Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Israel supports a two-state solution to its conflict with Palestine

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Friday, September 23rd 2022 à 18:15 | Read 2024 times

Yair Lapid wants peace with a two-state solution (photo: Avi Ohayon - GPO)
Yair Lapid wants peace with a two-state solution (photo: Avi Ohayon - GPO)
ISRAEL / PALESTINE. Speaking at the United Nations in New York on Thursday, September 22, 2022, during the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (September 20-26, 2022), Yair Lapid spoke out in favor of "an agreement with the Palestinians, based on two states for two peoples. The Israeli Prime Minister says that it is "the right thing to do for the security of Israel, for the economy of Israel and for the future of our children. Peace is not a compromise. He warned, however, that "any agreement would be conditional on a peaceful Palestinian state that would not threaten Israel. Put down your weapons, and prove that Hamas and Islamic Jihad will not take the Palestinian state you want to create. Put down your weapons and there will be peace," he said to the Palestinians.

This speech represents a tremendous step forward since the failure in 2014 of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks conducted under the aegis of the United States. However, Yair Lapid is a Prime Minister on probation, as he is in transition since the dissolution of the Israeli Parliament in June 2022. Legislative elections will be held in Israel on November 1, 2022. The results could mean that Benjamin Netanyahu will return to power. This would completely change the situation and would set back this option by several squares. The chairman of the right-wing Likud party, who was prime minister from March 2009 to June 2021, has always been opposed to the two-state solution.

At the same podium the day before, Aziz Akhannouch also pleaded for "the internationally agreed two-state solution". According to the Moroccan Prime Minister, "clinging to negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli parties is the only way to achieve a final, lasting and comprehensive solution to the conflict. His country normalized its relations with Israel in December 2020.

A conflict dating back to 1967

After the Arab-Israeli war, known as the Six-Day War (June 5-10, 1967) against Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon, the Israeli army took control of East Jerusalem, the West Bank (Jordan), Gaza, Sinai (Egypt) and the Golan Heights (Syria). On November 22, 1967, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 demanded "the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" and the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories. Since then, this text has become the reference for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A peace treaty with Egypt allowed Israel to withdraw from the Sinai area. But the other Arab territories won in 1967 remain occupied by Israel. As the years go by, with the construction of numerous settlements and the sprawl of the West Bank, which is becoming more fragmented by the week with the constant construction of new housing units authorized by the Israeli government, it is becoming increasingly difficult to define the future borders between the two countries. The Israeli settlements today include some 700,000 inhabitants, more than half of whom live in the West Bank and the rest in East Jerusalem and its suburbs as well as on the Golan Heights (taken from Syria). All these settlements, as the Israelis call them, are considered illegal under international law. Under President Donald Trump, the United States changed its doctrine in November 2019. Mike Pompeo, head of U.S. diplomacy, judged then that "the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not in itself incompatible with international law." In March 2019, Donald Trump already recognized the sovereignty of Israel on the Golan Heights, annexed in 1981. He gained to see baptized, in June 2019, of its name a colony located on this Syrian territory.

During the legislative elections of April 2019, Benyamin Netanyahu had promised to increase the attachment of certain settlements to Israel. In late January 2020, the Americans presented a "peace plan" endorsed by Israel and rejected by the Palestinian Authority . This document effectively provided for the annexation of part of the West Bank on July 1, 2020, where 450,000 Israelis live among 2.7 million Palestinians, as well as the Jordan Valley. French President Emmanuel Macron had officially asked Benyamin Netanyahu, in July 2020, to "refrain from taking any measure to annex Palestinian territories. He was following a position already made public by several countries and a French collective the previous month.

"A just, comprehensive and lasting peace"

This Thursday, September 22, 2022, representatives of France, Egypt, Jordan and Germany met in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the presence of Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Tor Wennesland, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. The four countries issued a joint statement calling for "a just, comprehensive and lasting peace based on the two-state solution.

In line with the meetings in Munich (February 15, 2020 and February 19, 2022), Amman (September 24, 2020), Cairo (January 11, 2021) and Paris (March 11, 2021), the participants reiterated that "the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of the two-state solution is indispensable for the establishment of a comprehensive peace in the region. They therefore reaffirm their "conviction that only a negotiated two-state solution based on the June 4, 1967 borders guaranteeing an independent, contiguous and viable Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security can meet the legitimate aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Call for a fundamental change in the situation in Gaza

France, Egypt, Jordan and Germany call for the resumption "as soon as possible of direct, serious, concrete and genuine negotiations between the parties. In the absence of such negotiations, we stress the importance of rapidly creating political and economic opportunities to preserve the prospect of the two-state solution, including exploring the possibility of a comprehensive regional approach to peace. We encourage the adoption of new mutual confidence-building measures based on reciprocal commitments, in order to improve the living conditions of the Palestinian people, taking into account the positive effects of improved economic conditions on security.

The participants in this meeting expressed their "deep concern about the recent rise in tensions in Jerusalem". They stressed "the need to respect and enforce the status quo of the holy places in Jerusalem" while recalling "the important role of the Hashemite monarchy as guardian of the holy places in Jerusalem. Moreover, religious holidays should not be used for political purposes.

The communiqué considers it "essential to take the necessary measures to bring about a fundamental change in the political, economic and security situation in the Gaza Strip". The four signatory countries call "to put an end to the latest episode of tension in and around Gaza City", while advocating "full respect for the ceasefire by all parties".

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