under Israeli occupation. Such a drastic change would have grave repercussions on the region. There is little doubt that within such a scenario, a violent full-fledged intifada would break out.
At the moment the Oslo Accords benefits Israel, not the PA, as it gives Israel full control over Area C. Thus it legitimizes the occupation. With the abrogation of the Accords, it will become necessary to replace it with another blueprint.
Netanyahu has consistently said that he is interested in a two-state solution with a demilitarized Palestinian state, conditioned on the recognition of the Jewish State of Israel and with stringent security measures throughout the West Bank. He also wants to keep the settlement blocs.
Netanyahu also believes that now is the wrong time to move in that direction, as the entire region faces the threat of fundamentalist terror groups such as the Islamic State (IS), al-Qaeda, Hezb’allah and Hamas. The Israeli public agrees with him.
Meanwhile there is a growing movement in Israel calling for Israeli sovereignty over all or at least part of Judea and Samaria (West Bank). The debate is over what Israel should do with the Arabs living there: either offer them a path to citizenship (Caroline Glick and Michael Wise), offer them generous compensation to emigrate (Martin Sherman and Moshe Feiglin) or give them autonomy of an enlarged Area A where they live much like what they have now (Naftali Bennett).
President Obama made a big mistake trying to force a Palestinian state based on the ’67 lines subject to swaps. From Israel’s point of view such a solution denies her the legal rights she has and requires her to expel hundreds of thousands of Jews who have lived in Judea and Samaria for decades.
UNSC Res 242, passed just after the ’67 War, provided for:
“Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
“Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;”
In effect it did not require Israel to withdraw from all territories and gave her the right to insist on “secure and recognized boundaries.” The ’67 lines are anything but.
In summary, the negotiations are over but the fight continues. The US, EU and the UN are backing the murderous PA. Israel stands alone.