Argument: Israeli settlements make a two-state solution impossible
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Sandy Tolan. "George Mitchell and the end of the two-state solution". Christian Science Monitor. February 4, 2009: because of Israel's unrelenting occupation and settlement project in the West Bank, the long-fought-for two-state solution has finally, tragically, become unworkable. Consider:
•In 1993, when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat famously shook hands on the White House lawn, there were 109,000 Israelis living in settlements across the West Bank (not including Jerusalem). Today there are 275,000, in more than 230 settlements and strategically placed "outposts" designed to cement a permanent Jewish presence on Palestinian land.
•The biggest Israeli settlement outside East Jerusalem, Ariel, is now home to nearly 20,000 settlers. Their home lies one third of the way inside the West Bank, yet the Israeli "security barrier" veers well inside the occupied territory to wrap Ariel in its embrace. The settlement's leaders proclaim confidently that they are "here to stay," and embark on frequent missions to seek new waves of American Jews to move to the settlement.
•A massive Israeli infrastructure to serve and protect the settlements – military posts, surveillance towers, and settlers-only "bypass roads" that allow Israelis easy access to prayer in Jerusalem or the seaside in Tel Aviv – has cut the West Bank into tiny pieces, fragmenting Palestinian life.
•To maintain separation between West Bank Arabs and West Bank Jews, Israel has erected more than 625 roadblocks, checkpoints, and other barriers – a 70 percent increase since 2005 in a land the size of Delaware, the second-smallest state. Israelis rarely encounter such obstacles, but Palestinians seeking to travel between villages and towns must seek permits, and even then, a short journey can take hours.
•Israel's "suburbs" in Arab East Jerusalem, home now to nearly 200,000 Jews, form a concrete ring, isolating the would-be Palestinian capital from the rest of the West Bank. It is therefore increasingly difficult to imagine how a Palestinian president would govern from a capital that is sealed off from the people of his nation.
These massive changes on the ground – the majority made since the initiation of the Oslo "peace process" – have, after 41 years, rendered the two-state solution all but impossible. Workaround "fixes"– land swaps, consolidated settlements, and networks of roads and bridges to funnel Palestinians under and around the Jewish West Bank presence – have become increasingly hard to imagine. The goal, after all, is a "viable, contiguous" Palestine, not one cut up by the visions of Israeli engineers in order to maintain an everlasting Jewish presence on Arab land.
Ghada Kharmi. "The future is one nation". Guardian. September 25, 2008: "The two-state approach in the Middle East has failed. There is a fairer, more durable solution ... The pace of Israeli colonisation, unimpeded since 1967, redoubled after the Oslo accords, demonstrating Israel's aversion to a two-state solution. By 2007, the West Bank Jewish settler population had reached 282,000. In East Jerusalem, it rose to 200,000, massively Judaising the city and precluding it as a Palestinian capital. Today the West Bank is a jigsaw of settlements, bypass roads and barriers, making an independent state impossib le. Gaza is a besieged enclave. In 2006 the UN special rapporteur in the Palestinian territories concluded that "a two-state solution is unattainable". Avraham Burg, former Knesset speaker, told the Israeli daily Haaretz in June that "time was running out for the two-state solution"."
Mohammed Khaku. "The Case for One-State Solution for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict". Cross Cultural Understanding. May 21, 2008: "Palestinians and Israelis would-be in a unified state, relying on historic precedents like South Africa and Northern Ireland. Israel has just completed its three decade campaign to create irreversible "facts on the ground," the road map to two-state solution has failed and Israel has entered in the last phase incorporating the West Bank and Gaza into Israeli proper, of transforming a temporary occupation into a permanent state of apartheid.
The Israeli illegal settlement blocs and the Land-Grab, Apartheid Wall are so extensive that made Palestinians living in an open. Given the unwillingness of the international community to force Israel's withdrawal from the Occupied Territories and in particular the American Congress's refusal to countenance any meaningful pressure on Israel, we may say that Israel has become the world's next Apartheid state. The only solution for the Palestinians is the creation of a single state in Palestine-Israel. Since the Palestinian and Israeli populations are so intermingled and a million Palestinians live throughout Israel the feasibility of a bi-national state, with the two peoples living in a kind of federation, seems workable. Given this "reality" on the ground, the most practical solution seems to be a united democratic state offering equal citizenship for all: One Person, One Vote."
In October 2005, Nusseibeh, then president of al-Quds University in Jerusalem, said: "For two decades, all of us who gathered here were the leading proponents of the establishment of a Palestinian state to exist alongside Israel, the so-called two-state solution. But continued expansion of Jewish settlements has rendered the notion of an independent Palestinian homeland in the West Bank and Gaza unworkable, and the one-state solution looks more realistic."
Saree Makdisi. "Forget the two-state solution". Los Angeles. May 11, 2008: "There is no longer a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Forget the endless arguments about who offered what and who spurned whom and whether the Oslo peace process died when Yasser Arafat walked away from the bargaining table or whether it was Ariel Sharon's stroll through the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem that did it in.
All that matters are the facts on the ground, of which the most important is that -- after four decades of intensive Jewish settlement in the Palestinian territories it occupied during the 1967 war -- Israel has irreversibly cemented its grip on the land on which a Palestinian state might have been created.
[...]A report published last summer by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs found that almost 40% of the West Bank is now taken up by Israeli infrastructure -- roads, settlements, military bases and so on -- largely off-limits to Palestinians. Israel has methodically broken the remainder of the territory into dozens of enclaves separated from each other and the outside world by zones that it alone controls (including, at last count, 612 checkpoints and roadblocks).
Moreover, according to the report, the Jewish settler population in the occupied territories, already approaching half a million, not only continues to grow but is growing at a rate three times greater than the rate of Israel's population increase. If the current rate continues, the settler population will double to almost 1 million people in just 12 years. Many are heavily armed and ideologically driven, unlikely to walk away voluntarily from the land they have declared to be their God-given home.
These facts alone render the status of the peace process academic.
At no time since the negotiations began in the early 1990s has Israel significantly suspended the settlement process in the occupied Palestinian territories, in stark violation of international law. It preceded last November's Annapolis summit by announcing the fresh expropriation of Palestinian property in the West Bank; it followed the summit by announcing the expansion of its Har Homa settlement by an additional 307 housing units; and it has announced plans for hundreds more in other settlements since then."