I and what I suspect are many others have been watching much and saying little about the hoped for two state solution for some time now, as nothing much suggesting much happened, and then more of it happened and so on.
Now I feel I have to write as to a series of matters recently reported in Israeli papers which suggest that at least on the Israeli side, things are not looking good for two state. One reason for concern is that a number of matters formerly sort of whispered about are now being openly reported and thereby admited in Israeli papers, a kind of public throwing down of the gauntlet at the same time as the Iran matter is bubbling up and resisting resolution but monopolizing international attention. Another is the continuing problems of Bibi with the elected US government and continuing apparent juggling on his part and on that of US republicans to try to change the ground rules in Israeli's favor more than they are. This is not new although the public character of it is and his attempts to affect the US election are more blatant than in past US elections.
Another part of it to consider is the continuing struggle between relatively secular Israelis and various of the seriously orthodox of which this is a part, but which also includes the issue of whether Haridi should be required to do public service, whether benefits for having done public service should be increased so that there is a cost of not doing it, whether diaspora Reform and Conservative Jews should be recognized as the equals of Orthodox, and other issues which touch on Palestine but which could separately bring down an Israeli government since the Kadima merger which was to protect Bibi from Beitanu and other extreme parties is not working so well either. This is a fight in which Palestinians only figure as objects, although its outcome may determine a portion of their fate.
This article discusses a plan being discussed and apparently moving forward by which settler land claims in the West Bank which had previously been blocked can now or shortly hereafter be recorded. Heretofore as many know, settlers appeared on various blocks of land, but their claims of right could not be recorded in the Israeli land system for various reasons, while the rights of Palestinians were consistently not recorded, and whatever recording was done was done under and old Ottoman system which has not been in use for many decades. And there were wrinkles which required under the systems that only individuals, not the kind of organizations often written of on this subject, could record such claims. An additional problem was the claim that various plots had been abandoned or were taken allegedly for military uses, whether used for that purpose or not, and then became 'state land' of the state of Israel, and then passed to settlers.
There is also a possibility that Israel will unilaterally legalize by Knesset fiat a certain number of otherwise illegal settlements and outposts, with various lists being passed through newspapers as to which ones and how many. After the fact legalization of Israeli settlements has been a periodic pattern for a number of decades.
Litigations of late by Palestinians with claims of settlers building on land belonging to Palestinians have been going better than formerly, and there are now several actions which have passed through the high court upholding Palestinian owners, of which the most often reported in the west recently is the matter of Ulpana. The apparent effect of officially recording the land claims is to give priority and standing to settlers whose claims are recorded, and to slow if not frustrate Palestinian land theft claims by reason of the recording and recognition by the Israeli occupation government of the preferred claims. One of the issues in this proposal is the notion that a form of statute of limitations is to be imposed on Palestinian land recovery litigation, a form of "I stole it fair and square and kept it long enough that I get to keep it now."
That plan settles atop a situation still being reported in the last month that the Israeli administration of WB is operated assymetrically, that is, Israeli settlers requesting permits and various governmental procedures legalizing their building in WB are routinely approved, whether asked for before or after the fact, and virtually no Palestinian permits are approved, even for repairs of long existing building, and the actions of the Palestinians result in demolition and those of settlers legalization after the fact. What this produces is a situation where Israeli settlers may expand at will, and no Palestinians may do anything at all legally, and are then subject to the consequences of supposedly illegal activity, destruction of their property.
There are also reports of land being taken in buffer areas of settlements from long settled Palestinians for military reasons, which are sometimes then converted from military to settler use.
Of course, this must be understood together with the repeated proposals of Israeli governmentals of one stripe or another that the obvious solution is to pay compensation to Palestinians for land taken. What is not discussed in this concept is that the idea of ownership of property itself become assymetrical, with Palestinians capable of being divested at the will of Israelis upon a proposal of payment of some sum of money arrived at in an unstated matter, in order to allow Settlers there, where the settlers choose what they want and get to keep and own what they take, and the Palestinians must submit, without the least pretense of treatment on an equal basis under any version of law. This is a situation where no Palestinian in WB can claim to have real ownership rights in land, free of the fear at any time of unilateral Israeli divestiture.
In a related matter,reported here in JP, the settlers of Migron are getting a new hearing on July 15 in the High Court on their claims of ownership of lands in that place, after having lost litigations on the subject in the last year and being the subject of a removal order required to be carried out by August 1. This is a peculiar situation whose issue as I am understanding the reporting is that they are making claims of recent purchase, although whether the alleged purchases are made from Palestinians in violation of Palestinian law, or of allegedly 'abandoned' land whose seller is not indicated, are suggested but not alleged in the reporting.A gag order is in place as to the specifics of the alleged land purchases. Part of the issue here, of course, is that these issues are being litigated piecemeal, with the High Court case having been completed, and a separate and apparently later Jerusalem District Court hearing the ownership claims of the settlers, and no decision in favor of Palestinians ever seems to become final, with settler litigants allowed to come to the same court again and again. The organization which supported the Palestinians is to file papers by July 11.
Even the demolition called for in Ulpana's case has been delayed at the Israeli government's request now that the settlers themselves have vacated, reported here.. Whether the registration of settler claims is the government's plan for Ulpana is not clear, although the reporting is that the developer of Ulpana knew that purchase of the land he built on had not been done..
And then there are the Bedouin communities being moved from their own villages, for the usual reasons, but their location chosen by the government for the replacement is next to the Jerusalem garbage dump reported here..
Two related issues have also been reported on, which have to do with uneven justice (no laughter, please). The first is this article concerning the Justice Ministry and police in East Jerusalem which essentially reports the complete failure of the police to investigate and document cases arising from demonstrations and other matters in East Jerusalem, including what appears to be the famous ones in Silwan concerning removal of Palestinians and their replacement by settlers.The report on the subject states that in many of the cases mentioned, no investigation whatever was done, no specific interviews of witnesses or accumulation of evidence, and none of the other work generally done by the police when involved in actually investigatiing a possible criminal matter. Violence is involved in many of the cases discussed. There has been some reporting of similar absence of police action in WB, but this is now in Israel proper.
A second and related matter is the renewal of a law which eliminates a requirement that Shin Bet and security services in fact document claims against individuals in terrorism cases.. By not documenting, what is apparently meant is that there is no factual support for terrorism chages, a matter which accompanies many administrative detentions years long where the detained alleged terrorists never got a trial either, and now can't get the equivalent of habeas to have their cases reviewed because no documentation of the charges has been or ever now will be required. This is not a new law but is being extended at this time. Again, the issue is the degree to which the authorities' obligation to document criminal charges is being carried out when a party in interest is Palestinian, when it would be carried out if the accused were Israeli non Palestinian.
When considered atop the failure of IDF under military law to do anything useful as to settler attacks on villagers in WB, with settlers in recent events carrying and using firearms and no similar response against said settlers, and on their crops and orchards, which are still being destroyed one by one, the suggestion is stronger and stronger that an Israeli governmental policy premise is that the rule of law is only for the protection of Israelis, and nothing at all for Palestinians. Now publicly so.
There are also political whispers in the I papers that it may be five years before any realistic talks get going, which raises the question that if the conduct happening as described above is and continues, whether there will be anyone left to do the negotiation. No matter how obnoxious the Israeli government is on this, there is still no room for all Palestinians in the WB and Gaza, and not enough water, even if it were shared out per capita, and the sort of conduct described in the articles, if continued, togethetr with want of restraint of settlers, whether any deal would be possible anyway.
The underlying question of this pattern of 'development' is a straightforward one, namely whether the premise of the Israeli government is now simply that they are not interested in a two state deal, and now are more concerned with making the lives of Palestinians in WB so difficult and so irreversible that perhaps they will leave if there is still a place to go, said place to go and arranging for Palestinian access to it not being an Israeli responsibility.
This does not appear to be a matter being handled where the idea is to make conditions miserable for Palestinians so that Abbas will do a deal to make it stop before it gets worse, but rather one which indicates that no deal is possible at all, particularly when the US and Israel are still fighting to avoid recognition of Palestine as a state, so as to eliminate other forms or remedy or relief, and Mittens is on his way to visit with his old friend Bibi, promising to reverse whatever Obama has done as to Israel, presumably the support of any sort of two state solution that might be viable for Palestinians at all.
A second issue presented is the degree to which the Israeli government believes that it can keep away from Palestinians enough legal recognitions so as to ensure that the plain assymetry of what there passes for the rule of law, one which requires just treatment and equal or even equitable treatment of a particular group of people by reason of what we at Dkos tend to describe as 'ethnicity', when such conduct is condemned elsewhere in international law, will not have legal consequences for the state of Israel or its government at any given time. Making more public the nature and scope of the intended assymetry raises this issue still again.
The sheer bitterness that this course of conduct creates itself becomes a terrible obstacle to any sort of two state deal where the victims and the doers are to live side by side, as if the victimization had never occurred, particularly if the assymetrical elements are not undone or modified to the satisfaction of the victims.
The question I am placing before the house is whether any of those who post on IP still think any two state, or even a one state, solution is possible, and what, if anything, a third option might be, good, bad or awful.
Usual rules of engagement for my diaries apply, no personal attacks, no violations of Godwin as applicable to IP, cite your sources, and stay on topic.
10:15 AM PT: I hate reading newspapers. Today's Israeli papers on relevant matters contained the following matters touching on the diary.
From Ma'an a longish article about how Israel has finally begun to register residence transfers from Gaza to WB rather than simply ruling the Gazans in WB are illegal aliens, in the 'stateless person' category. The number to be registered is 216, out of a reportedly substantial number of tens of thousands. The registrations were transferred until a few years ago when it all stopped, and the backlog of those in limbo status has built up and is substantial. This seems to be a different matter from the 140K WB residents who lost their residency when they traveled abroad, and is still another way of limiting the number of Palestinians whose 'legitimacy' Israel is prepared to admit for its own policy reasons. ( I don't know how to get links in the "Update diary box' so I refer to the article.)
Also, it seems the Netanyahu coalition is in deep trouble, as the Kadima party has issued an ultimatum that it will leave the coalition if its resolution of the Tal problem, haridim and Israeli Arabs' service obligations being the issue, is not resolved as it has proposed. Both JP and Ha'aretz carried this one.
Ha'aretz also has two different articles about Bibi's position with respect to the Romney visit and Romney's promise to do whatever the opposite is of what Obama has done, and what problems this will cause Bibi.