Netanyahu Rejects Two-State Solution Amidst Plummeting Poll Numbers

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Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, released a statement this week via Likud, his political party, making official what has been implied many times over: that he rejects the idea of two, self-determining states as the path toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
The statement made clear that Netanyahu now disavows a speech he delivered at Bar Ilan University in 2009 as “no longer relevant.” The speech’s topic? The path towards creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel. To hammer home Netanyahu’s rejection of Palestinian statehood, the statement threw in the following, just in case its intention wasn’t clear:

“Netanyahu’s entire political biography is a fight against the creation of a Palestinian state.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

Netanyahu’s camp and Likud quickly backtracked on the statement before circling back to confirm its original intention, making official what Netanyahu has implied many times: that he intends for the occupation to continue forever. Indeed, this summer during Israel’s Gaza assault, Netanyahu stated that Israel would never relinquish control of the West Bank and allow for a Palestinian state. And just this month, Netanyahu described himself as the greatest champion of Israel’s settlement enterprise in Israel’s history.
While Netanyahu’s words and actions have revealed a continuous rejection of Palestinian sovereignty (as well as U.S. policy), this statement makes it official as a matter of policy. Why was it made now? This week, reports surfaced in Israel that Netanyahu once negotiated with Palestinians based on 1967 borders. This report, coupled with internal poll numbers indicating Netanyahu’s support collapsing, prompted Netanyahu’s camp to woo right-wing voters by accurately and officially portraying him as a champion of the occupation and a foe of the two-state solution.
Today, public polls in Israel just days before March 17 elections are reflecting what Netanyahu’s own internals indicate: that Israel’s Prime Minister is losing ground to, and in danger of being defeated by, a center-left coalition.
Netanyahu hoped to bolster his election chances by leaning heavily on his hawkish foreign policy credentials. His speech before Congress, organized behind President Obama’s back, intended to do this. His rejection of the two-state solution intended to do this. His waving the settlements banner intended to do this.
However, it seems the only thing Netanyahu’s right-wing, anti-peace moves have done is to highlight how damaging he is to Israel. Indeed, Israel’s security establishment has declared him a danger to the State, with Israel’s former Mossad Chief, Meir Dagan, going so far as to call him more dangerous than any of Israel’s enemies by leading Israel toward full apartheid. And he did so before 50,000 Israelis calling for Netanyahu’s ouster.
While few Israelis believe that the current election will impact the peace process, polls indicate that they are certain of one thing: Netanyahu will only bring continued conflict.
Before his speech to Congress, Netanyahu arrogantly and dangerously declared that he represented “the entire Jewish people.”
Hopefully, after March 17, such solipsistic conflations between Israel and all Jews will no longer be coming from the Prime Minister’s office.

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What Do You Buy For the Children
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, published recently by Oneworld Publications.
Follow him on Twitter @David_EHG.