Tuesday, 01 September 2020 16:52

Two-state solution will satisfy Palestinians

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Two-state solution will satisfy Palestinians AFP pic

When the United Arab Emirates recognised Israel as a full state, the most basic condition attached to the process that Israel cease and desist from any settlement activities in the West Bank.

However, there was no effort to specify when Israel should do that, merely an aspiration, which the UAE would like to see on the ground.

Another important point, there are more then 650,000 settlers in Israel, staying in the occupied land of Palestine wrested from King Hussein of Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War.

If the settlers had already considered these occupied land as their homes, which are against the Geneva Convention, the action of the UAE has amounted to rewarding the action of the Likud government, especially the coalition lead by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The fact is that since the Madrid Dialogue in 1990, as approved by the late United States president George Bush, with the consent of then Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, a two-state solution has always been in the offing.

To the degree the Spanish peace process could not make any head ways, Professor Herbert Kelman at Harvard University helped it along.

Kelman invited scholars and government officials from both sides to speak in their private albeit semi official capacity, in what is otherwise known as a "Track 2 Dialogue", a field explored in great detail by Phar Kim Beng, a former Harvard teaching fellow from 1998 to 2001.

When the confidence was gained by both sides, the Norwegian government took over to sponsor the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks leading to the 1994 Oslo Peace Accord signed between the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, who was representing the People's Liberation Organisation.

Regrettably, since then, Netanyahu, who has won five elections, has never taken this Oslo Accord seriously.

If the UAE does not understand the peril of the peace process, especially how brittle it can be, the Gulf country should not unilaterally recognise Israel.

There are three dire strategic implications.

First, the ultra-conservative elements in Iran have considered UAE a "legitimate target", potentially to be attacked. This is not healthy for regional dynamics.

Secondly, with Turkey against the plan too, it will lobby the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) to challenge the leadership of the United States and Israel to hamper any progress.

This will create a split in Nato at a point when the organisation is already very weak due to the absence of American leadership.

Finally, if UAE works with the US and Israel, the much sought-after Muslim unity will fray, not that it hasn't, because the Muslim world will begin to question
the legitimacy of the global order.

A two-state solution is the only gold standard that can satisfy the Palestinians, and all those who have had the misfortune to witness their displacement for decades.

The writer is president and chief executive officer of Emir Research, an independent think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

Published in: New Straits Times on Tuesday, 01 September 2020

Source NST: https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/09/620924/two-state-solution-will-satisfy-palestinians