I maintain that regardless of the political, strategic, demographic, and regional vicissitudes, the two-state option remains the only viably sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the one-state solution is simply a non-starter. I also maintain that successive Israeli governments, irrespective of their political leanings, perpetuated the occupation. They created what is effectively an apartheid state in the West Bank by applying different laws, different roads to travel, and a different security apparatus, all designed to suppress the Palestinians.
The Israeli public is wrapped up with the illusion that the status quo can be maintained for another 50 years, or even indefinitely. The public has become complacent to the point where the conflict with the Palestinians is no longer an issue that warrants any special attention.
Right-wing Israeli governments in particular have portrayed the Palestinians as the perpetual enemy committed to the destruction of the country, and there is not much that can be done other than to keep them at bay by force.
Netanyahu changes his narrative to suit the political moment, but he cannot change the facts on the ground. The harsh policies Israel is applying to the occupied territories designed to force the Palestinians to give up in despair and leave has failed. In the process, Israel precipitated the rise of a new generation of Palestinian extremists who not only outnumber those who have left by far, but, unlike their elders, are determined to resist the occupation at all costs.
All the talks about the creation of a confederation between the Palestinians, Jordan, and potentially Israel will go absolutely nowhere. The Palestinians must have their own state first, and join such a confederation as an equal and independent partner if and when they desire.
More than any other administration, Trump’s has enabled Netanyahu to act as he pleases against the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank with impunity. Trump is providing Netanyahu with the political support that allows him to maintain his addiction to the occupation.
Given that only the US can persuade, pressure, or coerce Israel to agree to a two-state solution, the US must bear the moral responsibility to act to save Israel from the slippery slope that endangers its very survival while pushing the Palestinians to a point of no return. A wake-up call is overdue for both Israel and the US.
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies. Online at www.alonben-meir.com.