Israeli prime minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu met with President Barack Obama for two hours today, according to various news reports, to discuss middle east peace. The outcome? President Obama reiterated support for a two-state solution, whereas Netanyahu toed the Likud party line in avoiding endorsing two-states at all costs.
The Iranian bogeyman loomed large in both men’s statements, which basically boiled down to a recognition of the status quo. Israel will continue to build illegal settlements and obstruct a two-state solution, while seeking symbolic nonsensical statements from Hamas about Israel’s right to exist (which are meaningless since Israel does exist, neither Hamas nor any other Palestinian or Arab group has any power to threaten it, Hamas has already acknowledged that it will accept the 1967 borders, and Israel has yet to acknowledge Palestine’s right to exist).
Obama did not apply any meaningful pressure on Israel to ameliorate the conditions in Gaza, open up the West Bank, or otherwise act in a manner consistent with being an honest partner for peace. Case in point: construction has just commenced on the new Maskiot settlement in the West Bank:
Israeli authorities have issued tenders for housing units in the Maskiot settlement and contractors have arrived on site.
Al Jazeera’s Nour Odeh, reporting from Ramallah, said the settlement will be in the northern Jordan valley on the east side of the occupied West Bank.
“This is the first time in nearly 30 years that Israel announces the construction of an entirely new settlement,” she said.
“Usually what we see are caravans that become outposts that later translate into an expansion of an already existing settlement.
Settlements are like crack cocaine to Israel’s Likud government. In other words, America has failed again to save the Jewish State from itself – and the window for a two-state solution continues to close, inexorably. The latest nail in the two-state coffin is the hardening attitudes of Israeli Arabs, especially within the last 12 months. Bad news all around for Jews and Palestinians alike.
President Obama wants to see a two-state solution implemented by the end of his first term. It’s not going to happen. It’s time for people of honest goodwill towards the Israeli and Palestinian people to start thinking about and planning for the binational option, because that will be the only way peace can ever come about.
Related: The Only Democracy in the Middle East, eh? Also, I wrote about the binational option years ago and was persuaded that it wouldn’t work, but the worsening situation over the past few years, especially with regards to Lebanon and Gaza, has brought me back around.