Benjamin Netanyahu must be jubilant: his visit to Washington resulted in his obtaining everything Israel could possibly want, including Donald Trump’s abandonment of the two-state solution as US policy. “Whatever you want,” Trump essentially told Netanyahu. Now, US policy in the Middle East has always given Israel nearly all of what it wants, and given the Palestinians very little of what they need, much less want. Secretary of State John Kerry said as much in his final speech on Middle East policy last December:
No American administration has done more for Israel’s security than Barack Obama’s. The Israeli prime minister himself has noted our “unprecedented” military and intelligence cooperation. Our military exercises are more advanced than ever. Our assistance for Iron Dome has saved countless Israeli lives. We have consistently supported Israel’s right to defend itself, by itself, including during actions in Gaza that sparked great controversy. Time and again we have demonstrated that we have Israel’s back. We have strongly opposed boycotts, divestment campaigns, and sanctions targeting Israel in international fora, whenever and wherever its legitimacy was attacked, and we have fought for its inclusion across the UN system. In the midst of our own financial crisis and budget deficits, we repeatedly increased funding to support Israel. In fact, more than one-half of our entire global Foreign Military Financing goes to Israel. And this fall, we concluded an historic $38 billion memorandum of understanding that exceeds any military assistance package the United States has provided to any country, at any time, and that will invest in cutting-edge missile defense and sustain Israel’s qualitative military edge for years to come. That’s the measure of our support.
But Kerry was equally strong in emphasizing that the US, and indeed the world community and the UN, have consistently endorsed Palestinian statehood—in Israel’s as much as in the Palestinians’ best interest. He pointed to “a fundamental reality: if the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic – it cannot be both – and it won’t ever really be at peace. Moreover, the Palestinians will never fully realize their vast potential in a homeland of their own with a one-state solution.”
Kerry is absolutely right, and Trump is treading in dangerous territory by catering to the Israeli right wing. One state means “perpetual occupation” (Kerry), continual illegal settlements and land grabs in the West Bank, and the resumption of violence. It means acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state, not a secular state open to and protective of all. The Palestinian people will continue to be limited in freedom of movement, access to water, commercial opportunities, and much else. Trump’s totally one-sided approach to Israel will further alienate Middle East populations; and his promise to appoint Jared Kushner, his inexperienced and biased son-in-law, to craft a settlement is a bad joke.
Read the full text of Kerry’s speech at https://2009-2017.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2016/12/266119.htm before it is removed!