As NBC News reports, Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory in the Israeli elections — which marks his fifth term as prime minister — means that a two-state solution might not be as feasible. Specifically, most of the lawmakers in Netanyahu’s government oppose the removal of Jewish settlements on the land that Palestinians want to use for a future state.
Not only that, but Netanyahu announced that he would annex settlements in the West Bank — which Israel captured in 1967 — just days before the elections.
Hady Amr, a former deputy head for the Middle East at the U.S. Agency for International Development, believes this is a big deal.
“Although it may just be campaign sloganeering, we all need to be clear that Israeli sovereignty over all the Israeli settlements would make it impossible to create a Palestinian state.”
“The difficulty of separation — and the likelihood of annexation — is growing stronger by day,” he added.
Since the 1990s, Jewish settlers in the West Bank have increased from just 100,000 to over 400,000. In addition, Palestinians living in these regions are subject to restrictions of movement, checkpoints, and a near-total ban on development and construction. B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization that opposes the occupation, claims that Palestinian residents of the West Bank have been living under strict military rule for the last 50 years.
Senator Dianne Feinstein recently expressed her opposition to the occupation.
“It’s not sustainable for Israel to militarily occupy the West Bank. Nor is it just to continue denying Palestinians their inherent right of self-determination. I urge Israeli leaders to take no action — particularly annexing the West Bank — that would kill a two-state solution.”
She added that an independent Palestine is necessary for Israel to maintain its “Jewish and democratic character.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted recent statements that suggest that the United States might change its policy on the subject. He claims that the U.S. is in the process of creating a solution to the problem and that the plan is being devised by Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner. The plan is reportedly going to be announced after Netanyahu establishes his new government.
Recently, the White House has made numerous decisions that benefit Netanyahu, such as the recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights.
Palestinian politician and leader Hanan Ashrawi claims that Trump is acting in ways that strengthen Netanyahu’s “extremist and militaristic agenda.” She added that the lack of a response to the situation from the international community is reinforcing Netanyahu’s right-wing populism.