What is happening is an Israeli attempt finally to bury the idea of a two-state solution with Palestine

Illegal West Bank settlements grow and grow

 

In deploring the latest Israeli attempt to consolidate its illegal West Bank settlements, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, on Wedbnesday echoed European concerns that what we are in effect seeing is an Israeli attempt finally to to bury the idea of a two-state solution.

“Ireland remains steadfast in its support for a comprehensive two-state solution,” he said, as Berlin also warned in an unusually blunt statement that its “trust in the Israeli government’s commitment to the two-state solution” had been “fundamentally shaken”.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced the indefinite postponement of the EU-Israel summit planned for February 28th.

The Knesset vote on Monday, 60-52, retroactively to legalise several thousand housing units in 16 settlements on 2,000 acres of Palestinian-owned land. It is seen by Palestinians as another step towards the ultimate annexation of much of the West Bank which rightwingers want as the alternative to any settlement with the Palestinians.

The measure has also been condemned by the US, and UN, and faces a constitutional challenge. Attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit, an independent legal adviser to the government, has told prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu that it is both unconstitutional and in violation of international law and that he is not prepared to defend it in court.

Israel’s right wing government has clearly been emboldened by the election of a benevolent Donald Trump whom Netanyahu meets for the first time next week. And, although Netanyahu, unlike some of his cabinet, has not formally repudiated the two-state formula which has near unanimous international support as a basis for peace, he has taken to talking about a “state-minus” formula.

What he means precisely is unclear to everyone, except inasmuch as it appears that he is ruling out an eventual equality between Israeli and Palestine states without which a deal is almost certainly impossible.

Meanwhile, the settlemt building and approvals continues apace, “facts on the ground” that will make any Palestinian territorial integrity impossible. The result, what Palestinian leader Mustafa Barghouti describes as the Middle East version of the apartheid-era South African “bantustans.”

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