Palestine Papers: Arguments about “two states for two peoples”
In the preparation for Annapolis, the Israeli and Palestinian Arab negotiators discussed what a joint statement might look like. Tzipi Livni wanted to say that the end-game is two states for two peoples – and the Palestinian Arabs objected, for reasons that they themselves detailed.
Here are some sections of the discussion:
Tzipi Livni: Two states is the ultimate goal of the process. But also part of the TOR [Terms of Reference document they are drafting.] Each state is the answer to the natural aspirations of its people.
Saeb Erekat: [Raises roadmap language regarding unequivocal duty to accept each state as is. Reads from the roadmap.]
TL: To say the idea that two nation states contradicts the roadmap..…
SE: [But we’ve never denied Israel’s right to define itself.]
If you want to call your state the Jewish State of Israel you can call it what you want. [Notes examples of Iran and Saudi Arabia.]
TL: I said basically that our position is a reference to the fact that each state is an answer to the national aspirations of their people.
Akram Haniyeh: There was an article in Haaretz saying that Palestinians would be stupid if they accept this [i.e. the Jewish state].
TL: Someone wrote the Palestinians?
Ahmed Querei [AA]: I want to say two state solution living side by side in peace security stability and prosperity, Palestinian democratic state independent with sovereignty, viable with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Tal Becker: That’s all? [Sarcastically.]
AA: Yes that’s our position. Two state solution living side by side in peace security stability and prosperity, Palestinian democratic state independent with sovereignty, viable with East Jerusalem as its capital. This is what we want to have. This small sentence.
TL: I just want to say something. …Our idea is to refer to two states for two peoples. Or two nation states, Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace and security with each state constituting the homeland for its people and the fulfillment of their national aspirations and self determination…
AH: This refers to the Israeli people?
TL: [Visibly angered.] I think that we can use another session – about what it means to be a Jew and that it is more than just a religion. But if you want to take us back to 1947 — it won’t help. Each state constituting the homeland for its people and the fulfillment of their national aspirations and self determination in their own territory. Israel the state of the Jewish people — and I would like to emphasize the meaning of “its people” is the Jewish people — with Jerusalem the united and undivided capital of Israel and of the Jewish people for 3007 years… [The Palestinian team protests.] You asked for it. [AA: We said East Jerusalem!] …and Palestine for the Palestinian people. We did not want to say that there is a “Palestinian people” but we’ve accepted your right to self determination.
AA: Why is it different?
TL: I didn’t ask for something that relates to my own self. I didn’t ask for recognizing something that is the internal decision of Israel. Israel can do so, it is a sovereign state. [We want you to recognize it.] The whole idea of the conflict is … the entire point is the establishment of the Jewish state. And yet we still have a conflict between us. We used to think it is because the Jews and the Arabs… but now the Palestinians… we used to say that we have no right to define the Palestinian people as a people. They can define it themselves. In 1947 it was between Jews and Arabs, and then [at that point the purpose] from the Israeli side to [was] say that the Palestinians are Arabs and not [Palestinians – it was an excuse not to create a Palestinian state. We’’ve passed that point in time and I’’m not going to raise it. The whole conflict between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is not the idea of creating a democratic state that is viable etc. It is to divide it into two.] For each state to create its own problem. Then we can ask ourselves is it viable, what is the nature of the two states. In order to end the conflict we have to say that this is the basis. I know that your problem is saying this is problematic because of the refugees. During the final status negotiations we will have an answer to the refugees. You know my position. Even having a Jewish state — it doesn’t say anything about your demands. …. Without it, why should we create a Palestinian state?
…There is something that is shorter. I can read something with different wording:
That the ultimate goal is constituting the homeland for the Jewish people and the Palestinian people respectively, and the fulfillment of their national aspirations and self determination in their own territory.
The joint declaration at Annapolis did not include any wording about the Jewish people, but afterwards President Bush said “The [final peace] settlement will establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people just as Israel is the homeland for the Jewish people…The United States will keep its strong commitment to the security of the State of Israel and its existence as a homeland for the Jewish people.”
By the way, the Guardian definitely saw this memo, because it was the one that they and Al Jazeera misquoted as saying that Livni said she was against international law. (She didn’t.)