The Two-State Delusion?

Feb. 14 2017

Conventional wisdom—whether in Riyadh or Washington, Brussels or Jerusalem—insists that the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel (or, more precisely, on both sides of it) is the one tenable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Therefore, writes Joel Fishman, it’s worth noting that the PLO’s leaders came to the idea not as a goal, but as a ruse—inspired by North Vietnam:

During the Vietnam war, the North Vietnamese originally employed the “two-state” formula in order to hide their strategic goals. They thus presented themselves as fighting for the North’s independence alone and concealed their aspiration to rule over South Vietnam as well. They adopted a strategy of phases which, by devoting attention to the intermediate stages of their struggle, would enable them to reach their goal by gradual steps. Their real intention was that North Vietnam would conquer South Vietnam, but they spoke of the “two-state solution,” a tactic whose purpose was to disguise their aims and manipulate world public opinion. . . .

In the early 1970s Salah Khalaf—one of the founders of the Black September [terrorist group], led a PLO delegation to Hanoi to learn from the North Vietnamese. There, they met the legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap and political advisers who coached them on how to present their case before the international community, and how to cease to be perceived as terrorists. . . . Khalaf recounted [in his memoir] that the North Vietnamese advised the Palestinians to devote attention to the intermediate stages of their war and to accept the need for “provisional sacrifices.” . ..

We live in a high-technology culture of sound bites and text messages, of quick and simple communication, of one-line messages, and such habits discourage the public from the careful study of past experience. In order to understand what is wrong here, we must remember the history of the slogan “two-state solution,” which was designed from the start to be a swindle. It began as a tool of political warfare, and its purpose never changed.

Read more at Mida

More about: Israel & Zionism, PLO, Two-State Solution, Vietnam War

How the White House Can Bring Mahmoud Abbas to the Negotiating Table

April 28 2017

Next month, the Palestinian Authority president is expected to arrive in Washington to meet with President Trump, perhaps as a prelude to a summit between Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu under American auspices. A Palestinian delegation is currently in the U.S. to conduct preliminary meetings with administration officials. Eran Lerman discusses what can be accomplished:

The most important aspect [in the present discussions] may remain unspoken. It can be defined as “strategic reassurance”: the realization that after years of uncertainty under Barack Obama, the American administration . . . is once again committed without reservation to its friends in the region, the so-called “camp of stability.”

President Obama’s abandonment of [the former Egyptian president], Hosni Mubarak, regardless of the merits of the case, was catastrophic in terms of the loss of any residual political courage on Abbas’s part. Obama was sympathetic to the Palestinians’ cause, but his policies generated an acute level of uncertainty for the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, laced with what seemed like a measure of support on Obama’s part for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere. This was not an environment in which to take fateful decisions.

The Trump team seems to be working to restore confidence and reconstruct [alliances with] both Israel and the pro-Western Arab states. In this new environment, it could be safer for Abbas to take measured risks and enter into an open-ended negotiation with Netanyahu. The effort may still fall apart, if only because the Palestinians have fallen into the habit of posing preconditions. But there seems to be a better chance of drawing them in when they feel that their traditional patrons in the Arab world, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are once again basking in the sunshine of American strategic support. . . .

At least in theory, it should therefore be easier now for . . . the White House to persuade Abbas to accept a point of entry into negotiations that stays within the two-state paradigm but is no longer predicated on strict adherence to the June 4, 1967 lines.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Donald Trump, Hosni Mubarak, Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Peace Process, U.S. Foreign policy