WSJournal corrects misquote
Wall Street Journal misquotes Israeli, corrects its mistake

'What's driving Israeli and Palestinian activists to ditch the two-state solution is the rapidly-growing number of Jews in the West Bank...'

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Ulpana Neighborhood of Beit El
Ulpana Neighborhood of Beit El
Josh Hasten

In an interview on Dec. 16th, 2016, Baruch Gordon, Director of Development for Bet El Institutions, conveyed to Wall Street Journal Correspondent Rory Jones that prominent activists and intellectuals on both the Palestinian and Israeli side say that a two-state solution is no longer a possibility. “It’s dead,” they say. Examples that Gordon cites are listed below.

That interview was incorporated into the WSJ Dec. 20th, 2016 article entitled “Trump Transition Team Plays Down…” and here’s the quote from Gordon:

“We are in a historic period that’s about redefining the debate,” Baruch Gordon, the Director of Development at Bet El Institutions, said in an interview. “The debate is no longer about the Palestinians.”

Gordon double checked his recording of the interview and then wrote this letter to the editor of the WSJ:

Dear Editor,

While I suspect no malicious intent, in the Dec. 20th “Trump Transition Team Plays Down Ties…” story, I was misquoted as saying, “the [new] debate [in Israel] is no longer about Palestinians,” implying Israelis can ignore them. In the interview with your correspondent (audio posted here: http://tinyurl.com/baruchgordoninterview), I said the opposite: “the debate is no longer about a Palestinian State yes or no, but [about] freedom and equality for Arabs - to what extent.” The discourse in Israeli society remains all about the Palestinians - but is now focusing on the question of to what extent shall the Palestinians have freedom, equality and obligations, in a one-state solution of extending Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, which is the new, preferred paradigm of activist leaders on both sides.

Thank you for the clarification,

Baruch Gordon
Bet El Institutions, Israel

Here is the relevant audio clip of the WSJ interview: http://tinyurl.com/baruchgordoninterview

The Wall Street Journal’s Rory Jones was responsive and immediately changed the online version of the article to reflect the accurate quote.

What is it that is driving Israeli and Palestinian activists to ditch the two-state solution? The main reason cited is the large and rapidly-growing number of Jews in the West Bank. Those statistics are carefully tracked and recorded in a report prepared by Former Knesset Member Yaakov "Ketzaleh" Katz. He distributes the English version of the annual email report via this site: WestBankJewishPopulationStats.com

Who are the intellectuals and activists speaking out against the two-state paradigm?

A. B. Yehoshua is the leading intellectual of the pro-two-state camp in Israel. On Dec. 7th, 2016, he said:

“This solution is no longer possible. I believed in this solution for 50 years, I fought for it, and was an activist for it. But I, as an intellectual, must face reality and not delude myself. I must ask if this solution is truly possible… After we internalize that it is impossible to deport 450,000 settlers from Area C, it won’t happen [under any circumstances]. Can we divide Jerusalem [rhetoric question]? It’s time to start thinking of alternative solutions.”

Yehoshua later called to annex the Jewish settlements into the sovereign State of Israel. Click here for the A. B. Yehoshua audio in Hebrew.

The female radio host expresses her shock at the end of the above Yehoshua interview: “How could this be? It is a complete about-face [in his position]!” The shock waves of Yehoshua’s call to annex the 'West Bank' Jewish towns into Israel instead of dismantling them are still being felt.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ own son, Tareq Abbas, dismissed the idea of a Palestinian State already in a March 18, 2014 NY Times interview:

“Back home in Ramallah, Mr. Abbas’s own son has been telling him that last chance is already long gone, the negotiations futile. The son, Tareq Abbas, a businessman who has long shied away from politics and spotlights, is part of a swelling cadre of prominent Palestinians advocating instead the creation of a single state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea in which Jews and Arabs would all be citizens with equal rights… the elder Mr. Abbas, 78, [said], “I say, ‘Please, my son, this is our position, we will not go for one state.’ He [Tareq] says, ‘This is your right to say this, and this is my right to say that.’”

The NY Times adds:

“Such intergenerational arguments have become commonplace in the salons of Palestinian civil society and at kitchen tables across the West Bank as the children and grandchildren of the founders of the Palestinian national movement increasingly question its goals and tactics.”

Why Do Palestinians Not Want a State?
In the Sept. 29 2015 CNN article “What Palestinians Really Want” by Executive-Director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation Yousef Munayyer, a foreigner can begin to understand why it’s not hard for Palestinians to abandon the dream of an independent state.

Munayyer writes:

“Yet Palestinians were never really motivated by a desire for their own state, as such. That might sound odd to many, especially given all of the discussion of Palestinian statehood over the past two decades. But it is the truth. What Palestinians want, and deserve, are freedom and equal rights.”

“Somewhere along the way, statehood went from being a means to an end to being an end in itself."

“Palestinians understand that the statehood project is at best a failure, and at worst a cover for continued Israeli colonialism in Palestinian territory. With this reality in mind, the focus of Palestinian national strategy should not be statehood but rather on reclaiming rights. This means officially declaring the two-state solution dead, with the cause of death being asphyxiation because of settlement expansion. As part of a new direction, Palestinian leaders should support coexistence over nationalism, integration over exclusion and equality over separatism."

More examples of authentic Palestinian activists speaking against the two-state paradigm abound.

Mainstream media labels those who question the two-state solution as extremists and opponents of peace. But new realities indicate that rejection of the decades-old, two-state paradigm is an emerging trend on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

The long-standing US policy of imposing a two-state solution on the indigenous peoples of the region is meeting resistance on all sides. This is driving grassroots activists to explore fresh ideas.

To this end, a Dec. 28th “New Generation New Conversation Discussion Panel” of West Bank Jewish and Palestinian Arab activists will examine failures of the peace process, explore rival narratives and engage in new ideas for coexistence under Israeli sovereignty. The public is invited to attend. Click here for the Facebook event announcement.

Gordon encourages politicians, journalists, students and anyone who wants to stay up-to-date on the facts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to access the 'West Bank' Jewish Population Stats, which are broken down by town and region. The report compares populations with previous years and even predicts future growth. Click here to receive the annual 'West Bank' Jewish Population Stats by email.




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