Abbas and the death of the two-state solution

29 November 2012

If anybody still wonders why there has not been a two-state solution long ago to the most famous – albeit least bloody – Middle East conflict, tonight’s UN speech by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is a good learning-curve.

Abbas says that his act of unilateralism is the ‘last chance to save the two state solution.’ But of course what he means is that he thinks it is the last chance to save Mahmoud Abbas.

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For despite his talk of ‘the Palestinians’, ‘the Palestinian people’ and the ‘Palestinian state’ no such monolithic entities exist. There are already at least two major Palestinian entities, the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank, and Gaza which is governed – after a fashion – by Hamas. The latter entity has used its independent status to fire rockets at Israel and provoke its neighbour into continuous conflict. Abbas spent his speech trying to pretend that he spoke for these people. But of course such is the unity of this state of ‘Palestine’ that Mr Abbas has not even stepped foot in Gaza since his Fatah colleagues were murdered by Hamas in its bloody post-election coup five years ago. Although Abbas refuses to hold elections in the West Bank to confirm the idea, he may plausibly be said to speak for people there. His ability to claim representative status for the Gaza is more limited.

This stunt he has pulled tonight, then, is his effort to reclaim some leadership role in the wake of the latest Gaza-Israel conflict. Unlike this time last year, he has succeeded in threatening a number of major European states and Britain either to abstain or back his unilateral move, by claiming that it is either this or Hamas. So Abbas has blackmailed the Europeans to back him in his blackmail of Israel.

As Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, wrote yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, if ‘the foundations for lasting peace are in place, Israel will not be the last nation to welcome Palestinians to the U.N. We will be the first.’

But of course the foundations for a lasting peace are not in place. Not even slightly. Firstly because one Palestinian state – Gaza – has spent the last few years under the leadership of Hamas waging war against Israel and fellow Palestinians. And because Abbas has once again demonstrated before the eyes of the world that far from being a moderating force, he is part of the Palestinians’ problem.

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Show comments
  • rndtechnologies786

    Your blog is nice.

  • LongTermView

    It is amazing that most analysts cannot see the forest for the trees.

    Abbas and Netanyahu like many politicians before them are bulding the Single State right before the very eyes of Israel’s Jews and the Palestinians living there.

    Israeli and Palestinian politicians always knew the UN mandated partition of the area was unfeasible from a long term perspective. If Jews have not accepted that history has moved on for thousands of years and still clamor for their lost kingdom what on earth makes an analyst like Murray think the Palestinians will be any different?

    Israeli and Palestinian politicians know this better than anyone else, however an avalance of political error by everybody had made it impossible – at the time – to create a single state.

    So they were left with building it indirectly, Israelis by building more and more on the W. Bank, and E. Jerusalem (and initially Gaza), the Palestinians giving the Israelis the ‘excuse’ to do so through violent opposition to this. They could not do so directly now because their electorate are not wise enough to understand the long term benefits (and inevitability) of this.

    So now, in the latest act of this theatrical piece, the Palestinians have gone to the UN so that Israel can build even faster on the W. Bank and finally put to rest any possibility of two states by building on area E1.

    In a couple of decades people will have seen that the consequences of holding on to the W. Bank and E. Jerusalem can be nothing but the Single State and then Palestinian have to struggle for equal citizenship and equal rights within this state like Blacks in the US or S. Africa had to struggle for theirs.

  • Augustus

    That Abbas chose Nov. 29 as the day
    for his General Assembly bid was no accident. This was the date, 65 years ago,
    when the same General Assembly voted ‘yes’ to the partition of Palestine into
    two states, one Jewish and the other Arab. This was, in fact, the original
    ‘two-state solution.’ Then, as now, the Arabs rejected it. Then, as now, the legitimacy of their anarchy against Israel stems from the habitual denial of the living connection between the Jews and
    their land. The Palestinians’ refusal to sign a conclusive agreement to end the
    conflict, despite reckless offers they got in the past from Israeli leaders,
    proves the following profound truth: They will never be satisfied with just a
    part of the Jewish land. Any compromise will only serve as a stepping stone for
    more demands for what was never theirs. And the applause elicited by Abbas’ speech, as well as the U.N.’s very approval of his
    request, is another aspect of the international community’s decadence. The
    international community is unable to recognize its main enemies – the very ones seeking to obliterate the free world, which Fatah and Hamas represent. On Thursday, the U.N. approved the biggest lie of its existence, and Europe abandoned Israel and reverted to its past behaviour: sacrificing Jews on the
    altar of imagined peace to a jihadist and a terrorist in a tie. Every word he utters in Arabic indicates that the only difference between him and his Hamas counterparts is in
    his willingness to play the American and European game, while working slyly towards the
    aim of destroying the Jewish state.

  • victor67

    Indeed the two state solution is all but dead but it is not the weak Abbas that is killing it. It is conescutive Israeli governments that pander to and court the extremists in the settler movement including the racist Lieberman who lives in Occupied Palestine.
    Instead of asking for UN recognition. Abbas should have stated that the Occupation is now permanent and we cannot remove you militarily from our land. We thus demand full and democratic rights for all citizens who occupy this land. This would galvanize world wide support and light a fire under Israel’s belly.
    It would bring to the imediate attention of all Israeli’s. Do you really want a two state solution or are you happy to oversee an apartheid system in the West Bank and the growing pariah status that will follow.

    • T. Botham

      Israel already has pariah status. The choice for Israelis is whether their state continues to fight for its existence, or whether it should become another Arab despotism where no-one has full and democratic rights, but where Jews will be subject to banishment, pogroms, and dhimmi status (Arab apartheid).
      By receiving UN recognition, Abbas has established that Israel’s presence on Mandate territory – all of it – is an occupation. Israel should therefore annex the West Bank (and retake Gaza), take over security functions, accept the Arab population as residents with limited voting power (municipal only) and counter the insurgency. It should also repudiate Oslo and its UN underpinnings, declare Fatah and Hamas as enemy combatants and deal with them accordingly.
      Israel should, in short, call the bluff. If there is one state, that state is Israel – and no part of it should be bargained away to latter-day warlords to gain the good opinion of moral cretins.
      A majority is an instrumentality of democracy which is itself an instrumentality in the distribution of power which is a constitutional constraint on tyranny which is leadership above the law. Actual representatives of fictitious or even “elected” majorities in Araby are not democrats. Their societies are parodies of civil society. If you desire Arab culture to hold sway over the territory of the mandate you should be insisting on the Arab rights of self-determination: that they are entitled to their culture, to live cruel, poor, illiberal, bigoted, misogynistic, unjust, unstable lives under the rule of tribal strongmen. Just don’t pretend that this should happen because of “majority” rights in fictitious polity. That is political and moral cretinism.

  • Yeasin

    You make my skin crawl Murray.

    • anotherjoeblogs

      explain why – there could be several reasons for this phenomenon – one being he is speaking close to the bone and your skin is simply ( by crawling ) informing you that some message is finally getting to you unconsciously but by resisting there is some reaction to the ‘ bone of truth ‘. resistance is futile. accept and the skin no longer crawleth but a golden glow will shineth.

      • Yeasin

        Crawleth as in crawl as in a worm as in CREEP As in the slang of pertaining to, or characteristic of a person who is obnoxious. I hope that cleared that up for you.

  • John Edwards

    Hamas won a democratic election in the whole of the OPT. Israel backed by the US (and the EU) then tried to rewrite the result by among other things throwing many Palestinian legislators in prison. Hamas then successfully resisted a US backed Fatah coup in Gaza. Since then every attempt by the Palestinians to establish a national unity government has been twarted by external forces. This is a pity because anyone can see that the attempt to boycott Hamas has failed. It is not for anyone else to tell the Palestinians who to vote for.

    The two state settlement could happen very quickly if international law was upheld and the occupation ended. UN resolution 242 requires a return to the pre 1967 and should be implemented fully. The latest UN vote just reaffirms this position.

    • Beauchard

      OMG, a looney left Hamas fellow-traveller.
      Ever read the Hamas charter. It is a definition of “islamo-fascism”.
      Hamas does not want a two state solution. It calls for the killing of all Jews for religious and worldly reasons. The religioud reasons are certain parts of the Koran. The worldly reasons are borrowed from the Nazis. Hamas proclaims that the so-called Protocols of Zion are authentic and that there is an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world.
      They blame the Jews for all the evil in the world including the two World Wars. They deny the Holocaust as for them Hitler was a Jewish puppet. By killing all Jews they maintain that they are ridding the world of evil.
      Hamas fellow travellers are worse than the Nazi fellow travellers in the interbellum. The Nazis had not yet decided on the final solution. Hamas proudly proclaims it now.
      You probably still support Pol Pot as well.

  • Beauchard

    I do not agree (completely) with Mr. Murray.

    In the past there were two Palestinians solutions for the conflict with Israel.
    Hamas, the Pan-Islam movement, adheres to the killing of all Jews as the right solution (see Hamas charter). They have religious and worldly reasons. Their religious arguments consist of certain quotes from the Koran. Their worldly reasons are based on arguments borrowed from Nazi propaganda. Jews are demons and behind all evil in the world. Therefore the killing of Jews of any age and any sex is a joyful moment and should be celebrated.

    The second Palestinian solution is represented by Fatah, a secular, nationalist movement. It has evolved over the years and up to quite recently was as follows: two states for two peoples, east Jerusalem as capital of the Palestinian state and return of all Arab “refugees” and their descendants to Israel. Acceptance of this latter demand by Israel would mean a Palestinian majority in both states.

    So, up until quite recently, the Palestinian solutions to the conflict were destruction of Israel by slaughtering all the Jews or destruction by demographics.

    Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) has changed this. In the negotiations with ex Prime minister Olmert and in a recent Israeli television programme he dropped the demand for return of refugees and their descendants to Israel. He now says (in his speech to the UN as well) that he supports a “just solution” to the refugee problem.

    In an email published in the Daily Beast, Olmert wrote the following:
    “I believe that the Palestinian request from the United Nations is congruent with the basic concept of the two-state solution. Therefore, I see no reason to oppose it…… It is time to give a hand to, and encourage, the moderate forces amongst the Palestinians. Abu-Mazen and Salam Fayyad need our help. It’s time to give it.”
    I agree.

    • T. Botham

      More appeasement nonsense. Olmert offered Abbas what Arafat had refused and more. Abbas declined the offer on the excuse that it would not be honoured by a change in Israeli government.

      As with Arafat, so with Abbas – all the encouragement and help, not to mention fawning, goodwill gestures (releasing murderers from prisons), arming PA policemen (who moonlight as terrorists), 97% of territory offered with land swaps, compensation to refugees, has been fruitless. Why? because Fatah is a Marxist revolutionary organization bent on the destruction of Israel. No Fatah leader can recognize a Jewish state. No Islamic jihad organization – Hamas – can recognize a Jewish state. The PLO has not, despite claims to the contrary, changed its charter.

      It is obtuse not to acknowledge that Oslo (talk about encouragement!) is dead, as is any negotiated 2-state solution. The Palestinian refusals should have voided the offers – just as the Arab refusal of partition voided the offer of a second state in Mandate territory. By negotiating for a 2 state solution, Israel has granted the legitimacy of a Palestinian state. That is all Abbas needs. The state now has observer status in the UN. The next step is unilateral declaration of a state over undetermined boundaries (as recently threatened.) Some nations will recognize it. And then it will be openly, as it has been covertly, a matter of war – not “peace process” and “resistance.” There will be open support (Russia,Iraq, Iran, China, Turkey, Egypt) of Palestine and weapons will flow to it. War is what it was and is and ever shall be, until Israel or Palestine wins outright victory.

      Those who honestly support Fatah or Hamas in their war against Israel should be demanding arms and military alliances against Israel, not mouthing nonsense about peace, good faith negotiation and justice for the Palestinians. If you want to empower and legitimizing genocidal thugs, do it. Do not pretend that they are nice guys.

  • David Lindsay

    It is either this or a single state with a permanent Arab majority. Take your pick. There is no third way. This way, in fact, you get to offload a lot of the Haredim to the Palestinians.

    • T. Botham

      The status quo – with a stalled “peace process” – is the best option for Israel. But it is getting harder to maintain – especially since “Palestine” is coming into existence stealthily. No de jure, not de facto, but equally as powerful, by a legalized fiction – analogous to a cult.
      The status quo does not envisage “offloading” any population of cult followers, Palestinian, Haredi, Muslim or “ancient indigenous Christian.”

      • David Lindsay

        I am now pretty much certain of this: Israel is deliberately settling the Crazies in areas that will eventually form part of a Palestinian State, in order to get rid of them when that comes to pass.

        People always say that the settlements on the West Bank are making a State there physically impossible. No, they just require that those settlements be included in that State. Complete with their inhabitants, people not above using armed force against Israel’s teenage conscripts of both sexes.

        The Palestinians will be welcome to them. And in fact, they might be happier in a State governed on the common ground between Levantine Sunnism and Levantine Christianity. There will be no Tel Aviv in the State of Palestine.

  • K reports

    For once someone printing the truth instead of the lies that Hamas want people to see. Especially the people of Palestine who are uneducated to the truth, would be nice for people to go to Palestine to educate these people. But if Hamas found out you would be hanged and then dragged through the streets as an example. LONG LIVE HAMAS! Ha! And for all the people that keep seeing Israel as the problem here is some advise… Go to Israel for yourself and see the truth and if you have some balls about you, you will print/document the truth too! Hamas will kill anyone and everything and make Israel look like the bad people! Wake Up!!!!

  • Ed L

    The so-called Palestinians are only interested in one thing: getting the drop on the Jews, not the Israelis, the Jews, and murdering every last one of them.

    You’d think Abbas/Mazen would be more interested in the civil war in his ancestral homeland of Syria than posturing at the UN.

    • David Lindsay

      Ah, the old claim that they are Syrian immigrants. The whole of what is now Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip was called “Syria” for thousands of years, and it was all part of the Ottoman Empire for hundreds. Yes, within both entities but especially the culturally distinctive former, people moved about. It is not as if they migrated from Bratislava or Brooklyn.

      • edlancey


        The “Gazans” are Egyptians. The “West Bankers” are Syrians.

        End of.

        • David Lindsay

          It is all Syria, really. Syria is a culturally entity, synonymous with the Levant. Sometimes it has been a state, sometimes it hasn’t. But is has always been Syria, with Christian sovereignty as its historical norm. If you don’t like it, then don’t go and live there. Or go back to where you came from: Poland, or the United States, or wherever.

          The first five Presidents of Israel were born in what was then Russia,
          the sixth was born in Belfast, and it is not yet 20 years, since as
          recently as 1993, that Israel first had a President born in what is now
          her territory.

          It is utterly incredible to see people whose ancestors have been there since the dawn of time being threatened with denaturalisation by Avigdor Lieberman, a first generation immigrant from Moldova. But at least Lieberman is his real name. Netanyahu’s real name is Mileikowsky.

          • Augustus

            What the ‘Palestinians’ have coalesced around was not a positive national idea of their own, but the negation
            of the Jews’ national identity.There is no real connection between the Arabs of Nablus and those of Hebron or
            between them and the Arabs of Gaza. There is no historical or familial
            connection. Even their dialects are different. The main connection that unifies the Arab world is the simple, highly visible
            desire tp remove the Jews from their land, and the land of the living in general. Read the Palestinian National Covenant. It’s not much different from that of
            Hamas. And, of course, there were never any Jewish temples on the Temple Mount, were there?

            • David Lindsay

              When the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, it was an entirely Christian city, as it had been for centuries.Whereas it has never, ever been entirely Jewish one. The Bible is quite explicit that the Israelites did not found it.

              It was founded by the aboriginal people of the land, who became Christians when the Roman Empire, and who made the not very big leap to be speaking Arabic at the time of the Muslim Conquest. That Conquest occurred at the same time as the Christianisation and unification of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms: we are talking about an identity as old as that of England.

              Those aboriginal people are still there. They are the Christians who founded Arab nationalism, who revived the concept of Filastin by founding a newspaper of that name during the British Mandate (although the name of that Mandate itself indicated that the whole world then understood the situation on the ground), who founded the Popular and Democratic Fronts for the Liberation of Palestine (the ostensibly Marxist founders of which nevertheless had Catholic or Orthodox funerals, as appropriate), who provided the entire political leadership of the Arabs inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders until the War of 1973, who have reserved representation in the Jordanian Parliament and on the Palestinian Authority, and into whom Yasser Arafat married.

              • Augustus

                David, you mention Jerusalem, but as Wikipedia notes: ” Given the city’s central position in both Israeli nationalism (Zionism) and Palestinian Nationalism, the selectivity required to summarise more than 5,000 years of inhabited history is often influenced by ideological bias or background”

                That’s why you probably conveniently forgot to mention that Judea was the home of the Jews in ancient times before the Romans conquered it and named it Palestina, and that the Zionist movement ostensibly arose to restore the Jews to Israel. Naturally, the city’s Jewish history has always been important to Jews for centuries, which is by no means to denigrate the city’s Christian and Muslim heritage, of which all three sides have their places within the same history. The real question regarding the Arab’s emnity towards the immigration of the post-Zionist Jews into Palestine, is not merely a question of the various riots and revolts due to resentment for their coming, but why, having so thoroughly rejected their own state 65 years ago and make peace with the Jews, they have since demanded their own state from the same UN whilst at the same time openly proclaiming that a resolution to all their problems would, in effect, mean the end of Israel. It is also, surely, not very rational for this group of Arabs to have rejected 97% of the West Bank and the whole of Gaza, as well as Arab sections of Jerusalem, which was offered to them.

              • T. Botham

                Your ethno-history of “aboriginal Christians” is preposterous and politically irrelevant. Whether the clans of “Palestinian” Arab Christians – of whatever sect – claim descent from the first century family of Jesus (hardly the “dawn of time”) from the gentile God-fearers, from the Jewish or pagan converts to Pauline Christ-worship in the Greek-speaking world, or from Roman empire converts in the early or late fourth century, or from Crusaders in the twelfth century, their religious identity does not lend them “aboriginal” status ethnically. And even if they laid claim descent from ancient tribes of the region – Canaanites? Jebusites? – and boast of haplogroups they share with Sephardic Jews and Bedouin, so what? The Levant is an just one node on the ethnic migration map. We all come from Africa. Even were these Christian Arab clans to claim – as do some Muslim Arabs – that they are descended from the real indigenous Jews (post Canaanite, presumably) and are therefore more blood-linked to the land than the European Jews, that gets them nowhere – except where they are, in Bethlehem subject to Fatah jurisdiction, or Jerusalem, subject to Israeli jurisdiction. They could, of course, convert to Judaism, because Jewish nationality includes converts as well as those who can trace Jewish descent from the maternal line. Whatever the DNA evidence of one-time geographical location, primary Jewish identity is one of allegiance to the people, to nationhood, and only secondarily to a location (now that they have it back, they will defend it ). The Jews were granted state territory in the location of their ancestral sovereignty – though other patches of the planet were discussed. Those “aboriginal Christians” who stayed put in 1947 now live under Jewish government where they enjoy full civil rights – greater civil rights now that the land is called Israel, than their forbears enjoyed when it was called the vilayet of Syria under the Ottomans, or Palestine under the Mandate, or Palaestina under the Romans. Certainly more civil rights than those living in Falastina – Arafatistan. And as for the “aboriginal Christians” being among the intellectual progenitors of Arab or Palestinian nationalism, or anti-Zionism, that may well be the case, but that does not support a case for that nationalism. The longevity of these Arab-speakers’ Christian religious practice does not bootstrap an “indigenous people” claim to the territory for the Arab population in general, despite the specious attempts to redefine the reserved religious/political rights of the Balfour declaration – for the continuation of various religious authorities’ powers to represent their organizations – as national rights. Indigenousness does not prove a claim to national distinctness, but it might get you a reservation.

  • Ophelia

    The Israelis have bomb shelters to protect their citizens. The Israelis will issue warning after warning after warning, of repercussions to the violence against their citizens.. Do Hamas really care about the welfare of their citizens? They are fully responsible for the deaths of their own citizens. They are not champion ‘freedom fighters’, they are champion at crying crocodile tears on cue. And the hard of thinking fall for it. Their ‘brothers’ will always blindly support them, they are indoctrinated to do so since birth, and therefore incapable of independent thought.
    “..the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it”. Winston Churchill on Islam, over 100 years ago.

    • roger

      Unfortunately all the bunkers in Gaza are full of weapons, not sheltering civilians.

    • Safdar Shah

      “Do Hamas really care about the welfare of their citizens? They are fully responsible for the deaths of their own citizens.”
      It’s nothing to do with the people dropping thousands of tons of bombs on them of course. I suppose the Londion Blitz was our fault and nothing to do with the Nazis as well.

      • Don McCarron

        The Nazis targeted civilians. Israel targets missile bases which Hamas places in civilian areas so as to cause as many civilian deaths as possible. I thought everybody knew this.

  • Rahul Kamath

    Always blaming the victim eh Murray. The Israelis bear no responsibility for his weakened condition?

    • T. Botham

      The Israelis should have put the PLO/Fatah/PA out of business many decades ago. They have, instead, propped up their disgusting leaders as a “moderates.” These thugs in suits are weaker than the west’s pretense that they will negotiate peace if the magic formula is found.

  • DG

    Well said Mr Murray! Shame the truth gets drowned out in the press these days. Keep up the good work

  • MSEP, London

    I entirely agree with Mr Murray. Shame on us.

  • evasmagacz

    What a spiteful little entry you produced here, Mr Murray.

    • Julian F

      It just happens to be 100% correct…

      • Yeasin

        It’s correct because it fits in with your nasty evil worldview? Muppet!

    • anotherjoeblogs

      well at least you can try and explain why you consider this as ‘ a spiteful little entry ‘. We can go beyond twitter speech, you know.

  • Jama A Mohammed

    Douglas you are a stupid, bigoted and racist right-wing fascit..the spectator is full of racist and bigoted individuals like you. Palestine will be an official state one day..regardless of what a far right individual like you says. Long live Palestine.

    • Curnonsky

      Long live spelling and grammar.

    • MinnieOvens

      Ah well, I suppose a reasoned argument based upon empirical evidence was out of the question.

    • sageofwestcott

      Jama, your contribution typifies the lamentably low level of intellectual exchange involved by the Palestinian participants in this conflict, and illustrates why there is no solution remotely in sight. Even your own friends and sympathisers find you an embarrassment. Grow up.

      • Baron

        good point

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