Following the Middle East Quartet’s statement in 2016 which effectively rendered the two-state compromise obsolete, the international community, including representatives of the Quartet, have failed to come up with other strategies. International diplomacy has been based on extending the farce of allegedly working towards the impossible.
There are other narratives contributing to this illusion. On one hand, the Palestinian Authority has repeatedly urged the implementation of the two-state paradigm, bringing the leadership in line with international aims and, simultaneously, at odds with Palestinian aspirations. Meanwhile, Israel has become more adamant about refusing to allow the two-state scenario.
Within the space of a few days, Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis, as well as Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, have affirmed their refusal to consider two states. As quoted in Israel National News, Akunis pointed out: “I said during the Obama and Kerry era that there would be no two-state solution and I would create public opinion in Israel, the US and Europe.” He described advocates of two states as seeking to “destroy Israel’s existence” through “the establishment of a Palestinian terror state.”
In an interview with the BBC, Barkat rejected the idea of two states and proposed a system in which Palestinians would be granted partial autonomy, while Israel would be “firmly in charge of security and defence.” Israel, he added is “the only democracy – the real democracy in the Middle East.”
One part of this equation is constantly omitted. Whether the international community, Israel and the PA speak of one or two states, the end result is still a system of oppression for the Palestinians. This is because the only narrative and outcome being given serious consideration is the survival of Israel as a colonial entity. Currently, there is a discrepancy where the two-state compromise is still being discussed by the international community, with the PA as the only means to a solution, while Israel is openly refuting this to create more prospects for colonial expansion.
It is ironic that while Israel is increasing its opposition to any possibility of two states, the Palestinian leadership is failing in this regard. The PA’s persistent invoking of negotiations in order to create a fragmented state upon territory lacking contiguity is obstructing the emergence of growing Palestinian demands for a decolonised state. Hence, the prevailing one state narrative is that of “Greater Israel”, while the PA pits itself firmly against the people’s demands for decolonisation. It is also fuelling a situation whereby countries that are supportive of Palestine have no diplomatic option other than to support strategies that can only contribute to the elimination of what remains of Palestinian land. This also gives rise to international diplomatic support for Palestine being attuned only to the PA in terms of international demands, while the people remain neglected.
Hence, if the two-state compromise is eventually abandoned completely, the only narratives that the international community will consider will be those coming from Israel. Then, just as the current purported solution is designed to give Israel as much time as possible to implement its expansion, any future different paradigm will merely legitimise the additional violations that Israel commits in its quest to colonise the entire territory that was once historic Palestine.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.