Israeli President Shimon Peres today sought to break the stalemate regarding the creation of a Palestinian state by proposing to allow a state with ill-defined “temporary borders.” This would be coupled with the promise that “this would not be the end of the negotiations” and that eventually there would be some sort of permanent border worked out.
Of course Peres’ power is very limited in the nation and Israel’s actual leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is not expected to be nearly so conciliatory, particularly amid pressure from members of his right-wing Likud Party not even to utter the phrase “Palestinian state.”
In fact parliamentary speaker Reuven Rivlin insists Netanyahu doesn’t believe in the “two states for two peoples” concept in the first place. Rather the government seems intent on growing the settlements in the West Bank and sees the “Palestinian problem” as one to be solved not through negotiations with the Palestinians, but through pressure on Israel’s Arab neighbors.
To that end, officials from neighboring Egypt say the Obama Administration is heavily pressuring the Arab world to normalize relations with Israel immediately as part of an attempt to achieve a “comprehensive peace” in the region. Obama has come out in favor of a Palestinian state, but in doing so has sparked outrage in Israel and among members of his own party.
US diplomats are now conceding that they don’t expect Netanyahu to commit to any of the administration’s demands, that he will neither speak out in favor of a two-state solution nor agree to halting the expansion of the settlements. It seems then that those hoping for a resolution to the many decades long conflict will wind up disappointed.