( Middle East Monitor ) – “Why are you obsessed with a two-state solution?” said Tzipi Hotovely, the Israeli ambassador to the UK during a Sky interview this week, snapping at the journalist for pressing her on the international consensus for ending Israel’s decades-long illegal occupation. “Why are you so obsessed with a formula that never worked?” the Israel envoy growled, insisting that there is “Absolutely no” chance for the two-state solution.
Over in the apartheid state, Israel’s Communications Minister, Shlomo Karhi, echoed Hotovely’s rejection of a peaceful settlement in favour of the maximalist position long espoused by Zionist leaders. “There will be no Palestinian State here,” Karhi said on X. “We will never allow another State to be established between the Jordan and the sea. We will never go back to Oslo,” he added, referring to the 1993 agreement.
Hotovely’s remarks triggered a swift response from the UK’s two major political parties. “The Labour Party is steadfast in its long-standing support for a two-state solution,” said David Lammy, the Shadow Foreign Secretary. He stressed that “a viable and independent Palestine alongside a safe and secure Israel, where all can enjoy security, dignity and statehood is the only credible basis for long-term peace”.
UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, also publicly disagreed with the Israeli ambassador by telling Sky News that it is the long-standing position of the UK government that there should be an independent Palestinian State established alongside the existing one of Israel – giving both peoples their own territory.
The series of exchanges further highlights Israeli rejectionism and the desperation of world leaders to salvage, however improbably, the only solution which in their eyes can rescue Israel from its Catch-22 situation. The conundrum is framed as Israel’s choice between democracy and territory. The predicament arises because maintaining control over the Occupied Palestinian Territories compromises democratic values, creating a dichotomy: Jewish democracy or territory.
However, anyone remotely familiar with the pace of Israel’s annexation of Palestinian territory and the transfer of over 750,000 Israelis in Jewish-only settlements knows that, not only is a viable Palestinian State no longer a realistic possibility, but decades of impunity have meant that Israel has never been forced to make such a choice. The same impunity allows Israel to thrive economically and not face the consequences of being an Occupier practicing apartheid. To add insult to injury, the blame for the non-implementation of the two-state solution is placed on the Palestinians, despite Israel’s rejection of the establishment of a viable and sovereign Palestinian State.
Israelis have made no secret of the fact that control and domination of every inch of historic Palestine takes priority over considerations like democracy and even lesser considerations like the rights of Palestinians. Hotovely’s remarks about the two-state solution are the latest in a long list of explicit confessions about Israel’s long-held plan to never allow the creation of a viable Palestinian State. The Israeli ambassador has made no secret of her wish to block the creation of a viable Palestinian State.
In 2021 Hotovely laid out her vision for a greater Israel in an article, “The Five Stage Plan for the Greater Land of Israel.” In it she acknowledges that most Israelis do not want to relinquish control over the Occupied Territories. She claims that previous Israeli leaders avoided annexation solely to avoid dealing with incorporating Palestinians. To overcome this problem, the Israeli ambassador advocates launching a campaign to massively increase Jewish immigration to Israel, seeking two million new Jewish citizens within a decade.
The aim, as described by Hotovely, is to permanently cement Jewish control and supremacy over the entirety of historic Palestine through annexation and selective citizenship policies ensuring a dominant Jewish majority. No independent Palestinian statehood or self-determination is envisioned anywhere in the plan. Instead, it lays out unambiguously a strategy for unilaterally removing any possibility of Palestinian sovereignty and cementing a single unequal state, achieving an expanded and more demographically dominant vision of long-term Jewish control over the entire territory.
Although Hotovely’s radical views represent the largest and most powerful constituency in Israel, Western leaders like Sunak and Lammy not only turn a blind eye to the explicit rejection of a Palestinian State, they use the two-state mantra as “political purity” test to cancel Palestinians and police acceptable speech on Israel and Palestine. The response to pro-Palestine protesters’ use of the slogan “from the river to the sea” is a perfect illustration of this. While ignoring the actual genocide and ethnic cleansing carried out by Israel from the river to the sea, representatives of both major parties, aided by the mainstream media, have portrayed the chant as a call for the genocide of Jews.
Let us not be under any illusion as to why the two-state solution lies in ruins. Facts on the ground created by Israel and the discriminatory nature of the Occupation State make clear that an independent Palestinian State existing peacefully next to it is pure fantasy. Decades of relentless Israeli settlement expansion in Occupied Territory have left Palestinians fragmented and corralled into ever-shrinking cantons devoid of territorial contiguity or economic viability. Once all the land grabs are accounted for, only around 15 per cent of historic Palestine remains for what would be an unworkable and unviable Palestinian “State”.
The UN itself has stated a Palestinian State should comprise of the West Bank and Gaza Strip – itself only 22 per cent of the territory. Yet, so much has already been devoured that even by the most optimistic measures, less than half of the 22 per cent is still available under the mirage of “two states.”
If Israel had any interest in a two-state solution it would not have continued on a path that kills hope before it is born. Illegal settlements and the separation wall snaking beyond the Green Line have pushed Palestinians into disconnected enclaves, unable to function as a nation. To make matters worse, the relentless Zionist colonisation project has continued unabated, despite decades of toothless UN resolutions condemning violations of international law.
Hotovely is right about one thing – there is “absolutely no” chance for the two-state solution because she is an architect in its destruction.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.