By Greg Slabodkin
Prospects for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict have never been dimmer than under the Trump administration. Since 1967, every U.S. president except Donald Trump has endorsed the “exchange of land for peace” formula laid out in U.N. Resolution 242.
Passed in November 1967 by the U.N. Security Council, the resolution is the only way to create a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
“Resolution 242, which has been enshrined in international law for 50 years, provides for the withdrawal of Israel from territory it occupied in 1967 in return for peace with its neighbors and secure and recognized borders,” said former Secretary of State John Kerry. “It has long been accepted by both sides and it remains the basis for an agreement today.”
Palestinians have rightfully complained about the White House’s break with long-standing U.S. policy. However, Trump refuses to endorse the two-state solution, severely damaging any chance for peace.
Nonetheless, negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians must be predicated on U.N. Resolution 242. Israel will only achieve security by giving the Palestinian people their freedom, and the Palestinian people will only gain freedom if Israel is able to achieve security.
Without such a peace based on a two-state solution, Israel will inevitably become an apartheid state in which Palestinians are effectively held in bantustans similar to the plight that blacks suffered in South Africa during much of the 20th century.
“As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel, it is going to be either non-Jewish or non-democratic,” observed former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. “If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”
For half a century, Israel has denied Palestinians their human rights, land rights, water rights and their right to self-determination.
Israeli rule over 2.7 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and the continued construction of illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian land is antithetical to peace.
Settlements are not only a threat to the territorial integrity of a future Palestinian state, but also threaten the dream of a democratic Jewish state, which is incompatible with permanent Israeli occupation.
“Israel is building more and more settlements, displacing Palestinians and entrenching its occupation of Palestinian lands,” warned former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. “This process is hastening a one-state reality that could destroy Israeli democracy and will result in intensifying international condemnation of Israel.”
Time is not on Israel’s side. God forbid the Israeli occupation of Palestine continues for another fifty years. That would be an unmitigated disaster for both Israelis and Palestinians.
Greg Slabodkin, of Niagara Falls, is a former opposition researcher for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C.