"I think we are at a moment of real opportunity, and I think that the interests of the Israeli and Palestinian people, if everybody stops and takes a deep breath, are actually more in line than they are opposites," he added.Why do respectable people make such silly statements? I can't answer that. I mean, the man is the number 2 person in the American administration; there's a reasonable chance he's being recorded, and someone might even be watching; who knows, if you stretch your imagination a wee bit it's even (just) imaginable that someone will still remember long enough to know how unrealistic he was being.
Ehud Yaari recently published an important article in Foreign Affairs, and a quick summary of it in The Forward. Sadly, the full article is not accessible, and neither of those two links lead to the parts that - to my mind - are most important, namely, the description of how the Palestinians are not interested in a two state resolution to the conflict. Yaari is one of our top experts on the Arab world and the Palestinians in particular; he has spent his entire professional career of over 40 years listening to things Arabs say (in Arabic, of course). His analysis is obvious to those of us who stake our lives on knowing what's going on around us, but needs to be said from the perspective of someone who really listens, directly. So I've cut and pasted a snippet, in the hope the Foreign Affairs people won't sue me for copyright infringement. Its a long and interesting article, and I've only cited three paragraphs.
A small sovereign state within the pre-1967 boundaries has neverUpdate: Soccerdad points me to what seems to be the Yaari article in its entirety here.
been the fundamental goal of Palestinian nationalism; instead, Palestinian
national consciousness has historically focused on avenging the
loss of Arab lands. As the prominent Palestinian academic Ahmad
Khalidi has argued, “Today, the Palestinian state is largely a punitive
construct devised by the Palestinians’ worst historical enemies.” Furthermore,
he contends, “The intention behind the state today is to
limit and constrain Palestinian aspirations territorially, to force them
to give up their moral rights.” Indeed, in a private conversation in
2001, then pa President Yasir Arafat told me that he believed statehood
could potentially become a “sovereign cage.”
Many Palestinians now feel that by denying Israel an “end of conflict, end of claims” deal, they are increasing their chances of gaining
a state for which they are not required to make political concessions.
Within a few years, the scant support for the two-state formula that currently exists will likely erode, and new concepts will begin to
compete as alternatives. In other words, the Palestinian community
will accelerate its collapse into Israel’s unwilling arms, in effect accomplishing
by stealth the sort of Arab demographic dominance that
Israeli leaders have for decades sought to avoid by occupying, rather
than annexing, the Palestinian territories. Such an annexation in reverse
would leave Israel no choice but to coexist alongside an Arab
majority within the whole of Palestine as it existed under the British
Khalidi has illustrated what many Israelis and Americans refuse to
see: the Palestinian general public instinctively distinguishes between
“independence” (the end of occupation) and “sovereignty” (statehood).
Most Palestinians wish to get rid of Israeli control but do not
necessarily strive to see the land divided. More and more Palestinians
are therefore considering options other than statehood. One option
proposed by Abdel Mohsin al-Qattan, former chair of the Palestinian
National Council, would be to maintain the territorial integrity
of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and
govern it through a weak joint central government and two strong autonomous
governments—without necessarily demarcating geographic
borders between them. Another popular solution among
Palestinian leaders is a unitary state, which, for purely demographic
reasons, would eventually be controlled by an Arab majority.