Benjamin Netanyahu will soon speak to Congress presumably to reiterate what we’ve heard from him and others for the past week: “no to Israel’s full withdrawal to the 1967 borders; no to the division of Jerusalem; no to the right of return for Palestinian refugees; and no to a Palestinian military presence in the new state.” That is, no to peace.
Supposedly looming over this recent scuffle between a basically status quo Obama stance and a stern, ticked off Netanyahu is the upcoming September UN resolution to recognize Palestinian statehood. This is something Israel refuses to do, despite harping on Palestinian recognition of the state of Israel as the prerequisite to negotiations. Indeed, everything Israel does on a daily basis – from expanding settlements by expelling Palestinians off private land to insistence on checkpoints to control of the water resources – falls far short of any recognition of Palestinian statehood.
It’s common for Israel to claim that Palestinians won’t recognize Israel and thus obstruct any potential peace. But large majorities support a two state solution based on the 1967 borders. In other words, they are perfectly willing to recognize Israel. The Israeli government (which Netanyahu has most recently made clear) will not, however, recognize Palestine.
It is difficult to imagine Israeli occupation policy has changed very much since Israeli military leader and politician Moshhe Dayan said post- Six Day War: “We don’t have a solution, and you will continue living like dogs, and whoever wants will go, and will see how this procedure will work out.” Or, perhaps more accurately, it follows what Lara Friedman and Daniel Seidemann in Foreign Policy called the “everybody knows fallacy,” namely that Israel’s gradual and continuous expansion onto Palestinian land is premised “on the grounds that ‘everybody knows’ these areas will always be part of Israel.”