President Obama has publicly stated his desire to see the creation of a Palestinian state by the end of his first term. There’s substantial progress from the Palestinian side – Hamas has announced it will cease rocket operations and says it wants to be part of the solution, accepting a state in pre-1967 borders, according to its exiled spokesman Khalid Meshal:
The leader of the militant Palestinian group Hamas said Monday that its fighters had stopped firing rockets at Israel for now. He also reached out in a limited way to the Obama administration and others in the West, saying the movement was seeking a state only in the areas Israel won in 1967.
“I promise the American administration and the international community that we will be part of the solution, period,” the leader, Khaled Meshal, said during a five-hour interview with The New York Times spread over two days in his home office here in the Syrian capital.
His conciliation went only so far, however. He repeated that he would not recognize Israel, saying to fellow Arab leaders, “There is only one enemy in the region, and that is Israel.”
But he urged outsiders to ignore the Hamas charter, which calls for the obliteration of Israel through jihad and cites as fact the infamous anti-Semitic forgery, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Mr. Meshal did not offer to revoke the charter, but said it was 20 years old, adding, “We are shaped by our experiences.”
Meshal goes on to explicitly refer to the 1967 borders. In most respects the Hamas peace planis essentially the same as the Arab League plan put forth earlier, except that Meshal still insist son right of return for all Palestinians, which is just not going to happen. He knows it, too, so clearly its a negotiating strategy. But the point here is simple: Hamas is ready for two states.
Meanwhile, Israel’s new right-wing government has yet to commit to the two-state solution – VP Biden’s comments at AIPAC‘s annual meeting to that effect were met with less than enthusiasm. And as Richard Silverstein notes, Obama is showing Bibi some tough love, and refusing to let Bibi move the goalposts.
So, the Palestinians are ready to recognize the 1967 borders out of pragmatism, though to save face they are not explicitly “recognizing” Israel. Meanwhile, Israel refuses to commit to the two-state solution. Well, the window for a two-state solution is closing… Democracy, Greater Israel, or Jewishness: pick two.