US stance on two-state solution worrying: French FM

Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:23PM
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault gives a speech in Biarritz, southwestern France, on February 10, 2017. (Photos by AFP)
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault gives a speech in Biarritz, southwestern France, on February 10, 2017. (Photos by AFP)

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has criticized US President Donald Trump for dropping Washington’s commitment to a so-called two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, describing the White House’s position on the matter as “confused and worrying.”

“I found that on the Israeli-Palestinian dossier… [the US policy] was very confused and worrying,” Ayrault told reporters after his meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a G20 meeting of foreign ministers in Bonn, Germany, on Thursday.

He added, “I wanted to remind him after the meeting between Donald Trump and (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu that in France’s view there are no other options other than the perspective of a two-state solution and that the other option which Mr. Tillerson brought up was not realistic, fair or balanced.”

Ayrault did not provide any information what other option the top American diplomat had suggested.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Netanyahu in Washington on Wednesday, the US president said he would back a single-state solution if the two sides agreed to it.

“Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” Trump stated.

Read more:

‘More Israeli settlements could kill off two-state solution’

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel censured the Tel Aviv regime for its expansionist policies, warning that construction of more Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories may diminish prospects for the resolution of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We are concerned that unlimited construction of settlements will… make a two-state solution impossible and could increase the risks of conflicts in the Middle East, including possible war,” Gabriel told reporters on Thursday.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel 

The German foreign minister also slammed a recent Israeli law legalizing construction of settler units in the occupied Palestinian land, saying the measure further complicated the situation.

He underlined that Germany would continue to advocate the so-called two-state solution, calling it “the only realistic option to reduce conflict in the region and prevent the emergency of a new war.”

UN Security Council Resolution 2334 demands that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

A general view taken on February 15, 2017 shows buildings in the Israeli Ramat Shlomo settlement in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds. 

It also states that the building of settlements by Israel has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The Palestinian Authority wants the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

President Bashar al-Assad says France’s support for terrorist groups operating against the Syrian government and people is a direct cause of bloodshed in the Arab country.

“The policy of France, that started from day one, has been to support terrorists in Syria, and is responsible directly for the killings in our country,” Assad told TF1 and Europe 1, respectively a French channel and a French radio network.

Assad further said his remarks were not a mere accusation as French officials have on numerous occasions admitted that they are supporting militants in Syria.

“They said many times they supported the war,” said the Syrian leader. “They said that they send armaments to whom they call moderate groups, which are terrorists. They said that; I didn’t say it. The Americans said the same, the French said the same.”

The Syrian head of state further cast doubt on the sincerity of Western states in their approach towards the crisis in Syria.

“We have to be cautious with every Western leader because they can say something and do the opposite… do something in the morning and do the opposite in the evening…They don’t have values in their policies,” he added.

Assad said the fate of the Syrian people is not for the West to determine.

“My people have to choose, because this is a Syrian issue, to be frank with you,” he said.

“So, we don’t care about what the Western officials think about this. They have to worry about their people and to protect their people from the terrorist attacks that have been happening because of their policies.”

SS ParsToday

Commitment to the two-state solution is a formality

Image of Israeli security forces arresting a Palestinian protester [Shadi Hatem/Apaimages]

Image of Israeli security forces arresting a Palestinian protester [Shadi Hatem/Apaimages]

News of Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to “back down” from his public position support on the two-state solution at the request of the (far-right) Jewish Home Party’s ministers in order to send a clear message during the meeting with US President Donald Trump that the establishment of the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders will not happen, does not change the fact that the majority of the parties in Israel either do not believe in the idea of the “two-state solution” or believe it is impossible to implement. In addition to this, Netanyahu’s conditions for this solution already eliminate the possibility of it becoming a reality, especially the condition of recognising Israel as a “Jewish national state” and the condition of Israel maintaining permanent security control over the territories between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea.

Despite this, the Jewish Home Party’s ministers were misled and believed that their request was a form of internal pressure on Netanyahu from his allies. It even led an Israeli newspaper with a “peaceful” approach, like Haaretz, to blatantly simplify the matter and say that in the event that Netanyahu surrenders to the demands of the Jewish Home Party he would be granting support to continue the annexation policy adopted by the settlers. By saying so, the newspaper restricted the policy to this group of Israelis less than a week after the Knesset approved the law to seize Palestinian territories for annexation.

It is clear that Netanyahu’s “commitment” to the two-state solution is a formality and means nothing. It is also postponed and restricted by a number of conditions, perhaps the most extreme and dangerous of which is its name, i.e. “two states for two groups of people”. This means that there will be two national states, a Jewish one and a Palestinian one; one for all of the Jews and another for all the Palestinians.

The Israeli Defence Minister and head of Yisrael Beiteinu, Avigdor Lieberman, gave the best literal or practical translation of this “solution” when he reminded us this week that he supports the idea of land and citizen exchanges as a solution with the Palestinians, and said “I want a Jewish state. Just as the Palestinians want a homogeneous Palestinian state, without a single Jew in it, I want to separate from all the Palestinians who live here inside pre-1967 [Israel],”

Analysis: Netanyahu wants a war that he knows he can’t win

Professor Gideon Biger, a lecturer in the Department of Geography and the Human Environment at Tel Aviv University, who was an advisor to the Israeli negotiations team with Syria in the past, supports Lieberman’s idea. Biger also reiterates that although the slogan “two states for two groups of people” sounds like a good idea in theory, it is not an accurate description of the situation. In the event that the two sides agree to implement this solution, there will be talk about the establishment of a Palestinian state without any Jewish settlers, while Israel will have “two peoples”, 80 per cent Jews and 20 per cent Arab Palestinians. In his opinion, this equation would not have “national equality” and therefore there has been, in the past, discussions of proposals to determine the borderline between the Palestinian state and Israel in a way that puts settlements located behind the Green Line within Israel’s territory.

He believes that drawing the borders does not necessarily create completely homogenous states and that in some instances, due to a number of issues; borders have been drawn in a manner that does not guarantee that every individual from a certain nation is on one side of the border. Instead, some national minorities have remained on the other side of the border. This situation has led to tensions and desires to annex these areas and others to the mother state. Some of these tensions were resolved by means of citizen exchanges between the two states, as was the case with Turkey and Greece, India and Pakistan, Turkey and Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic and Germany. In other instances, the issue was resolved by means of land swaps that sometimes occur after asking the people’s opinion and other time occur after the two countries agree with each other, without taking into consideration the people’s opinion.

Read: Trump drops ‘two-state’ commitment

He concluded that in the context of a “complete agreement” between Israel and the Palestinians, there will be inevitable similar agreement that includes the transfer of areas inhabited by Jewish settlers to Israel, and similarly, areas inhabited by Palestinian Arabs will be relocated from Israel to Palestinian sovereignty.

To simplify this, it will be “just a population swap” beyond recent facts and history, and not a repeated transfer. The ink still hasn’t dried from approaches that considered the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 as “just the exchange of the population with Jews from other Arab countries”, while claiming that the number of the latter exceeds the number of Palestinian refugees.

Translated from, 15 February 2017

The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. — Exodus 15:14

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