JERUSALEM — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry set off an uproar in Israel on Sunday after warning that the country, through its continued West Bank occupation, will become a “binational state.”
Kerry’s words describe a scenario that would mark a failure of U.S. policy and end to Israel’s existence as a country that is both Jewish and democratic. The U.S., the international community and many Israelis have endorsed the “two-state solution” — establishing a Palestinian state and ending Israel’s control over millions of Palestinians in territories occupied in the 1967 war.
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Sunday that “Israel will not be a binational state” and blamed the Palestinians for the failure of peace efforts. But despite Netanyahu’s pledges, Jewish settlement of the West Bank continues apace, while confusion over his true intentions grows by the day.
Meanwhile, Israel seems unable to stem a wave of stabbings and other attacks by Palestinian individuals, now in its third month, that has killed 19 Israelis and left over 100 Palestinians, most said by Israel to be attackers, dead.
This situation has sharpened the country’s half-century-old debate over the Palestinians.
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Opposition politicians, intellectuals and retired military commanders are issuing increasingly strident warnings that never-ending violence awaits if Israel continues to occupy millions of angry Palestinians who cannot vote in its national elections.
“If Israel were the Titanic and the binational apartheid state its iceberg … then the collision with the iceberg has already occurred,” wrote columnist Rogel Alpher in the Haaretz daily. “Without a diplomatic solution, we will continue to slowly sink into an existence of knifings, hatred and fear.”
©2015The Associated Press