Mouin Rabbani in The National:
Even in the event of a transformation of American policy, the prospect for a viable two-state settlement has almost certainly been overtaken by reality. By waiting until 2009 to reverse the occupation of 1967, in other words, the United States and its partners chose to miss the boat.
For all intents and purposes, every Israeli under the age of 50 has grown up with the doctrine that the Green Line does not exist, that the West Bank is in fact Judea and Samaria, and that the latter – liberated rather than occupied territories – are the historical heartland of the Jewish people. Not a foreign possession or outlying province, but rather as Israeli as Tel Aviv, if not more so. The last time these territories were under Arab rule, Netanyahu was a teenager and Avigdor Lieberman was completing elementary school in the Soviet Union. For more than a decade, Israel’s leaders have successfully persuaded their population that concessions to their adversaries produce not peace and compromise but rather more violence stemming from a fundamental Arab desire to eradicate Israel.
Currently, almost 10 per cent of Israel’s Jewish population lives in settlements beyond the green line. Conservatively estimating that an additional 20 per cent of Israeli citizens would vote against a full withdrawal to the 1967 boundary, and that a significant minority of this total would seek to obstruct and engage in active opposition, some of it violent, to a government decision to implement such a withdrawal, it is difficult to see how the Israeli government could successfully engineer an end to the occupation, even under severe international pressure. In the foreseeable future a French withdrawal from Alsace-Lorraine or an American repudiation of Hawaii seems more likely.