The US kicks the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal into the long grass

First published by the Middle East Eye on 30/8/2017

Just days after a US delegation visit to Israel and Palestine, Netanyahu declares that Israel will no longer uproot settlements. Any dreams of peace anytime soon are a long way off

 

Say what you want about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but he doesn’t mince his words.

“We are here to stay, forever,” he said earlier this week during an event in the settlement of Barkan, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

“There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel. It has been proven that it does not help peace. We’ve uprooted settlements. What did we get? We received missiles. It will not happen anymore.”

Coming just days after the visit of US President Donald Trump’s “peace team” to the region, led by his senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the timing of Netanyahu’s comments are highly significant.

The readout from the US team’s meetings with Abbas and Netanyahu was largely devoid of content. However, as brief as it was, it confirmed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ warnings that Trump’s peace process plans – and perhaps his White House overall – are in turmoil.

“I have met with Trump envoys about 20 times since the beginning of his term as president of the United States,” Abbas reportedly told delegates from the Israeli political party Meretz during a recent visit.

“Every time they repeatedly stressed to me how much they believe and are committed to a two-state solution and a halt to construction in the settlements. I have pleaded with them to say the same thing to Netanyahu, but they refrained. They said they would consider it but then they didn’t get back to me,” Abbas said, according to the delegates’ notes.

“I can’t understand how they are conducting themselves with us … Inside [Trump’s] country, there is chaos in the administration.”

The administration may indeed be in chaos, but whether intentionally or out of incompetence, it has kicked the peace process into the long grass and emboldened the Israelis in the process.

A peace plan mystery

Kushner and the rest of the Trump team’s recent visit to the Holy Land was preceded by a whistlestop tour of key Arab countries. It is important to note that no substantive messages emerged about Trump’s proposed peace plan.

The US embassy rstatement from the 23 August meeting between the Americans and Jordan’s King Abdullah II omitted any reference to discussions about the much vaunted two-state solution.

However, quoting a statement from the Royal Court, Jordanian media reported that “talks focused on efforts to push forward the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and relaunch serious and effective negotiations between the two sides based on the two-state solution, which is the only way to end the conflict”.

A subsequent report in Al-Hayat newspaper, attributed to a PA source, said that Trump’s team had indicated that a settlement freeze could not be a precondition for resumed peace talks and that building would continue.

However, a senior White House official told the Times of Israel that Al-Hayat’s report was “nonsense” and said that the comments were never made.

In their meeting with the Palestinians, the visiting delegation reportedly asked for a three to four month grace period to present their ideas. A former Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath also said that the Palestinians told the Americans that its demands are “the end of the occupation, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as the resolution of all permanent status issues, including the right of return for [Palestinian] refugees.”

These demands are the longstanding position of the Palestinians and have not shifted at all.

No room in ‘Netanyahu land’

While the Palestinian position remains consistent, Netanyahu, perhaps feeling emboldened more than ever, continues to harden Israel’s position.

When he promised during the 2015 elections that there would be no Palestinian state under his watch, those seeking to shield Israel from criticism claimed it was just electioneering.

However, this week, Netanyahu went further when he said there would be “no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel”. Netanyahu is not talking about two states with land swaps. He is not talking about “keeping the settlement blocks” along the Green Line. He is talking about all settlements. This has nothing to do with electioneering but rather his long-held beliefs.

There is no room in Netanyahu land for a Palestinian state.

In fact, in June, Israel recently laid the foundations for a new settlement. “After decades, I have the honour to be the first prime minister to build a settlement in Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu said at the time, referring to the occupied West Bank with its biblical name.

Netanyahu sees the land of historic Palestine from the river Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea as Israel. There is no room in “Netanyahu land” for a Palestinian state.

Increasingly emboldened by the lack of pressure from the international community to move seriously towards peace or face sanctions, Netanyahu is moving the debate from the real issue – how to end a 50-year long occupation – to Israel’s security needs.

He told UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on his first visit to the Holy Land this week that Israel’s “most pressing problem” is Hezbollah and Syria, claiming that the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) had smuggled weapons into Lebanon for Hezbollah.

“I will do everything in my capacity to make sure that UNIFIL fully meets its mandate,” Guterres responded, adding that the “idea, intention or will to destroy the state of Israel is something totally unacceptable from my perspective.”

Netanyahu also called upon Gutteres to “end the discrimination against Israel in some branches of your organisation”, an accusation shared by the US administration and frequently raised by US Ambassador to the UN Nicky Hayley who has promised to end it several times.

On Wednesday, two days after his meeting with Netanyahu, Gutteres called for Israel’s blockade against Gaza to end. It seems their meeting may not have gone as well as the Israeli president thought.

Sign of things to come

While it is dangerous to predict the future, I will take this risk today. As Netanyahu and Abbas prepare to address the UN General Assembly in September, we can read the signs from this week to guess what they will say.

Abbas will plead with the UN to bring decades of Palestinian of suffering to an end, halt illegal settlements and help protect the (non-existent) two-state solution. He is likely to be armed with a recent petition signed by thousands of Palestinian pupils calling on Gutteres and all defenders of human rights to intervene to protect them from Israel’s daily violations which Palestinians have endured for 50 years.

Abbas may ask for the UN to recognise the state of Palestine and may also indicate that if the peace process fails, he will be left with no options but to head to the International Criminal Court.

Netanyahu, on the other hand, may focus on the unfair criticism of Israel, on the real issues as he sees them – which amount to Israel’s self-defined and elastic-security needs. He will talk about the threats from Iran in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the failure of the UNIFIL to do its job and the need to rearticulate its mandate.

On peace with the Palestinians, he will say that settlements are not an obstacle to peace and argue that neither the unilateral actions by Palestinians, nor the imposition of a solution will bring peace. The real obstacle to peace, he will claim, is the Palestinian refusal to recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

He will laud the growing “under the table” relations with key Arab countries which share his concerns about Iran, but he will still portray Israel as the victim, not the Palestinians.

It seems that the ultimate deal President Trump seeks is a long way off and, any peace initiative, when it comes, will be biased in Israel’s favour.

Israel will continue to colonise and the Palestinians will continue to suffer a lack of peace or hope for the current and the next generation, neither of which will bring Israel any security.

– Kamel Hawwash is a British-Palestinian engineering professor based at the University of Birmingham and a longstanding campaigner for justice, especially for the Palestinian people. He is vice chair of the British Palestinian Policy Council (BPPC) and a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).  He appears regularly in the media as commentator on Middle East issues. He runs a blog at www.kamelhawwash.com and tweets at @kamelhawwashHe writes here in a personal capacity.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Photo: US President Donald Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wave after delivering a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

Conference: Holding Palestine in the light

Lichfield is holding a conference entitled Holding Palestine in the Light 7-9 October.

This promises to be an excellent event and I am privileged to be contributing to it.

Details here

Israel’s dilemma: Jerusalem divided or united for peace?

Middle East Monitor published the article below on 16 November 2015

Israel’s dilemma: Jerusalem divided or united for peace?

  
Image from Middle East Monitor

Israel annexed East Jerusalem shortly after capturing it from Jordan in the Six Day War of 1967. For decades it has claimed that East and West Jerusalem are part of one entity. It has also claimed Jerusalem as its “eternal and undivided” capital, but no foreign state recognises it as such and all foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv, although a few countries have a consular presence in East Jerusalem, including the US and Britain. The consulates tend to deal with Palestinian issues.

The de facto Palestinian administrative capital is Ramallah, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority and the location of the embassies of countries that recognise Palestine as a state, even though occupied East Jerusalem is claimed by Palestinians to be the capital of a future independent Palestinian entity. The international community observes UN Security Council resolutions which designate East Jerusalem as illegally occupied territory.

Following the Oslo Accords, negotiations on the status of Jerusalem were postponed and included in what were termed “final status issues” along with borders and refugees. Recent Israeli governments have refused to discuss Jerusalem’s status as part of peace talks because of their claim that it is the united, eternal capital of Israel. In other words, there is nothing to negotiate.

However, there is much to negotiate on Jerusalem and other issues if there is ever to be peace in historic Palestine. Indeed, nobody but the most ardent of Zionists believes that Jerusalem is a united city.

Before the creation of Israel in 1948 Palestinians lived in all parts of Jerusalem, including what is now called West Jerusalem. Those who lived there were evicted forcibly from their homes and replaced by newly-arrived Jews who had no qualms about taking the properties of those made refugees. To this day one hears stories of Palestinians evicted in 1948 who have gone back to see the homes from which they were expelled as children and shedding a tear as they see ripe fruit on trees they remember sneaking out from their homes to pick. One of those recounting such a trip recently was British Palestinian academic and author Dr Ghada Karmi.

East Jerusalem was almost wholly home to Palestinians during the British mandate and even after the establishment of Israel in 1948, as was the Old City. Ever since its occupation in 1967, though, Israel has deliberately planted Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and Israelis have sought aggressively to take properties in the Old City either through claims that they belonged to Jews in the past, the Absentee Law or deception via rogue estate agents who have claimed publicly that houses were being sold to Palestinians, when in fact they would end up in Jewish hands.

In addition to illegal settlements within the Palestinian neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, Israel has encircled the city with huge illegal settlement blocs in order to cut it off from its West Bank hinterland, thus making it impossible for it to become a future capital of Palestine.

Rising tensions in the Occupied Territories have led to dozens of deaths and hundreds of clashes.
Israeli governments have also worked to control and reduce the Palestinian population of Jerusalem. The municipality regularly rejects planning requests for new buildings or extensions of existing homes to accommodate natural population growth. Other measures include the construction of the Apartheid Wall and the revocation of Jerusalem identity (or residence) cards of those Palestinians who were in East Jerusalem when it was occupied in 1967. It has placed neighbourhoods like Abu Dis, Alaizariya, Al-Ram and Qalandia on the West Bank side of the wall, despite the fact that the Palestinian inhabitants of these areas hold Jerusalem ID cards.

The cards give holders the chance to vote in the Jerusalem municipality elections but not in elections for the Knesset. Most Palestinians refuse to take part in these as they do not recognise Israel’s sovereignty there.

Israel’s contention that Jerusalem is a united city was challenged heavily on the ground in the recent unrest which followed its determined attempt to extend its control over Al-Aqsa Mosque. Palestinians feared that Israel was on the way to dividing it between Muslims and Jews as it did in Hebron following the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinians performing morning prayers inside the mosque by Israeli terrorist Baruch Goldstein.

Israel effectively sealed off Palestinian neighbourhoods in Jerusalem from the rest of the city. This included Al-Tur, Jabal Al-Mukabber, Al-Essawia, where they used concrete blocks and earth mounds leaving one exit for each neighbourhood through a military checkpoint.

A decision to install a “temporary wall” between the Jewish settlement of Armon Hanatziv and Palestinian homes in Jabal Al-Mukabber caused heated discussions amongst the political elite about the symbolism this conveyed. It was a clear sign that the city is not united but is, quite literally, divided. The Zionist Union Party claimed that, “Netanyahu officially divided Jerusalem today.” The wall was removed but the Israeli authorities claimed that they were only responding to human rights organisation protests.

As another attempt to revive the peace process will surely come about, Israel must accept the reality that one of the core issues – Jerusalem – presents it with a dilemma. If it continues to claim that Jerusalem is united and off the table for discussions, there is little chance of securing peace. Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority has said that there will be no peace if it is based on a two-state solution without East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. Note that he does not accept a capital in East Jerusalem, which Israel would interpret as an outlying neighbourhood like Bet Hanina.

In fact, Abbas does not want to divide the city but for it to be a shared capital. This is a far more reasonable position than that of Netanyahu, who is considering revoking over 100,000 Jerusalem ID cards from those whom Israeli governments have placed on the “wrong” side of the wall.

Jerusalem is an important city to so many millions of people, particularly the followers of the three monotheistic religions; would anyone really want to see it divided?

For the sake of peace, Israelis need get over their dilemma and accept that an agreement for an honestly shared capital of two states, coupled with an agreement to end the occupation to a set timeline, could be the catalyst for a renewed peace process which could lead to a final agreement. If the future of Jerusalem was agreed first, it would make the other final status issues much easier to solve.

The UK’s Major Political Parties Failed the Palestinian People and therefore the Israeli People

The UK bears a major historic responsibility for the predicamentd of the Palestinian People. Not only did it occupy historic Palestine between 1920 and 1948, it made the infamous Balfour Declaration in 1917. This promised Palestine to the Zionists without consultation with the Palestinians or even world wide Jewry.

But 67 years after British troops left Palestine and the Palestinians to face Zionist Jewish terror, where do the current major political parties stand on justice for the Palestinians? This is a particularly important question just after Israel’s appalling attack on Gaza which left over 2,000 Palestinians dead, over ten thousand injured and Palestinain homes and infrastructure devastated. It is estimated it will cost over $5 billion to rebuild Gaza but other estimates are as high as. $8 Billion.

Israel is suspected of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide in the 51-day attack on Gaza, which was launched on the for text of Hamas ordering the kidnapping and killing of three young Israeli settlers in the South of Hebron.

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The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted to set up an investigative committee into the potential war crimes. The UK was one of the nations that abstained on the vote together with other EU countries.

That was a bizarre decision. From the outset of the recent Attack on Gaza, the ruling coalition of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats said clearly that Israel was entitled to ‘self defence’ against the rockets fired from Gaza, although the Government failed to note that it was Israel that started the conflict when it started attacking Gaza, after three settlers were abducted in South Hebron. Also, just what borders is Israel entitled to defend?

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Nevertheless, as the extent of the death of civilians, especially children began to emerge, Britain tempered its support for Israel ever so slightly by saying it must operate within international Law and international humanitarian law. Ok, so Israel was ‘entitled to self defence’ as long as it was operating within the law but when a investigative committee was to be established to check that this was the case, Britain abstained. This was at best illogical but at worst encouraged Israel to commit further atrocities as it felt it could point to the abstentions and try to discredit the Committee as established by the ‘usual suspects’.

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As the death toll in Gaza mounted, calls were made by protestors for Britain to stop its arms trade with Israel. The claim was that Israel was either using or had the potential to use British supplied arms and components against the civilian population it occupies. This did create some tensions in the coalition and eventually the Liberal Democrats ‘won’ a concession to suspend twelve licenses if Israel returned to ‘substantial’ action in Gaza. This never materialised, even though Israel did attack Gaza after that announcement.

I recently read Labour Leader, Ed Miliband’s speech to Labour Friends of Israel, which he delivered in June of this year? It really is worth reading, if you want to handstand the extent of the influence of the pro-Israel Libby on the political elite in the UK. This was delivered before the Israeli onslaught first on the West Bank and the 51-days of El it heaped on Gaza.

This was a speech pandering to the lobby. It reminded me of many sickening speeches made by presidents and other senior Administration officials to AIPAC. A kind of annual report on what they have done for Israel in the previous year to ‘get the lobby off their back’ and to ensure continued funding.

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It is quite telling that Miliband did not use the word ‘occupation’ once or refer to Palestinian rights. He did not even say explicitly that the settlements are illegal. His remarks about his own personal links with Israel as a Jew with family there taken with his clear uncritical support for Israel do not augur well for actions to force Israel to comply with International Law.

Conservative Friends of Israel boast that 80% of Conservative MPs are members. You wonder who the other 20% are as they are hardly and stories critical of Israel or its policies.

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Home Secretary, Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP addressed this year’s reception of CFI in Parliament hitch the CFI website called “staunchly supportive of Israel” and asserting:

“”I – and the whole British Government – will always defend Israel’s right to defend itself.”

It is worth re-stating the threats faced by Israel because they are considerable. There are the familiar but deadly threats from Hamas and Hezbollah. The collapse of Syria that has spawned ISIS and threatens to destabilise Lebanon and Jordan. The instability of the wider region. And the threats issued to Israel by Iran. No democratic government could, in the face of such danger, do anything but maintain a strong defence and security capability and be prepared to deploy it if necessary. That is why I – and the whole British Government – will always defend Israel’s right to defend itself.[…]
When Israel faces the full range of threats I have just listed, when Israel faces enemies that are intent on its very destruction, when Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields for its rockets, when there are thousands of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank, it is easy to talk about a two-state solution but almost impossible to know how to move towards one.”

Remember this was after Israel’s terrorist attack on Gaza. Again just like Miliband’s speech to Labour Friends of Israel you could be excused for not realising that Israel occupies Palestine or the extent of carnage that Israel brought to Gaza.

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The Liberal Democrats would appear to have better policies on the conflict but are part of a coalition which changed Jurisdiction to allow suspected Israeli war criminals access to the UK without fear of arrest for their suspected war crimes.

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All in all, the UK’s major political parties have failed the Palestinian people and only a major shift away from allowing Israel impunity to sanctioning it will place them in the peace camp that will end the occupation and lease yo freedom for Palestinians.

On the 13th of October, back bench MPs gave secured a boring debate calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state. It would be logical for their to be unanimous support for it, based on everyone’s (as far as I know) claim a two state solution is the way to achieve peace.

Ar their forthcoming conferences, the message from delegates should be that they must vote in favour of this motion. There should then be a cross party move to declare that the UK recognises Palestine.

This would be the first step on the path the UK must take to correct the historic wrong which started with the 1917 disgraceful Balfour Declaration.

Nothing less than this will convince the British Public that marched on their hundreds of thousands in Kily and August that their Government is listening.

By failing the Palestinian people, I contend the British political parties are failing the Israeli people, for peace will only come to them, when justice comes to the Palestinians.

What next for Palestine? My prediction, with lots of health warnings

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Throughout the Israeli terrorist attack on Gaza, the question I have been asked repeatedly has been “What next for Palestine”? I have resisted committing to an answer or at least to expressing a view because it is a very complicated situation to understand, analyse and then gaze through a crystal ball and see beyond the here and now.

At the time of writing, over 2,100 Palestinians were murdered by Israel, over 10,000 injured, tens of thousands of homes destroyed and the infrastructure of Gaza has been almost reduced to rubble. On the Israeli side less than one hundred have been killed including only four civilians, some minor damage to infrastructure, air raid sirens have sounded regularly and flights in and out of Ben Gurion airport has been disrupted.

Both sides have claimed a victory of of sorts. It seems to me that if measured by death and destruction, Israel has one. However, if measured by resilience and disruption to everyday life, the Palestinain resistance has own hands down. As I said in a previous blog Netanyahu has looked and sounded less convincing both to his people and to the world. In contrast, Hamas in particular has sounded more believable and reliable in its media campaign.

I am not a military person and have no access to assessments of the military capabilities of the resistance groups but if Israel’s strategic objective was to halt the firing of rockets then it has failed. On day 50 of the attack, over one hundred rockets were fired, reaching as far north as Tel Aviv. The main success Israel can really claim I terms of degrading the capabilities of the resistance groups are a number of assassinations of key military leaders. However, history shows, military leaders are replaced seamlessly and the resistance groups were at the start of the attack stronger than ever.

I am naturally very sad that so many Palestinians have lost loved ones, so many are injured and so many have been displaced and in many cases have no homes to return to. I had hoped that the ceasefire, which held until the 18th of August could have morphed into. Permenant ceasefire, but Israel preferred to continue its terror campaign. It’s targeting of family homes is simply immoral and counterproductive. It simply raises hatred towards Israelis that will take a major effort over many years to subdue. How can child that has lost a mother, father and brothers and sisters and knows it was Israel that ‘did it’ forgive?

How long might the fighting go on for?

All the signs point to a continuation of the fighting. Although Egypt has invited the Palestinian and Israeli delegations back, there has not been a rush to Cairo. It seems the resistance and the people of Gaza -as far as I can detect- are united of wanting as a minimum a complete lifting of the siege and the Permenant opening of the Rafah crossing. Demands for reconstruction of the airport and seaport seem to have been out off for a future discussion. Israel wants the Gaza’disarmed’.

Pressure on Israel is mounting from settlers in the settlements nearest to Gaza, particularly as the new school year approaches. They have lost patience with Netanyahu’s leadership and Ya’lon’s empty promises for Permenant quiet. I would argue that the recent return of the Israeli negotiating team from Cairo, followed by the assassination of three senior Hamas leaders, led directly to the renewed firing of rockets that have impacted on their lives. Therefore Netanyahu is directly to blame for their predicament. They also saw senior politicians and military leaders cancel trips to their settlements for ‘security fears’ despite asking them to return.

I think however, that their pressure more than any other factor, could have the most significant impact on the situation. If anything is going to force Israel to return to the negotiating table, it is this pressure. I therefore call on the settlers to be even more vocal!

There seems to be less pressure from Palestinians on the resistance groups to concede on any of their demands for the complete lifting of the siege, despite the heavy human and economic cost.

If pushed then I would say that I expect the negotiating teams to return to Cairo in the middle of next week and for a renewed ceasefire to be agreed towards the end of the week. This would allow both Palestinain and Israeli children to return to school and it would become difficult for both sides to renew the fighting on e that pattern has been established.

I may have to eat my words!

what about the political situation?

Once the dust has settled, which is an unfortunate phrase in the context of Gaza, the Palestinains will have to decide what steps to take next to reach their goals of independence and freedom. PLO Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, gave an indication in a recent interview that because Israel does not want to see a Palestinain state based on the 1967 border, he will be putting forward and alternative within the next week or so. He would not elaborate but importantly thought the Americans would not like it. His Foreign Minister, Riyadh Almalki would not be drawn either on a different channel on what this proposal might entail.

Pressure is mounting on the Palestinain Authority to sign the Rome Statutes in order to start the process of bringing Israeli war criminals to justice for their war crimes. Abbas had asked all factions to agree before signing the request as they would need to weigh up the implications for them. I understand that all but Islamic Jihad have now agreed to this step and therefore we could soon see Abbas’s signature on the request to join the Rome statutes.

Once that step is taken, the doors of legal hell will open on Israeli leaders and rightly so. Even since Palestine was recognised as anon-member state of the UN, in 2012, Israel has committed sufficient war crimes through military attacks and settlement building to fill the ICC’s calendar for years. The ICC will be assisted by the UN Human Rights Council Investigative Committee into the current attack in Gaza, which will add volumes of evidence to war crimes.

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This of course will not pass without incident. The US and European allies of Israel will do everything in their power to dissuade the Palestinians from this step. They will use economic blackmail on the PA and Israel may simply lay a siege to the West Bank. It is already stopping many Palestinians from leaving via Jordan for their normal business and can strengthen birth internal barriers between cities and towns and stop all travel.

Palestinian Unity

Thought the current attack in Gaza Palestinians from all factions have insisted that the previous divisions that existed before the Government of National Agreement was announced are largely behind them. The Cairo negotiating team was made up of all the factions and this has held up well to pressure. This augurs well for the future, although there are still major hurdles to overcome, especially in terms of security arrangements and absorption of PA workers from both Fatah and Hamas into the Government of Gaza . I would even predict that Mahmoud Abbas himself will visit Gaza within three months.

Israel to face more isolation

Israel’s attack on Gaza this time has surpassed all its previous violent, callus attacks both on Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008/9. It’s reputation and standing in use World are in tatters. If it wasn’t for the strength of the pro-Israel Lobby in the US and parts of Europe, it would have been isolated and faced sanctions. But the level of disgust among ordinary citizens of these countries with its actions has reached a new high. Social media has provided them with accurate information about this terrorist campaign and Israel lost the PR war, despite its influence in traditional media.

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Rafah Commercial Centre

Israel will become rapidly more isolated and boycotts of its products both by Palestinians and the escalating international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement will have a growing economic and cultural impact. It is of course possible that Israeli society will simply choose to ignore this and carry on as if there is no problem. They are in what I described as a moral coma and do not seem to be waking up from it. But this will come.

Will the two state solution survive the 2014 Gaza war?

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In my view, the two-state solution, based on Israel leaving the occupied territories any time soon is dead. Most senior Israel leaders have told us as much but the PA and interestingly, the US and other supporters of Israel have refused to prepare its coffin. Does anyone think that Netanyahu, Bennett, Lieberman, Livni or Lapid really want it? No they do jot. They simply have different ways of articulating its death.

This leaves the Palestinians with no option but to call for equal rights for all that live in historic Palestine in one state. After all those that live in western style democracies should be calling for this as the fair democratic right of all human beings. They will of course make an exception here because they have been told by Israel that Israel is a state for Jews. But since they have failed to persuade Israel to leave the occupied territories, it say to them only come back and suggest a two-state solution when Israel says it accepts it and negotiates simply a schedule for leaving the illegal settlements, starting with Hebron and leaving East Jerusalem.

Peace or security?

Israel wants a ‘quiet occupation’ which guarantees security. It does not have that. Only yesterday (23/8/2014), it faced rockets from Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. It is time Israelis understood that security comes hand in hand with a just peace and not a moment before it.

Update 25/8/2014

Pressure will now mount on Netanyahu to end the attack on Gaza and bring quiet. Support for his violent campaign is plummeting. See below

Massive drop in support for Netanyahu — poll

In the Palestinian camp leaks suggest “Abbas to turn to international community with deadline for Israel”. The idea would be to require a deadline for the end of the occupation. If this failed then it is suggested he could dissolve the Palestinian Authority. The next step would I believe be yo ask for equal rights. Will Abbas ask for a vote for the Knesset?