Israel/Palestine: The Politics of a Two-State Solution

  • Israel/Palestine and the Politics of a Two-State Solution
  • When Peace Fails: Lessons from Belfast for the Middle East

Monday, September 26, 2011

Palestinian Statehood Is About Domestic Politics

There are three key players in the issue of Palestinian statehood: Mahmoud Abbas, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Barack Obama. All three made speeches at the UN ostensibly designed to convince and justify their actions before an international audience. But all three speeches were really aimed at domestic audiences. Abbas was presenting the Palestinian narrative and demonstrating that he can stand up to the Zionists and their American backers. Netanyahu was showing his coalition that he was not making any concessions to the Palestinians and that the lack of a solution was their fault. Obama, by adopting for the first time the Israeli narrative, was protecting himself in the 2012 general election from the charge that he was pro-Palestinian and soft on the enemies of the Jewish state. Here is a column by Jewish blogger M J Rosenburg on Obama's motives and the likely results of his speech. And here is a column by Thomas Friedman basically echoing my observation and pointing out its dangers.

Abbas was trying to defend himself from attacks by Hamas, while going around the Likud government in Israel that plays lip service to a two-state solution while opposing it with all of its might. Abbas mentioned the connections of Jesus and Mohammad to Palestine, but failed to mention Moses, Abraham or any other Jews.  Netanyahu through his pro-settlement policies was pushing the Palestinians to go for statehood before all of their territory is swallowed up by religious Zionists and right-wing settlers. And Obama was demonstrating again that his political bank account is empty--he withdrew everything to pay for the health care bill and the stimulus packages.

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