Ghaith Al-Omari, advocacy director for the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP)–an organization that strongly supports a negotiated two-state solution–concluded his Sept. 27th appearance on the PBS Newshour as follows:
…. I simply cannot imagine either side coming to the U.S. president, to President Obama, and saying, here, we’re handing you a failure in this process one month into the process. It’s unthinkable, inconceivable at the moment.
And, as I said, I believe that the strategic interests of both the Palestinians and the Israelis can only be fulfilled through a negotiated process. They might position and posture and do brinkmanship, but, ultimately, you know, there is no other option in the long term but to negotiate.
Al-Omari’s colleague at the ATFP, Hussein Ibish, outlines a possible way for Israel and the Palestinians to finesse the settlements issue for now:
…. The settlement issue is crucial because with every significant expansion of the Israeli presence in the Occupied Territories, the borders of a Palestinian state become more difficult to draw….
… all sensible parties, including Israeli parties, must recognize that … Israel cannot be allowed to continue to reshape the strategic landscape while negotiations are proceeding.
This suggests the usefulness of an informal understanding, enforced by the US, that Israel can build modestly in “consensus areas” generally understood to be the likely subject of a land swap between Israel and a new Palestinian state. However, Israel must not engage in significant new land expropriation in the West Bank, incursions into Palestinian neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem, or building in the “E-1 corridor” that would cut Jerusalem off from the West Bank.
Not only would such an understanding resolve, for a limited period of time, the strategic problems posed by continued settlement activity, it could and should buy time for negotiators to focus on fixing the borders of a Palestinian state, which would defuse the issue over a much longer term. …
You can read this entire article by Ibish at the Now Lebanon website.