The US State Department web site has removed the 'West Bank' and Gaza (“disputed territories”) from its list of “Countries and Areas” – signalling that it no longer regards these disputed territories as potentially comprising a separate country - in addition to Israel, Jordan and Egypt.
This is the clearest indication yet that President Trump’s soon to be released deal of the century will abandon the “two-state solution” – the creation of another Arab State in the disputed territories for the first time ever in recorded history – propagated by President Obama and his former Secretary of State John Kerry.
The US State Department web site under Kerry had included the “Palestinian Territories” in the “List of Countries and Other Areas” between 2009 and 2017.
Kerry had declared as he prepared to vacate the State Department on 28 December 2016:
“Throughout his Administration, President Obama has been deeply committed to Israel and its security, and that commitment has guided his pursuit of peace in the Middle East. This is an issue which, all of you know, I have worked on intensively during my time as Secretary of State for one simple reason: because the two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It is the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace and security with its neighbors. It is the only way to ensure a future of freedom and dignity for the Palestinian people. And it is an important way of advancing United States interests in the region.”
Kerry frankly admitted that America’s decision to abstain on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 on 23 December 2016:
“was about preserving the two-state solution. That’s what we were standing up for: Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living side by side in peace and security with its neighbors. That’s what we are trying to preserve for our sake and for theirs.”
Kerry was consumed by his own ignorance and arrogance when proclaiming:
“Today, there are a number – there are a similar number of Jews and Palestinians living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. They have a choice. They can choose to live together in one state, or they can separate into two states. But here is a fundamental reality: if the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic – it cannot be both – and it won’t ever really be at peace. Moreover, the Palestinians will never fully realize their vast potential in a homeland of their own with a one-state solution.”
It obviously did not dawn on Kerry that there was another alternative to his “one state or two states” mantra: the division of the West Bank and Gaza between Israel, Jordan and Egypt in direct face to face negotiations to complete the allocation of sovereignty in former Palestine - not an Arab entity - between Arabs and Jews first contemplated by the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Conference and the Treaty of Sevres in 1920, and the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.
The PLO has committed political hara-kiri since - refusing to negotiate with Israel on Trump’s yet-to-be-released peace plan – vacating the field to other Arab states including Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to fill the negotiating void.
The State Department’s recently re-designed website sends a clear message to Arab states wanting to end the Jewish-Arab conflict to come to the negotiating table.
Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog