Who Really Wants Palestinian Statehood?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to assure the Americans and Europeans that he still supports the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict despite a mountain of evidence that it is a case "that may be what I said but it's not what I meant."

He says he supports it in principle, but in practice there's a lot of contradictory evidence:

He has formed a government overwhelmingly opposed.  He given speeches endorsing the concept but he has never brought the issue before his own Likud party much less his cabinet.  He has appointed outspoken critics of the concept to head the foreign ministry and other agencies of government. He even appointed as chief peace negotiator a long-time opponent of the two-state solution. 

His election-eve statement that there wouldn't be a Palestinian state so long as he is PM was seen as a flash of honesty.  He was saying I may endorse the concept in theory but "it won't happen on my watch."

With that record, it is hard to convince anyone, especially the Palestinians, that he believes in the two-state approach.

Neither side is ready today for a peace agreement, nor are they doing much to move in that direction.  There may be an effort, after an Iran nuclear agreement is concluded later this year, to revive talks, but neither Netanyahu nor Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas makes a convincing case that he is ready for serious negotiations much less to make peace.

Abbas has put so many unacceptable conditions on resuming any talks with Israel that he has no credibility left.  His threats to file war crimes charges against Israel reveal his true intentions and only serve to heighten the conflict and make peace and statehood more remote.

That makes one wonder whether he really wants a Palestinian state.

Both Netanyahu and Abbas are risk averse and lack the courage to speak truth to their own people about the difficult compromises necessary to making peace.  Neither one will ever show up in a Middle East version of Profiles in Courage.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.