Donald J. Trump and the Death of the Two-State Solution

President Obama has set the stage for President-elect Donald J. Trump to pivot away from a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians to a one-state solution policy.

How is this possible?

Sandy Tolan, in her article The Death of the Two-State Solution, writes:

Washington has finally thrown in the towel on its long, tortured efforts to establish peace between Israel and the Palestinians. You won’t find any acknowledgement of this in the official record. Formally, the U.S. still supports a two-state solution to the conflict. But the Obama administration’s recent 10-year, $38-billion pledge to renew Israel’s arsenal of weaponry, while still ostensibly pursuing “peace,” makes clear just how bankrupt that policy is.

For two decades, Israeli leaders and their neoconservative backers in this country, hell-bent on building and expanding settlements on Palestinian land, have worked to undermine America’s stated efforts — and paid no price. Now, with that record weapons package, the U.S. has made it all too clear that they won’t have to. Ever.

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Given the reality on the ground and the failure since 1967 to negotiate a two-state solution President-elect Trump has a historic opportunity to reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East, starting with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Began-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in a white paper UNSCR 2334: A Sad Disservice to the Cause of Peace by Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman concludes:

In four respects, UNSCR 2334 undermines the prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace and threatens what little regional stability is left. First, it could force Israel to fall back on its powerful legal position as the only existing legal inheritor of the British Mandate. Second, it compounds the error made by Obama’s transition team even before he came to power of ignoring a written commitment of a US president. Third, it has placed Sisi’s government in Egypt – a keystone of regional stability – in an untenable position. Fourth and most painfully, it will make it far more complicated – if not impossible – for the Palestinian leadership, enticed by the prospect of international coercion, to accept a reasonable compromise. The New Zealanders, do-gooders with a very dim understanding of what they have wrought, can be forgiven such folly. The Obama administration has no such excuses.

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Jews have lived in Judea and Samaria—the West Bank—since ancient times. The only time Jews have been prohibited from living in the territories in recent decades was during Jordan’s rule from 1948 to 1967.

Numerous legal authorities dispute the charge that settlements are “illegal.” Stephen Schwebel, formerly President of the International Court of Justice, notes that a country acting in self-defense may seize and occupy territory when necessary to protect itself. Schwebel also observes that a state may require, as a condition for its withdrawal, security measures designed to ensure its citizens are not menaced again from that territory.

According to Eugene Rostow, a former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in the Johnson Administration, Resolution 242 gives Israel a legal right to be in the West Bank. The resolution, Rostow noted, “Israel is entitled to administer the territories” it won in 1967 until ‘‘a just and lasting peace in the Middle East’’ is achieved.

Though critical of Israeli policy, the United States does not consider settlements illegal.

End the two-state solution and it will have a ripple effect across the Middle East.

In an The Algemeiner column titled “Trump Announces Next US Envoy to Jewish State Will Be Attorney David Friedman, Who Says He Looks Forward to Working From ‘Israel’s Eternal Capital, Jerusalem’” Barney Breen-Portnoy writes:

In a pre-election interview with The Algemeiner in early November, Friedman said that a Trump administration would not expect Israel to uproot its citizens who now live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as part of any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

“It is inconceivable there could be a mass evacuation on that magnitude, in the unlikely event that there was an otherwise comprehensive peace agreement,” Friedman said. “It makes no sense for Judea and Samaria to be ‘Judenrein [void of Jews],’ any more than it makes sense for Israel to be ‘Arabrein [void of Arabs].’ It’s not fair.”

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Friedman went on: “The critical thing is to recognize that there is not going to be any progress on a Palestinian state until the Palestinians renounce violence and accept Israel as a Jewish state. Until that happens, there is really nothing to talk about in terms of a political process.”

What a Trump administration would not do, Friedman said, “is put its finger on the scale and try to force Israel into a particular outcome, but rather will support Israel in reaching its own conclusion about how to best achieve peace with its neighbors.”

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Some, like Amos Yadlin from the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) , still cling to the idea of a two-state solution. Yadlin in his INSS article Security Council Resolution 2334 and a Strategy for Israel writes:

In the final days of 2016, it is more important to look ahead than to engage in a retrospective analysis of the events that led to Resolution 2334. Preparations must be made with the aims of minimizing the negative impact of this resolution and formulating a more suitable policy for Israel, considering the difficult political situation that the resolution has created.

What will minimize the “negative impact of this [UN] resolution”? Donald J. Trump. Yadlin suggests, “[I]t would be advisable for Israel to adopt a proactive strategy that is based on understandings with the United States. Israel could present a proposal to the Trump administration for a proactive Israeli initiative that involves practical actions to shape an improved reality. Israel must successfully resist the contentions that the settlements are the obstacle to peace…”

The two-state solution is dead. Long live the one-state solution.

2 replies
  1. Frank Matos
    Frank Matos says:

    The “solution of such 2 States” has already been born dead. All diplomatic actions in this respect were mere political teatralizations …
    This “peaceful solution” was not even born, was and remains only a ruse based on Islamic legislation and traditions where “… any territory once ruled by Islam will be eternally Islamic.”


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