When US President Obama in his speech to the people of Israel said: “Negotiations will be necessary, but there's little secret about where they must lead -- two states for two peoples”, he was referring to the West Bank becoming a Palestinian state. However, when Benjamin Netanyahu thinks about ‘two states for two peoples’, he’s thinking more in terms of West Jordan becoming the Palestinian homeland and the West Bank – which Zionists refer to as Samaria and Judea – becoming a part of Israel along with the Gaza Strip.
While Netanyahu has said that he is willing to ‘negotiate’ with the Palestinians, he has made it abundantly clear that it will be only on his terms – and his terms are that the Palestinians don’t present any terms or conditions by which negotiations can begin. And, all the while he is demanding there be no pre-conditions like suspending settlement building, he is rubber stamping even more building in the West Bank and demanding that Palestinians recognise the Jewish state of Israel before ‘negotiations’ begin. With the distinct possibility of Israel annexing all of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, together with all of the other areas in the West Bank that are under Israeli control, the Palestinians are hardly likely to recognise a state that would more than likely take the majority of lands that the Palestinians had earmarked for a Palestinian state.
For all of the rhetoric and diplomat speak, the net result is: there will be no Palestinian state while the world sits back and allows the likes of Obama and Netanyahu dictate what will be and not be for the Palestinians.
Clearly, Obama has backed off demanding a freeze on settlement building, rendering his words empty of meaning since he knows that the Palestinians will insist on a freeze at the very least before talking about talking.
There are now only three ways the impasse can be resolved: the Israelis could use force to get what they want using the pretext of a war against Iran to occupy and eventually annex the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; or the peoples of the world could pressure their respective governments to pressure in turn the Israelis to leave the West Bank and hand all of it back to the Palestinians; or, alternatively, the world could insist on a one state solution whereby there are two peoples in one state living together as equals with equal rights.
The Israelis have made it clear they will not be leaving the West Bank and the hatred of each other is so intense that a one state solution is hardly likely at the moment – though I believe that ultimately neither side will have a choice other than to come together as one state. The alternative is perpetual war.
Despite all the rhetoric of the past few days, the future for the Israeli and Palestinian people and the entire region is as dark and bleak today as it was before Obama’s visit.
Nothing has changed.
Give it another few days and war against Iran will back on the front burner once again.