The Fading Two-State Solution

Jan 23, 2016 · 286 comments
Shaun Narine (Fredericton, Canada)
This entire editorial could have been written, literally, decades ago. It has been obvious for that long that what this piece describes is happening. The intention of Israel's right wing to establish "facts on the ground" in occupied Palestine is something that Likud was openly stating back in the 1970s. The rapid pursuit of Illegal settlement building has gone on under every Israeli government, as has the brutal dual standard of justice. Jewish settlers have been shooting Palestinians and beating them, at random, since the 1980s. It has been clear what Israel is evolving into for at least that long.

The US is, ultimately, responsible for this. It is the US that has enabled Israel's worst tendencies; it is the US that refuses to use its considerable clout to rein in Israel. The US just offers empty condemnations even as it feeds Israel with more and more advanced weapons and allows right wing Americans to finance illegal settlements in Palestine.

Implement sanctions now. Cut back on US funding of Israel. Hold off on providing Israel with arms. Make it clear that the US dog is not being wagged by the Israeli tail. The US has to take responsibility for what it has done and act to stop it. If it does not, its complicity in this situation will be complete.
Tom (Jerusalem)
However bizarre it may sound to foreign ears, the settlements are not the real problem for the two states solution. In fact, Israel is doing the palestinians a favour by expanding the settlements since without the settlements the palestinians would have no excuse not to recognize Israel's right to exist in its legitimate borders as a Jewish State, they would have to agree to the division of palestine, including East Jerusalem, and they would have to accept that the Palestinian refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and other refugee camps will never return to their former homes in what is now Israel. No Palestinian leader would ever agree to those concessions and stay alive.
Interesting how the Israelis do not demolish the homes of the settler extremists when they commit terrorist acts on Palestinians.

Why my taxes go to support this repressive country is beyond me. Obama should halt all tax payer financial support to Israel immediately, even if it only lasts one year. The double standard of Israel demanding its right to exist while maliciously and actively denying the Palestinian nation's right to exist is truly revealing.

Unfortunately Hamas and other extremists on the Palestinian side have hijacked the Palestinians legitimate cause and continue to destroy any small bit of good will they might be able to get within Israel. They have only fed and kept alive the worst Israel has to offer. However, it is hard to imagine peaceful protests or peaceful civil disobedience by Palestinians would change the Israelis goal to victimize them further and taking over their homes - after they have demolished them all.
pcohen (France)
The two state solution has not arrived. It is not wanted by Israel, and that situation is tolerated now for over 60 years by the world who prefers to hope. Hope is like a wall behind which the most unreal ideas can hide. The understatement in this Editorial 'it may already be too late' is significant. It may be too late? It is too late a long time already and no polite and politically correct text will change that. Zionism is not the main culprit.It has stated by its most representative people that all of Israel belongs to the jews. Ben Gurion said it from 1948! If the world would have wanted to see it would have checked Israel. Who is responsible for being fooled? For wanting to be fooled?
John Q. Citizen (New York)
The Palestinians are a proud people, and they never were going to accept the sort of rump state that certain Zionists were at times willing to set aside for them. The only solution here is to follow the lead of Sweden, Germany, and the United States in embracing diversity. This means an end to Israel's infamous "Law of Return", which gives an unqualified right of immigration to Jews who have not had a connection to that land for over 20 centuries, but denies it to Palestinians who may have been born there. Diversity is America's strength as it is Germany's and Sweden's and the UK's, as it would be Israel's. I understand that the Israelis, having been reared on the Zionist belief in a Jewish ethno-state (surely an anachronism!), are hesitant. But that is where their diversity-embracing relations in America can make a real contribution, by pushing for open borders for Israel. They can begin with African migrants, hundreds of thousands of whom are desperate to enter Israel for better lives, and then push to expand it to include Syrian migrants. The Israeli Zionists will see that diversity is not the end of the world, and get used to the idea of not living in a unitary ethno-state. Then the borders can be opened up to Palestinian refugees from Jordan and Lebanon, with full citizenship rights for all. And with that, problem solved.

Mr. Netanyahu, tear down your walls! At least against Africans for a start.
Jonatan Braun (Berlin)
What the editorial board is leaving out of it's deliberations about the state of the two-state solution is one fact, that is admittedly often reiterated by Israeli politicians, however remains unquestionably true.

The fact that if Israel would be able to pull of a one-state solution the country would not be a predominantly Jewish state anymore. In modern Israel 20 percent of the population are Arabic-Israelis already, add the Palestinians to that number (I believe about4,5 million people) and only a bit over 55% of the country would remain Jewish. The sole purpose of the founding of Israel was to create a Jewish state. With a 45% Arabic population Israel couldn't call itself that anymore. Now I for one have enough faith in the Israeli government, even under Netanyahu a man I can't claim to agree with on most issues, to believe that they won't force the Palestinians to flee Israel, or would set up a system comparable to segregation or Apartheid. No country in the Arab world, including Jordan, would ever give the Palestinians Asylum, or a path to integration.

So while I agree with the editors, that the current political developments in Israel are deeply troubling, I don't see a one-state solution as a possibility, simply because it would lead to the demise of the Jewish state.
David Gottfried (New York City)
What will happen if there is a two state solution and Israel cedes the West Bank to the so called "Palestinians." Israel will, once again, be 9 miles thick at her point of greatest population concentration. The result for Israel? It will make her extremely vulnerable to attack and liquidation. But you say that America will defend her. Israel can't count on it. All allies are eventually discarded as America eventually recognized mainland China after swearing to Formosa it would never do that, and America eventually gave up on Vietnam (which was the right thing to do but space limitations preclude an explanation). Also, Arab-Americans are becoming a more potent force in American politics, and as more Jews intermarry the Jewish vote becomes less important; this will result in less pressure to support Israel. But you say that the Arabs, who outnumber the Jews by about 100 to 1, may opt not to attack Israel. The recent history of the region reveals that there has been no decline in Arab antipathy: After Israel withdrew troops from positions South of the Litani River, in Lebanon, did the Arabs show appreciation, softened their stance or deigned to talk peace? No. They loaded up Leb with missiles. Ditto after Israel withdrew from Gaza. The Muslim world is violent. When Shiites and Sunnis battle they have drilled power tools into one another's skulls. Given the way they treat one another, how would they treat the Jews and how can we be expected to trust them.
EEE (1104)
The new reality is that, as our dependence of Mideast oil continues to wane, Israel is no longer the vital outpost of the West.
Now it's up to Israel to confront this new reality by assuming a leadership role in enhancing their own stability. Land grabs and egregious injustices are the wrong way to go. Rather, Israel can be an honest broker in helping to bring a tormented part of the world into the 21st century.
While difficult, it is a respectable path that will enhance Israel's potential as a leading nation and help secure a more promising future.
Netanyahu is a dinosaur. He clings to the fiction that deceit and aggression are Israel's path to glory. It's well past time for new leadership. And, if need be, American Jews need to show the way, while the opportunity still exists.
Joshua Schwartz (Ramat-Gan)
"Was killed by a Palestinian terrorist"

Well that is new. The word "terrorist" was used instead of militant.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has nixed the badge idea, for lobbyists, and the bill will demand that sources of funding be public. And just what is wrong with that? In the end it will apply to all lobbyists of all political persuasions.

As for the two state solution, if the offers of Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert had been accepted, then all this would now be in the realm of historians and not politicians. The Palestinian demands are beyond what any Israeli government would accept, including probably even a Meretz government. Bottom line: accept for total capitulation, nothing the Israeli government, any Israeli government offers will ever be acceptable.
Ed (NYC)
It is sad to see such distortions presented as truth even in an editorial. The 200 or so knife attacks by Palestinians have been actively praised by Hamas, Hizbollah, the PA and its head Abbas. The families of the Palestinian perpetrators are given financial rewards and are treated as heros by PA media and leaders. The 3 - 4 attacks by Jewish Israelis against Palestinians, including the arson attack, have all led to arrests. In addition they were all condemned in the papers, Israeli television and the Knesset (Parliament). That you could even hint otherwise is shameful distortion of both numbers and severity. The fact is that Jewish "vigilantism" is looked upon with extreme severity by Israelis and the police almost always arrest those who do it. With rare exceptions (especially the arson attack of several months ago) it consists of vandalism. On the other hand, Palestinian attacks always, without exception, consists of fatal attacks or attempts.
There is no honest way to equate the two.
All Arab organizations openly declare their goal of eliminating Israel. Israel's goal (and apparent crime) is that it exists.
Your reporting is completely dishonest.

media2 (DC)
It appears that the NYT does not think in biblical time. Two states will emerge just as they did in 1948 - with the guns of the region focused on Israel - and never really stopped with several notable exceptions. The roiling opposition to the existence appears to be giving way as the Arab world, besieged by US policy, moves closer to Israel on core strategic interests. Time to change the lens. Two states will emerge. Side by side. Just like the 1948 UN resolution expressed.
paul (st louis)
It's time for a one-state solution, where Jews, Palestinians and Christians have true equality. No more segregation. No more Jim Crow, in which only Jews are allowed to live in certain neighborhoods. All people have equal votes.
Unless that happens, we need to boycott all goods from Israel, just like we did during apartheid South Africa.
David Kesler (Berkeley)
Some thoughts from a committed Progressive:

So....whats so wrong with a single state solution - especially when
your "partner" has demonstrated a sincere desire to wipe you off the map?

Sadly, the Palestinian leadership has been abysmal from the start of this "crisis" which basically started after 1967. The populations that call themselves Palestinian are widely varied and contain plenty of families that are fully aware that Israel is by far the healthiest and one of the most beautiful of places to live freely in the Middle East.

the population also contains racists, fanatics, and religious extremists who are fueled and connected quite often to the cancer of Islamic extremism.

Israel under Netanyahu - who I don't like and is very much a right wing bludgeon - nevertheless has and is taking what I think is now a reasonable position: The middle east is a vast place with plenty of room for populations that through extremism or anti-semitism cannot bear to live in a country run by the Jews. God bless 'em. Let them leave the one state of Israel, the one Jewish state on the planet.

Meanwhile Israel will strengthen itself by establishing facts on the ground that generally are inhabited by peaceful folks. Hopefully it will prosecute its own fanatics. And hopefully it will develop a fully vetted and equal justice system for all - AFTER the crazies are driven out of the country or imprisoned.

And I AM a liberal.
Stieglitz Meir (Givataim, Israel)
Thinking History, two fundamental truths are revealed about the chances of the two-state solution: As to the Israelis, they are getting much more than they deserve from Moral-Historical considerations, namely, a legitimization and enormous military and economic support in their drive to keep on delegitimizing fundamental norms of the International Society and abuse some of its core Universal values. Israel's main shtick: playing the Victimhood card by pimping the Holocaust victims' memory while at the same time presenting the world with a tacit massive strategic threat by its “special means”. By pouring billions on billions of dollars on Israel the Obama administration made the occupation not just easy but (with Adelson and company) actually profitable.

As to the Palestinians, they will get what they deserve from a realistic point of view, namely, a falling from History. About a decade from now they'll either be wailing a second Nakba or still under Israeli occupation. Their cardinal mistake: operating under the illusion that they are the spear-head of an Arab/Muslim unified long-term historical campaign against Israel and not realizing that they are just a rather abandoned and weak people facing a national foe with a near-global strategic capabilities and a cunning skill in presenting its structural geopolitical security predicament as a clear and immediate existential danger. The two-state solution will most probably be realized on both sides of the Jordan River.
Jason Shapiro (Santa Fe , NM)
Fading? Please, you insult the intelligence of your readers. The two state solution died when Netanyahu became prime minister, even as he lied, dissembled, and conned American administrations with his earnest handwringing that he was doing his best. That there is zero chance of a two state solution is only part of the problem. What is truly fading is Israel's claim to be a western, democratic state. Where Israel is heading - quickly - is towards the kind of one party, ultra religious nationalist authoritarian state currently seen in Modi's India and Edrogan's Turkey. Here's the thing: within 2-3 generations, the oil in the ME will be gone and swill Israel's strategic primacy. Israel will become essentially another Turkey or India - nations with whom we engage when necessary but not with any genuine closeness or affinity.
HH (Rochester, NY)
The solution to the conflict lies in expanding the lands to be considered for Palestinian-Arab autonomy. That would include parts of neighboring Sinai and Jordan. Most people in the Kingdom of Jordan are either refugees from western Mandate Palestine or their descendants. Jordan itself was part of Mandate Palestine.
Schwartzy (Bronx)
Your editorial does not go far enough nor place the situation in stark enough contrast. Palestinian houses are routinely destroyed, all outside the rule of law, so land can be illegally annexed by 'settlers.' Let's be clear: This has been going on since at least 1975, which a quick search of the NYT front pages will easily show. This breaking of the UN mandate -- and flagrant nose-thumbing of US policy, under both Republican and Democratic administrations -- has accelerated to the point of no return. Whenever I read one of these pieces criticizing Israel, they all read like the writer just realized this is occurring. There is no perspective on the long-term sotto-voce plan by Israel to destroy Palestinian freedom and steal their land. Forget what they say, look at what is happening on the ground every day. It is a slow-moving outrage. Israel's flagrant law-breaking and their faux outrage at being criticized for it remind me of the saying: Who you going to believe, me or your lying eyes.
Larry (Michigan)
For past decades many in America believed that Israel for the Jews was more important than the claims of the people actually born in the area. Jews some how had a divine right to that part of the world. Not true. The people born in the area had to recognize the Jews and Israel before they could be recognized as having any value as a people. They had to be subservient and the deaths that Israel caused by using its arsenal of mass destruction was somehow different. Our papers reported that they were only being proactive or protecting themselves even when the facts proved that not to be the case. We even overlooked Israel's known terrorist groups. A two state solution is not in Israel's interest, never has been. Arabs have firmly rejected the idea that Israel is the father and everyone else must play the role of children. The idea has long been rejected that Israel has a divine right to the land not only by Arabs but by a majority of Americans.
Tom Paine (Charleston, SC)
If a two-state solution is not to be then what is the future for Israelis and Palestinians? With the probable failure of two-state then either Palestinians become accepted as Israeli citizens with the associated full-rights or Israel devolves into a country in which aparthide rules. Just as the "facts" of Jewish settlements portend a one-state the "facts" of millions of Palestinians portends a dilemma for Israel's leadership; and for future unwayvering US support.

Does anyone believe that millions of Palestinians will suddenly or even slowly become citizens in an ever more firmly pronounced Jewish state? Do Israel's Jewish leaders believe the Palestinians will maraculously disappear? That their lives will be made so miserable that they will simply go away. Is that the plan? That appears to be the direction Israel is heading.

One day the US will wake up to the realization that its favored middle east democracy - one in which it has showered hundreds of billions - isn't really one; in fact it's an apartheid state with a huge subjugated and persecuted population under its thumb. Then what?
R. A. Rockaway (Arsuf, Israel)
This editorial finally recognizes what has been evident for years: Prime minister Netanyahu has no intention of allowing a Palestinian state to be established. It is clear that under his leadership Israel is on the road to becoming an apartheid state.
Boo Radley (Florida)
Your assessment of the situation would have been legitimate, even helpful, 20 or 25 years ago. It could have moved America forward in cutting through Israeli mythology and propaganda. But today, it's just more cover for what's already an accepted Israeli policy. It's too late and you should acknowledge your role in what will eventually be the complete ethnic cleansing of the native people of Palestine.
ehgnyc (New York, NY)
Fundamentalism is dangerous, no matter who is practicing it. "The land is ours, because God promised it to Abraham."
Lee Harrison (Albany)
Israel is on a path that leads to great evil, and many Israelis know it. There will be blood, a lot of it, the questions are when and whose and what the state of Israel looks like afterwards.

The US has very little real influence on this, and there is the grave danger of unintended consequences, and "owning" a mess because we became ineffectually involved. Trying to stop a fight between two drunks in a bar by jawboning at them doesn't always work out well.

Put simply, very few Americans can accept the Zionist claim to own "Judea and Samaria." Those of us who are not of native American extraction would then be forced to hand the country back to those who are, and leave.

Hertzl's original Zionism was "A land without people, for a people without land." There was of course no such thing that was habitable; Zionists did not consider settling Antarctica.

A plea to "can't you just get along?" seems ever more delusional.
ianwriter (New York)
Get real. It's too late now for a two state solution. Israel is going to be one state with an eventual Palestinian majority. Which means that one day, however long and bloody the process, it will cease to be a Jewish state. That will be Netanyahu's legacy.
Principia (St. Louis)
Israel's reaction to a simple truthful statement demonstrates the ugly nature of this regime, a regime where truth is considered treason.

Obama didn't go far enough.
An iconoclast (Oregon)
How many more years- decades will it take before the editorial board and others acknowledge or openly admit that right wing Israel has no intention of doing anything that might improve the Palestinian's lot.

Seriously, don't you get it? Right wing Israel's intention is to continue squeezing the Palestinians until they give up any and all aspirations for human dignity. And this from a people who have made their own misfortune a warning to humanity to never again do what Israel is doing. Amazing isn't it?
Chicago Guy (Chicago, Il)
Let's start a national petition to end funding for Israel.

Anyone else in?
dadzeno (Kirkland Washingon)
Slight correction: change "may be too late" to "is too late." What about a single state where Jews and non-Jews are full citizens?
Independent (the South)
Testifying again in front of Congress in 2002, Netanyahu claimed that Iraq’s nonexistent nuclear program was in fact so advanced that the country was now operating “centrifuges the size of washing machines.”

Netanyahu said, "If you take out Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region."

And he has been telling us since 1996 that Iran would soon have a nuclear bomb.

Why would anyone believe Mr. Netanyahu?
David Lockmiller (San Francisco)
I think that one word should be changed in the first line of this editorial. The revised first line should read: "Given the brittle relations between the Obama administration and Israel, ESPECIALLY truth-telling can ignite a firestorm."

The last thing that Benjamin Netanyahu and the majority of Israeli's want to hear about Israel's expansion of settlements on Palestinian lands is the truth. Netanyahu appealed to the majority of Israeli's when he promised unequivocally on Israeli national television, just before his recent re-election as Prime Minister of Israel, that there would be no two-state solution approved by his administration.

Netanyahu had to "walk back" this statement AFTER his election to avoid world-wide condemnation. In other words, Netanyahu was back to telling lies. And, the last thing that Netanyahu wants to be forced to tell is the truth.
Bonnie Rothman (NYC)
If any of the authors of this editorial spent even a few minutes looking up the history of this area they would have discovered that the original separation of the Palestine Mandate went about 90 percent to Arab and Muslim dominated areas and the Jews got the remainder which was mostly arid and desert. Hello? The area was separated into Arab and Jewish areas 70 years ago. That was the original "two state" solution. The Arabs have resented it ever since and vowed to erase it -- no matter how long it takes.
S.L. (Briarcliff Manor, NY)
The Palestinians have been offered 95% of what they wanted many times in the last few decades., They have rejected the offer every time because all they want is a one state solution with only Arabs occupying all the land including Israel. They have already said if they do get a state Jews are not allowed to live there.

Palestinians are the only ones who are allowed to claim refugee status after 66 years. All other refugees lose that status after 5. These people are not refugees, they are great grandchildren of those who left Israel, yet the UN has a special refugee program just to support them. Their refugee camps are not tent cities but towns with houses and businesses. They may whine about being refugees but they are not. Their Arab neighbors have kept them as pawns.

Jews have lived in Israel for centuries. The New Testament lays claim to that fact. Jesus was born in Bethlehem and visited the Temple in Jerusalem. Why are only Arabs allowed to believe it is their land. Israel has already given up territory it seized in wars which it didn't start. Gaza is an example of what the Palestinians will do when they are allowed to govern. They destroyed all the buildings left behind that were thriving businesses, they have used the area to lob rockets at civilians in Israel. Household goods and medicines enter Gaza daily so they shouldn't be suffering, except that Hamas steals from them. There will be no peace till Palestinians believe in a two state solution.
Anar Cissie (NYC)
The two-state solution has been dead for many years. Since then, the idea has been nothing more than a con game. There is one state in Israel-Palestine, regardless of passes at creating a Bantustan for the Palestinians. Let us recognize the facts, and move on for an end to the apartheid.
Eugene Windchy. (Alexandria, Va.)
We complain about the West Bank settlements and also finance them.
Historic Home Plans (Oregon)
Radical thought, and I'm sure it sounds rather neo-colonialist...
But is there a time when it's fair to say that a "people", through their extreme inability or unwillingness to govern in a just and peaceful way, lose the right to rule their own country?
Is there a time when a world body such as the UN should step in, separate the warring parties, remove power, funds, and all the other tools of government from the hands of BOTH parties involved, and administer the state itself?
It could then institute a body of laws, a police force, a military, and gradually, step by step, allow both sides to participate in governance.
DLP (Brooklyn, New York)
It is taken as a given that lands that were Palestine during the Ottoman Empire should belong to and be inhabited by the people who lived there and only them. Even the Arabs living there over the centuries immigrated from and to surrounding areas. When the Jews began purchasing land in the late 1800s it was deemed an abomination by the Arabs, period. Why shouldn't they have been permitted to immigrate? Had the Arabs not greeted the immigrants with hostility and war, the state of Israel probably would never have come to be, Zionist dream or not. Clearly, there were far more Arabs than Jews at the time; a Jewish state in half the country would have been absurd and unnecessary. It's important to remember how this utter mess came to be.
Eric Damian (San Diego)
There is a Palestinian state and it's called Jordan. The last thing the only civilized country in that region needs is another established terrorist state on its boarder.

Adhere to the boarders set forth in the White Papers and tell the Arabs to quit using these "refugees" as pawns.
James Murphy (Providence Forge, Virginia)
One should read an interesting article in the current issue of The New Yorker. Written by the publication's editor, David Remnick, it portrays an ultra right-wing government that is not only virulently opposed to anything that will lead to a two-state solution, but which appears determined to do everything in its power to instigate never-ending conflict in the Middle East.
Mike James (Charlotte)
The NYT Editorial Board accusing others of "personal and unfair" criticism? The hypocrisy is laughable.

Physician, heal thyself.
Netanyahu and his right wing government are used to having their way with the U.S. Ambassador acting as a kind of surrogate spokesperson for Israel.

That is why it is good to see Ambassador Daniel Shapiro recognizing that America's best interests are not supported by unwavering acquiescence to the prime minister. It must be frustrating to Bibi and no doubt he hopes for a Cruz or Rubio or perhaps a Clinton to restore the old order in a succession of subservient U.S. Ambassadors to Israel.

For now, bravo Ambassador Shapiro.
rf (Arlington, TX)
As long as Netanyahu or any member of the right-wing in Israel is prime minister there will be no two-state solution. Haven't we learned that right-wingers do not compromise or negotiate to reach solutions to problems?
Mark Snyder (Sunny Isles Beach)
I would hardly call the Netsnyahu gov't "right-wing," if anything it is middle-of-the-road. Most of the world would prefer us dead and Israel eliminated. We Jews all know this. After the last war with Gaza, you hear fewer and fewer voices of dissent to policies which protect and defend our right to exist. You must be blind or bent on our extermination not to read the Palestinian program as one calling for our complete annihilation. Fortunately, we are almost all now wise to that aim
Jim Loomis (Van Etten, NY)
Israel is a money sink and a one-way street. We are reaping what we have sown and it's not a good crop. Yet another theocracy and all that comes with it.
Ryan (New York)
I think the people or leaders of Israel are greedy people, but actions speak louder than words.
BROOM (Boca Raton, FL)
The glaring error in this editorial is the statement that Israel is expanding settlements on "Palestinian lands." What makes it Palestinian land? For example, the recent acquiring of 370 dunams of land in the Jordan Valley was of land that had no prior ownership or any claims of ownership. It was literally empty, unclaimed land. It was previously part of Jordan's illegal occupation of the West Bank from 1948 to 1967. Yet, in the eyes of the New York Times and the progressive left, that land is considered "Palestinian." Ironically, during that period (1948-1967), there was no "Palestinian people" and no national movement to create a Palestinian state. The Arabs at that time were devoted to one thing only: the destruction of Israel and the elimination of the Jews. For proof, read the Charter of the PLO in 1964. The fact is that all of the West Bank and all of Jerusalem (and all of Jordan, for that matter) were granted specifically for the future state of Israel, codified by international law by all the major world powers in 1922 at the San Remo Conference. That mandate has never been legally abrogated or annulled. The West Bank is Israeli land, currently occupied by lots of Arabs.
Frank (Columbia, MO)
May American resources never be used in defense of any Israeli need in consequence of West Bank settlements and let that be a stated policy now.
Gerard (PA)
I happened to be visiting Israel in 2005 as a small step towards a two-state solution was tested, so I offer the perspective of my Israeli co-workers.

In August, Israeli troops moved into Gaza to forcibly remove settlers and to bulldoze their houses, Jewish settlers that is, to enable the return of Gaza to Palestinian control. It was intended by Prime Minister Sharon as a beginning for peaceful co-existence, but …

Aug. 28 - A Palestinian carrying explosives blew himself up during rush hour Sunday morning in Beersheba, the first act of suicide terrorism since Israel pulled its settlers out of the Gaza Strip last week.


Jan. 4 - The chaos in Gaza continued Wednesday, as some gunmen blocked access to the border crossing with Egypt, others used stolen bulldozers to smash through the border wall between Egypt and Gaza and still others fired a barrage of Qassam rockets toward the Israeli towns of Sederot and Ashkelon, and toward the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel.


Those who advocate any solution for Israel must consider how to incorporate and respond to the multitude of independent actors who will ignore that solution in favor of their own deeply rooted objectives sustained by decades of hatred.
Great American (Florida)
The nations surrounding Israel along with their Israeli Arab allies declared war and attacked Israel in formal wars during the 1940's, 1950's, 1960's and 1970's. israel prevailed in all those formal war battles each time pushing the enemy back, but never receiving in return, unconditional pledges of peace.

Lesser informal skirmishes against Israel and Israelis and Jews in Israel and around the world have occurred regularly during the same 6 decade period with the Stated Intent of the destruction of the Jewish State and annihilation of all the worlds Jews. The nations surrounding Israel, with the exception of Jordan and Egypt have not rescinded their declarations of war and annihilation, nor so have the Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.

Knowing all this history and current fact, it amazes me that The NY Times Editors continue to expect Israel to unilaterally disarm it's defensive territory and commit suicide by diplomacy without any change in the genocidal aims of it's neighbors and Israeli Arabs.
Joe Yohka (New York)
with the chaos and genocide in Syria, Iraq and other places, this is the least of our worries
BRussell (Boston, MA)
Indeed, such chaos gives brash Israeli expansionists cover for further illegal occupation. Does not bode well.
Bill Kaup (Lutherville, MD)
What isn't clear to me is why there isn't more dissent in Israel towards Netanyahu and his policies. There should be no debate about the West Bank. It belongs to the Palestinians and Israel is guilty of grabbing their land. There is absolutely no justification for their behavior.
hyoss (Dallas)
Two state solution?? Try a three state solution. If anyone believes Israel can negotiate with a PA that has no control over Hamas Gaza or even over Hamas elements within the West Bank is clueless.
Carolyn (Saint Augustine, Florida)
Netanyahu is leading Israel down a perilous path. He is rapidly losing global support; and Israel's mistreatment of Palestinians coupled with Netanyahu's duplicity is only going to isolate Israel more and erase any sympathy toward a Jewish state. Stealing, whether it be land or assets, is not respected, and no amount of "legal" machinations is going to justify Israeli theft of Palestinian land. If it continues, Israel's only path will be an inclusive state both religiously, ethnically and territorially, which means that the Jewish identity will - and must - be abandoned in favor of peace. There is simply no other recourse if the two state solution is not resurrected, respected and earnestly sought. Clearly, Netanyahu and his ilk prefer thievery and risking a rogue state status.
PrairieFlax (Grand Isle, Nebraska)
Simplest solution of all: Palestinians stop murdering Israeli innocents and Israel will support a two-state solution. Stop the murdering terrorists on the leashes held by Iran; Hamas; the PLO and peace will be at hand.
Jack Ryan (Philadelphia)
Is there a double standard at work in Israel and the West Bank?


When Jews attack Arabs, the world demands that Israel bring the perpetrators to justice. Israel is lectured on the evils of colonialism and apartheid.

When Arabs attack Jews, the world shrugs, and looks the other way as the Palestinian Authority renames streets and schools in honor of the murderers, and grants generous pensions to their families.
FYI (Potomac, MD)
Hmmm, the editorial board had to refer all the way back to an incident against a Palestinian that was back in July(!), while noting of one that day(!) against an Israeli. That reveals the asymetric nature of the extremism and violence -- OFTEN against Israelis, and SELDOM against Palestinians. No amount of violence is ever tolerable, but let's NOT confuse an overwhelming law-abiding group of individuals with one that's largely belligerent in nature. Their name may not be 'ISIS' or Al Queda, but their lack of modern, humanitarian values doesn't make them likely partners for peace.
C.C. Kegel,Ph.D. (Planet Earth)
This badge brings to mind the yellow stars.
Kalidan (NY)
Three points, and a solution I can think of:

First, the way Israelis treat Palestinians is horrendous; a key reason why I - despite my heavily Jewish-like identity, and devotion to Israeli causes - would never visit. The coarseness would be too much to bear; I would be immediately arrested when I tell a uniformed person who asks about my bona fides with gruff hostility and suspicion, and a clear intent to harass - to ... off. I saw how a mob killed a Somalian Jew - assuming he was an Arab, without so much as a hint of remorse. It is not a society that walks on water.

Second, why should ordinary Palestinians live this way; what is good and worth saving in Gaza and the West Bank? People move, don't they? Two million people left Syria, highly motivated and under duress. I would wager no one is going back willingly. All the talk about "my land" is nonsense; if it were true, we all would be crowded in the rift valley.

Third, the two state solution is impossible, co-existence is impossible. Not when there is no real Palestinian leadership, not when proxies of Iran and Saudi Arabia (and related malcontents) run things. Not when the outcome Palestinians want is the swift destruction of every Jewish person.

Ergo the solution: all the money spent on the region could have by now, ensured the relocation of every single Palestinian from Gaza and the West Bank to other countries, and given them a decent head start. It is not too late to begin.

James Mc Carten (Oregon)
De facto annexation is surely the intent of right wing radical Mr. Netanyahu. The de facto internment of the citizenry of Gaza, terrorism is assured in perpetuity.
Mladen Andrijasevic (Beer Sheva, Israel)
You write “Even truth-telling can ignite a firestorm.” You must be joking. You have no idea what is going on in the Middle East.

President Obama’s appeasement of Iran through the Iran Deal and his support of the Muslim Brotherhood are disastrous policies the consequences of which neither he nor the P5+1 political elites are capable of predicting since they lack the intellectual courage to find the truth about Islamic ideology in general and Shia eschatology in particular.

Our political elites are in complete denial. One just has to look at the Cologne incident’s police report to understand what the consequences of refusing to find the truth for ourselves are. The surprise coming from Iran would be orders of magnitude worse.

What can we do? What we can do is send this Obama end of term countdown counter to our friends, and in so doing make a statement that we disagree with these absurd policies and give them a reminder that this nightmare will eventually end.
ch (Indiana)
One approach that hasn't been tried: Recruiting religious leaders to lead negotiations. Both sides may be skeptical of Christian politicians doing the mediating. Maybe a team led by Pope Francis and including a rabbi and a Muslim cleric would achieve more progress.
JW (New York)
Wonder what the NY Times editorial would have been if a US ambassador was caught red-handed calling for the US government to directly orchestrate efforts to manipulate the politics -- much less than the removal of the government -- of another sovereign country in Asia, Latin America and especially in any Arab country by means of front organizations, payments, agitation, and intelligence agencies? Why, we'd be seeing the NY Times shaking its fist in righteous indignation. Add apoplectic conniptions if against a US ally. But instead, we see the NY Times promoting one standard for the Jewish state, and another for the rest of the world. I won't throw labels around ... but let's just say it doesn't pass the smell test.
Gerard (PA)
Are those badges available yet?
I suggest we repeat the story of Christian X of Denmark and all wear one, especially the ambassador.
greenie (Vermont)
Perhaps unless you actually live there you should avoid taking sides on the issue? How great was the uproar in the US when Netanyahu dared to come to DC and address Congress in a plea for them to not approve a nuclear deal with Iran? How many articles in this same paper, and comments, all inveighed against Netanyahu, stating that he had no right to tell us in the US how to proceed in this matter. So what gives the Editorial board of the NYT any right to weigh in on this? the US government as well.

And as for the prospects of a 2-state solution, one would have to have 2 sides, equally committed to living in peace. When children are raised to be terrorists and their parents and leaders celebrate that a teenager has stabbed an innocent person to death, often dying themselves in the process, this is not a good portent of a people desiring peaceful coexistence.
Mel Farrell (New York)
The people of Israel have the right to exist, in peace and harmony, on the planet, and of course all nationalities have the precise same right.

Nearly all nationalities, throughput history, have been oppressed, to one degree or another, whether such be economically motivated, and or prejudice motivated because of religious beliefs and racism.

Today, in our modern world, nations continue to oppress, albeit it is now all about economic advantage and superiority, goals deeply hidden from most, as these nations engage in tactics that create and promote division, to achieve control of strategic and resource rich parts of the planet.

The known world leader in this decades long campaign, is the United States, establishing forward bases (1,400 plus) throughout the the world, from where they easily deploy troops and weaponry to quickly take advantage of economic opportunities, they themselves have created, or caused through use proxy actors.

Here, in the "Homeland", a term coined to engender nationalistic fervor, this selfsame tactic is in play, turning citizen against citizen, to keep attention diverted, as the oligarchs cement their control, and continue with their almost complete drive to form the largest, and most powerful, Plutocracy on the planet.

We will live to rue the fact, that "We the Eternally Stupid People", allowed this subjugation to occur, eyes open, and did nothimg.
Mayngram (Monterey, CA)
The words "two-state solution" form an oxymoron of the highest order. Two states will not solve the fundamental underlying longer term problem of finding a viable model of peaceful coexistence of the peoples living in the Israeli-Palestine "region".

The creation of the modern state of Israel, in the context of regional peace, is a failed experiment. In the absence of a substantial, good faith, non-militaristic effort by those residing in the region, time has come to explore alternatives (including the dismantling of Israel) as difficult as that may be.

It would be refreshing to see some American leadership in dealing with the longer term realities of this situation. Otherwise, we are simply digging a deeper hole for supporting a yet another endless on-going conflict in the Middle East.
rixax (Toronto)
Add to this mix the fact that air bnb is renting apartments in disputed settlements and you see that hate and mistrust have nothing to do with this. It's real estate real estate real estate.
ozzie7 (Austin, TX)
The limits of hygemeny is indeed a fuzzy issue, even here in the states. I don't think the issue will get much traction, but for polite query. Don't hold your breath waiting for any taken advice.
D. R. Van Renen (Boulder, Colorado)
The US should support what it says it stands for: democracy. As there is already one state the US should support equal rights. The right of return already exists by International Law. Finis
Historic Home Plans (Oregon)
In the first half of the 20th century over 1 million Jews living across North Africa and the Middle East were hounded out of their homes and their property was confiscated... stolen.

Will they also be allowed "the right of return"? And a return to what? More violence?

What do you imagine would be the fate of a Jew returning right now to Libya to take possession of his ancestral home?
Rlanni (Princeton NJ)
2000: If not now, when?

The two state solution was rejected by the Palestinians. It has always been rejected by the Palistinians. From 1948 till today, Palistinians have chosen war over peace. Until that fundemental fact changes, they will have no country, and no peace. And they will continue to lose land -- that's what happens to those who start wars and lose wars, over and over again.
Historic Home Plans (Oregon)
As one Palestinian colleague said to me, "We were fools. We got half but we wanted it all. Now we have nearly nothing."
trblmkr (<br/>)
"An odious bill introduced by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked would require activists to wear badges when they met government officials, and if groups received funds from foreign entities, they would have to declare it on all correspondence. The measure, which is clearly intended to intimidate government critics, is expected to pass the Knesset."

Wow, it's amazing how quickly rights that are taken for granted, even in a nominal democracy, can be dismantled. The above sounds like something that would happen in China or Putin's Russia. Maybe it's the influence of all those Russian emigres that bolster the right wing there.
Nadeem Khan (Islamabad)
In the title, please replace 'Fading' with 'Long overdue burial of the corpse called...'
Loyd Eskildson (Phoenix, AZ.)
Prodding Israel hasn't come close to working. We need to cut off their economic support.
Jack Archer (Oakland, CA)
You think the two-state "solution" is fading? It died some time ago. Israel is on its way, if not there already, to becoming a pariah state, like South Africa was. It suppresses a large minority (and potentially a majority) of the people living in Israel and Palestine, occupying and confiscating their land, and denying them human and political rights. Given the enormous scope of land seizures and building of settlements, it is now impossible to differentiate bet. what was once Palestinian territory and Israel. So, let's stop pretending that there will be two states. There is de facto only one state, an apartheid state, Israel, which will not endure much longer, we can only hope.
John (Hartford)
Israel is walking straight in the direction of self destruction that was laid out by Isaiah Berlin who was a lifelong but increasingly concerned Zionist before his death in the late 90's (and personal friend of Weizmann one the founders of the state so there is hardly any doubt about his commitment). It's all there in his personal correspondence. He tried to avoid public comment out of loyalty but everything that the Netanyahu government is up to is turning out as he predicted.
abie normal (san marino)
And as George Marshall predicted.
Jeff Atkinson (Gainesville, GA)
Two State was never well and died decades ago. Since then, the corpse has been propped up by the US Government and Israel's water carriers including this newspaper whenever it was useful in diverting attention from the obvious apartheid. But that become a joke and Israel itself has been sending signals to drop it. For the sake of whatever credibility may be left, let it go.
Victor Kava (Arlington, MA)
Israel's settlement project is also, in part, America's. Money is fungible.
When the US provides Israel $3 billion a year in military aid, it frees up Israeli funds for the expensive business of building settlements.
While speaking far and wide of a two-state solution, the US is, in effect, funding something else entirely.
It would be good for the US to either put its money where its mouth is, or to put its mouth where its money is going.
Fred P (Los Angeles)
There will not be a two state solution in the foreseeable future because of the following two simple facts: no Palestinian leader can sign an agreement that recognizes Israel's right to exist and that does not include a meaningful right of return; and no Israeli leader can sign an agreement that includes a meaningful right of return and does not recognize Israel's right to exist. So we have stalemate.
Michael F (Yonkers, NY)
All it will take is for the Palestinians to stop teaching their children that it is glorious thing to kill Jews. You cannot have a two state solution when one state insists on the elimination of the other state. Stop giving money to the Palestinians and you will see them get more serious. Until then Israel has an absolute right to defend herself.
Robert (Out West)
The problem's real simple: neither the current Israeli government nor whatever it is that you call the Palestian "government," seems to have the slightest ability to think about where this goes.

At this rate, Israel is going to end up destroying itself by becoming pretty much the same sort of far-right theocracy that's been attacking Israel since 1947. At this rate, Palestine is going to fall into even tinier pieces, each of which will get used by the bigots and cynics who've been driving Palestinians for decades.

And both will just mirror each other, while a lot of people die. Good thinking, guys.
Donald (Yonkers)
It it's interesting how the NYT takes its lead from the American government. This piece could have been written years ago-- there was no need to wait for an American ambassador to refer to things one have been reading about in various human rights reports from HRW, AI, and B'Tselem.

There is no incentive for Israel to change its behavior so long as the US continues to give them weapons and diplomatic support. Change that and maybe the situation will change. The politics within the US on this subject are part of the problem.
Willful blindness and US politics account for the failure to recognize that West Bank annexation by Israel has been underway for a long time.
Scott Rose (Manhattan)
I am utterly dismayed to see the New York Times so grossly misrepresenting the conflict between Israel and some Arabs.

If one is serious about discussing a two-state solution, then one needs to understand that a two-state solution was very seriously on offer from the U.N. in 1947. It foresaw an Arab state, a Jewish state, and Jerusalem as an international protectorate. Middle Eastern Jews accepted that plan; Arabs overwhelmingly rejected it. Had the two-state plan been accepted, there would have been no wars and no refugees.

So it is not Middle Eastern Jews' fault that Arabs rejected the two-state plan of 1947. This editorial is blaming the victim for the Arab rejection of that two-state plan.

Meanwhile, never mind Hamas, the Palestinian Authority leader Abbas recently has recorded videos praising the jihadist who stab Israeli Jews and deliberately ram their vehicles into them. Abbas says that the jihadists are spilling "pure blood for Jerusalem," that they will be rewarded by Allah in heaven as martyrs and that the "filthy feet" of Jews will never go near their mosque.

The New York Times never reports on those violent incitements from Abbas, and so its readership has a very skewed view of the situation.
Prometheus (Mt. Olympus)

There never was a 2 state solution. Just as long as the radical conservative Israelis and the Brooklyn Crew walk the earth there never will be, because they'll not stop until they have all the "historical" biblical territories.

The 2 state solution is a Tel Aviv and Washington pipe dream.

Its equivalent here would be like getting the GOP to say gov't is the solution.

Sent from iPad
Mel Farrell (New York)
Your mistake is in presuming it's a dream.

The reality is simply that the United States, and it's proxies, will continue to engineer and promote division, throughout the Middle East, and everywhere else, where it sees that this policy will create opportunity to seize control of valuable resources and strategic areas, to further future economic possibilities.

The most powerful nation on the planet, is doing what powerful nations have always done, which is simply divide, and in this modern world, conquer and control it all.

See excerpt and link documenting this policy -

In the January, 1993 document containing “Defense Strategy for the 1990s”, Dick Cheney would write

“Together with our allies, we must preclude hostile nondemocratic powers from dominating regions critical to our interests and otherwise work to build an international environment conducive to our values
another expat (Japan)
It is long past time the Obama administration put Israel on notice that, in the absence of progress toward a two-state solution and a halt to the building of settlements beyond the internationally recognised 1967 borders, the US will forego the use of its veto in the UN in matters of concern to Israel.
DonD (Wake Forest, NC)
For me, Sharon's sabotage of the peace talks in December 2000, with his deliberate provocative march around the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, accompanied by some 500 armed Israeli security troops, was the beginning of the end for Palestinian independence. That move precipitated the second intifada and propelled him into becoming PM a few months later (which appears to have been his intent all along).

Since then, settlement expansions, especially circling East Jerusalem and slicing and dicing the rest of the West Bank into isolated "Bantustans" simply underscores the Zionist strategy of preventing any two state solution.

So, what now? US neocons such as Eliot Abrams and Israel's US stealth agent, AIAPAC, as well as many Israeli hardliners continue to advance the idea that West Bank Palestinians would be far happier in Jordan. So, we see the Netanyahu government doing what they can to make life untenable for the Pals, abetted by violent settlers using such tactics as "Price Tag." Lately, they've even been attacking Christian religious structures.

From where I sit, I don't see how the US can prevent Israel from committing political suicide, ending its pretentious democracy and becoming a Jewish theocracy. And, it only gets there by displacing nearly 3 million Pals. Final solution redux anyone?
Bruce EGERT (Hackensack NJ)
The main impediment to a two state solution is Palestinian leaders hatred for Israel and violence and terror. Arafat in 2000 was handed 97% of what he asked for and rejected it. When Israel evacuated 19,000 of her citizens from Gaza, riots and terror took over. That aside, Israel has been intransigent but can you blame her?
Tobytoo (New York)
The "Two State Solution" has been dead in the water for over a decade, only the US & Europe continue to push this fairytale.
The day Israel returned Gaza to Palestinian control "Two State" died, Hamas was voted into power and has used Gaza to perpetuate its goal of "Destruction of Israel" through incessant terrorist incursions and rocket attacks. Maybe, the dream died the day Arafat balked at Rabins offer of a Palestinian capital in East J'Lem in front of President Clinton at Camp David? I don't know what the Palestinian leaderships goals have been, but engaging in peace negotiations with Israel don't happen when the recent "pre-conditions" are release of hundreds of terrorists with "blood on their hands".
Obama's continued calls for Israel to stop building settlements and roll back to 1967 borders while Israel was under rocket attacks from Gaza, is farcical, as if ceding territory will solve to the Radical Islamic threat Israel faces from the Palestinians. Obamas entire Middle East Policy has been a failure, he was wrong with Mubarak in Egypt, Libya is in chaos and Israelis are expected to follow his lead with the Palestinains?
Israelis know they have a problem with the Palestinians. Maybe not every Palestinian, but enough Palestinians (they voted Hamas into power) have told Israelis again and again that peace with their neighbors is not what they want, they want IT ALL.
Robert (Brooklyn, NY)
Withhold all foreign aid to Israel and the Palestinian authority until a two state solution is reached. Set a time line or this to happen and if it's not met withdraw diplomatic ties. Clearly under the Netanyahu regime, the U.S. Is not working with an ally.
Ken Wallace (Ohio)
With all the supposed focus on "peace & security", one would think Bibi's strategy of tightening the screws on the Palestinians would start to show its merit. Instead we have this constant drone of terrorism, back & forth in endless cycles of vengeance & violence. Obama has re-emphasized the idea of diplomacy in foreign affairs, and shown it can work (see Iran & Cuba) but it has been met with derision by the hard liners both here and in Israel. I'm for what works and Bibi's approach isn't working.
tbs (detroit)
Would you rather be a Palestinian or an Israeli? Until the day comes that the honest answer is: "it does not matter", Israel will remain a violent place. Today no one in their right mind would honestly answer any thing but, I would want to be an Israeli! There are a great many people that believe Israelis want the continued domination and furthermore, the elimination of the Palestinians.
Ray (Texas)
After seeing the Palestinians celebrating in the streets sfter 9/11, I'm not sure why the US government should feel compelled to support them. Let's save our resources for groups that don't publicly rejoice in horrible crimes committed against our country.
heinrich zwahlen (brooklyn)
Now why exactly are we supporting Israel with billions of dollars every year, when they are so arrogant and immune to our demands for more justice ?
At some point we will have to use the power of the purse to bring these folks to their senses.
tom (nj)
looks like your namesake would agree with your suggestions!
robert (litman)
The fixation that the NYTimes editorial board, the Obama administration, and the commenters here have on the two-state solution misses the point. The fact is that at this point there is no two state solution becuase there is no serious intent on the part of the PA to stop the resistance and give up on goals of ending the existnece of the Jewish state of Israel. Period. And it is not just Hamas or Islamic Jihad ot Hezbollah It is also leaders of Fatah who feel this way See for proof
A two-state solution can be established at any time, as long as both parties are supportive of each others' existence. As long as the Palestinian leadership conitues to encourage its people that history and the State of Israel can be reversed, there will be no peace and there will be no two -state solution. It is said 'no justice, no peace' but its really the other way around. First, people must want peace -- a just peace can be negotiated only when there is good faith, a commitment to giving up the resistance. The ingredients to a two state solution are very well known, and have been rejected at least twice by the PA. So a two state solution can come any time the parties want it
Historic Home Plans (Oregon)
Thanks for the link. I hope people will take the time to read it.
Mike (North Carolina)
Unfortunately, too many people on both sides of this conflict appear to be willing to embrace what Thomas Friedman in 1982 called Hama rules which are no rules at all. Since the power on the two sides is not symmetrical, the Israelis are the most likely to win, if what they end up creating can be called winning. Sadly, Israel is drifting toward becoming an apartheid state which others nations around the world recognize. Because of domestic politics, the United States will continue to ignore or deny this which is why we will never be viewed as an honest broker. Perversely, the asymmetry of power in this conflict plays into the hands of Israel's enemies and their puppets. Instransegence and terror are are justified on the grounds that the Palestinians have no alternative. For certain, deny what is true will not improve the chances of finding a way out of this conflict. Kudos to Ambassador Shapiro for telling the truth to both sides.
Mides (NJ)
It is important to note that the as long as we continue supporting Israel's apartheid government, we will continue to be a target of terrorism from the Middle East. Shapiro knows that and also sees that Israel is on a path of self destruction.

Unfortunately the situation in the West Bank will get worse. The Palestinians in the west bank will revolt violently. That will prompt the Israelis to use extreme violence using arms and missiles supplied by the US, and a new massacre will occur similar to what happened in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the US will be standing by, incapable of controlling the situation. Terrorism targeting the US from the Middle will increase. A that point, we will still wonder and ask: Why do they hate us so much?
SPQR (Michigan)
Eight years of vicious debate about President Obama are now shifting to his legacy. I feel fortunate to have lived during his presidency. He made peace with Iran and tried to help the poorest among us to get medical care.

But unless he fully and effectively confronts Israel with the negative consequences of defying international law and the values of the US and EU, he'll just be an asterisk in history, as the first black president.
H.G (Jackson, Wyomong)
It is really ludicrous to put the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Palestinian's response on a morally equal footing. Israel is an occupier and the Palestinians are resisting it and fighting for their land. Sometimes it pays to reduce things to their basics and those are the basics. Nobody in their right mind would have put the fight of the apartheid state against the ANC in South Africa and the violence of the ANC on the same moral level, even though both cause victims. The pretense by the NYT and the US that the Israelis want a two state solution is laughable, were it not so sad. Anybody with a minimum of perception can see that Israel's goal is a one-state solution with a permanent second class citizenship, if that, for the Palestinians. The only action that would get Israel's attention would be a withholding of military and other aid, but our government is much better excoriating Russia and Iran than our 'democratic' allies.
Dave S (New Jersey)
There are "questions about israel's commitment to a 2 state solution?' What is the Palestinian long term commitment? So long as there is institutional anti-semitism and celebration of terrorists any talk of peace is premature. Why shouldn't Israelis fear that independence would simply lead to another war. Its wrong to blame israeli settlements as a causal factor. Rather its frustration over the lack of good faith on the part of Palestinians.
David (California)
Israel has been able to make peace with Egypt and Jordan, and has little to fear from Lebanon or Syria. Each of these countries borders Israel and is far more formidable than the disorganized Palestinians. Israel has nothing to fear from a Palestinian state.
Doug Brockman (springfield, mo)
Repeated surveys of Palestinians continue to yield the same answer: most of them hate Israel. It's not possible to negotiate with a populace in that frame of mind
David (California)
If this is true, does Israel share any blame for the attitude of the Palestinians?
Chris (Mexico)
Why on earth would a people forcibly displaced and subjugated by Israel hate Israel? There is no reasoning with some people.
Rickibobbi (Midwest)
I'm just sorry that the Palestinians don't take well to being victims of a decades long brutal, US supported settler colonial project, what's wrong with them? I mean, jeez, they are almost Second class citizens within the green line and Israel hasn't obliterated them, yet, beyond the green line, what's to complain about?
Stephen (NYC)
Have you heard this slogan, Rickibobbi: "If the Palestinians laid down their arms, there would be no war; if Israel laid down their arms there would be no Israel."
In other words, "Just shut up, Palestinians, and accept your oppression and the stealing of your land and all will be peachy."
What can we expect from a nation that claimed it was founded on "a land with no people for a people without a land." The people were there; the Zionists just want them gone.
Peter (Colorado Springs, CO)
Netanyahu and his right wing allies want to establish and apartheid regime on the Palestinians. This should be clear to the world by now. What should be clear to the Israeli people is that an apartheid regime will only work for a short time. The world will not tolerate it for long. Even today many countries and many American colleges and universities are boycotting Israel and Israeli made products. If Bibi wants to create an ostracized state, let him. But let him also be prepared for the consequences.
Jerry S (Chelsea)
You don't get it. Israel simply doesn't want a two state solution. Many never wanted that since Israel was founded. After the settlements started, those people had no intention of ever leaving where they went.

We in America have not intention of ever giving the land back that used to belong to Native Americans. The Jews in the settlements feel the same way. Netanyahu has made it very clear he has no interest in a two state solution, and it just isn't going to happen.
S. Bliss (Albuquerque)
I grew up a supporter of Israel. It's getting harder and harder.
Where there's no justice there can't be peace. Sure sounds trite, but it's true.

Demographic problems, or not, without a two-state solution, what's Israel gonna be like in 20 years? 50 years? It's not looking hopeful.
This has been the clear agenda of Israel since the assassination of Rabin.
The confrontations between Netanyahu and Obama are a result of this
agenda. Obama is furious that Israel has made him and the U.S.A.
an accomplice to inhumane policies.
Shaw J. Dallal (New Hartford, N.Y.)
You may be right that “it may already be too late” for the formula of “two independent states, side by side,” one Jewish and the other Palestinian. However, the contention that this is “the one formula that has the best chance of establishing a durable peace” between Israelis and Palestinians is at best doubtful.

Demography compels the inescapable conclusion that the “fading two-state solution” has faded beyond visibility, or even feasibility.

Realistically, the remaining solution is the one-state solution.

Under such a solution, Israelis, with Jewish and with Arab nationalities, totaling about 7.25 million, would merge with their Palestinian neighbors of the West Bank and of the Gaza Strip, totaling about 6 million, in one independent and unified state.

Under the auspices of the United Nations, such a state would enact a new constitution that gives full citizenship, with total economic and political equality, to all its inhabitants, without any distinction based on religion, ethnicity or national origin.

The unified state would then conduct, under UN supervision, an open and free election for a Parliament and a head of state.

Unencumbered by traditional, domestic and political restraints, President Obama has an opportunity to make an earnest run for this peaceful, demographically driven solution during his last year in office,
removing one of the greatest obstacles to Middle East peace and stability.

This would be a fitting addition to his legacy.
AC (Boston)
Times: Right on! I'll go one step further. For several decades now, US foreign policy in the Middle East - under both Democratic and Republican administrations - appears to serve Israel first and U.S. second. Saudi Arabia, for example, for a number of twisted reasons is not a threat to Israel, and so they are an ally. Iran and Syria verbally joust with Israel and therefore are US's enemies. Never mind that both morality and the pursuit of US's best interest would be better served with easing tensions with Iran and Syria and holding Saudi Arabia, et al, to greater accountability. I don't have the dollar figures on our aid to Israel, but know that it is a very large number. And the U.S. ambassador to Israel cannot articulate what is in the best interest of U.S.! What hypocrisy!
Barry Frauman (Chicago)
Whatever the future of a two-state solution, replacement of the rogue Netanyahu, even by a Jewish centrist, would help.
Mary (NY)
The fact that Israel tolerates interference by another country's ambassador when other countries would not, is revealing. The clear fact that one must read what the Palestinians are saying (in Arabic) about a 2-state solution is crucial: from the inception of Israel, the goal is "Palestinians from sea to sea." One reader questioned the legitimacy of the state; it is only 1/4 of what was promised under the 1917 Balfour Declaration because the British gave Transjordan the land originally intended for Israel, and Jordan became a Palestinian state, not in name but in population. A leader of a country anywhere must protect its security first and foremost. See what happened in Gaza: armed camp and destruction of ready-made hot house businesses. Palestinian leaders trying to achieve recognition thru the UN, without border definition, etc., so that the leaders can continue to say they don't negotiate with Israel. Israel is not the solution to the Mideast problems. However, it is easier to blame Israel for all matters.
Bernard Berlin (Boston)
With the protection of the United States, Israel has had its way for too many years not to stop the obvious and inevitable annexation of the West Bank. Demolition of Palestinian homes, group punishment and life under Israeli military law without due process for Palestinians is far from a new phenomena, it has been taking place for many, many years. We not only have to question Israel's intentions regarding their settlement policy (colonization) of the West Bank but also ask why the U.S. continues to protect Israel from legitimate political dissent against such policies.
ACJ (Chicago, IL)
I fear that Israel and Palestine have chosen the easier wrong over the harder right.
The two-state solution was established by the Treaty of San Remo in 1920 and unanimously approved by the League of Nations. The Jewish state , now called Israel, included the West Bank. The Palestinian state, now called Jordan, is viable, with Palestinian Arabs making up its vast majority. It is the THREE-state solution that is not working.
Jim (Kalispell, MT)
Start cutting back on billions of our tax dollars, maybe that will get the attention of the Israeli right wing.
karl (nyc)
as well as cutting off the PA, Jordan and Egypt
Michael Richter (Ridgefield, CT)
The NYT and our Ambassador were wrong and dishonest in trying to equate moral equivalence in terrorist violence between the Palestinians and Israelis.
As others have commented, the Israeli arson attack, as despicable as it was, was singular, and universally condemned in Israel; the perpetrators were apprehended and will be prosecuted and punished. The Arab acts of violence are multiple and unrelenting; they are encouraged and commended by Arab leadership and celebrated by the Arab populace. Israeli umbrage to Ambassador Shapiro's remarks are appropriate and justified.

The issue of settlements is a separate matter. Perhaps if the Arabs ended their state of war against Israel (exceptions: Egypt and Jordan), renounced their avowed intention to annihilate Israel and "...kill all the Jews...", and recognized the State of Israel, real negotiations, the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, and lasting peace would be possible.

Much of the criticism of Israel by the Times and by commenters here does not consider the context in which Israel lives . Yes, Israel is strong militarily but must be to survive. How does one negotiate with an adversary who not only disagrees with you but who is committed to you demise and death?
Robert (Out West)
That was hardly the only violent attack by right-wing Israelis, up to and including assassinating their own Prime Minister.
LaylaS (Chicago, IL)
For all you who claim that Israel was never interested in a two-state solution, it's time to do some soul-searching. Ask yourselves, was the PLO ever interested in a two-state solution? How about any of the other terrorist organizations or Arab nations that would like to see Israel wiped off the face of the map? Arab nations have done nothing to make the plight of Palestinian refugees any easier, since they know that by condemning them to a life in refugee camps, they are creating new generations of "martyrs."

I suggest to all of you who allow your anti-semitism to flourish under the guise of "oh, those poor Palestinians," to go back and read some history of the Partition after World War II and the subsequent attacks on Jews and Israel. Israel has not initiated terrorist attacks, including suicide bombers on civilian targets. In fact, whenever it seems that a deal for a Palestinian state is close, there's a terrorist attack on Israel. Perhaps Israel should turn the other cheek and allow herself to be attacked and continue with peace talks, but in my opinion, those peace talks will never come to fruition, no matter how many times Israel turns the other cheek.
mdieri (Boston)
Why are we prodding Israel for a two state solution? Are Gaza or the West Bank success stories of self-governance and responsible for relations under limited autonomy? Why then would we "prod" for more? While the Kurds, who have demonstrated functional governing in northern Iraq, are left hung out to dry, not to mention not a squeak over China's military and ethnic obliteration of Tibet. For shame. It's time for us to butt out.
Stephanie (Rockville Center)
If the Times Editorial Page ever recognized the amazing restraint that Israelis have shown, compared to any country in history, in the face of non-random stabbings of people who are targeted because they are Jewish, I would fall out of my chair. ALL countries should be as humane and restrained in dealing with enemies who wish to kill them for who they are. What country sends notices to civilians before it takes out missile launchers which have no purpose other than to kill? What country treats the enemy wounded in its hospitals humanely, even when they are guilty of cold blooded murder, or an attempted thereof? In the current climate one gets the sympathy in many quarters only if one is a victim. Well, guess what? That rarefied victim status didn't work out so well for the Jewish people. Now we will be strong. We will be humane. We will operate within our values. We will be a light unto other nations. But we will NOT be victims just to gain the sympathies of the Editorial Page of the New York Times and it's coterie of anti-American, anti-Semitic commenters. (Always scary readings in the comments whenever the Times yet again stokes the flames of hatred, or whenever the topic of Israel appears -- and even sometimes even when the editorial has nothing at all to do with Israel!)
Robert (Out West)
i am sure that the survivors of Shatila camp would enjoy reading your comments.
Daniel Rose (Shrewsbury, MA)
It pains me to say it, a pain that is over 40 years old, but Israel has been establishing facts on the ground since Ariel Sharon said as much in 1973, and he made no secret of what those facts would entail: irrevocable Israeli claims to ever more Palestinian land.

I reject any excuse that the fading two-state solution is dying because of "threats emanating from the Taliban and ISIS," Al Qaida, the destabilization of Muslim states generally, etc. These threats are as much a danger to Muslims around the world as they are to us Jews, Christians, or anyone else.

I also reject the excuse that Arafat turned down the offer of a two-state solution and bears corresponding responsibility for its failure. No doubt, had he accepted in good faith, Israel at the time would have responded in good faith and done its best to make it happen, but there was never a guarantee that those opposed on both sides would not sabotage the deal at every turn, as has happened ever since.

The Sharon's establishment of facts on the ground never ceased their relentless accumulation, and Palestinian terrorists never ceased their violent opposition. If there is a relationship between the Israeli/Palestinian problem and all these other threats to the failure of the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, it is in the generations-long history of power plays that have kept non-Muslim states engaged in shaping the affairs of Muslim states and the often brutal exchanges among them as a result.
Netanyahu is still sore about not having President Obama serve as a Likud mouthpiece; now, Daniel Shapiro's likewise unwillingness has so enraged Bibi, that he forgot the world knows the Ambassador's critiques to be true.
In last year's election, Netanyahu stipulated that no Palestinian state would emerge on his watch (subsequent 'clarification' notwithstanding), he acknowledged his obvious utility of settlement expansion as a political strategy, and showed that he sees Arabs as lesser citizens when he implored Jewish Israelis to vote so that others would not be heavily represented.
Last year, Netanyahu made venomous racist Ayelet Shaker Justice Minister and selected hardliner Dore Gold to head the Foreign Ministry.
Last year, to show Obama up, Netanyahu addressed Congress about the Obama Administration's then-ongoing Iran deals, as if he were part of America's leadership.
Netanyahu and his far-right supporters can pretend to bellyache about the messenger, but his message remains true.
Historic Home Plans (Oregon)
Expansion of settlements is certainly a public relations disaster and for that reason, as well as others, a big mistake. The reason it's happening however is clear to see. The complete withdrawal from Gaza made it difficult for Israel to control security on that front, with the result of THOUSANDS of missiles being launched across its border.

Is it a coincidence that virtually no missiles are launched from the West Bank and since the construction of the wall, there have been relatively few violent attacks emerging from that side? The sad truth is that Israel's strategy of constraining the West Bank population seems to be successful in controlling its security.

One thing is clear. The Palestinians expect to be able to live inside Israel (as about 1.7 million do) and if they had their own state, would not allow a single Jew to live within that state. In other words, it is NOT a 2 way street.

Another thing is clear. Palestinians are not at peace amongst themselves, as the long standing feud between Hamas and Fatah demonstrates, as well as the growing influence of even more radical ideologies. How can Israel and Palestine make peace between each other when Palestine is not at peace with itself?

How many Palestinian murderers of Israelis have been caught, prosecuted and incarcerated by the Palestinian Authority or Hamas?

None of this relieves Israel of maintaining high standards of justice. But why do we keep holding it to a different standard than Palestine's leadership?
Charles W. (NJ)
" But why do we keep holding it to a different standard than Palestine's leadership?"

Probably because the "poor" Palestinians do not know any better.
Scott (<br/>)
When two sides of a conflict have no interest in a settlement, no settlement can be forced upon them. Both side here continue to "kick the can down the road", hoping that the topography will eventually favor them.

Europe and the US continually press for a "2 state solution" with or without Palestinian demilitarization. The favored framework has been made public for decades. Unfortunately, neither party is in a position to accept this. The Israelis refuse to accept a Palestinian state which might turn on them. The Palestinians refuse to accept a limited state.

My personal belief is that time is not on the Palestinians side. The world is preoccupied with other Arab problems now with no evidence that it will turn its attention back to the Palestinians. The Palestinians should accept a settlement which the Israelis can live with now, right now, lest they become a footnote in history.
Valerie Elverton Dixon, Ph.D. (East St Louis, IL)
The United States ought to stop sending money to Israel until it stops building settlements and it finds a true path to peace. US taxpayers are financing an illegal occupation.
paul (blyn)
The two sides should have had a "one state" solution in 1948, the Land of the Semites, but both sides introduced religion into it, Islam and Jewish and now they have the horror story they have now.

The other thing left is a two state solution due to this fact.

We can thank the founding fathers and others that we did not fall into this horror story by separating state and religion..
karl (nyc)
meanwhile Christian communities are flourishing in Israel, being depleted in Bethlehem, ancient communities being decimated in Syria, Iraq, Copts slaughtered in Egypt.
NorthernVirginia (Falls Church, Va)
"I don't think that there is any bigger obstacle to peace than the settlement activity that continues not only unabated but at an enhanced pace."
James Baker, Secretary of State, testifying before the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on foreign operations.
May 23, 1991
Mark Pine (MD and MA)
My daughter who, a few years ago, spent a year in Ramallah working with NGOs, told me that few people, neither the locals nor the internationals, still believe in the two-state solution. In the long run, the solution must be a fully democratic one with all residents from the Jordan to the Mediterranean having equal representation in the governing body.
AJ (<br/>)
“'It is starting to look like a de facto annexation,' one American official said." Hallelujah! It is starting to look like he can see the light!

The "de facto annexation" by Israel of Palestinian lands, something that has been abundantly clear to the world for decades, is now finally filtering down to American officials who feel that "it is starting to look!" that way.

The blinders on American "approach," with an occasional critique of Israeli policies tossed in, seems likely to continue to be the path forward.

This will merely ensure that the path forward is no different from the path behind it. Tragedy and death for Palestinians and ever increasing perversion of Israeli society and politics.

It is history and trajectory that makes one ashamed to be American, because there is no other country in the world that has paid so much for Israeli extremism and intransigence and wasted so much possible influence on the course of events there.
Nancy (Great Neck)
The question for me is why is an American ambassador in Tel Aviv making policy? Policy must be made by President Obama and Secretary Kerry rather than by an ambassador who stands to undermine his or her effectiveness by becoming an advocate rather than remaining a negotiator.

Daniel Shapiro acted improperly if diplomacy is the role fo an ambassador.
Jimmy (Greenville, North Carolina)
I believe one of the byproducts of the US/Iran nuclear deal will be a Free Palestine. A strong Iran will force Israel to the peace table and a strong Iran will force Israel to accept Free Palestine thus bringing about peace in the Middle East. Peace through strength will be President Obama's legacy.
Jim Rush (Texas)
Really. That is interesting. For all of my lifetime, Iranians have wanted to kill all Jews and completely destroy the nation. Now you say they want to accept Israel as a nation.

Yeah. Sure.
Charles W. (NJ)
" A strong Iran will force Israel to the peace table "

Iran should be very careful. An Israeli-Saudi alliance would have the nuclear capability to completely destroy Iran.
S.C. (Midwest)
True, but vastly understated. Israel is functioning less and less as a democracy. A number of the governments ministers (including Ayelet Sheked) are on record making despicable, crassly racist statements, and Netanyahu race-baited in the last election. Overt discrimination against Palestinians (boycotts of Palestinian goods and services, unequal access to public facilities) is tolerated and is a way of life for many. And the colossal illegal dispossession of Palestinians gets worse and worse.

Tired, shameful excuses are common: Israel is being singled out; Israel is a democracy; Hamas is worse; Iran is worse; Israel faces existential threats daily; criticizing Israel plays to anti-Semites.

Israel needs to drastically reverse its course: it must return land to Palestinians, it must dismantle racist laws and policies; it must enact democratic protections and enforce them. If we are to be able to speak of Israel without making excuses, these things must happen.
an observer (comments)
I used to love Israel. The American media taught me to love Israel. One must read Israeli newspapers and examine the Israeli/Palestinian problem with historical methodology to understand the massive abuse the Palestinians have endured at the hands of the Israeli interloper since the establishment of Israel through terrorism on lands on which the Palestinians had lived continuously since 610 BCE. Yes, the Palestinians had always lived under occupation, but Ottoman rule was benign compared to what Israeli has done to this people. What other country shoots children for throwing stones at tanks, detonates flechette missiles on city streets, drops one ton bombs on apartment buildings years before Hamas fired a single rocket. If any other country kept an indigenous population under a cruel and brutal occupation for so many years the U.S., at the very least, would condemn the occupying state at the UN and called for sanctions to be slapped on that state. The most severe punishment Israel receives from the U.S. is a scolding that the killing of Palestinians is "unhelpful." Only one side in the Israeli'Palestinian conflict has an army, and that army is armed to the teeth with the most advanced weaponry in existence courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. The world sees the U.S. as aiding and abetting the Israeli occupation and America is hated for it.
Peter Feld (New York)
The two-state solution is over. Anyone who tries to keep it alive is harming the situation. It's now time to force Israel to dismantle its supremacist apartheid legal system, which exist on both sides of the imaginary Green Line, and end segregation, Jewish privilege and the murderous repression.

A US-led "peace process" offers nothing. Instead we need a complete cutoff of US funding for Israel, the BDS boycott, peaceful protest, international accountability at the UN and ICC for Israel's war crimes, and to support the Palestinian people's right to armed resistance against the occupation. Israel will never end its crimes until we force it to.
David Gottfried (New York City)
What will happen if there is a two state solution and Israel cedes the West Bank to the so called "Palestinians."
Israel will, once again, be 9 miles thick at her point of greatest population concentration.
The result for Israel? It will make her extremely vulnerable to attack and liquidation. But you say that America will defend her. Israel can't count on it. All allies are eventually discarded as America eventually recognized mainland China after swearing to Formosa it would never do that, and America eventually gave up on Vietnam (which was the right thing to do but space limitations preclude an explanation). Also, Arab-Americans are becoming a more potent force in American politics, and as more Jews intermarry the Jewish vote becomes less important; this will result in less pressure to support Israel.
But you say that the Arabs, who outnumber the Jews by about 100 to 1, may opt not to attack Israel. The recent history of the region reveals that there has been no decline in Arab antipathy: After Israel withdrew troops from positions South of the Litani River, in Lebanon, did the Arabs show appreciation, softened their stance or deigned to talk peace? No. They loaded up Leb with missiles. Ditto after Israel withdrew from Gaza. The Muslim world is violent. When Shiites and Sunnis battle they have drilled power tools into one another's skulls. Given the way they treat one another, how would they treat the Jews and how can we be expected to trust them.
sdw (Cleveland)
This editorial about the shameful behavior and intentions of the Israeli government is important and valid – as far as it goes. The problem is the resignation by the Editorial Board to the elimination of the two-state solution. That acceptance of a de facto, subjugated Palestine as merely a feudal estate of Israel is precisely what Benjamin Netanyahu and the hard-liners want.

The Israelis, emboldened by the encouragement of American Republicans, have abandoned all subterfuge in their treatment of Palestinians, and the conquerors continue in their annexation of all of Palestine. A single state of Greater Israel with a large neighborhood of non-citizen, persecuted Palestinians is what Netanyahu demands and what a majority of Israelis will give him.

The permanent stain on America’s reputation of tolerating and even financing this Israeli policy is deeply troubling to many Americans. The conduct of Israel under Netanyahu not only is immoral, it assures more shedding of blood – including American blood – in the Middle East.
Steve (New York)
Israel was a bad idea from the get-go, a 19th century-style land grab after the Axis was defeated precisely for grabbing land. Annexation of the West Bank is no different from Lebensraum. There has been no doubt in my mind what Israel was trying to do and how they were treating Palestinians since the mid-1970's. If in doubt of their real intentions, try to find a quote of Bibi condemning Russia for annexing Crimea. Annexers are as annexers do.

The US should just offer automatic citizenship to all Israeli Jews who want to move here. It would solve myriad problems around the world.
BorisIII (Asheville, North Carolina)
Since, Israel is stealing land from Palestine, which is causing war their should be trade sanctions against Israel. Until, Israeli stops taking over land through force. Their is already too many problems in the middle east already.
Texancan (Ranchotex)
A few readers believe we should not interfere in Israel...when they do not like our comments.....fine....we should also stop wasting a few trillion dollars......and Jewish groups in US should start thinking America first.. and we should eliminate any tax deduction for groups and individuals supporting foreign entities. Time to stand up for the Real America and be respected abroad.
Oren (NJ)
Hadid had previously worked as public relations officer for Ittijah, A virulently anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian NGO. According to NGO monitor, Ittijah’s head, Amir Makhoul, was sentenced to nine years imprisonment for spying for Hezbollah. The group endorses the anti-Semitic Boycott Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement, propagates the repugnant “Apartheid” calumny and supports the so-called Palestinian “Right of Return,” a common moniker used by Israel’s enemies in lieu of calls for outright destruction of the Jewish State to make the concept genocide more palatable to Western audiences. Hadid’s past high-level association with Ittijah should have at the very least, raised alarm bells at the New York Times and should have constituted sufficient cause to preclude her from coming anywhere near the Israel Desk.
But there’s more on Hadid. In an article entitled “My Israel, My Palestine” Hadid is quoted as saying “I can't look at Israelis anymore. I can't separate your average Israeli citizen from the occupation, I don't want to be friends with them, I don't want to talk to them.” She is further quoted as saying, “To this day I'd never say that I am anti-anybody. But did my objectivity get thrown out the window? Yes, because I had an Israeli gun pointing at me, not a Palestinian one.” So there you have it. Hadid unabashedly acknowledges that her objectivity has been tossed out the window and that goes a long way in explaining why the New York Times hired her.
N. Smith (New York City)
There will never be peace in the Middle East and there will never be a two-state solution. Israel has no interest in it. And as long as Israel continues with its expansionist policies, and inhuman treatment of the Palestinian population the endless cycle of violence will continue. As long as the United States continues to support and coddle the intolerant right-wing government of Israel because it fears ruffling the feathers of powerful pro-Israel lobbies in this country, we will only continue to support another form of Apartheid in the 21st century, having learned nothing from the past.
Janis (Ridgewood, NJ)
The deep hatred between the people of Israel and Palestine has been going on for what seems like an eternity and I am sure it will continue until the end of time. What a very sad world perspective for humanity.
JW (New York)
You mean the fading chances of installing yet another dysfunctional Arab mini-state by cutting a worthless deal with someone who has no legitimacy with his own people now being in the 10th year of a 4-year term with no free elections allowed, that will quickly be taken over by Islamic terrorists in one tribal form or another? All the while the Obama Administration and certainly the NY Times Editorial Board willfully ignores the rejection of every sweeping peace offer ever tabled by Israel by centrists or even Left governments, and especially ignores the institutionalized pure Jew-hate promoted by the Palestinians by their leaders, by their media, and by their school systems leaders, the glorification of child murderers, the speeches made in Arabic by the leaders that they have every intention of destroying Israel when they get the chance again, as well as promoting the delusion that the Jews have no legitimate history there to the extent that even Judaism's holiest sites never existed? If they can't exterminate the Jews physically, they'll exterminate Jewish history.

To see the NY Times peddling this garbage to justify fomenting street unrest in an allied sovereign country while ignoring the disfunctionality and institutionalized antisemitic incitement of the Palestinians is a horror and a disgrace. And this is the same newspaper that would lambast US policy if it was caught manipulating or secretly orchestrating other country's politics in Latin America or Asia.
six minutes remaining (new york)
And so the option, then, is...what? You paint a picture of all Palestinians as hating Jews. They are, after all, jammed into a region that has become the most congested on Earth, and which looks like a despairing place to live. As an American Jew, I doubt that I could live comfortably in Gaza, and I rather doubt that you would be happy with those conditions, too. If you think that living conditions don't play a part in a people's perception of hope and opportunity, then you are denying a very basic part of humanity.

What I'm seeing is a split between generations -- those of my father's, and my own. Plenty of American Jews have not been to Israel, including my father, yet he would lay down his life for a country that he has never been to. I also know my history, and the necessity of Israel as a haven for Jews. But I'm uncomfortable with looking at a situation which seems like apartheid, of one people enclosing another in ghettoized conditions and treating them as sub-human. As Jews, we KNOW that history: we've lived it. I'd like us to think of a better way forward. I seriously doubt that the way to counter Jew-hate, as you have described it, is to deflect criticism and stay this particular course.

As for the Ambassador making his statement: I'd like to point out that American ambassador Henry Morgenthau Sr. (a Jew) did speak out against the Armenian genocide, and he was told to mind his own business, too. It's free speech, and conscience, at stake.
ted (portland)
Well said six minutes, I hope you and everyone else in America reads Michael Sfards excellent article in the Times (January 16) it supports your argument almost verbatim.
Paul (Long island)
As an American of Jewish immigrant parents and grandparents, the dilemma for the U.S. is that the only real "solution" is to join Sweden and other nations and to recognize an independent, but demilitarized, State of Palestine. I can still remember how controversial it was for President Truman to recognize the State of Israel in 1948 and how we all sang the Hatikvah, its national anthem, in our synagogue. But, like Cuba, after over 50 years of acrimony, blame, conflict, and failed attempts to achieve peace, it's time for President Obama to step forward as did Harry Truman and do the courageous and right thing. Without bold U.S. leadership, the Palestinians will continue to be marginalized and treated as second-class citizens of what is becoming an apartheid state.
ted (portland)
Paul you are absolutely correct but lest we forget President Carter tried to bring peace to the region and got run over by A.I.P.A.C and the rest of the neo cons.
edlorah (seattle)
"IS becoming"? ……

I think it's been there since 1948.
Jon Harrison (Poultney, VT)
There will never, ever, be a two-state solution. Neither side wants it. The Palestinians might accept two states, but only as a bridge to recovering all of Palestine. The only hope for peace in Palestine is one state -- democratic and secular -- in which Jews, Muslims, Christians, and others live together peaceably. A state founded on an ethnic or religious basis, particularly when the dominant people are a minority of the population, is bound to fail eventually. Israel will go the way of South Africa one day. We must hope and pray that the transformation comes about peacefully. I fear it won't.
Brice C. Showell (Philadelphia)
Maybe it is time to start setting parameters for a one-state solution. Warn policy makers that an undemocratic single state will face official state sanctions through the UN. At the least it may avoid a disastrous regional war.
Jeff (California)
The only one state solution Israel will accept is a Jewish state. The non-jewish citizens of Israel are second class citizens now.
jck (nj)
A "two state solution" sounds grand but requires commitment to peace by Palestinian political leaders which is nonexistent.
Obama and Kerry are "grand" in their political rhetoric but it is empty political posturing signifying nothing.
Glenn (Albuquerque)
Only solutions predicated on justice can be hoped to yield peace. No justice, no peace.

The only method I know of that could produce that outcome in the face of such history would be for one side to draw the demarcation, while the other choses which half to take as theirs. Only under such a method will the side who draws the line consider fairness, not out of empathy, mind you, but out of self interest for fear that they will be left the poorer choice.

None of the negotiations to date have considered justice. The Palestinians are being asked to make virtually all concessions, thus the focus on weaving in special security considerations for Israel. Israel knows there will be no justice, thus the focus on the result: no peace. The increasing focus on security, rather than righting injustices, belies the reality.

Both sides have recognized these truths for years, which has led both sides to balk, over and over again. There is no path forward, since there is no focus on justice, only separation.

No justice, no peace.
R. R. (NY, USA)
Giving a state to the Palestinians, who by charter, word, and deed are determined to destroy Israel, would only create war and the future destruction of Israel.

Just look at what happened in Gaza after Israel gave it back to the Palestinians.
Larry Lundgren (Sweden)
@ RR - Please explain exactly what specific group of Palestinians could destroy Israel. Do you mean those living now in the West Bank and Gaza whose mother tongue is Arabic? If so then you cannot believe that these people could destroy Israel - or can you?
Howard Nielsen (Portland Oregon)
Actually, Palestinians recognized Israel more than twenty years ago in 1993. They’re still waiting for Israel to recognize Palestine.
R. R. (NY, USA)
The charter of the Palestine Authority to this day shows a map of Palestine for all the area of Israel. Arafat and the rest have refused to change this.

Their goal is to destroy Israel, and their charter is but one item of proof.
michael kittle (vaison la romaine, france)
On May 14, 1948, Israel's first day of existence, Plan A had been accomplished, the state of Israel existed.

Plan B was implemented and begun, the gradual, relentless Israeli effort to take over the remaining Palestinian lands, driving the Palestinians out of their own territory making way for the further expansion of Israeli boundaries.

Even a casual observer could surmise the apartheid attitude of the more powerful Zionsist community and the gradual disappearance of Palestine.

It is time for America to stop pretending it believes in any 2 state solution for Israel and begin the withdrawal of any American involvement in Israeli diplomacy.

The bullying Netanyahu's of Israel have completed Plan B and it's time for America to move on.
Stan (Newton, MA)
Although Israeli policy is hardly blameless, the hypocrisy of claiming moral equivalence between nearly daily politically motivated attacks on Israeli citizens and the orders-of-magnitude less common acts of individual Israeli (not Jewish!) extremists is difficult for me to fathom. Israel must take repeated promises of eventual obliteration seriously, and overreaction is sadly inevitable. A front page editorial about Israeli vigilantism with an ominous tone not unlike that used to criticize Iran's systematic support for terrorism or the openly genocidal and misogynistic activities of ISIS ? Somehow this does not seem "proportional".
Mike Wigton (san diego)
Israel is now a single State encompassing all of the West Bank and its Palestinians. They are now citizens of Israel and should be accorded all citizen rights. Israel will now have to become a secular State if it is not to be an apartheid State and provide the same rights and obligations and equality for all.
ronnyc (New York, NY)
As usual, the U.S. Administration (and much of the world) along with the Times only accords Israel and Israeli agency. The Palestinians are treated as if they were animals or children. When Israelis attack people the Israeli government and the Israeli people do not run into the street in joy. The Israeli government does not urge its people to slaughter Arabs and it does not put out phony stories of Arab evil. This is totally unlike the Palestinians who rejoice in the killing of Jews and the P.A. which promotes lies about how Jews are despoiling Al Asqa in an effort to enrage Arabs. Does our government say word one about this? No. Does the MSM in the West report this? No. It is easy to find all this out, so why not? Perhaps the two-state solution is dead because the Arabs do not want it.

If the Arabs showed themselves devoted to peace and harmony they would have had their state a long time ago, but the mentality which prompted the attacks on Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973 and the current wave of hideous attacks shows their true nature. So I say, too bad. You get what you deserve. But shame on Western governments and the Western media for promoting their alternative reality where Israelis (meaning, Jews) are evil doers. I guess you've done it so long you now believe your own propaganda.
karl (nyc)
Arabs rejected statehood in 1937 (Peel Commission), 1947 (UN Partition), 1967 (Khartoum Conf. 3 no's) , 2000 (Taba) 2001 (Camp David), etc. It is clear that they do not want a state, never did, neither before settlements, before occupation, even before founding of Israel. The status quo will prevail. Jews/Israelis winning Nobel Prizes and leading in medical technology and Arabs stabbing innocent pregnant Israeli women.
Mike (NYC)
A 2-state solution is silly. Gaza should be it's own state.

We need a 3-State Solution, Israel, Palestine on the West Bank, and Gaza. A bifurcated Palestine consisting of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza, separated by Israel, is not likely to be viable.
Jacob Berman (New York)
The Times is correct in saying that increased numbers of Israeli settlers don't help the peace process, but the Times fails to recognize the difference between the response from Israeli leadership and Palestinian leadership to the violence taking place. Mr. Shapiro in criticizing Israel said, “Too many attacks on Palestinians lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities," but in fact, Israel repeatedly condemns violence from Jews against Palestinians. Israel also denounced and is prosecuting the terrorists that staged an arson attack that killed a Palestinian baby and his parents. But Palestinian terrorists have committed so many more acts of terror than Israelis, and the main difference is that the Palestinian leadership, instead of denouncing the attacks, commends them, and calls the terrorists martyrs.

The true barrier to peace that The Times misunderstands is the Palestinian leadership's commendation of Palestinian terror attacks, and if the Palestinian leadership would denounce the terrorist attacks, and recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist, Israelis and Palestinians would be much closer to peace.
Really? (New jersey)
Muslims have shown such a propensity for intolerance, violence and murder in every corner of the globe, including in Palestine and Israel, that it's no wonder Israelis have come to believe that a two-state solution is not viable. You can't have peace with out a partner and no one in Palestine has stepped-up to be that partner while many Israeli leaders have. Previous thinkers have noted that Israel's size compared to its surrounding Muslim neighbors' equates to that of a postage stamp on a football field. Given that, there is plenty of space for Palestinians to go elsewhere and leave Israel alone.
OldBoatMan (Rochester, MN)
Twenty-five years ago Israeli conduct in the West Bank raised honest questions about Israel's commitment to a two-state solution. Twenty-five years of Israeli conduct has answered those questions. When the Secretary of State criticizes Israel for de facto annexation of Palestinian land by destroying Palestinian homes to build settlements on the West Bank, we know that the United States is finally willing to acknowledge that Israel's actions speak louder than Netanyahu's words.
Joe Yohka (New York)
Two state solution? When will the PLO recognize the right of Israel to exist? After receiving more aide than any "refugees" in history by far, palestinians have only seen the leaders grow very rich, including Arafat who had billions of dollars. Palestinian leadership must change.
robert s (marrakech)
The Israelis have always been the problem.
Howard64 (New Jersey)
You cannot have 2 States if no-one wants to be the second State. The Arab countries created after WW1 and WW2 didn't want any separate States in the areas now known as Israel, the west bank and Gaza. Jordan (created by the British) grabbed the West Bank, Egypt grabbed Gaza and 7 Arab countries supported by the USSR tried and failed to split Israel between themselves numerous times. Since the 1970's, with US involvement, the Arabs were offered Statehood in the West Bank and Gaza and turned it down every time. Now they say that they want a 2nd State that they previously rejected and it must be an armed state where only Muslim Arabs can be citizens and they also want their right to overwhelm the population of Israel, claim the land of Israel and turn Israel into a Arab Muslim State as well. In essence, not 2 States but one Arab Muslim State (with no Israeli State or Jews).
Ken (MT Vernon, NH)
Time for Obama to take an executive action that cuts off all US funding for Israel.

Further, we should no longer be Israel's stooge whenever a vote concerning their actions comes up in the UN. (Washington DC)
People need to wise up. There isn't going to be a Palestinian state ever. The only two state solution there is is Israel and Jordan. The Palestinians have rejected every offer of statehood as not good enough. Now, they will have to be satisfied with living on reservations or move abroad. // Israel's 1947 borders are not viable or defensible. This is why it had to absorb land conquered after the war(s). // Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza to allow them to form a state and what happened? The populace voted in a terrorist organization and war broke out again. If you think Israel is going to allow this to happen on the West Bank with all it's population centers at risk, you are mistaken.
Hamid Varzi (Spain)
Israeli claims that they are negotiating honestly with the Palestinians has always been a complete sham. Israel's sole aim is a 'total solution' involving the conquest of Biblical Judea and Samaria.

In view of the atrocities perpetrated on a daily basis by Israel in full view of the world, with easy access to internet and mobile news, I shudder to think what Israel would be doing today without the obstacle of modern technology to evidence the horrors. Maybe the activities of the Stern Gang in the 1940s gives a clue ...........

Israel is a major cause of the rise and spread of Islamic Extremism, and it is no wonder that it is now in bed with the other cause, Saudi Arabia.
SB (San Francisco)
"A statement from Mr. Netanyahu’s office denounced the second comment as “unacceptable and incorrect.”" - In other words, the comment was 100% accurate.
Robert (Rotterdam)
While Israel has occupied territory for 60 years, against the outcry of the world, American politicians and American media have barely raised an eyebrow. One UN sanction and Iraq was invaded; Israel has over 50 and everyone shrugs. Why?
mhenriday (Stockholm)
«“It is starting to look like a de facto annexation,” one American official said. » How perceptive ! And only 49 years too late !…

Joseph Huben (Upstate NY)
Israel under Netanyahu has done all it can to isolate itself on the world stage. No thought or concern is given to human rights, or fairness. Other nations look to America to learn what fairness and human rights mean. Ambassador Shapiro was too kind as was this Editorial. "Considering the relentless violence and attacks on Israel’s very existence, Israelis are understandably on high alert to defend themselves." is certainly the impression Netanyahu wants everyone to accept, but the war in Syria has not spilled into Israel, Egypt does not permit opposition let alone attacks into Israel. Lebanon and Jordan quietly absorb refugees all demonstrating that the "relentless threats" that Israel endures are generated within the borders of "Palestine" by Netanyahu's policies. Shapiro's observation that "one(law) for Israelis and another for Palestinians.” A statement from Mr. Netanyahu’s office “unacceptable and incorrect.” illustrates the twisted process that Netanyahu employs. America cannot be berated by an ally that depends on our support without consequences. Immediate withdrawal from occupied Palestinian territories should be the condition for providing aid to Israel. International divestment of all Israeli corporations is underway and growing. The existential threat that Israel faces is Netanyahu.
GerardM (New Jersey)
The other problem not commented on here is the willingness of the Palestinians for a two-state solution. For insight on this here is an interview in the Times of Israel a few days ago that speaks to it:

"A senior member of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party has said a Palestinian state alongside Israel is only 'a phase' and that Palestine should eventually stretch from the Jordan River to the sea.

In an interview with the Ma’an news agency on January 19, Tawfik Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said 'Palestine stretches from the river to the sea… a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, is just a phase, as far as I am concerned.'

Tirawi said that he would gladly accept a state along the 1967 borders as a first step, but warned: 'Don’t think that there can be a solution to the Palestinian issue by establishing a state the borders of which are limited to the West Bank and Gaza. I challenge any Palestinian to say that the map of Palestine is limited to the West Bank and Gaza.' "

This helps to explain why the Palestinians have walked away from three offers of statehood by Israel and still wont formally accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. They hold on to the dream that Israel will cease to exist. All their efforts in the UN and by their supporters, such as the BDS movement, are directed towards this achieving this dream...the elimination of Israel.
Mike (NYC)
It's time for the UN to impose a solution upon the parties.

The Middle East dilemma was created in 1948 by the UN when it imperfectly gave a state to Jews mostly at Palestinian expense to make recompense for what the Germans did. The UN needs IMPOSE reasonable borders based upon where people actually live today, (not in 1948, 1967 or 2,000 years ago), and declare a Palestinian state whether the parties like it or not. The UN should enforce these borders with an armed UN force until the parties get used to the idea.

Jews, like the settlers, who find themselves on the Palestinian side of the line can move, or stay and become citizens of the State of Palestine and enjoy all of the rights and privileges accorded to all of the citizens of the State of Palestine, the Palestinian charter banning Jews aside. Israel has Arabs, Palestine can have Jews. It's the same thing.

You know what you get when you take peoples' property for no money and relegate them to refugee status? 68 years of war, not that Jews living under siege for 68 years have had it that so great.

All people, including Jews, who lost property as a result of the UN's creation of Israel should be compensated as under the legal Doctrine of Eminent Domain. You show up at a UN Middle East Compensation Commission office, present your claim and walk out with a check. That's fair.

Or they can go back to doing war for another 68 years.
DG (New York)
Given the circumstances, one would hope that the Palestinians would recognize the realities of the situation, and do whatever is necessary to sit down, as soon as possible, at the negotiating table--forget insisting on "preconditions," stop supporting terroristic behavior, etc. Sit down and negotiate. Now. If they truly want a "two state solution," stop creating obstacles. If, on the other hand, they really do not want this, let's face up to it and stop blaming Israel for the lack of progress.
Glenn (Albuquerque)
Ah, the great canard. When the Palestinians demand that Israel freeze settlement expansion in order to return to the negotiating table they aren't demanding "preconditions", they are demanding that there be principles. Either the partition is to be negotiated, or not.

Would you return to a poker game where your opponent can simply reach out and grab chips out of the pot at any time they chose, while you "play" for the remainder, whatever that might be at any moment?

Israel is desperate to eschew any settlement predicated on principles, since it conflicts with what, by all evidence, is a very expansive Zionist vision, with no room for Palestinians and whatever hopes and dreams they might hold dear.
crankyactivist (Dorchester, MA)
You haven't been paying attention. Israel doesn't want 2 states. This is shown by its behavior. It has a first world military and doesn't hesitate to use it on Gaza, where residents, including children, are daily humiliated and threatened with violence and imprisonment. The racist colonialism of Israel is on full display for anyone with open eyes. The settlements which are in violation of UN mandates and international law are the clearest evidence that Israel is going for a "greater Israel" and has been stringing the US along for decades. Obama and Kerry are moving away from unconditional US support for Israel. When they stop rearming Israel after each of its brutal attacks on Gaza, including on UN hospitals, we'll know they're serious.
Potter (Boylston, MA)
This "terrorist" behavior is resistance to occupation. Now you will hear it morphing into "murderer" i.e. they are murderers.

What alternative? As long as the occupation, often brutal. is maintained and under this guise of terrorism, there will be terrorist behavior: resistance. The US was born out of such resistance. Israel was born out of such resistance. Israel itself uses terrorism to maintain it's occupation. Palestinians are terrorized by Israel's brutal occupation, state terrorism. Let's stop playing around with words.
Fritz (Germany)
Haifa is a good example of the possibility of the coexistence of the religious communities. The Lebanon is another example and Syria before the so called civil war as well. The diaspora did not change the Jewish identity. Any totalitarism creates what Hannah Arendt predicted.
Sequel (Boston)
Israel cannot have a democracy or peace for so long as it apportions civil rights on the basis of religion.

The existence of two sets of laws within the same state will destroy the state.
Here (There)
Has anyone noticed that whenever a country asks that foreign-funded groups declare themselves as much, the times goes all haywire? Especially in countries on the times' enemies list: Israel, Russia, China, Hungary, Poland ...

Let's face it, the times wants foreign (that is, US government) money pumped into foreign countries to advance the views it likes and to form a basis for regime change. Ukraine proved that any government who allows this unchallenged does so at its peril.

Foreign-funded groups are not allowed to lobby the US Congress. I see no reason why other countries should be held to the opposite standard.
John (US Virgin Islands)
The Obama administration is really irrelevant to the discussion and there is really no discussion. The lack of trust, a relationship or any real standing has left the US a non-player in Israel. With the election there is some hope for a fresh start, but by that time I am afraid the 'facts on the ground' will preclude any real negotiation. The blame for this lies with all parties, but mostly with the path Obama and Kerry have taken, with Iran and against Israel and the Sunni states.
TMK (New York, NY)
The Obama Administration has essentially relinquished it's leadership in the conflict, which, as it turns out, isn't that bad a thing for _anyone_.

For starters, the US gets to establish and destablish it's relations with any Mideast country on a bilateral basis as needs dictate. The US has already done so successfully with Iran and therefore also with Saudi.

Israel is doing likewise. Free of arm-bending by old Uncle Sam, Israel can now resume it's policy of muscle brazenly instead of apologetically.

And so it is too with the Palestenians. Well-aware that allying with the US only achieves cosmetic support for their cause and little else, the Pakestenians no longer have to keep appearances for appearances sake. Instead, they can up the rhetoric, go to the ICC, yield to radicals within, and so on.

And so it is: the new normal, which as it turns out, was also the original normal: where everyone lives angrily ever after. Not perfect, but good enough.
Justin Escher Alpert (Livingston, New Jersey)
They should all read Dr. Seuss's "The Sneetches" 1,000 times. The Middle East needs a Sylvester McMonkey McBean. Seriously. Those Semitic brothers and sisters permit raw ideology to divide them for generations. Peace is just a choice. It's a difficult choice, but it is just a choice to be pursued. It is hard work after that. It is easy to forgive for past transgressions. Anyone can do it. You just do it. The hard part is healing old wounds and creating a new legacy. That kind of strong leadership does not come with a title... it comes from within. Out of Peace comes Prosperity.
Coolhunter (New Jersey)
As always, the issue is security for Israel. Given the Gaza experience, why would Israel believe that a repeat of the Gaza experience would not take place with a two state solution? Who would want a terror State on their doorstep? No, this is a generational problem, one that will take a few generations to settle. Until then a status quo best servers Israel, and Palestine. There are many ways that both of these entities can do confidence building steps over the next many decades that will make future generations better able to put in place a two state solution.
Yehia Y. Mishriki (Emmaus, PA)
The occupation has been in effect for nearly fifty years for some Palestinians and for nearly seventy years for other. Asking that the Palestinians wait a few more generations while they subjected to "administrative detentions", house demolitions, settler terrorism, etc. is beyond ludicrous.
S Nillissen (Minnesota)
Israel's Gaza experience ? Are you talking of the blockade in which all trade in and out goes through Israel? The blocked sea lanes? the controlled airspace over head? The incessant meddling and drone murders of Palistinian citizens?
Malone (Tucson, AZ)
Coolhunter: Destroying homes of Palestinians and and buliding new settlements for Jewish settlers do not amount to maintaining the status quo!
Air Marshal of Bloviana (Over the Fruited Plain)
More never ending ally support from Obama's proxies.
sapereaudeprime (Searsmont, Maine 04973)
Israel must decide whether it wants to be a light unto the nations or a tribal citadel. Tribal citadels make interesting ruins; Europe is full of them. A light unto the nations may shine forever.
Richard Marcley (Albany NY)
You cannot be a democracy and a jewish state!
A democracy needs to be a secular, pluralistic state with a constitution and Bill of Rights guaranteeing the rights of ALL citizens!
Tom Cuddy (Texas)
The idea that European kills European so therefore the Palestinian 's lose their land has never made sense to most of the world. The logical place for a Jewish State would have been Sicily. Italy qualifies both as the descendants of those who expelled the Jews from Jerusalem ( Romans) and Italy was a major Axis power, not a mere collaborator ( Grand Mufti of Jerusalem is often given as why Palestine was considered up for grabs.
Mike (Virginia)
My strong sense is that:
1. Years of U.S. financial support and other considerations have never swayed an Israeli government to adopt or advance a position advocated by the U.S.;
2. Contrarily, proponents of Israel in the U.S. do sway domestic U.S. policy and actions;
3. There has been and is no Palestinian voice in U.S. that balances discussion and policy initiatives;
4. Palestine does not have an equivalent nation-state structure, and the commensurate legitimacy, enjoyed by Israel (which is why Palestine has advanced its interests at the U.N., a move the U.S. curiously did not support);
5. Palestinians are influenced, and seemingly controlled, by interests that reflect and embrace larger regional movements and considerations;
6. Successive Israeli governments have accommodated domestic far right-wing interests that refuse any form of a two-government solution and show that in part by unceasing expansion into disputed territory;
7. There is an obvious reflexive and layered affinity between the perceived interests Israeli and U.S. far right-wing factions; and
8. Any solution acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians must be between equivalent entities and garner the support of those populations and their political leaders.
alan haigh (carmel, ny)
I it an unsurmountable human condition that the abused become the abusers once they assume positions of power over the powerless? Is there no way out of this endless cycle of abuse and violence?

Democracy does not seem to be sufficient medicine for our pathology.
John boyer (Atlanta)
The Frontline piece on Netanyahu told us all we needed to know about his upbringing, belief system, rise to power, attempts to influence the 2012 presidential election, and the corresponding inhuman treatment of Palestinians. Maybe Clinton (Bill) was somewhat naive in the 1990's trying to get Israel's leaders to accept Arafat as something other than a terrorist, but Netanyahu's exploitation of a few terrorist acts to grab power, as opposed to rising above to create more lasting solutions, has already gone down in history as a most selfish act.

Netanyahu has fostered his own paranoia into Israeli culture over the past 20 years in a manner that doesn't offer them much in the way of alternatives now. They feel that anyone less strident than him will subject them to more terrorism, and that survival is only possible with missile "shields" and draconian tactics towards the Palestinians. He has worsened the situation in every way, and left them with no peaceful way out of the mire.
Paul Easton (Brooklyn)
The Israeli government decided from the outset that it would not give up control of the West Bank. It would go so far as allowing the Arabs limited self-government in certain regions, but beyond that its participation in the "peace process" was only an attempt to stall and shift the blame. Netanyahu's innovation was to no longer attempt to hide the governments intentions, and he got the support of a solid majority of Israeli voters. There can no longer be any hope for compromise by normal means.

For the present Israel has struck a tacit alliance with the governments of the Arab Royals and the military government of Egypt, but as the Arab states move toward democracy they will not be able to tolerate an apartheid state in Israel. At present Israel has the advantage militarily, but it is hard to see how it can maintain it in the long run when it is so outnumbered. Eventually the issue will be resolved by a general Mid East War. For those who would like to avoid this the only possible answer is all out support of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, which might cause the Israelis to change their course.
Ken Camarro (Fairfield, CT)
At the end of the day all one can say is that the situation for a 500 mile radius around Tel Aviv including all of Israel is "profound." That is a medical term for degree.

What forces drive the leaders of the 12 adjacent countries including Israel? Each seems to be faced with insurmountable opportunity." Each drinks it own whiskey.

You can say that our political system is in a log jam because of GOP incompetence. That is true there too.
Andrew Santo (New York, NY)
I took the time to read the speech--thanks to the link in your editorial--and the vast bulk of it is nothing more than the standard "Israel, My Israel" blather. If one or two paragraphs of semi-mild criticism (which, as you point out is nothing more than a recitation of fact) can provoke the Israeli government to such a withering, abusive reaction then the question must be posed: What more do they want? They are about to receive a substantial increase in their aid package. Every politician here pledges undying allegiance to them. They ignore every legitimate request we make to them to please stop the settlement activity. They attempt to undermine our political processes to their own advantage, even to the extent of openly backing presidential candidates. If this is an ally, then that word has to be redefined.

By the way, this is the first mention in the Times of this speech or of the Israeli government reaction. It was adequately reported elsewhere. Why were you so reticent to mention it?
Chris (Mexico)
To call the Two-State Solution "fading" is akin to saying that Francisco Franco has health issues.

The Two-State Solution is dead. Israel was never seriously committed to it and the unrelenting expansion of the settlements has had the desired effect of rendering a viable Palestinian state in the Occupied Territories a political impossibility.

It is kept alive in some people's imaginations mainly because it is convenient for them to deceive themselves. American and European diplomats keep the idea alive because the alternative is acknowledging that Israel has become a de facto apartheid regime. The leaders of the Palestinian Authority maintain the same fiction because doing so is a condition for receiving their salaries. Israeli officials used to pay lip service to the idea, but now see little reason to.

Lets face the facts and start working for a single binational democratic secular state for both peoples.
Gary (Vancouver)
Neither side is committed to the two state solution. It is a fight between two desperate peoples and neither will yield. The Israelis have immense military and economic power and the most powerful ally (despite occasional murmurs of discontent) and the Palestinians have numbers and lots of anti-semitism to appeal to, plus the fact that they were taken over and so have a small moral advantage.
R. E. (Cold Spring, NY)
Good idea, but one that's even more unlikely than the "two-state" solution. Ingrained Israeli prejudice against Palestinians, and vice versa, are so ingrained for that ever to happen after so many years of antagonism on both sides going back to the foundation of Israel.
Mr_Tull (Israel)
The MIddle East is going through a millennial storm. Countries disintegrate, religious rifts explode into catastrophic civil wars, waves of millions of refugees reshape the region for centuries to come. Violence is everywhere. And the New York Times? Still plays the same old tune like a broken record. That is called dogmatic thinking.

Reality on the ground, as opposed to one's opinion, is that the Arabs living in the West Bank enjoy self rule and a level of physical and economic well being that can only be dreamed of in the devastated areas of the Middle East. Tens of Millions of Arabs across the region would trade places in a heart beat with the so called Palestinians who live under the Israeli security umbrella.

The notion that an independent Palestinian state would somehow make the Arabs residents' lives better is bogus. The moment Israel withdraws the area will become another ISIS haven and turn the relatively calm West Bank into a hellish launching pad for violence against Israel outside, and ruthless oppression inside. That is the sheepish liberals idea for peace and moral high ground - to turn the area into an equally hellish place for everyone.

Peace in the Middle East will become a reality only when the Arabs themselves seek it, first and foremost between themselves. Only when a culture of peace and life replaces the culture of death and vendetta will we have a chance for peace between the Jews and Arabs. Not a moment sooner.
Scott (Santa Monica)
Anyone who thinks that the current Israeli government is interested in the two state solution/situation needs to step back and look at facts. Granted many of the Palestinians are not angels but push people hard enough via discrimination etc and they are going to push back, especially when they have nothing to loose. The situation that is similar to apartheid as Demond Tutu stated last year where different groups of people have different rights based solely on who their parents are. Actions talk louder than words and the current situation show that Israel is not interested in a two state solution as so many of presidents have come to realize after years of trying to calm things down over there. It takes two parties to make a functional relationship work, who knows if the Palestinians can live up to their side of the bargain but one thing is certain and that is that the Israelis aren't and aren't interested in such a thing.
William Alan Shirley (Richmond, California)
Since the 2,400 Palestinian men, women, children and babies slaughtered in August of 2014, much of the world got a clear window into the soul of Netanyahu and his supporters. And much of the world's hearts were broken.

The continuing theft of ancient lands and olive groves, and bulldozing of generations of thousands of Palestinian homes, being replaced with "settlers" (as if they were Little House On the Prairie) and the terrible injustices oppressing the Palestinians daily, much of the world, and Americans in particular, can no longer abide with Israel in good conscience.

The Jewish Voice for Peace is the last remaining heart of, and only hope for Israel. Or else they will go the way of the white oppressors of South African apartheid.
Tom Barrett (Edmonton)
The Israeli government has zero interest in a two-state solution and knowing that the US always has their back in the Security Council, feels free to ruthlessly carry on building settlements and mistreating Palestinians despite world-wide recognition that those settlements are flagrantly illegal and there can be no peace until all, or almost all of them are dismantled as part of a two-state solution. The 4th Geneva Conventions baldy state that an occupying power cannot transfer its citizens into the area being occupied. Israel's only defence is to claim that somehow the occupation is not really an occupation, which is ludicrous. In the final year of his presidency. Obama should not veto the next motion which condemns the settlements as illegal. Even if the US wrongly votes against it they should not veto it. The message must be sent that unless Israel legitimately negotiates with the Palestinians, America will also not veto a motion turning the problem over to the International Court of Justice, something that should have been done many years ago.
Chris (Myrtle Beach, SC)
So, you are against northerners moving to the south? Occupied territory from the civil war, right? Geneva Convention must apply.

Arabs attacked Israel. Israel won. The loss of territory is the price they pay. Get over it.
Bonnie Rothman (NYC)
Has the world notified the Chinese that their transfer of Han Chinese into Tibet is illegitimate? Thought not. This is an example of only little countries getting criticized for what the big nations do all the time.
Henry (Michigan)
Israel expands beyond its borders (or mere cease fire lines); China expands by building new islands in international waters; Russia expands into Ukraine. Notice a pattern? All face talk, but the expansion continues. Meanwhile the borders of the U.S. and European countries are breached by vast hordes of migrants. The Post-War border system is breaking down.
John Lepire (Newport Beach)
What has been going on in the Palestinian lands over the past 40+ years is nothing short of internationally sanctioned apartheid. If one takes the time to revisit the South African model, the parallels are unmistakable, with the one exception being the fact that the original white settlers had already appropriated the land in question before lowing the boom of state sanctioned segregation and subjugation on the black populace.

The current Israeli government openly acknowledges that under any conceivable circumstances the Palestinians will never get their land back. At the same time this government rails against any suggestions of assimilation of the Palestinian people as members of the Israeli state. One of two things must enviably happen, and happen soon. Either the world agrees with the Israeli's that apartheid is acceptable as a controlling factor in this day and age or else the Palestinian people will be democratically welcomed as citizens of land that they have lived on for more than a millennium.
Paul Jay (Ottawa, Canada)
There is the happy myth of Israel, to which many liberals cling, and the ugly reality. The place is a white Euro-American settler colony conceived and executed on the premise of driving the indigenous inhabitants, the Palestinians, off their land. Crocodile tears about the demise of the two-state solution are ridiculous. A two state solution was never in the plans, just the slow and steady extermination of all of Palestine.
Chicago Guy (Chicago, Il)
Netanyahu is toxic.

And he is as personally toxic as he is politically.

He will turn any potentially productive discussion about the Middle East into a non-starter.

Until he goes, everything else is a pointless exercise.
Deep Thought (California)
After listening to thousands of Netanyahu lectures to Obama, who accepted them with presidential sang-froid, I now ask myself this question: Who are we to ask/order Israelis and Palestinians to organize themselves into two states?

The honest situation is that both sides dream that suddenly the other side will vanish and they will enjoy land from the River to the Sea (or vice versa). They are both smoking some extremely good stuff and need rehab. You cannot make 6 million people vanish and definitely not in the twenty-first century. Those who point at expulsion of Germans East of the Oder-Niesse line may also note that Germans had no friends at that time to speak for them. Today both Israeli & Palestinians have enough clout to see that it will not happen again!

We are heading towards a One State Solution of one-man-one-vote. It is the only pragmatic, realistic and contemporary solution. What we can best do is to see that it is arrived not via a civil war but facilitated with a soft landing. That should be our goal.
Mik (Stockholm)
I agree with the propents of a two state theory.It could help solve a local problem.On the other hand looking at the rest of the Arab world I am not optimistic.Their backers are the autocracies of the Middle East,their region is in turmoil and unless the rest of the Middle East gets its act together one cannot advocate a two state solution.The last thing we need is a democracy albeit a flawed democracy with equal rights for women and gay people bordered by a Taliban state with murderous intentions.I'm sure if Israel was bordered by a rich stable countries like Canada their politics would be different.One has to adapt to one's enviornment after all.
Yehoshua Sharon (Israel)
(Written in 2002):
I am a farmer. My only wish is to be left in peace to cultivate my land, to live the simple life of a farmer in the land of my people, according to the tradition of my people as I understand that tradition. I have no wish to harm or dispossess anyone, nor shall I ever be dispossessed by another; not as long as I breathe.

The Palestinian people feel the same way. (They may have learned this from us. Since prior to the return to Zion, the Arabs of the Land of Israel thought of themselves as part of the Moslem world with no need for Palestine nationalism.) But their claims to this tiny land are as legitimate as our claims, and I recognize this. The problem is there is no viable way to divide this land. All the suggestions for two states in the land of Israel are ill-conceived and unworkable politically, socially and most importantly, economically. But this fallacy has been repeated so often (by well-meaning would-be brokers of peace) that it has taken on legitimacy. Every Jew and every Arab knows in his heart of hearts that this can never be. The nationalist aspirations of a people are by definition exclusive, and that is the real problem
XYZ123 (California)
The easiest approach to kill any possible peace deal is what Ariel Sharon used, and Netanyahu adopted, which is to marginalize your opponent (aka. Negotiating partner) and then keep repeating lies about having no partner in peace negotiation and that the offer of a lifetime was turned down. This of course refers to the Swiss cheese solution that Mark Thomasen mentioned.

As for the Obama administration, I'm frankly not optimistic based on its seven-year history of being so passive even when civilian homes are air boomed for 2 months in Gaza, twice. But I still hope anything can lead back to that point I Camp David and the wrongs get righted.
Retired (Asheville, NC)
Bunker-state Israel, like North Korea, survives due to large benefactors--the US and China. Both attack internal and external critics with little regard for the process of law; both are subject to international sanctions; and both threaten nuclear retaliation to their supposed enemies. And in both of their regions they have become marginalized by expanding problems (for example Syria and China-neighbors conflicts) and thus seem likely to continue their present bunker-like existence for the foreseeable future.
Julie (Playa del Rey, CA)
Netanyahu would be the GOP nominee in a hot minute if he threw his hat in this cycle. He's the exemplar of self-righteous refusal to compromise, pre-emptive violence, revenge and grabbing all the land he can while the world's otherwise distraced. Everything today's GOP worships.
It's an authoritarianism streaking through Europe as well as here, and dangerous if not acknowledged.
This is an important election.
Prof.Jai Prakash Sharma (Jaipur, India.)
With international aloofness and the US no longer remaining interested to push for the two-state solution, the Palestine state appears to be no more than a lost dream and a forgotten chapter in the messy post-war history of West Asia.
Agnieszka G (CA)
If the fog suddenly lifted and the mythical second state would emerge, it would look more like a Swiss cheese then a coherent territory.

Absent special effects, as things stand they will continue... without change as long as US will to hold the veto power for its benefit.

It is amazing and sad, the state that had enjoyed a stupendous goodwill at its inception, to the point it could do no wrong, had in little more than half of century transformed itself from a triumph of a human rights and rule of law into an embarrassment.
Mike (Wilmington DE)
This settlement story is reaching the point of absurdity. If it has not become obvious to all that the Israelis have never been serious about a two state solution, it's because people in this country have had blinders on since the 67 war. Until this country is willing to punish this behavior by withholding financial aid rather than rewarding it, the bad behavior will continue. Why are we even considering increasing the financial aid from 3 to 5 Billion dollars, given the obviou violation of international law?
I suggest the primary reason is the money contributions to politicians on both sides. Our Congress is bought and paid for. I for one do not want one cent of my taxes to go to supporting the Settlement Policy which has caused the US to incur huge security costs which if isolated from all the various efforts would be shown to be immense. Just think what we could do with the hundreds of Billions if put to productive uses.
Mike (NYC)
Giving money to Israel is insane. When Israel was a newly formed, undeveloped, backwater country with no economy, populated in large part by Holocaust survivors giving them grants made some sense.

Today Israel has a fully developed economy with a stable currency. They have billionaires and many millionaires. If Israel needs money get it from them, not US. We don't give money to France do we?
Owat Agoosiam (New York)
Your opinion is one sided. Israel has negotiated on several occasions to establish a two-state solution. In each case, it was the other side that walked away from the table.
Why did they walk away? Because they are committed to the destruction of Israel, not co-existence. In essence, they are committed to a one-state solution. A state in which non-Muslims would be exterminated.
If the only choice is a one-state solution, which state should we support? A theocracy called Palestine, or a democracy called Israel?
Garry Sklar (N. Woodmerre, NY)
This editorial makes one wonder what is the limit of one country interfering in the affairs of another. It is easy to pick on some countries. I can assure you that the American ambassador to Russia or China wouldn't dare open his mouth up to give advice on their internal affairs. Ambassador Shapiro is behaving more as a proconsul than as an ambassador when he comments on the legal system of his host nation. Foreign ambassadors accredited to the United States would not be welcomed to comment on what is perceived to be internal affairs of the United States. Not too many years ago it was revealed that foreign countries made donations to political candidates in the U.S. A stop was put to that quickly.
The interference by the EU in financing organizations (NGOs)
is clearly unacceptable in any country.Organizations financed by foreign countries in the U.S. need to register as foreign agents. Does the Times find this unacceptable? If so, why can't other countries demand the same? Of course, American law and customs have no validity outside of our country and all countries have their own legal systems and culture.
It would be wise if American diplomats would restrict themselves to representing the United States rather than represent the interests of every country but our own. Ambassador Shapiro's criticism did nothing to enhance the United States. That is what his job is. He shouldn't interfere in his host country's internal affairs.
Ken (MT Vernon, NH)
You are absolutely correct. AIPAC should be shut down and their purchasing of US politicians outlawed.
James (St. Paul, MN.)
All thoughtful and appropriate. Once question only: Do you feel any representatives of other countries would have a right to object if the US began unilaterally expanding our boundary into the land owned by Canada or Mexico? It seems that such actions may be legitimately seen by any objective outsider as something more than "internal affairs."
MGL (Baltimore, MD)
I have to disagree with Gary Sider. The United States has been an unstinted supporter of Israel through the years, emotionally and financially.. We love Israel; we want peace for them and their displaced neighbors the Palestinians. Why should we sit back and watch Israel pursue policies relentlessly that undermine their integrity? Their whole settlement policy is unacceptable and disastrous. Worldwide support for their actions is slipping.
What about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s inappropriate speech to a joint session of Congress in May 2015, prodded by Republicans to stir opposition to our President Obama? Ambassador Shapiro’s comments are a kind nudge by comparison.
Outside the Box (America)
A couple days ago Shmuel Rosner's commentary in the NYT stated that Israel gives Jews "a place where they are the majority culture, saving them from assimilation." Only recently the NYT seems to have noticed that Israel is an apartheid state. The NYT's gentle language only hints something might be wrong. Yet elsewhere in the NYT when it speaks of the US and ts people, the articles and commentary are filled with words like bigots, white supremacists, racists, and anti-Semites. Why the double standard?
Mike Marks (Orleans)
I want to write that I have given up on Israel, that it is a lost cause. But I can't. The belief in the righteousness of a Jewish state that would be a light to the world was bred into me. Literally.

I want to write that there should come a Jewish civil war and that I would fight for justice for Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, that I would kill extremist settlers in the cause of moderation. But I can't. Hamas and Al Queda and Isis and such would destroy Israel and I can't help them in their quest.

Even though moderate Palestinians and moderate Jews are natural partners and have more basis for friendship than the extremists of each side, we have our sides and at the end of the day, when push comes to shove we side with our own, even when we hate them.


I hope to become a multi-billionaire so that every dollar Sheldon Adelson gives to Netanyahu and his despicable cronies, I can give three times to J Street and others who support the Israel I loved when I was young.
Bos (Boston)
Face it, Israel has no intention to cede any control to the Palestinians. The conspiracy minded may go so far as to speculate some in Israel were doing stuff like West Bank settlements on purpose to provoke a militant response. It is sad to see the victim turning into a bully
Frank (Durham)
An afterthought. I read that Netanyahu is requesting that the the US subsidy to Israel be raised from three to five billion dollars. I presume that he thinks that he deserves the extra money for his scrupulous attention to the desires of the US.
Scott Rose (Manhattan)
You write as though Israel in isolation were receiving more military purchase credits from U.S. companies, but that is not true. Recognizing that the nuclear deal with Iran puts other Middle Eastern countries at greater danger of Iranian aggression with conventional arms, the Obama administration persuaded Saudi officials to stop criticizing the deal so harshly by giving Saudi Arabia hugely expanded military assistance. Meanwhile, while you write about "the desires of the U.S." you seem to leave out of account that Congress invited Netanyahu to speak and the majority of Americans supported the invitation.
Two weeks ago, the "moderate" Rouhani held a Muslim Unity Conference attended by 300 Muslims from different countries. Their main conclusion was that they have to improve the image of Islam by uniting to destroy Israel. Meanwhile, it is known that Iran has been arming Hezbollah in Lebanon with missiles directed against Israel. The American people overwhelmingly remain supportive of Israel and do not want Iran and its proxy Hezbollah wiping it off the map.
Frank (Durham)
"An odious bill introduced by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked would require activists to wear badges "
Where is the historic memory? And further afield, I am sure that Netanyahu has read his father book on the Spanish Inquisition and the dress requirement for Jews. The entire thing is borderline insane.
Fred (Flystone)
A two state solution is already dead, and was probably never viable, but the ongoing settlements will only exacerbate the problems. As an American currently living in Israel I have come to recognize how little most Americans and American Jews understand about how rabidly fundamentalist many of the Jewish settlers on the West Bank are, and how craven many Israeli politicians are. Since many Orthodox Jews think Israel is now in a redemptive phase, and the meshiach will soon arrive, practicalities take a back seat. It's a terrible situation exacerbated by an ingrained attitude on the part of many Israelis that any criticism of its policies bespeaks antisemitism. Expect increasing violence, obduracy and polarization in the future.
Daniel Rose (Shrewsbury, MA)
Fred, are you suggesting that a two-state solution was never viable even as far back as 1967, upon which the "traditional" boundaries are typically discussed? How about 1973, when Sharon's facts on the ground began?

Ultimately, are you suggesting that a single apartheid state, as President Carter so eloquently put it, is the only solution?
Al Hazan (Ethiopia)
No, Daniel, I am saying nothing of the kind. A single apartheid state is the de facto reality; it is terrible and it is certainly not a solution. What is at this point, I have no clue.

Maybe a two state solution was possible at one point, but no longer. I suggest you read the "Two State Delusion" by Padraig O'Malley. It presents a strong argument that any hypothetical Palestinian state possible at one point would have hardly looked like a modern democracy and would have been so tremendously reliant on Israel that its true independence would be a chimera.
bnyc (NYC)
Two words. I agree.
Michael (New York, NY)
It's time that the US administration faces the fact that Israel is not a partner for peace and for a start defund them of the billions of taxpayer dollars that we pay them each year.
coffic (New York)
Without Israel, the U.S. would have no real ally in that region. The "Palestinians" from the beginning have called for the destruction of Israel and the extermination of the Jews. They have never considered the 2-state solution. Israel has tried to negotiate, but, the Palestinians have always insisted on ridiculous concessions.

Israel is for peace, but, not if it means that Israel no longer exists.
Barbara Wright (Willimantic, CT)
Right. Defund -- and then recognize that the "answer," temporarily at least, may be NO state. Palestinians are accused of refusing to recognize the Israeli state, and Israel clearly doesn't want a Palestinian state. So the only equitable response is NO state. The whole region becomes a UN protectorate with the same legal system, economic policies, and other protections of civilization, equally applied to all residents. The arrangement can be time-limited to two or three generations to provide a cool-down period -- necessary because, as the saying goes, hurt people hurt people. It will take at least several generations for the hurt on both sides to heal so there can be some kind of fair and rational long-term solution.
Jake Linco (Chicago)
All this has been true for many years. When will the NY Times begin to advocate for a commensurate reduction in aid to Israel?
Robert Cohen (Atlanta-Athens GA area)
I perceive reality is absurd, and that the wishful optimism in the "Arab Spring" has devolved into the entirely predictable pessimism & bleak reality of the Middle East.
B. Mull (Irvine, CA)
They pursue these racist policies which make the region more unstable and then shamelessly hit up Congress for a 67% increase in military aid. How about we stop enabling them and allow them to experience the consequences of their actions. Who knows, they might just behave better.
coffic (New York)
Shall the Palestinians also experience the consequences of their actions?
Babel (new Jersey)
Anyone with the slightest insight recognized that Netanyahu for years had been giving lip service to a two state solution. Only in his last run for re-election for Prime Minister did he make it crystal clear that he had no intention of giving the Palestinians a homeland. This position of course flies in the face of near universal support around the world for the right of Palestinians to have a land of their own. But the latest actions and words against our Ambassador should come as no surprise, because they form an ongoing pattern. Netanyahu cabinet members, aides, and close advisors have been hurling background slurs against Obama and members of his administration for years. It reminds one of how Netanyahu and his people ran their campaign against Rabin. But in the end the blame rests with the Israeli people, who with full knowledge of who Netanyahu is and what his true policies are have decided to return him to power and given him their blessings.
priceofcivilization (Houston TX)
We should consider building an embassy in Jerusalem with two entrances and recognize the west bank as a Palestinian state on the date it Israel a few years to grow up and accept reality.

I would also let all Israelis including Israeli Arabs immigrate to U.S. if they can't take seeing Israel continue down it's path to becoming an oppressive religious state.
Cristino Xirau (West Palm Beach, Fl.)
If there is any embassy to be established in Israel it should be an embassy to the state of Palestine. (What? you don't like that idea? An embassy to the state of Israel is equally obnoxious in my view.)

Jerusalem should be either a dual capital of two nations or an international enclave.
gerry (princeton)
It has taken the Times a long time to realize that Bibi never believed in a 2 state solution.
Melissa (NJ)
Anyone with little common sense would have known that " Bibi' has major personality issues and not capable of doing the right thing, reminds me of Trump. They are cut from the cloth. Hope one day so called world leaders will write their opinions about dealing with him.
James McEntire (Chapel Hill, NC)
The two-state solution has been dead as a door nail for a very long time. And with the USA stated position of backing Israeli positions, whatever they are, we become part of the problem. When we try to be the mediator. we are not impartial. More straight talk from Shapiro and Kerry is helpful but falls short of having much beneficial effect.
Nancy (Great Neck)
The question I have about American diplomacy, a question that repeatedly occurs to me, is whether an ambassador should publicly try to direct the domestic policy of a country to which he or she is assigned. I can understand President Obama or Secretary Kerry publicly trying to influence domestic policy in another country, but never an ambassador.

Daniel Shapiro has severely limited his ability to be trusted and effective as a diplomat, and will in no way change policy by this public approach.
RoseMarieDC (Washington DC)
An ambassador is the representative of the president in a foreign country. As such, Shapiro is doing his job. I am sure he got approval from the White House before he gave his speech. We cannot expect the president to attend and address all matters of foreign policy. That is what ambassadors and the Secretary of State are there. Furthermore, expressing a point of view cannot be construed as "direct(ing) the domestic policy of a country."
ted (portland)
Nancy with the billions of dollars and thousands of lives America has sacrificed for Israel believe me we should have plenty to say in the matter or better yet withdraw support and the problem would soon correct itself without the implicit guarantee that we will condone their actions. You might read Michael Sfards excellent article of January 16 in the Times to gain a better perspective, the majority of Israelis are as sick of Bibi and the right wing policies as the rest of the world is and they have to live with the increased anti semitism resulting from the deplorable actions of Bibi, Adelson and the other right wingers, not a good thing for anyone Jews or Palestinians.
Chip Steiner (Lenoir, NC)
And would you apply the same to Ambassador Ron Dermer? If not, then your comment has no merit.
Mark Thomason (Clawson, Mich)
"With the Kerry and Shapiro speeches, the administration is hoping to prod Israelis and Palestinians to think hard about the future they are creating."

If there can be salvaged any remaining last hope for a two state solution, I must be done as Obama is doing it now.

The Israelis must be confronted with the alternatives. If not Palestinians state, then what are they going to do with all of those Palestinians. They have a number of alternatives, all bad for Israel even if worse for the Palestinians.

The Israelis are relentlessly taking their state down the path of Rhodesia. We saw the only possible end to that path.
Fritz (Germany)
Villem Flusser and the no state solution.
Larry Lundgren (Sweden)
@ Mark - Mark, in a comment submitted at 6:50 GMT I refer to Tony Judt's 2003 essay and to a reminder of that essay that appeared in NYRB in June 2015, reference in my comment submission.

Here I quote directly from the essay/book review by Jonathan Freedland.

"It was time to turn toward the notion of a single state....Yes it would mean the dissolution of the Jewish state...Surely Israel had become an 'anachronism. And not just an anachronism but a dysfunctional one'."

The phrase in single quotes is, I believe, Tony Judt's phrase. I believe it connects well with your final paragraph. A tragedy of the worst kind. I wonder if Netanyahu's fixation on Iran is somehow triggered by his recognition that the real horrifying fate for Israel might be what Tony Judt and your Rhodesia image portray.
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
The TImes says it is "beginning" to look like Israel does not want a two-state solution. Times, that was years ago. The settlement movement has long since grown in size and political influence past the point at which it "begins" to look like the settlements, with their seizures of Palestinian land and violence against Palestinian neighbors, are permanent Jewish establishments in what was supposed to be an independent Palestine. None of this was necessary for Israel's security, nor was it a reaction to Palestinian violence.
Here (There)
"in what was supposed to be an independent Palestine"

According to whom? The Egyptians and Jordanians who held the land for less than 20 years but did not give citizenship to the locals?
Rex R (New York)
The Zionist dream will be achieved only when Israel's 6 million Jews joint America's 6 million Jews; these 12 million comprising 80 percent of world Jewry.

What is more likely: America's 6 million Jews relocating to Israel, or Israel's 6 million Jews relocating to a vacant portion of land in North America.

Think about it, talk about it, write about it, act upon it. Above all, face reality. Who could oppose this "one-state" solution in a safe geographical location, funded by the foreign aid destined to last another 50 years.
Susan (NYC)
I'm confused, are the settlements in Jerusalem or outside of Israel's capital city?
Richard Luettgen (New Jersey)
The only real reason we see a reduction in both interest and pressure for a two-state solution in Palestine is the immediacy of threats emanating from the Taliban and ISIS, and even from the occasional outrage still perpetrated by Qaeda; the mess that Syria has become; and the concern among major Sunni regional players that Shi’a Iran will deploy nuclear weapons at some time in the near future. The plight of the Palestinians has become merely one of numerous regional concerns and less highly prioritized because of the sheer length of time it’s been hanging with no resolution since Yasser Arafat declined a two-state solution offering many years ago fearing for his life at the hands of Hamas should he accept.

Clearly, Israel is aware of all these distractions and we can expect that it will take advantage of them to accelerate settlement activity, confident that realities on the ground will bear significantly on any eventual serious resumption of two-state talks. They probably will.

This editorial cites acts of deliberate deadly violence committed by both Palestinians AND Israelis; and, frankly, one is hard pressed to imagine any influence that might reduce them for the present. But to suggest that a two-state solution of some kind cannot be effected in the future is unthinkable, as it would require basically disenfranchising Palestinians in a Greater Israel. As distractions diminish, the world wouldn’t tolerate that of Israel.
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
Richard, your post sounds sensible, but it is years out of date. Events on the ground in Palestine have moved way past the possibility of a two-state solution -- and I believe they also have shown that Israeli governments are not interested in it.
Richard Luettgen (New Jersey)

The purpose in my citing the distractions that cause less attention to a two-state solution was to give what I believe is a credible reason WHY there is less interest – and acknowledgment of those distractions is hardly years out of date. What’s more, the argument that a two-state solution in some form MUST again become viable when the power of those distractions abates is hardly years out of date if the consequences of the alternative are accurately defined. If you want to attack the conclusion that we’ll again be pressuring Israel to adopt a two-state solution in future, regardless of the complications they’re creating on the ground with accelerated settlement activity, then you argue that Israel will create the Arab disenfranchisement within a unitary Israel that I see as that only alternative; and that the world would tolerate that outcome without fatal sanctions against Israel.
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
Richard, I don't suggest that we won't "again be pressuring Israel to adopt a two-state solution in future". I was discussing not pressure but actions. Our pressure has accomplished little, or less. I do indeed think Israel's actions, as you imply, "will create the Arab disenfranchisement within a unitary Israel". (Also, I'm sure some extremist parties hope Arabs will leave.) If in fact the world's reaction does turn out to be fatal to Israel, that will be too late for the two-state solution anyway.

I don't believe the presently dominant political tendencies in Israel care what "the world" does. "The world" is hardly unified; Israel can count on that for the foreseeable future, and unforeseeable consequences have little influence on politics. In fact, foreseeable consequences, if not utterly obvious, seem to have little influence on people with an agenda, which the currently dominant right wing in Israel does have.
Bruce Rozenblit (Kansas City)
It pains me greatly to write this, but there will be no two-state solution. Windows of opportunity can open and close. This window has been broken so many times that it has been boarded over and can no longer be opened.

Violence begets violence. Mistrust begets mistrust. Hatred begets hatred. Absolutism and extremism drive all of it. I will negotiate with you so long as I get everything that I want and you get nothing you want. That has been the saga of this sad tale.

Americans like to cling to beliefs that reasonable people can settle their differences through dialog and negotiation. Netanyahu doesn't negotiate. There is no one to negotiate with on the Palestinian side. Hamas doesn't negotiate. Each side is justified by ancient holy texts. Each side is righteous.

Americans should take note that this is what happens to a people when right wing politics takes hold. Observe how similar the apocalyptic rhetoric form the GOP candidates is to Netanyahu's. I would say they must have the same speech writer but Netanyahu is a vastly superior orator than they are.

The Palestinians put their trust in Arafat and he turned down a very good deal claiming that he would have been assassinated. That's when the window was boarded over for good. Since then the Israeli right has risen and gained control. This isn't going to have an ending. It's a stalemate of turmoil and suffering.
Mark Thomason (Clawson, Mich)
I was with you, until you said the limited sovereignty offered on a Swiss Cheese landscape, non-viable economically and without a future, was "a very good deal."
Fritz (Germany)
The two state solution has never been more than a trick to avoid a policy of coexistence and to buy time. In was an easy formula for everybody. The doubletalk in the case of the two Chinas comes to mind. The worst role plays Europe -- as in the case of Syria.
XYZ123 (California)
Even when GWB called it Swiss cheese he sounded intelligent, kind of. But I Cling to that definition because of the effort to erase it. That effort included pressuring Bill Clinton, who oversaw the Camp David negotiations, to sell out and adopt the tired line that Bruce is still using.
See also