Monday, April 09, 2012

Is the Two State Solution Dead?
Don't Tell It To Shaul Mofaz

This is interesting? Shaul Mofaz, the new head of the Kadima party - Israel's largest opposition party, has come out strongly in favour of the two state solution - including 100% compensation for any land Israel would retain within the West Bank in a peace deal with the Palestinians. Its basically the "Obama formula" - the 1967 borders with adjustments based on land swaps.

According to the NY Times:
“I intend to replace Netanyahu,” Mr. Mofaz, 63, said in the party chairman’s office, so new to him that behind his desk there was still a poster for Ms. Livni. “I will not join his government.”

Then: “The greatest threat to the state of Israel is not nuclear Iran,” but that Israel might one day cease to be a Jewish state, because it would have as many Palestinians as Jews. “So it is in Israel’s interest that a Palestinian state be created.”
...Mr. Mofaz says he would start with an interim Palestinian state on 60 percent of the West Bank and negotiate the rest.

Mr. Mofaz says Israel should keep the West Bank settlement blocs but give the Palestinians 100 percent of their territorial demands by swapping land. He believes that borders and security can be negotiated in a year, and that tens of thousands of settlers would leave their homes with the proper incentives. Those who remain would be forced out.
What is interesting is: first that Mofaz - who everyone believed was to the right of Tzipi Livni and would try to merge Kadima into the Likud - is apparently not so right wing after all; and second that he believes he can win an election on such an aggressively pro-two-state platform.
I am sceptical he can convince enough Israelis to vote for him based on this platform - and I am sceptical he can reach a peace deal with the Palestinians while still keeping the major settlement blocks of Ariel and Ma'aleh Adumim which sit deep within the West Bank.

So I will wish him luck, but I wouldn't relax and count on Mofaz being the solution.


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