Meeting between Netanyahu and Kerry, April 2013. Photo: Avi Ohion, GPO
Why Kerry Was Wrong on the Two-State Timeframe
Avner Inbar reminds American Secretary of State John Kerry that we shouldn't take the settlements as an irreversible fact
In an appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on April 17, John Kerry became the first US official to put an expiration date on the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kerry stated not only that the window for two states is closing, but also, notably, that the timeframe is shockingly short: "a year, year and a half to two years or it's over." Failing to mention what is expected when this two-year window lapses, Kerry's words remain cryptic. But they echo a widely shared sentiment among world leaders, diplomats, and pundits, from Ban Ki-moon to Thomas Friedman. Arguably, though, it is an attitude that plays into the hands of the adversaries of the principle of "two states for two peoples" which President Obama reaffirmed in his rousing speech in Jerusalem. It is, moreover, false.
If Kerry genuinely believes in the imminent demise of the two-state option, he must envisage dramatic geopolitical changes in the near future. Otherwise, what might render a hitherto feasible arrangement defunct? While certain political, demographic, and regional developments may tip the scales against partition, most observers pin the end of the two-state solution on the ever-expanding Israeli settlements. It is becoming increasingly common to identify a looming red line beyond which the number of settlers or the extent of settlements will render an Israeli pullout obsolete.
To read the rest of Inbar's piece at The Atlantic