Friday, May 29, 2009

Obama 'confident' on two-state solution.

Obama has expressed his confidence that Israel will recognise the need for a two state solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict.

US President Barack Obama says he is confident that Israel will recognise that a two-state solution is in the best interests of its security.

Speaking after White House talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Mr Obama again urged Israel to freeze settlement expansion.

Israel has insisted it will allow existing settlements to expand, despite pressure from Washington.

President Obama also said Palestinians must rein in anti-Israeli violence.

For his part, Mr Abbas said he was committed to all obligations under the Mid-East peace plan "roadmap".

However, without a halt to Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinians have said there can be no progress towards peace.

Mr Obama said he was a "strong believer in a two-state solution" and believed Israel would recognise that it was in the best interests of its long-term security.

He said it was important for all countries, but particularly Arab states, to be supportive of the two-state solution.

"I am confident that we can move this forward if all parties are ready to meet their obligations," he said.

Obama is, of course, speaking perfect sense. The two state solution is the only sensible solution in the table, but I am not confident that an Israel led by Netanyahu will embrace such a solution, even though to do so is so blatantly in Israel's interest.

The Likud party have long ago convinced themselves that the West Bank and Gaza actually belong to Israel without thinking rationally about the consequences if that were to be the case.

Let's assume that Israel does take control of the West Bank and Gaza as Likud secretly believe they should. What happens next?

There are only three choices and none of them are good ones for Israel.

1. She ethnically cleanses the area of Palestinians.

2. She maintains the pseudo Apartheid status which exists at the moment where she controls the lives of millions of people whilst giving them no meaningful say over their own future.

3. She allows the Arab population a vote and, because of the increased Arab demographic, Israel ceases to exist.

I honestly can't think of a fourth option. But it doesn't follow, as Obama is stating, that the lack of a viable option will cause Netanyahu to see sense. The Likud party have, for decades now, been acting as if they can take the West Bank and Gaza as their gift from God and that the Palestinians will somehow melt away. Perhaps they will simply move en masse to Jordan and alleviate Israel of this problem, as many Likud members believe they should.

It's never going to happen. And Obama is 100% correct when he says that the two state solution is the only solution on the table. I just question his belief that Likud members like Netanyahu will ever see the sense of what he is saying. I long ago stopped believing that sense had anything to do with what was motivating these people.

They believe God gave this land to them, and, I suppose, they think God will work out the final details in their favour.

It's an utterly insane stance which takes no account of the starkness of the choices available to them even if they manage to take over all of the Occupied Territories.

That's why Netanyahu has ignored Obama's demand for an end to settlement building in the West Bank and continued arguing for "natural growth". This is simply what Likud does. It expands with no idea at all what happens even if they manage to take over the whole of Palestine.

So, Obama is completely correct when he states that a two state solution is the only sensible one left, where I disagree is when he states "confidently" that Israel - led by Netanyahu - will see the sense of what he is saying.

The Likud party left "sense" behind a long, long time ago.

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