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Black or white?
Feb 16,2017 - Last updated at Feb 16,2017
US President Donald Trump’s administration seems to be indifferent to the idea of two states with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, suggesting that it is not the indispensable solution, a change of position UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres rejects, warning that there was “no alternative” to a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel.
“There is no alternative solution for the situation between the Palestinians and Israelis, other than the solution of establishing two states and we should do all that can be done to maintain it,” said the UN head.
Trump seems less sure or decisive.
“I’m looking at two states and one state, and I like the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” he said Wednesday during a joint press conference with visiting Israeli premier, Benjamin Netanyahu.
This non-committal change in the longstanding American commitment — at least claimed commitment — to the two-state solution is not helpful, particularly because it does not come accompanied by some alternative solution, and is raising concern in the international community, including, of course the Arab and Muslim worlds.
A day before Trump’s declaration, a senior White House official suggested that peace between Israelis and Palestinians does not necessarily have to entail statehood for the Palestinians who, as a result, warned Trump that a change of position on the issue would damage the US’ credibility.
All those who recklessly dismiss the two-state solution should at least come up with “alternatives” that are viable and sustainable.
That is clearly not the case.
The choice for Israel is simple: either two states living side by side in peace and harmony or one country in which Israelis and Palestinians would have to be governed democratically.
If, as Netanyahu hinted, Israel would settle for two systems for two peoples, that would be blatant apartheid.
A real democratic state, on the other hand, cannot have the Jewish character Israel seeks — an idea Trump parroted, making is a precondition for any peace “deal” — and on which it does not seem to want to compromise.
The one-state solution would, therefore, be a prescription for perpetual conflict between the two different peoples and religions, an outcome no one in his right mind would want to see happen.
Israel’s choice.
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