I hesitated before weighing in on the flurry of activity taking place around Israel and Palestine after the U.S. seems to have finally decided to act. I felt that all that needs to be said has been written and rewritten ad infinitum, including by me. That now at the eleventh hour the U.S. seems to be waking up to the reality Israel has created on the ground with unfettered U.S. support over seven decades, struck me at first as anticlimactic. But on deeper reflection and seeing the continuous flow of commentary, I notice that no one has yet mentioned one important and potentially game-changing way of framing this latest development.
During the past two years, U.S. government officials have been meeting with everyone willing to meet with them to explore what the Obama Administration can do, given the dangerous state of affairs in the Israeli militarily occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. Jerusalem-based U.S. Consulate staff, Washington D.C.-based State Department staff, researchers with the Congressional Research Service, numerous Inside the Beltway think tank experts, and many more were dispatched to Palestine and Israel to gain insights on possible ways forward.
Three possible options were floated: having the Administration take UN action at the Security Council against Israeli settlement building; making a policy speech which lays outs the Administration’s understanding of the parameters for a resolution of the conflict; or recognizing the State of Palestine, as over 130 countries have already done. I repeatedly made the case for the recognition of Palestine, which I believe is the only policy action possible at this late hour that would have irrevocably binding legal ramifications, not to mention being a real step forward to preserve the two-state solution.