The U.S. and Israel want to limit Palestinian sovereignty, to demilitarize their state, to prevent a Palestinian return and to implement any agreement in stages. But in order for the two-state solution to have a chance at working, they need to do the exact opposite.The deadlock in the peace talks has generated another American diplomatic push, one that seems like the first stage in the administration’s proposal for a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (or, more accurately, the Ramallah-based half of the Palestinian Authority). According to reports, the American team led by Secretary of State John Kerry put forward a proposal for security measures that would address some of Israel’s concerns regarding a withdrawal from the West Bank.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far refused to discuss the future borders of the Palestinian state in public, and leaks from the talks suggest that Israel will only discuss the territorial aspects of an agreement after the security aspects are resolved. The American proposal is designed to tackle this new hurdle or at least prepare the ground for a full American two-state proposal.
As I’ve written here in the past, I remain a sceptic regarding the administration’s ability to promote a real agreement, mainly due to the strategic decision by Israel to hold on to the status quo, along with an American reluctance to confront Jerusalem. As long as the administration is not willing to push Israel out of its comfort zone, the only available course of action would be to force the PA to move toward Israel’s position.
So far, this has been the American approach. Kerry backed Netanyahu’s refusal to enter talks based on the terms of reference agreed upon in previous rounds, and instead forced the Palestinians to “negotiate without preconditions.” Now, it seems the U.S. is gradually moving toward two other Israeli demands: maintaining an Israeli presence on the Jordan River for several years, and recognizing Israel “as a Jewish state.”
According to some reports, the Palestinian Authority rejected the American security arrangements proposal. As a result, the Maariv daily reported today, the Obama administration might allow Israel to postpone the coming prisoner release – the very gesture that was promised to the Palestinians in...Read More