Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Twilight Zone

The next time you hear any pious chatter about a two-state solution from the usual suspects consider this:

"Under current circumstances, advancing down the road of a virtual Palestinian state may actually end up benefitting Israeli policies. It suits Israelis to have a Palestinian Authority able to effectively manage (and international community willing to pay for) the occupation on its behalf. But most of all, obtaining purely symbolic acknowledgments of Palestinian statehood aspirations keeps alive the idea of a two-state solution without actually bringing it closer to fruition, thereby helping reinforce a reality that is beneficial to Israel. Israel's silent annexation of large swathes of Palestinian territory can only be sustained so long as the vision of two states remains alive. Maintaining even a wafer thin belief in such an outcome (based on a non-peace process) is a holding strategy that allows Israel to deflect the bulk of international pressure even as it prolongs and deepens a largely cost-free occupation. This legal 'twilight zone' between temporary occupation and full-blown annexation allows Israel to control those parts of the West Bank on which the bulk of Israeli settlers are located, without having to shoulder any financial, legal or moral responsibilities. Removing this illusion would reveal the current one-state reality that already exists. Namely, a system that has created two distinct legal regimes for those living under Israeli jurisdiction in the occupied territories and effectively disenfranchises millions of non-Jewish residents from having a say in a government that is the ultimate arbiter of their fate." (Excerpt from The Ramallah paradox, Hugh Lovatt,, 26/1/16)

Hugh Lovatt is the Israel/Palestine Project Coordinator for the Middle East & North Africa Programme of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

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