Bark vs. Bark: Unilateralism, One State Solution and Time

Aug 29, 2007 Published under Middle East, OneVoice Movement, PeaceWorks Foundation

Palestinian negotiators invoke the fact that the window of opportunity for a two-state solution is closing and will soon be replaced by the call for a “One State Solution” in order to incite fear among Israelis and push them to the negotiating table.  But this negative tactic is unwise, both because a “One State Solution” is akin to a state of war, because Israelis will never accept it, and because it causes bad will among the Israeli public.

Israelis use the path of unilateralism as a means to redress the perception that time is not on Israel’s side and that Palestinians should thus not be in a hurry to negotiate.  By being willing to unilaterally extricate themselves from the Palestinian lands and impose a solution, Israelis hope that Palestinian negotiators recognize they will not be able to use time against Israelis, and that they will get less if they don’t come to the negotiating table with a pragmatic approach.  But this strategy, too, is unrealistic, because there will not be a bilaterally and internationally agreed end to the conflict without an agreement among the parties.

In the end, both parties are barking a lot, but neither of their barks has bite.

The only bite is from militant absolutists and foreign fundamentalists that will use this incessant leaderless back-and-forth bickering to drive a wedge and pray on the situation.

Both sides need to recognize that time is not on the Israelis OR Palestinians’ side.  Time is not on the side of moderates that want to end the conflict. 

 The Clinton Parameters lay out clearly how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be resolved.  The Heads of State of both Israel and Palestine were elected on a platform to end the conflict.  Both Olmert and Abbas want a two-state solution. The Israeli and Palestinian public have clear supra-majorities that support a two state solution (at least still now, though not forever!).  It is time for the politicians to sit, lock the door, and not exit the negotiating table till they work out the details for an agreement premised on the Clinton parameters (which the OneVoice Pillars from the People are based on).

Enough bargainging and posturing!  All of this is helping only Ahmadinejad and his proxies!

That is why on October 18th, 2007 the Israeli and Palestinian people in unison will send a message to the world and to their leaders: we demand immediate, uninterrupted negotiations till the completion of an agreement among our heads of State, to be presented to their people within a year from that date.  The deadline from the people is October 18, 2008.  The time has come.

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