Ilan Goldenberg: Biden can keep the two-state solution in place

Foreign Affairs magazine published an article on Monday by Ilan Goldenberg, director of the Middle East Program at the Center for American Security, under the title “Biden can keep the two-state solution in place.” He started by saying that US President Joe Biden He and his team came to power hoping not to prioritize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, seeing that the Washington-led negotiations were a trap that trapped previous US administrations, and that prospects for progress were bleaker than ever.

But there are some issues that cannot be ignored. As last month's escalation between Israel and Hamas underlined, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires regular US engagement to avoid waves of violence that undermine Washington's ability to deal with other priorities.

And the Biden administration is not wrong to avoid another round of high-level negotiations, Goldberg adds. The conflict is not ripe for resolution; But Biden needs a coordinated strategy to improve the course of the conflict - and to prevent cyclical unrest - while preserving the possibility of a two-state solution, especially as the sudden ouster of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, and the installation of a new Israeli government led by conservative Naftali Bennett and centrist Yair Lapid, provide a unique opportunity for Biden to do so. with that.”

The writer believes that “to improve the course of the conflict and enhance the ability to manage future episodes of violence, the United States must begin by reopening its consulate in occupied Jerusalem. Through its deep contacts not only with the Palestinian leadership but with the broader Palestinian community, the Consulate has for years helped the United States monitor the delicate situation on the ground and raise the alarm in Washington when things got serious, giving senior officials time to step in and pressure all sides to back down.

The writer says that during his recent visit to the Middle East, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced plans to reopen the consulate. Doing so will require cooperation from the Israelis, however, and some say that the consulate should be moved to another location now that the United States has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. American officials should work with the new Israeli government to manage the sensitive policies surrounding this issue, especially since Netanyahu - now the leader of the opposition - is the loudest voice calling for the US consulate move.

But, according to the writer, “At the same time, American officials should assure their Israeli counterparts that this is not an ideological issue, but a practical one, about putting (American) monitors on the ground, and the Biden administration should also prioritize improving the appalling conditions in the Gaza Strip.” Gaza, where 75,000 families are newly displaced after the latest wave of fighting and where the 2.2 million Palestinians living there have access to electricity for only about 8 hours a day, and only 10% of them have access to safe water.”

The writer believes that “the United States cannot handle this humanitarian crisis alone, because it has no presence on the ground in Gaza and will not deal with Hamas. Instead, the United States should work closely with Egypt and the United Nations Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace on a joint plan for the reconstruction of Gaza. The United States should play the role of coordinator and implementer of such an effort, relying on regional powers—particularly the Gulf states—to make needed investments in a coordinated manner, and encouraging Israel to remain cooperative.

He adds: “The Biden administration should also inform Israel in particular that the living conditions of 2.2 million people cannot be held hostage by the issue of Hamas’ return of two Israelis currently detained in the Strip, in addition to the remains of two Israeli soldiers. But it should also increase its public support for the release of the two hostages and the remains of the two soldiers, and pressure other international powers to speak more forcefully on this issue.”

“At the same time as it reassesses its engagement with both Israelis and Palestinians, the Biden administration must rethink how to talk about and seek to support a two-state solution, an outcome neither side believes is possible in the near term. Biden must not abandon the two-state solution, which remains the most viable way to ensure freedom, prosperity, and security for Israelis and Palestinians. To preserve this possibility, his administration must increasingly stress the importance of Palestinian rights and freedom.

Goldberg stresses that “Washington should take a stronger stand against Israeli policies that limit where Palestinians can live or move to, and unequal legal practices that ensure Israelis in the West Bank receive due process of law while referring Palestinians to military courts at rates Almost 100% condemnation, and the farcical Israeli policy of arresting and detaining young children for throwing stones.”

At the end of the article, the writer asserts that highlighting these practices and pushing the Israelis to change them is the best way to restore confidence in the two-state solution and adhere to American values. Preserving the possibility of a just peace sometime in the future and improving the United States’ ability to intervene and prevent unnecessary bloodshed in the meantime.”


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