Finally Netanyahu comes clean – no to two states

At a conference in Israel held by the Institute for National Security Studies and titled “In the Absence of Progress toward a Final Status Agreement: Options for Israel,” Netanyahu finally came clean – he has no intention of pursuing a two-state “solution” in the Levant. Contrary to his previous speeches and diplomatic rhetoric to America and EU countries, he was clear as he outlined his Likudnik vision for the future. Most people don’t know that the Likud charter is expressly against any Palestinian state and works to ensure it does not occur:

“Peace and Security” chapter of the platform of the Likud Party, led by PM Netanyahu, declares that it “flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state West of the Jordan River.“ It also states that “The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs.”

“The Jewish communities” are “the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”

“Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem….”

However, Palestine declared Statehood in 1988 and has been officially recognized by 134 countries thus far; the unity government has also been officially recognized by the largest and most powerful countries. Such  a declaration (Statehood) and subsequent recognition are irrevocable, as is stated in the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, Article 6. Furthermore, the UN Charter enshrines the absolute principle of the right of self-determination, which has been so exercised by the Palestinian People in the establishment of the State of Palestine. Israel’s meddling and insistence in interfering with the rights accorded to a State (in this case, Palestine) is expressly contrary to the both the Montevideo Convention (Articles 4, 5 and 8) and the UN Charter.

The Times of Israel on 30 June, 2014 reported:

[W]hile other speakers at the conference put forth new ideas on how to break the impasse in the peace process, the prime minister, despite stating [in English to those countries or bodies that provide enormous financial largesse or diplomatic protection] his commitment to a two-state solution, announced a set of policies that would make such a solution even harder to achieve.

He utilized it to announce the construction of a security fence on Israel’s border with Jordan [Israel has no border with Jordan; its borders remain those claimed in 1948 and recognized by countries as such; those borders have never lawfully changed- ed] , and to insist that the IDF must maintain overall security responsibility for the entire West Bank in the foreseeable future. Rather than explaining how he intends to implement his first Bar-Ilan speech of 2009, in which he envisaged the creation of a Palestinian state, he fueled the right wing’s hopes that there will never be a Palestinian state between the river and the sea.

Before Netanyahu took the podium at the prestigious think thank in Tel Aviv, its director, retired general Amos Yadlin, a former military intelligence chief, laid out his Plan B, to be implemented in the likely scenario that Israeli and Palestinian leaders fail to bridge their gaps and sign a peace agreement. He called for Israeli “redeployment” — in other words, a unilateral withdrawal from most of the West Bank that could facilitate, if not the end of the conflict, at least a two-state reality that would forestall the binational state scenario.

If Jerusalem Tel Aviv finds that it has no Palestinian partner with which to sign an accord, “Israel will initiate a long-term program to independently draw Israel’s borders in coordination with its allies,” Yadlin suggested. “This program will signal the state’s willingness to relinquish sovereignty over 80 to 90 percent of the West Bank, a willingness that will be also be exercised on the ground.” Israel’s new borders would be based on the security fence in the West Bank, but the Jordan Valley and the entire city of Jerusalem should remain under Israeli sovereignty, Yadlin recommended. [none of those areas are inside Israel, nor does Israel have de jure sovereignty over territory outside its legitimate borders, it only exercises de facto, illegitimate authority, not sovereignty – ed]

“Israel needs to have an alternative plan, because we don’t want to remain with the status quo,” Yadlin continued. He didn’t fear the current state of affairs in Israel and the West Bank as much as others in the international community did, he clarified. But, he cautioned, “if managed unwisely,” the status quo will harm Israel in the long run, causing delegitimization, boycotts, economic woes and eventually a one-state solution that would spell the end to Israel’s Jewish and democratic character.

“As we’ve always done in the history of Zionism, we need to take the initiative, to move on to a proactive policy, to stop buying time and to start enacting a policy that will benefit us,” Yadlin said. An Israeli “redeployment” would be no gift to the Palestinians, the veteran military analyst asserted, but would ultimately serve Israel’s interest.

To be sure, the idea that Israelis need to take their destiny in their own hands and unilaterally withdraw from large parts of the West Bank has been gaining traction for months now. It has many supporters, including former close advisers to Netanyahu such as Yoaz Hendel and Michael Oren.

But Yadlin and others who hoped that Netanyahu would agree that Israel needs to proactively shape its own borders were disappointed. The prime minister spoke for 25 minutes, and delivered headlines by calling for an independent Kurdistan, but there was nary a word about how Israel could draw closer to implementing the two-state solution he himself has in the past endorsed as a key policy point.

Declaring that “the forces of fanatical Islam” — in the form of Sunni ISIL militants in Iraq and Syria, as well as Iran — “are already knocking on our door,” the prime minister called for the construction of “a security fence on our eastern border, and to build it gradually all the way from Eilat to merge with the security fence that we’ve been building over the last two years in the Syrian Golan Heights.” [The Golan is still part of Syria’s sovereign territory and remains outside the territorial boundary of Israel; Israel’s attempt to unilaterally annex its neighbour’s territory is blatantly unlawful and was rejected as such by both the UN and all nations of the world, per their duties according to the Montevideo Convention, Article 11 -ed]

Such a plan implicitly suggests that the Jordan River would become Israel’s eastern border, and it leaves little room for an independent Palestine, a senior Israeli official acknowledged in a private conversation. Whether intended or not, erecting a border fence always signals a state’s intention to draw a final border, the official said. [A state cannot exist without a defined territory” per the Montevideo Convention, Article 1 b. Israel likes to pretend it has no fixed borders but obviously it must, or no state could recognize it and it would not and could not be considered an actual state. It’s territorial borders remain those claimed and recognized in 1948, and no more. -ed] It certainly won’t bring Israel closer to a negotiated two-state solution, since the Palestinians have insisted that even if short-term security arrangements keep the Jordan Valley out of their hands for a limited time, they eventually expect to be granted control of the border with Jordan.

During his speech Sunday, Netanyahu interpreted his seminal first Bar Ilan speech, in which he agreed, in principle, to a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognized Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. (He gave a second Bar Ilan speech last October.)

‘Netanyahu does not believe in the creation of a Palestinian state under the current circumstances’

“What does ‘demilitarized’ mean?” he asked Sunday. Answering his own question, he said that “in light of what’s happening in our surroundings,” only Israel can be responsible for security in the entire West Bank, to make sure terrorism is intercepted at the Jordan River and not on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. “It must be clear that in every future agreement with the Palestinians, Israel will need to retain military control in the territory up to the Jordan River for a very long time.”

Israeli right wingers who read between the lines found reason to rejoice over the prime minister’s words.

Jewish arch-settler colonist Dani Dayan
Jewish arch-settler colonist Yesha Council Chief Foreign Envoy Dani Dayan. © Hadas Parush/Flash 90

“Two of Netanyahu’s assertions yesterday, when combined, are very significant,” said Dani Dayan, the chief foreign envoy of the settler colonist movement’s Yesha Council who has voiced support for the annexation of the West Bank. First, when speaking about the need for a fence, the prime minister referred to the Jordan River as Israel’s “eastern border.” Second, Dayan pointed out, Netanyahu claimed that only the Israeli army can provide security in the West Bank, and that only Israel’s presence there prevents the Palestinian Authority from collapsing.

“The two combined,” Dayan asserted, “show Netanyahu does not believe the creation of a Palestinian state is possible under the current circumstances, falling just a few steps short of retracting his Bar Ilan speech.”

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