Harriet Sherwood promotes the mantra of “death of the peace process”.

Just hours ahead of the Independence Day celebrations in Israel, Harriet Sherwood chose to promote an advocate of the ‘one-state solution’ in an article published in the World News section on the Guardian website. 

The Guardian has, of course, been active in promoting the concept of the demise of a negotiated two-state solution for some time.  Its ‘Palestinian Territories’ page still carries the headline “Secret papers reveal slow death of Middle East peace process” first published in January 2011 at the time of its leaking of the so-called Palestine Papers in collaboration with the Qatari regime-controlled Al Jazeera. 

In Sherwood’s latest piece she promotes the recent statements by two of the architects of the Oslo Accords – Yossi Beilin and Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala).

Beilin recently published an open letter to the de facto PA President Mahmoud Abbas (whose term of office long since expired), calling upon him to dissolve the Palestinian Authority. Qurei wrote an article last month in the London-based, Palestinian ex-pat owned newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi (edited by occasional Guardian contributor Abdel Bari Atwan) in which he called for the ‘reconsideration’ of the ‘one-state solution’. 

Returning to the official Guardian line from the days of the ‘Palestine Papers’, Sherwood states that:

“Both men reflect a view held by many observers of the stalled peace process, that the window of opportunity to create a Palestinian state has closed or is about to close. The alternatives to two states, they say, are a continuation and entrenchment of the status quo, or one state which denies equality to a large and rapidly growing minority, or one binational state of equals which would no longer be Jewish in character.”

Sherwood’s “many observers” are neither quantified nor identified and understandably so, because in fact they exist outside the consensus of mainstream opinion which still seeks to achieve two states for two nations through negotiation. Likewise, the chimera of an imminently closing “window of opportunity” is now practically a joke, having been invoked time and time again over so many years.

Of course Sherwood does not pause to ask herself why the general population on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides of the divide should pay any attention whatsoever to the latest ideas of two of the people responsible for a previously failed initiative which led to the deaths of thousands. Neither does she seem to think it worthy of comment that both Beilin’s and Qurei’s explanations of the collapse of the Oslo Accords include no recognition whatsoever of the initiative’s basic flaws, but instead place the blame exclusively at the doors of others.

Qurei and Beilin come from two very different starting points, both of which connect neatly to the ‘Guardian world view’. Beilin’s far Left approach to the subject of the Arab-Israeli conflict represents a minority view within Israeli public opinion and even considerable financial backing from various European governments for the purpose of marketing his Geneva Accords project did not change that fact. 

Beilin’s attempts to twist arms by persuading the PA to dissolve itself – thereby hoping to shock the Israeli government into taking some sort of action, the nature or consequences of which he does not appear to be sure, but which may include unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria – do not take into account the lessons learned after the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip which now shape mainstream Israeli opinion. Neither does Beilin’s ‘master plan’ build on any of the other lessons learned as a result of the failure of the Oslo Accords. 

Sadly, that kind of blinkered view of the conflict – one which appoints responsibility for its creation and solution almost exclusively to the Israeli side, with a remarkable lack of recognition of Palestinian agency – is all too prevalent in the far Left circles inhabited by many a Guardian writer and editor. 

Qurei, on the other hand, is representative of the type of Palestinian leadership which – in common with the far Left, but for different reasons – also blames Israel for all its ills and crucially is unable to confront its people with the fact that a solution to the conflict cannot include the ‘right of return’ of Palestinian refugees to Israel. For those subscribing to the Qurei school of thought, the ‘one-state solution’ is both a way of avoiding that confrontation and a rejection of the presence of a sovereign Jewish state in the Middle East. 

As we well know, the Guardian does not shy away from promoting the various proponents of the ‘one-state solution’, whether they are members of Hamas and its sympathizers, activists from the BDS movement, or members of the far Left. 

It therefore comes as no surprise to see Harriet Sherwood promoting the ideas of two exponents of fringe views under the well-worn mantra of “the imminent death of the two-state solution”. Unfortunately, her paper’s ideological and practical investment in that mantra prevents her from making clear to her readers just how far removed from mainstream opinion – both in Israel and the world in general – those ideas are. 


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