Friday, September 04, 2009

Horse-trading the two-state solution

The “movements in the right direction” taken last week by Benjamin Netanyahu and the new US stance seem to be positive developments. There is an apparent agreement over the two-state solution and necessary steps towards it becoming a reality are being taken. But how much of it is in earnest?

Netanyahu’s yielding attitude is an obvious outcome of US pressures; Israel needs its ally and Netanyahu cannot afford to refuse. On the other hand, Obama has vowed to make a change and (especially given his disappointing progress elsewhere) can not fail to deliver, and for results he needs Netanyahu.

Netanyahu’s promise to ‘freeze’ settlement building comes on the conditions that current building be carried through and that America take a firmer stance with regard to the threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

On the Palestinian front people may be toying with the idea of recognition of Israel – a perpetual pre-condition for talks. It looks, however, like a growing attraction to Hamas as a potential partner for peace talks and a risk of Israel being pressured into inclusion of Hamas has given Fatah little choice but to appear more obliging merely to avoid being side-lined.

The chance of Israel-Palestine talks at the UN General Assembly later in the month is slim and in my opinion, even if talks do take place, progress towards peace will continue to be impeded as long as concessions are only made on the basis of self-interested horse-trading.

1 comment:

William said...

Interesting indeed Izzy - and a fine swan song - but it is still more positive if Tamar Halaseh's peace index is anything to go by, a large majority of Israelis (72%) believe that from Israel’s standpoint today, the need to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is very urgent or moderately urgent, compared to only 24% who do not see it that way. It is important to emphasize that the sense of urgency about resolving the conflict is expressed by a clear majority on all shades of the political spectrum, in the Right, Center, and Left camps as one,
though this majority is larger on the Left (82%) than on the Center (79%) and Right (66%). In other words, the public indeed relies on the IDF’s ability to cope successfully with an Arab attack, but prefers the political solution over the military one.