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Practically impossible
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Practically impossible

Along with the EU, the UK, US and UN all claim that a dual-state arrangement is the most viable option for peace in the Middle East. The trouble is that neither of the protagonists supports the idea

Friday, 26 January 2024, 19:37

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Of all the complexities and paradoxes of Israel-Palestine, the most puzzling is this: a two-state solution is the best and most realistic solution to the conflict, as well as being the least likely to materialise. Because of/despite this, Spain reiterated its support for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel this week, at a meeting in Brussels that Jose Manuel Albares, the Spanish foreign minister, said was "fundamental for world peace and security".

Advocates of this solution envision two independent states existing alongside one another between the River Jordan and Mediterranean Sea: the current state of Israel, although with its illegal settlements evacuated and dismantled, and another for and governed by Palestinians. The idea was first aired by the Peel Commission of 1937, when the British government still controlled Palestine (having taken over at the end of World War I), but has never gained traction with either side.

Along with the EU, the UK, US and UN all claim that a dual-state arrangement is the most viable option for peace in the Middle East. The trouble is that neither of the protagonists supports the idea. This has been especially true of Israel under its longest-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who last week vowed again to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state on the grounds that it would pose an "existential danger" to Israel (one wonders whether he believes that his state has ever existed without such a threat).

And yet... If you judged this matter on the protests that have occurred all over Spain since 7 October, the largest of which was held in Madrid last Saturday, you'd be forgiven for concluding that the only thing preventing a harmonious, two-state setup between the Jordan and Mediterranean is Israel - brutal, militaristic, occupying Israel. It would be easy to overlook the fact that it was Hamas, not Israel, that started the latest war. And the anti-semitic psychotics of Hamas, it must be remembered, don't want a Jewish state for a neighbour. They want to eradicate Israel, not exist alongside it.

This is why Hamas needs to be destroyed, and why Israel's response to the 7 October attacks is in theory justified.

But Pedro Sánchez is right to condemn the ongoing blitz of Gaza as "indiscriminate" and express doubts that it's in accordance with international law.

Even when not actively at war with Palestine, Israel has consistently failed to acknowledge the rights of Palestinians to a land from which they were expelled at gunpoint, in their hundreds of thousands, during the Nakba of 1948, and to give them full powers of self-governance.

The two-state solution is the best - perhaps the only - that there is, and Spain and the EU are right to reintroduce an old idea into new debates. But so long as Netanyahu controls Israel and Hamas has Palestine, it's a practical impossibility.

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