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Secretary of State John Kerry: 12-18 months before two-state solution is 'over'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry estimates that the two-state solution will be “over” in a year and a half. Kerry spoke at the House Foreign Affair Committee hearing on U.S. interests abroad. While many analysts have been discussing the closing of a window of opportunity for the two-state solution for several years, setting such a short time frame by the secretary of state is unprecedented.

Hannah Allam of the McClatchy Newspapers tweeted:

The window for a 2-state solution is shutting, we have a year, year and a half before it’s over […] For Israel, for us, for world, not to strengthen the Palestinian Authority amounts to working against our own interests […] To not invest in the PA would be remarkably short-sighted. Netanyahu has agreed to engage in new economic plan in West Bank.

Later, Kerry added his own interpretation of the reasons for the current impasse:

[The] Palestinians [are] convinced Israel will never give them a state, Israel [is] convinced Palestinians will never give them security.

UPDATE: Here are Kerry’s exact words.

KERRY: But I can guarantee you that am committed to this, because I believe the window for a two-state solution is shutting. I think we have some period of time a year, a year and a half, to two years or its over. […] So there’s an urgency to this in my mind, and I intend, on behalf of the President’s instructions, to honor that urgency and see what we can do to move forward.

And later:

“Look, the hurdle we have to get over here, part of the difficulty is the level of mistrust on both sides is gigantic […] President Abbas deep-down is not convinced — and that may be a light word for it — that Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and Israel are ever going to give them a state. And on the other side, Israel is not convinced that the Palestinians and others ever going to give them the security that they need. So we have to find an equation here, folks, where we can try to dispel those years of mistrust and get both sides to understand that both things are in fact possible.”

Kerry has already been criticized for his comments, and an Israeli source told the British Telegraph that “when it comes to the heart of the matter he [Kerry] has no bright ideas.”

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    1. Giora Me'ir

      Been in only a short time and Kerry realizes that the Netanyahu government is making the two state solution a dead letter.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Kolumn9

      Yah. Ok. In a year and a half it will still be a year and a half. The US isn’t about to propose any alternative. It does sound however like the US intends to make a serious play to restart negotiations.

      Reply to Comment
    3. DR

      Surely that window has closed already. Jordan and the West Bank are both run by predominantly Arab nationalist regimes, and will ultimately form a union: a kite which they’ve been flying for some time. Gaza and Egypt will unify, both being run by the Muslim Brotherhood. Both these areas were prior to 1967 part of, respectively, Jordan and Egypt – and the original Palestine National Covenant expressly stated that they were *not* part of Palestine.
      This may not be “good for Israel”. It may well disappoint Arabs who identify as specifically and exclusively Palestinian, and will likely be seen as a step back from the hoped-for reconquest of “all of historic Palestine”.
      But surely it is both a natural outcome, and an inevitable one?

      Reply to Comment
      • DR

        To expand on this point:
        A two state solution would involve the creation of a Palestinian state. A prerequisite for such a state is that the factions (specifically, the armed factions) agree not to fight each other, but to co-exist democratically.
        However, despite years of negotiations, there is no prospect of reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Richard Witty

      The two-state approach remains and will remain the only viable outcome, as far as political jurisdiction.

      The only way that the peoples will be one people is through the commercial window, which is what Israel already is, and only some in Palestine want.

      The solution to the issues have been social for a long time, much more than political, though the political are the easy ones to engage, the easy ones to criticize.

      The social is of building relations, new relations. The political is of reinforcing existing relations.

      Reply to Comment
    5. XYZ

      For the past 65 years we have been hearing “there is only 1-2 years left in which to make peace”. Maybe there NEVER was a chance to make peace?

      Reply to Comment
    6. shaun

      How can a stillborn idea that was buried over a decade ago still have any value?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Kerry is wrong!!! The alternatives to the two-state solution are apartheid and a one-state solution in which the Arabs dominate. A consociational solution following the enmity involved is not really workable and neither of the other two solutions as they are unacceptable to one of the two parties to the conflict. In Northern Ireland, similarly, power sharing was the only acceptable solution. It took over 30 years of trying with two failures before the two sides got it right with the help of Dublin, London and Washington. During the time between the failure of the first attempt and the final success about half the casualties of the conflict were inflicted. The conflict in the Middle East will eventually come to an end–it will just take many more casualties before the situation is ripe.

      Reply to Comment