Only you can determine what kind of democracy you will have. But remember that as you make these decisions, you will define not simply the future of your relationship with the Palestinians – you will define the future of Israel as well. As Ariel Sharon said, “It is impossible to have a Jewish, democratic state and at the same time to control all of Eretz Israel. If we insist on fulfilling the dream in its entirety, we are liable to lose it all.” Or, from a different perspective, think of what David Grossman said shortly after losing his son, as he described the necessity of peace – “a peace of no choice” he said, “must be approached with the same determination and creativity as one approaches a war of no choice.
This is quite a disappointing message when Israel's behavior for the past two decades has destroyed the possibility of the two-state solution. Due to a lack of any accountability to human rights norms and international law, in the past two decades of the Oslo Peace Process:
- Israel has facilitated the growth of the settler population in the WB from 200,000 in 1993 to nearly 600,000 today;
- 85% of the Apartheid wall or the separation barrier runs through the West Bank and expropriates 13% of the territory
- Israel has accelerated its settlement-expansion program in Area C, or 62% of the West Bank, and declared 18% of that territory a military firing zone precluding the residency of Palestinians living there and necessitating their forced displacement.
- Military Order 1650 on the Prevention of Infiltration prohibits Gaza’s residents from living, working, or studying in the West Bank. Together with Israel’s naval blockade and land siege, it has exacerbated the social, economic, and political distance between Palestinians in the West Bank from their counterparts in Gaza – otherwise intended to constitute a single civic and national polity
- Finally, the State’s Judaization campaign in East Jerusalem continues to diminish the presence of Palestinian Jerusalemites using a matrix of laws and policies including home demolitions, exorbitant retroactive taxes, and explicit residency revocation. It withdrew Jerusalemite residency for nearly 4,800 Palestinians in 2008 alone – hardly preparing E. Jerusalem to become the future capital of the Palestinian state.
Moving beyond this devastating reality requires the US to step up its role as global superpower and Israel's most significant ally by applying pressure upon it to conform with international law and human rights norms. Its inability and unwillingness to do so thus far signals to the Palestinians as well as to the international community, that US-brokered bilateral negotiations are a train heading straight to deeper Apartheid.