The proposed Israel-Palestine peace talks: what hope for a single state solution?

So talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians (an absurdity given that even Israelis are really Palestinians in denial) are going to take place from next month.  Both parties have supposedly agreed to them. But I won’t hold my breath. We have been here before and each time Israel continues to build settlements and break agreements as it sees fit.

But as this AFP article says, the talks are talking place on fragile ground.

A statement from his [Netanyahu’s] office noted with satisfaction that, contrary to Palestinian demands that talks be contingent on Israel extending a temporary freeze on Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, Clinton stated explicitly that the talks must be without preconditions.

That’s interesting. So who will these talks actually benefit? The Israelis or those US and British politicians that want to secure their place in history? Remember, although this was announced by Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair’s fingerprints are all over this.

However, Haim Oron of Meretz warned,

“Without (Israel) continuing a total freeze on settlement and a genuine readiness to withdraw to the international borders and an end to offering the Palestinians a caricature of a state it will be a wast of everybody’s time,” he said.

This caricature of a state will be the useless bits of land that Israel doesn’t want: those arid, non-arable parts of land.

Chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat said,

Unless the Israeli government stops settlement and stops demolishing homes in (Israeli-occupied) east Jerusalem we shall not be able to continue the talks,” he told reporters.

Meanwhile Hamas spokesman,  Sami Abu Zuhri has said,

This invitation is a new attempt to fool the Palestinian people after the Annapolis experience, during which we were promised a Palestinian state within a year, but many years have passed and we are still at square one

The only real solution is a single-state solution. The two state ‘solution; that has been advocated by the so-called ‘Quartet’ is based on the lie that Palestinian people are essentially different to the Israelis. It also suggests a continuation of a form of apartheid: a country will be carved out of Bantustans, all of them economically and politically dependent upon Israel.

The graver danger is that the West Bank would turn into a dozen Gaza Strips with large Israeli civilian populations wedged between miserable, overcrowded walled Palestinian ghettos. The patchwork Palestinian state would be free only to administer its own poverty, visited by regular bouts of bloodshed.

Recently, some Likudniks in the Knesset have performed a volte face and welcomed the principle of a single state. But a single state on Israel’s terms would be just as bad as what currently exists

Their visions still fall far short of what any Palestinian advocate of a single state would consider to be just: the Israeli proposals insist on maintaining the state’s character — at least symbolically — as a “Jewish state,” exclude the Gaza Strip, and do not address the rights of Palestinian refugees. And, settlers on land often violently expropriated from Palestinians would hardly seem like obvious advocates for Palestinian human and political rights.

Finally this article from Ha’aretz says,

Both Jews and Palestinians would have to be willing to renounce the struggle for hegemony. The political culture would have to be structured in a way that avoids such a struggle. Jews would have to be willing to accept Jabotinsky’s suggestion that the President of the state could be sometimes Jewish and sometimes Arab.

Jabotinsky said that? The Quartet clearly want a two-state solution but it would be unwise of them to close their mind to the fact that many want a single state. To ignore this fact would be fatal and would lead to a collapse of the talks. It also appears that Gaza has been left out of the talks. Why?

As I said, I won’t hold my breath.

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