Did Israeli settlements in the West Bank kill the two-state solution?

3 December 2012

When did the dream of a two-state solution die? When it became clear that there are already two Palestinian states – the Hamas-run Gaza and the Palestinian Authority-governed West Bank? Or when the extremists of Hamas fired thousands of missiles into Israeli cities? Or last week when the ‘moderates’ of Fatah once again refused Israeli offers to go to the negotiating table and instead moved to circumvent their only negotiating partner via a diplomatic coup at the UN?

No, in the eyes of portions of the UK government as well as the international community, the two-state solution is threatened not by these consistent, physically and diplomatically violent moves; but by everybody’s favourite subject: Israeli settlement building.

In the wake of the PA’s latest attempt to avoid negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel would respond in the way it saw fit. This seems to be an order to re-start settlement building in the West Bank.

Fresh from his recent praise of the Muslim Brotherhood’s abilities as peacemakers, Ban Ki Moon has declared such a restart to be, ‘An almost fatal blow to remaining chances of securing a two-state solution.’ The British Foreign Office has issued similar warnings and now there is talk of ambassadors being summoned and even of London withdrawing its ambassador from Tel Aviv. Even the international stateswoman who presumes to speak on behalf of all Europeans on such matters – Catherine Ashton – has said she is ‘extremely worried’.


Nobody would guess that among Israel’s neighbours at the moment the Assad regime is still happily murdering tens of thousands of Syrians or that the government of Egypt is successfully pulling off a counter-revolution to ensure that Egyptian voters got one vote once. They would look in vain for strong sentiments from Ban Ki Moon or the British Foreign Office when considering the PA’s recent two-state destroying decision to go to the UN with a statehood bid instead of trying to work out final status border agreements in direct talks with Israel. It takes the re-engagement of a few dozen Jewish builders to bring out this much ire. And there is a reason for that.

Over the years I have visited quite a few Israeli and Palestinian settlements in the West Bank. It remains my view that the borders of a final status agreement are visible on the ground. After some difficult negotiations many of the larger Jewish towns will have to remain, as will many of the larger Palestinian towns. Whatever the final status agreement, it will leave behind the messiest-looking border on any world map. But who is responsible for the blockage in the meantime?

Contrary to the wisdom of the Foreign Office et al, the blockage to peace is not Israeli settlement-building, unhelpful though that undoubtedly is. The bar to peace remains, as it always has been – as it was at Oslo, Camp David and over all the decades before and since – an unwillingness on the part of the Palestinians to accept the existence of the Jewish state and an almost completely ignored Palestinian insistence that the final-status Palestinian state should be completely and wholly free of Jews. Why otherwise could the borders not simply be drawn around the largest Jewish and Palestinian towns and for some Jews to continue to live in the Palestinian state as minorities, as much as Palestinians can, and do, live happily as minorities within the Jewish state?

The international resistance even to acknowledge this issue is the reason why all the onus is still put on Israel. It is so much easier for the international community to pour all of its ire onto details of Israeli policy rather than to focus – and over time change – the totality of the Palestinian policy.

Nevertheless, while restarting settlement building at this time is understandable it is also unwise. Unwise because it is so destructive for Israel’s reputation in the wider international community, but understandable because – just as after the brutal massacring of the Fogel family in Itamar – it is clear why Israel might seek to respond to the latest bout of PA misbehaviour by showing that there is a price to pay for circumventing the only path to peace: direct negotiations. Additionally, since the PA has co-opted the UN in its game of legal subversion, it is understandable if Israel should decide that international opinion at the UN can go to hell. Nevertheless, whilst there are some people who think that settlement building hurts the Palestinians most, for my part I think that it hurts them second most.

However, putting all this aside, the disparity in the international reactions to Israel and the PA’s recent moves tells you everything you need to know about the playing field Israel currently finds itself on. All the current heavy-handed grandstanding aside, countries like this one know that the Israelis are our allies and that we see not only in this Israeli government, but in any government in Israel, one half of a final-status negotiating partner. The same cannot be said of the other party in those talks. Mahmoud Abbas has no control over the Gaza and has not even bothered to return to Palestinians in the West Bank to see if they still want him as their representative. Outsiders like France and Britain should know where pressure, both real and rhetorical, needs to be applied and where it does not.

As I have said here before, the two-state solution is dead. But it was not the Israelis, and not the settlements, that killed it. Rather, it is the fact that after nearly seven decades the Palestinians are no closer to accepting reality and coming to the negotiating table than they were all those years ago.

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  • rndtechnologies786

    Nice thought.

  • Sally Wilton

    The obvious solution for Gaza one day will be to open the border, not with Israel but with Egypt that has masses of land. It is the most stupid situation where Arabs don’t wan’t to live with other Arabs and try and pitch the blame onto Israel. Gaza used to be Egyptian so why cant they just get along? I think the Egyptians hate Gazans more than anything but love to use them to have a go at Israel because mainly it tells them to hate jews in the koran. For every problem there is an answer but some just dont want an answer.

  • Safdar Shah

    “Did Israeli settlements in the West Bank kill the two-state solution?”
    How can you have any solution whilst Israel insists on attacking Palestinian territory and people every day for its colonisation of the occupied West Bank ?.

  • Safdar Shah

    “Contrary to the wisdom of the Foreign Office et al, the blockage to peace is not Israeli settlement-building, unhelpful though that undoubtedly is. The bar to peace remains, as it always has been – as it was at Oslo, Camp David and over all the decades before and since – an unwillingness on the part of the Palestinians to accept the existence of the Jewish state and an almost completely ignored Palestinian insistence that the final-status Palestinian state should be completely and wholly free of Jews. Why otherwise could the borders not simply be drawn around the largest Jewish and Palestinian towns and for some Jews to continue to live in the Palestinian state as minorities, as much as Palestinians can, and do, live happily as minorities within the Jewish state?”
    All of the above seems wrong.
    1. The settlements are built of land which would form the Palestinian state so they are a very real physical obstacle to peace. The writer admits that some of the settlements would remain in any peace deal. The more and bigger the settlements the more that would remain.
    2. Arafat recognised Israel decades ago and the Palestinians would be content with the 67 borders as shown in their recent UN application. No country Israel has made peace with in the past has been asked to recognise Israel as a “Jewish” state.
    3. Palestinians do not want a Jew-free state they want a secular state in which all are free to live. That’s according to the PLO representative who was misreported when the claim was first made.

  • Safdar Shah

    Murray is spouting nonsense. The Egyptians did not have to recognise a “Jewish” state of Israel when they made peace so this is not an obstacle to anything. It is a recent demand from the Israelis. Arafat recognised Israel decades ago and the UN application recognises the 67 borders implicitly.

    His “Jew-free Palestine” claim is also wrong. This is what was said and meant by Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s ambassador to the U.S

    “After the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it would be in the best interest of the two people to be separated,”

    “Under no circumstances was I saying that no Jews can be in Palestine…..What a statement that would be for me to make! I never said that, and I never meant to say such a thing. This is not a religious conflict, and we want to establish a secular state.”

  • Jack Jones

    Of course the two state solution died when Israel decided to take the West Bank in 1967 as Israel will never willingly give it back.

  • Terry

    There never was a 2 state solution. ‘palestine’ is a constructed myth intended to destroy Israel, not, as commonly imagined, to give a disinherited people back the state it lost (as actually happened in the case of Israel). I hope Israel builds until pretend palestine is no longer an option. The only credible 2 state solution is Israel and Jordan.

  • statman

    It’s interesting that we have Douglas Murray and the Israel lobby.Its not going to do you any good as a career move Douglas.There are so many things one could say but I’m a busy man. Nuclear weapons.The Middle east ,with all the Israeli nutters and the Arab nutters ,should be a nuclear free zone millitarily enforced .But because the politicians of the US are disinterested in the national interest of the citizens who elected them but only concerned with their careers Israel has been given the bomb by the US in collusion with France. Do you seriously think that 2 billion Arabs will accept in the long term that they are so inferior that the chosen people (?ancient JudeanDNA what bollocks)can have it but not them.
    Do me a favour.Read the Israel lobby by Mearsheimer and Walt 2 Harvard proffesors and learn something .

    • T. Botham

      You are presumptuous. Perhaps you are too busy to know that Mearsheimer and Walt have been thoroughly debunked. (Only Walt is a Harvard professor, and their Jewish conspiracy-mongering was not perpetrated under Harvard auspices.) Of course, like the Tsarist Protocols of the Elders of Zion, of which their work was an updated version for America of the new century, it will continue to be quoted as truth by anti-Semites, who can be easily identified by the way they understand and use the term “chosen people.” If this is a sample of the “many things” you could say, had you but time, let me assure you that it is quite sufficient to give us an idea of the depths of your thinking on what’s what and who’s who. Don’t let us detain you.

  • nursecrd

    The two state solution has been dead and for that matter never got off the ground. It is simply talk by the Fakestinians. Their real goal is to wipe out Israel it is in the charters of Hamas and Fatah). So why bother talking about something that will never happen?

    The building of settlements has nothing to do with the two state solution. The Fakestinians have done a fine job of training the Lame Stream Media to be their mouthpiece. The truth is that the Fakestinians will only be happy if Israel were to stop existing.

    • Safdar Shah

      “The building of settlements has nothing to do with the two state solution.”

      Really ?!?! Where do you think the second state would go ? Do you think that Israel will simply uproot hundreds of thousands of settlers after spending billions of pounds building all the houses, roads etc etc ? I don’t.

  • Roy

    As usual the British establishment will continue as always to get the situation wrong. To imagine the UN have any policy that is relevant to the western interpretation of democracy is a dream of Alice in Wonderland proportions. To imagine the Palestinians even want peace with Israel is also a pipe dream. How inconceivable the world at large must be, to be so stupidly erring on any sensible ideas coming from the terrorists of the Gaza strip. The vote by the UN to have the Palestinians as an honorary member must be one of the most delusional votes ever. I suppose it was a further enlightenment to show what absolute pillocks the voting members are.

    • Augustus

      Yes, from 1948 to the present day the U.N. has been helpless to resolve the
      Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The latest vote in favour of the Palestinians displays the absurdity of the ridiculous diplomatic
      institution. By November 1974, when he appeared in public with a pistol in his
      belt, Yasser Arafat was already a superstar in this theatre of the absurd. And like his predecessor, Abbas preferred shortcuts along the path toward peace and ignored the importance of
      direct dialogue, essentially putting the cart before the horse. The Jewish state is sovereign and will protect its interests through fire and water, even at
      great cost.

  • Malfleur

    Can any one of the far left or of their islamist allies point with specificity to the law which makes any specific building completed, being undertaken or planned in areas under the control and responsibility of the Israeli state illegal?. Would any member of the same unholy alliance of far leftists and jihadists care to comment on any building activities, past, present, or planned for the future, conducted within the same areas? Chapter and verse please, nothing wishy-washy.

  • DeeJay

    No, have no fear, the two two state solution never ever actually existed, certainly not as far as the Israelis are concerned anyway.

  • MarinerAncien

    No!…Hamas killed it. It’s pretty obvious that Hamas is like the old time Chicago mobsters, they wish to maintain the staus-quo, a two state solution would queer their pitch completely.

    • victor67

      Hamas is in part an Israeli creation. In the 1980s it was promoted as a counter to Fatah,Arafat and the PLO.

  • disqusaurus_rex

    I am reminded of the old adage – be careful what you wish for – you may get it. The end of the two state solution, means that future efforts would be focused on a one state solution – a demographic challenge that would bring into question everything Israel has tried to build for itself. It may come to regret that choice.

  • Yisrael Medad

    One element missing, I suggest, is that whereas whatever solution can be proposed and perhaps even implemented, most avoid the reality that at present, no Jew can live in any Arab area in the former territories of historic Palestine including Jordan and all spokespersons of the proposed Arab state of “Palestine” indicate that that will be the same, an uni-ethnic polity. Our liberals, progressives and humanists have no problems with that which would indicate a duplicitous standard for after all, Arabs live in Israel, vote and are elected and serve in the judiciary, etc. Without coexistence, democracy, the renunciation of terror and the coming to terms of Arabs with Jewish nationalism, no partition, no disengagement and surely no halt to Jewish residency is adequate.

    • Teddy123Bear

      Excellent point Yisrael.
      A good counter to those that prefer not to understand why the offer by Barak back in 2000, of 93% of original designated Palestinian land to be ruled by them, as a starting offer, would have been very wise of them to take him up on it. Instead they launched the intifada.

      But then wisdom is not a concept that one can associate with Palestinians.

      “They’ve never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity”. (Abba Eban)

  • Malfleur

    Reality check: Jordan is the Palestinian state. Palestine is Jordan. It’s part of Palestine – the greater part; it’s full of Palestinians.

    Repeat: Jordan is Palestine; Palestine is Jordan.

    • victor67

      Have you asked King Abdullah what he thinks about the idea of Jordan as Palestine.
      Its sure is chuztpah to offer someone else is land to another state witrhout consulting him.

      • Malfleur

        I thought you far leftists had the concept of handing out other people’s land without requesting their permission at the heart of your “value system”.

    • David Lindsay

      We are told that “Jordan is Palestine”. Indeed she is. Jordan as created at the end of the British Mandate. That is to say, including the West Bank. There has never been a state with its border at the Jordan, and the populations of the two Banks are one people. The answer to the question of why anyone ever designed a country so short of water as Jordan is, is that no one ever did.

      The Declaration of a Palestinian State on the West Bank would be the end of the Hashemite Kingdom, which is just as much a foreign imposition as the Zionist
      project, and which was imposed by the same colonial power, which therefore bears the same historic responsibility. The pressure for incorporation into a Palestinian State would be irresistible. That, rather than the destruction of Israel, would be the great national aspiration. And then, following its rapid and its largely, if not entirely, bloodless achievement, that would be the great national triumph.

      The proposed revocation of citizenship from 1.8 million Jordanians with especially strong family ties across the River, in a country of only 6.5 million, indicates that the Hashemites and their entourage are fully aware of this. Let their fear be proved well-founded. It is time to be radical, to go back to the roots.

  • jaysspectator

    The Palestinians had only one avenue left after being abandoned by the UN to live in a country dominated by zionist Israelis – civil unrest. Although being the indigenous population they have been forced into the two areas ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza’. They are not allowed to carry a proper standing defence force with all the equipment and arms others enjoy. Roughly 700,000 Palestinians have been ejected from ‘Israel’ and live ‘stateless’ in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. The recent rocket attacks were pitiful, hardly effective but acting as a cry for help. The UN cannot continually let them down; either Israel must reintagrate them into a single state or agree to the two state solution but without any settlements.

    • Augustus

      ” The recent rocket attacks were pitiful…”

      You certainly can’t call the Iranian Fajr-5 artillery rocket pitiful. With a range of about 75 kilometers, it had twice the range of rockets previously used by Hamas, and brought Tel Avic and Jeruslalem within range of Hamas attacks. But never mind that both Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization teach their children and preach to their congregants that killing Jews is a duty and a privilege. Let’s ignore the fact that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made a speech at the U.N. General Assembly worthy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Forget about all of this inconvenient verbiage, even when it is backed up by heavy weapons. Oh no. Of far greater concern is construction of new housing units in the E1 area. That’s the real ‘provocation’ isn’t it? Far more deadly than releasing thousands of powerful rockets against innocent men, women and children. Far more likely to prevent peace-making. And if you love the Palestinians so much, and hate Israel, what about its neighbours? Iran is about to have nuclear arms; Syrians are being slaughtered in the
      streets; Tunisians, Libyans and Algerians are being subjected to unspeakable
      tyranny; and Egypt is about to ratify a new constitution based on Shariah law.
      Not interested in that? No, of course not. Israel is under the microscope and had better watch its step.

    • Malfleur

      Wrong; Jordan, which forms a larger part of mandated “Palestine” than Israel, could easily have absorbed them. And this was before the PLO terrorist organisation was created after the 1967 aggression by Arab countries against Israel was crushed, so the then King Hussein would not have been faced with the unpleasant task which fell to him later in September 1970 of killing large numbers of PLO members and supporters and expelling the rest of them who were plotting against. How much happier life could have been these last 50 years without Egyptians like the terrorist, paederast Yasser Arafat, the Jimmy Savile of palestine politics, and their far left and islamic allies.

  • T. Botham

    No. This is an excellent time for building in E1 to go ahead. The General Assembly colluded with the Fatah in violating Oslo, which is now dead. The Palestinian State is a fiction. Israel is a reality. Life goes on. israeli grows. Settlements – 3000 living units – must be built now, with more to come. The land is waiting for improvement. Fatah officials have no business vetoing building permits on land they do not own or control. If the settlements provide a cover for Fatah’s inability to negotiate a state, that is an added incentive to build them. L’chaim! Waiting for a while to avoid accusations that Israel is acting in spite is pointless. Israel is always accused of bad faith. It will never be recognized by Fatah or Hamas. The world wants Israel obliterated, humbled, crippled. It does not want a 2 state solution. It wants another Arab sovereignty. It may well get its way. (See the policies of Douglas Reed below). Now is only time that matters for Israel. If not now, when?

  • David Lindsay

    Consider the much-vaunted destruction of the organic civilisation originating in the Christianisation and unification of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms which began in earnest in the early seventh century AD. Of that destruction, people of East European extraction are often held to be in the vanguard. Although if it is bulwarks against Islamisation that you want, then you could not ask for surer than the Christian Slavs.

    There is no argument that can be advanced against such a destruction which does not apply at least as strongly, and for the most part with vastly more basis in actual fact, to the destruction of the organic civilisation originating in the Muslim Conquest of Greater Syria which began in earnest in the early seventh century AD. Nevertheless, that civilisation continues to include the oldest Christian communities in the word, communities that became Christian when the Roman Empire did or earlier, became Arab at exactly the same time as England was being created, and founded modern Arab nationalism and the revived concept of Filastin as explicit political expressions of Christianity, just as England and the United Kingdom were and are. Of the destruction of that civilisation, people of East European extraction are undeniably in the vanguard.

    Everyone would know this axiomatically if we had a free press. Manifestly, as things stand, we have no such thing.

    • T. Botham

      Are you proud of what the oldest Christian community living organically in Islam has produced? Let’s look at four Christian founders of Arab nationalism:

      Michel Aflaq, Greek Orthodox, from Damascus, was the ideologue of Arab nazism – national socialism for Arabs. Founded the Ba’ath party. Admirer of Hitler and red revolutionaries. Praised Islam as essence of Arabness.

      Antun Sa’adeh, Greek Orthodox, from Lebanon, lived in Brazil, also inspired by German nationalism. Back in Beirut, he started a Syrian socialist nationalist party – another nazi party. He did not believe in pan-Arabism, but in the national supremacy of Greater Syria – a unified Levant, Jordan, Sinai, Cyprus and Iraq. This was a movement counterposed to Egyptian national supremacy. Egypt and Syria competed for regional dominance. He saw himself as the Fuhrer of Syria, and was an avowed fascist. Syria was to be a secular state, not nationally defined by religion. He was executed by Lebanese government for treason in 1949.

      Constantine Zuraiq, also Syrian Greek Orthodox. Pan-Arabist nazi advocating a Reich from the Maghreb to Iraq. Saw Islam as model for successful nation (empire), but pan-Arabism was to take over from Islam as unifying identity. Approved of Christian “dhimmi” status in Islam. Interpreted it as offering a sense of belonging for Christians – a place of their own (!) – and a manifestation of mutual cooperation.

      Dr. George Habash (has the Lancet done a piece on Christian and Muslim Arab terrorist doctors?), Greek Orthodox from “Palestine.” Started as pan-Aranb Nasserist. Founded Arab Nationalist Movement. Disillusioned with great Arab nation in 1967 loss to Israel. Founded PFLP – Marxist terrorist organization, specializing in airplane hijackings. He and fellow nationalists attempted to assassinate King Hussein of Jordan. As a displaced Arab Christian Marxist, he did not see conflict with Israel as between Jews and Muslims, but between European colonists and natives. Believed, therefore, in terrorist resistance to help history in its revolutionary mission.

      Fascists and murderers. But Christian.

      Info taken from an essay at

  • Douglas Reed

    Scrap the EU-Israel Association Agreement, now!

    The immediate scrapping of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which gives unrestricted access to trade with the EU, will see an immediate withdrawal of all new settlement proposals and the eventual repatriation of all illegal settlers back to their homes in Israel.

    The Israeli government only understands two factors: economics and power, and
    without the hugely profitable, bilateral trade with the EU market, it has neither. All the threats of settlement expansion will then cease overnight. Without trade with the EU, Israel reverts back to being primarily an exporter of citrus fruit, potash and computer software with a population of just 7m people in 20,000 sq kms with few natural resources and of little geo-strategic or other value.

    The political blackmail will cease! The nonsense of Netanyahu threatening the
    UN and the world will cease! Eventually even the US congress will understand that without the EU market, its Middle Eastern ally returns to the insignificance of being
    just another small state on the Eastern Mediterranean, barely the size of Wales.

    Then perhaps, after 70 years of conflict, the international community can
    finally start to build a negotiated peace in this vitally important region of the
    world. Jerusalem will once again become the Holy City with free access to all and
    the United Nations will secure an independent state for the Arabs of Palestine,
    in 2013, the same as it did for the Jews of Palestine, in 1948.

    In essence, there should be no difference. There are about 5.5 Jews and 5.5
    million Arabs and they need to co-exist with 50% each of the available land and
    natural resources including water and coastline. Both states should be
    demilitarized by order of the UN Security Council and the US should permanently cease all arms shipments with immediate effect.

    All that is necessary to achieve this positive result is to abrogate the EU Agreement, which should not have been entered into in the first place.

    • Hogspace

      So, which part of islamic theocracy is it you like most?

      Destruction of democracy
      The erasure of freedom of expression.
      Mass murder of LGBT people
      The oppression and murder of women

      There should be no truck with islamists. End of.

    • Augustus

      “Scrap the EU-Israel Association Agreement, now!”

      When the Palestinians make a unilateral decision, as they did at the U.N. General Assembly last month, their initiative is seen as legitimate and is welcomed. But when the Jewish state builds new apartments in Jerusalem, its capital, or in a “disputed” area, European condemnation is never long to follow. Is this logic not twisted? Isn’t this hypocritical? The same old tune, the same story with the same preaching of morality. And yet, despite all this, there are still countries in Europe, like Britain and France, who control territories across the ocean that are thousands of miles away from their own capitals. Is Europe really so frightened by the waves of Muslim immigration washing over it, and the threat of terrorist attacks, that it has no choice but to follow the Muslims’ dictates and surrender to their blackmail at the expense of its supposed friendship with Israel?

  • Bardirect

    Israel’s obvious pique about the UN vote with its announcements of massive colonial expansion tells you everything you need to know about the justice of the situation.

    • David Lindsay

      People who said that the Vatican was not really a state because she was only a UN Observer, is that now their view of Palestine? People who say it of Palestine, is that also their view of the Vatican?

      On the Canada Principle, no states better deserve Commonwealth membership than those founded in indigenous resistance to anti-British terrorism. Step forward, Palestine. And step forward, the state founded by the pro-Treaty forces in the 26 Counties.

    • Hogspace

      You really are a fucking idiot.

      • Mary

        Yes, he is right, Colonial. This poor excuse of an article is another example of the vicious right attempting to justify Netanyahu’s aggressive and bellicose attempt at governing an essentially racist country. He’s like a weak bully in the face of the majority who oppose him. ‘If I can’t wipe out Palestinians with impunity and be applauded for it, then I’ll just wreak more havoc!’

        • Hogspace

          It’s not a racist country you blithering idiot it’s a national refuge. Don’t you have any knowledge of history whatsover.
          It was created as a REFUGE for the jewish people after a millennium of persecution. It has to be kept jewish or the persecution will only start again, led by the islamic menace within.
          Wake the F up.

        • jackjones

          It’s racist colonialism in the West Bank. Bulldoze non-Jewish people out of the way and move in Israeli settlers. It’s as plain as day. Sharon much admired the South African apartheid “homelands” solution and thought it would be a good model for Israel-Palestine.

  • victor67

    It was Sharon’s plan to separate Gaza from the West Bank. The withdrawl from Gaza was done in conjunction with the increase in settlements in the West Bank. It was done to take the 1.7 million Gazan’s out of the equation in what Olmert called Israel’s demographic time bomb (When the Palestinans out number the Israeli’s between the river and the sea).
    While the US political elite remain controlled by AIPAC their are signs that if Israel continues its colonizing ways the EU might become tougher around trade putting an embargo on produce from the occupied territories.
    Also if Murray believes the two state solution is dead. Does he support
    1) A binational state with full democratic rights for all?
    2) Removal forced or otherwise of the Palestinian arabs from the coveted area’s of East Jerusalem and The Jordan valley.
    3) The status quo in the west bank with an apartheid situation developing , resulting in even more pariah status for Israel.
    Bibi and his settler coalition seem to favour the 3rd option and calculate that Obama might express disquiet but will not do anything else, with a war with Iran to divert world attention from the land grab.
    In the short term Israel will get a way with it but American support for Israel among the younger generations is waning and their is no desire to fight another war on Israel’s behalf.

    • Hogspace

      See, the nice thing about Israel is…. they don’t need anyone else to fight their wars. They can destroy Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Southern Lebanon and Iran tomorrow. Destroy as in Back to the Stone Age.

      • victor67

        bankrolled and bailed out by the US however.

        • Malfleur

          Which of course alienates the oil states because the defence of Israel by the USA is all about oil…

          • victor67

            The arab autocrats vent about the Palastinians but they care little as long as $ from oil sales and arms suppliers keep coming. They are not going to rock the boat with Uncle Sam for a couple of million Palestinians. With the arab spring threatening their dictatorships they will need American support to crush dissent.

            • Malfleur

              Unfortunately, your Muslim Brother, Morsi, just ran out of the Palace in Cairo pursued by people not in favour of his Spring-like grab for dictatorial powers, so you may find that hoi polloi is not as keen as you and your fa-left jihadist alliance friends in pursuing this tragic and 100% unnecessary vendetta with beleaguered Israel.

  • JohnOfEnfield

    Golly – I thought I was reading an article by Melanie Phillips!

    A definite “the emperor has no clothes” moment in the main stream press.

    The so called “Palestinians” have played victim for sooo long that they have come to believe their own outrageous propaganda. Just a small example: I saw one hospital patient in Gaza calling the Israelis “animals” for putting the guy next to him in hospital. What else can you do when it’s raining rockets on your civilians but attack the launch & storage bases which have been deliberately placed in civilian institutions.

    I am no fan of Nentanyahu but Hamas and Fatah take the biscuit for cynical manipulation of their citizens, the media and the UN. Why Britain & the EU continue supporting them escapes me. Why don’t we support the only real democracy in the Middle East?

    • victor67

      So what about democracy in the West Bank? More like apartheid.

      • Augustus

        On how many occasions have Hamas tried to send the PA leader to Allah? No doubt some Hamas sympathisers in the West Bank dream of both groups getting together to wipe Israel off the map, but the majority of Arabs there think those radicals are a danger and will resist them at all costs. But your view of Israel, as in much of the Western media, just about conforms to what Iranian state TV broadcasts about Israel: Israel is a terrifying military state which keeps Palestinians oppressed. In fact Israel has made a huge contribution to global scientific developments, especially in the fields of pharmacy and technology. The Muslim world could learn a lot from them, not least how to practice tolerance.

        • victor67

          So there good scientists and are kinder to gays than Christian , Jewish and Islamic fundamentalists. But what has that got to do with the occupation?

          • Augustus

            Because a more genuine picture of Israel, and less exaggerated attention paid to Palestinian terrorism against it, might have made a peace process more attainable. A free society where the girls can dress themselves as they wish, where gays are freely tolerated, where free internet traffic exists, where alcohol is not prohibited, and even where feeling joyful is no offence. Where there is press freedom, and where a uninversity is a place of freedom and research. If you’re going to spend the best part of half a century encouraging Jewish immigration into an undeveloped part of the Middle East, amongst a population who themselves had no national identity under Turkish rule, and who had very little human rights, you can’t then half a century later complain that
            those immigrants, who built a prosperous land in only a few decades, have suddenly become ‘occupiers’ of a people who were under a far harsher occupancy for four hunded years. What other motive can you have against them other than pure bigotry?

        • Hogspace

          Getting back to the article. False premise. There was never any possibility of a Two State Solution. It was only ever going to be an ongoing platform for islamic attacks on Israel. They will never desist until the jews have been exterminated. Or until the Israelis reduce the Arabs around them from Medieval to Stone Age.
          Come on Israel, stop wasting time, do us all a huge favour.

      • nursecrd

        Apartheid? You are so ridiculous. The issue is that the Fakestinians of the west bank would not know what to do with democratic rule if it was handed to them. I suggest you look at what has happened in Gaza when the Fakestinians were given an opportunity to govern themselves democratically. They voted in Hamas, a dictatorial, Islamist government. Now they are more miserable than ever. As I see it, the Fakestinians have been mis-treating themselves to make news and gain sympathy.

    • Safdar Shah

      “The so called “Palestinians” have played victim for sooo long that they have come to believe their own outrageous propaganda”

      Whatever you want to call them they are victims. Every day they are driven out of their homes to make way for Israeli settlers. You’d call yourself a victim too if you had your house bulldozed and you were told to go away whilst being denied basic human rights.

  • Augustus

    “When it is asked what is meant by the development of the Jewish National Home
    in Palestine, it may be answered that it is not the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as a whole, but the further development of the existing Jewish community, with the assistance of Jews in other parts of the world, in order that it may become a centre in which the Jewish people as a whole may take, on grounds of religion and race, an interest and a pride. But in order that this community should have the best prospect of free development and provide a full opportunity for the Jewish people to display its capacities, it is essential that it should know that it is in Palestine as of right and not on sufferance.”
    -Winston Churchill, British Secretary of State for the Colonies. June 1922

    The legality of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, as in any other part of the territory earmarked for Jewish settlement by the 1920 San Remo Conference, is a known but ignored fact. The basic assumption by the Oslo architects was that the Jewish people were an occupier in their own land, in Judea – the origin of the people’s name – and in Samaria, and had to forfeit the heart of the land to the Arab occupier imported from abroad within the framework of the “Israel-lie” known as the “peace process.” The creation of an Arab state in eastern Palestine (today Jordan) on 77 percent of the landmass of the original Mandate intended for a Jewish National Home in no way changed the status of Jews West of the Jordan River, nor did it inhibit their right to settle anywhere in Western Palestine, the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

    The post-Oslo conduct by Mahmoud Abbas and Arafat – role models of intra-Arab subversion and international terrorism, has reaffirmed that the PLO does not change its spots, only its tactics. Mahmoud Abbas is not troubled by the size, but by the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East. Accordingly, Israel should extend Jerusalem’s municipal
    lines, which is a prerequisite for the transformation of Jerusalem’s steady
    decline into long-term growth, through a dramatic upgrade of Jerusalem’s
    infrastructures of transportation, industry and housing. Judea and Samaria are not “occupied territory” since no foreign entity was
    sovereign in the area in 1967. The 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention is not
    applicable since it prohibits the coerced transfer of people to settlements,
    while Israeli settlers have settled of their own volition. Israeli settlements
    in Judea and Samaria are legal. The Jewish state’s historical and legal rights
    in Judea and Samaria are based on the 1922 British Mandate. These rights were
    preserved by Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, which provides continuity of Jewish
    rights in the Jewish homeland. So the Israeli government should allow and enable Israelis to directly purchase land in Judea and Samaria. They should ignore the self-destructive Oslo state of mind and encourage that ‘best prospect of free development’ understood and appreciated ninety years ago.

    • Safdar Shah

      “The 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention is not
      applicable since it prohibits the coerced transfer of people to settlements,
      while Israeli settlers have settled of their own volition.”

      This is quite simply a lie.

      “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”

      Is it the word “or” you don’t understand ?

  • Lachlan S Ward

    The Palestinians can come to London. There is already an expanding Muslim settler state there in Tower Hamlets with many more thousands of housing units planned. I’m sure the UK government will welcome these ‘correct’ religious settlers while continuing to condemn the ‘incorrect’ Jewish ones in the West Bank. Remember, religious appropriation of non-Muslim land = good, but religious appropriation of Muslim land = bad.

  • DavidDP

    Personally, I’m not sure how continuing to build settlements on land you claim you will give up is evidence of accepting reality and willingness to properly negotiate.
    Both sides are indescribably stupid. Sooner or later, the world just won’t care anymore about either people. And that will be a shame, but something brought on both sides by their behaviour and intransigence.

    • andagain

      It is perfectly sensible if you assume that the Israelis ultimate goal is to split Palestine into nominally independent bantustans.

      • Augustus

        In that case the Palestinians have largely themselves to blame for that!

        • andagain

          Hamas shoots at the Israelis from Gaza,and the Israelis do not put settlements there.

          The PA does not shoot at the Israelis from the West Bank, and the Israelis do put settlements there.

          If the Palestinians on the West Bank have made a mistake in the last few years, what exactly was it?

          • Augustus

            The last few years? What if the Palestinians and Arabs had accepted Israel on May 14, 1948 and recognized its right to exist? Would the Arab world have been more stable, more democratic and more advanced? If Israel would have been recognized in 1948, the Palestinians would have been able to free themselves from the hollow promises of Arab dictators, who kept telling them the refugees would be back in their homes, all Arab lands would be liberated, and Israel would be sent to the bottom of the sea. Arab leaders used the Palestinians to suppress their own people and stay in power. The fact is, ever since 1948, if an Arab politician wanted to be a hero, he had an easy way of doing it, he just needed to shout as loud as he could about his intention to destroy Israel, without even mobilizing one single soldier.

    • T. Botham

      Personally, I’m sure that Israel and the Arabs of the West Bank, Gaza – not to mention Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya – would be better off if the “world” stopped caring about any of them. The world should include Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Turkey as well as jolly old Albion, fair France and Uncle Sam. What a pity Israel and “Palestine” have not been expelled from the UN.
      Yes, it would be a fine thing if Disgusted of Hampstead would give up on those intransigent, indescribably stupid peoples. Cancel the cruise on the flottilla to Gaza. Book a trek to see the Himalayan glacier melt. Cultivate your organic garden.

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