[Published 11 November 2015]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House this week has confirmed President Obama’s assessment that the much vaunted two-state solution proposed by Obama’s predecessor President George W. Bush on 30 April 2003 (the Roadmap) will not happen whilst Obama is President — or indeed ever.
Obama’s conclusion was announced by White House Middle East Adviser Rob Malley ahead of Netanyahu’s arrival at the White House after an absence of thirteen months.
“The president has reached the conclusion that right now - barring a major shift - the parties are not going to be in a position to negotiate a final status agreement,”
The major shift required — recognition of Israel as the Jewish State - is a pure pipedream.
Speaking the language of diplomatic doublespeak — Netanyahu told Obama that Israel’s negotiating position was immutable:
” I want to make it clear that we have not given up our hope for peace. We’ll never give up the hope for peace. And I remain committed to a vision of peace of two states for two peoples, a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state.“
Israel had flagged demilitarization and Jewish statehood as non-negotiable positions it required for concluding successful negotiations with the Palestinian Authority when Israel listed its 14 Reservations to the Roadmap’s terms twelve years ago.
Israel only agreed to open negotiations under the Roadmap after Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice gave the following assurances from the White House on 23 May 2003:
“The roadmap was presented to the Government of Israel with a request from the President that it respond with contributions to this document to advance true peace. The United States Government received a response from the Government of Israel, explaining its significant concerns about the roadmap. The United States shares the view of the Government of Israel that these are real concerns and will address them fully and seriously in the implementation of the roadmap to fulfil the President’s vision of June 24, 2002.”
America has never wavered from supporting Israel’s position that the Palestinian Authority - itself disbanded on 3 January 2013 — recognize Israel as the Jewish State.
President Bush declared on 14 April 2004:
“The United States is strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish state.”
Bush’s commitment was subsequently approved by an overwhelming majority of Congress in June 2004.
Obama reaffirmed America’s support on 19 May 2011:
“What America and the international community can do is to state frankly what everyone knows — a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.”
Hamas and the PLO reject Israel’s long-held non-negotiable position on recognition.
PLO head Mahmoud Abbas declared on 11 January 2014:
“We won’t recognize and accept the Jewishness of Israel. We have many excuses and reasons that prevent us from doing…”
Two such reasons are:
1. The PLO Covenant—Article 20:These two provisions — oozing unadulterated Jew-hatred — represent a permanent roadblock to ever concluding negotiations with the PLO under the Roadmap.
“Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood.”
2. The Hamas Charter- Article 11:
“Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day.”
Negotiations between partners-in-peace Israel and Jordan on the allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank still remains the key to ending the 100 years old Jewish-Arab conflict.