Now that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reached an agreement to extend his time in office, the prospect of unilateral Israeli annexation of large chunks of the West Bank has become more immediate. On Monday, the United States Department of State reaffirmed that it was prepared to recognize Israel’s annexation of West Bank territory “in the context of the Government of Israel agreeing to negotiate with the Palestinians along the lines set forth in President Trump’s Vision.”
In other words, all Israel must do is agree to negotiate, and it can annex most of the territory it wants, cementing the demise of the “two-state solution” as the only diplomatic option for resolving Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians and denial of their rights. As a result, even some of the most devoted two-state supporters are suggesting that the question of alternatives to two states must be explored.
Several such advocates participated in a panel discussion Monday hosted by the Center for American Progress (CAP). In an event titled, “What’s Next for U.S. Policy in the Middle East?” CAP presented a grim assessment of the near future, where annexation is virtually inevitable, with unpredictable, but probably very negative, results.
The panelists included Ghaith al-Omari, a former adviser to the Palestinian Authority and currently a senior fellow at the staunchly pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP); Daniel Shapiro, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and currently a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Israel (INSS); and CAP’s executive vice president and former Clinton and Obama administration official, Mara Rudman. Read more at Responsible Statecraft