Deciphering John Kerry's euphemistic language from his December 28, 2016 speech on Middle East peace reveals the US's opposition to the two-state solution.
On December 23, 2016, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2334 condemning Israel’s illegal settlement activities in the West Bank. The last time such a resolution came before the Council for a vote, on February 18, 2011, the US vetoed it. This time, the Obama administration abstained, and on December 28, Secretary of State John Kerry gave a much anticipated speech in which he outlined six principles underlining US policy toward the Israel-Palestine conflict. While Kerry characterized this US policy as being supportive of the two-state solution, properly deciphered, his speech demonstrates how US policy is aimed at blocking that goal.
The administration has come under fire for abstaining from the vote, rather than vetoing the resolution, from apologists for Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians, which includes most members of the US Congress. Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton described it as “Obama’s Parting Betrayal of Israel” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, a move “clearly intended to tip the peace process toward the Palestinians.” That is, to try to resolve the conflict by applying international law works against Israel’s interests, since Israel perpetually violates it.
Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had also blasted the Obama administration for not vetoing the resolution, similarly characterizing it is a betrayal. In fact, it is predominantly because of Netanyahu’s own actions that the Obama administration was put in a position where it had no political leverage left to be able to use its veto to protect Israel from accountability for its crimes.
In 2011, for example, the US tried to justify its veto on the grounds that the resolution was “one-sided” since it didn’t also criticize the Palestinians; this time, the drafters includes language condemning terrorism and incitement to violence so the US could no longer employ that argument. That and a conglomeration of other factors forced the US to abstain simply because it was not politically feasible for it to use its veto and still sustain the illusion that its policy is one of opposition to Israel’s settlements.
The biggest factor in that equation is how Netanyahu explicitly rejected the two-state solution in March 2015 to get reelected, and how his government has escalated settlement construction and demolitions of Palestinian homes and other structures in the occupied West Bank. In 2011, in the Obama administration’s calculation, it could veto the resolution and still maintain some measure of credibility for the so-called “peace process”. This time, under the new circumstances, to exercise its veto would fully expose the US as supportive of Israel’s illegal settlement activities and completely undermine what little credibility the “peace process” might have left in the eyes of the world’s governments.
John Kerry therefore had two major goals for his speech: one, to try to maintain the credibility of the so-called “peace process”, which is the process by which Israel and its superpower benefactor have long blocked implementation of the two-state solution; and, two, to try once more to communicate to the Israeli government that its actions were rendering it politically impossible for the US to do so.
Unravelling the Mythology on Israel’s Origin
John Kerry opened his speech by expressing that US policy was premised on the belief that “the two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians” and “the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state”.
He further prefaced the six principles by expressing, accurately, how “No American administration has ever done more for Israel’s security than Barack Obama’s”—the word “security” being a standard euphemism relating to the sustainment of Israel’s occupation regime, including an agreement on “an historic $38 billion” in military aid, used by Israel to sustain its oppression of the Palestinians.
The crux of the matter, in the view of the Obama administration, is that Israelis and Palestinians “can choose to live together in one state, or they can separate into two states. But here is a fundamental reality: if the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic—it cannot be both, and it won’t ever really be at peace. Moreover, the Palestinians will never fully realize their vast potential in a homeland of their own with a one-state solution.”
This formulation reveals several key aspects of US policy, once deciphered. First is the significance of the stress placed on maintaining Israel as a “Jewish and democratic” state. To understand this significance, one has to realize how the “Jewish state” actually came into being in the first place: through the ethnic cleansing of 700,000 Arabs from their homes in Palestine. This is a reality Kerry went to lengths to avoid acknowledging during his speech.
His explanation of the origins of the conflict followed the standard mythology: In 1947, “United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181”—the famous “partition plan” resolution—“finally paved the way to making the State of Israel a reality.” While the Jews accepted this resolution (and the US “recognized Israel seven minutes after its creation”), “the Palestinians and the Arab world did not, and from its birth, Israel had to fight for its life. Palestinians also suffered terribly in the 1948 war, including many who had lived for generations in a land that had long been their home too. And when Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2018, the Palestinians will mark a very different anniversary: 70 years since what they call the Nakba, or catastrophe.”
(Completely disconnected from the origins of Israel, John Kerry later in his speech outlined the US’s six principles, one of them being a “just” solution for the Palestinian refugee problem. He offered no hint of how this refugee problem came into being, apart from his vague earlier acknowledgment of how “Palestinians also suffered terribly in the 1948 war”.)
Unravelling historical reality from mythology, here is what John Kerry was talking about:
In 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that endorsed a plan to partition Palestine that was premised upon the explicit rejection of the right of Palestinians to self-determination.
This plan had been drawn up by a special committee that had reasoned that the Arabs must not be allowed to exercise self-determination because that would be contrary to the Zionists’ goal of establishing in the place of Palestine a “Jewish state”—a goal that had the support of the US, Great Britain, and other Western governments.
At the time, the Arabs were a two-thirds majority and owned more land than Jews in every single district in Palestine, including Jaffa (which included the main Jewish population center of Tel Aviv). While the Zionist leadership fully exploited feudalistic Ottoman land laws to “legally” expropriate land from the Arab peasants who had long lived on and worked it, the Jewish community by 1948 had managed to acquire only about 7 percent of the land in Palestine. The racist and colonialist partition plan, in support of the Zionist project of expropriating and displacing Arabs from the land, called for the “Jewish state” to be comprised of about 55 percent of the land, leaving the Arabs with only about 44 percent of Palestine for their own state.
The Arabs naturally and reasonably rejected the racist plan, and since the UN had no authority to partition Palestine against the will of a majority of its inhabitants (a point explicitly acknowledged during an Assembly meeting by the US Ambassador to the UN), the only way forward for the Zionists to achieve their dream was to use force.
When Kerry says Israel had to “fight for its life” from birth, he is alluding to the standard mythology that the Arab states launched a genocidal war to wipe Israel off the map simply out of their hatred for the Jews. This refers to how the neighboring Arab states militarily intervened following the Zionists’ unilateral declaration of Israel’s existence on May 14, 1948, by which time Zionist forces had ethnically cleansed 300,000 Arabs from their homes. By the time it was over, 700,000 Arabs had been “cleansed” from the land, and the Zionists had conquered considerable territory well beyond that proposed for the “Jewish state” under the partition plan, amounting to about 78 percent of the former territory of Palestine.
Hence the Palestinians’ description of the events of 1948 as “al Nakba”, or “the Catastrophe”, which refers not, as the standard mythology would have us believe, to the founding of Israel per se, but to the ethnic cleansing by which the “Jewish state” came into being.
By unravelling the mythology, we can decipher John Kerry’s euphemistic language to get at the underlying meaning of US policy.
So what does it mean for Israel to remain “a Jewish and democratic state”? Actually, it’s not only that Israel should remain “Jewish”, but that the Palestinians must recognize its “right to exist” as such—Kerry reiterated the US and Israel’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s “right to exist”, criticized the Palestinians for questioning “the right of a Jewish state to exist”, and noted that “Recognition of Israel as a Jewish state has been the US position for years”. (Note that it’s not enough that “the PLO formally recognized Israel” more than two decades ago, as Kerry also noted in his speech.) So what does that all mean?
Well, havening unraveled the mythology, we can see that this means that the Palestinians must accept that the Zionists’ unilateral declaration of Israel’s existence and the ethnic cleansing by which it came into being were legitimate.
It follows that the Palestinians must accept as a precondition for any negotiations under the “peace process” that the Palestinian leadership must renounce the internationally recognized right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.
John Kerry’s Big Lie
Further prefacing the “six principles” he was about to outline, Kerry necessarily referenced UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was passed in the wake of the June 1967 “Six Day War”, which began Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. His characterization of that resolution likewise repeated the standard mythology.
Kerry referred explicitly to Resolution 242 in two places in his speech. In the first instance, he said, “Both sides have accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242, which called for the withdrawal of Israel from territory that it occupied in 1967 in return for peace and secure borders, as the basis for ending the conflict.” In the second, he said, “Resolution 242, which has been enshrined in international law for 50 years, provides for the withdrawal of Israel from territory it occupied in 1967 in return for peace with its neighbors and secure and recognized borders. It has long been accepted by both sides, and it remains the basis for an agreement today.”
This characterization of Resolution 242 rests on a lie.
It isn’t true that both sides have accepted Resolution 242; the Palestinians indeed have, but the Israelis have long rejected it. What Kerry is referring to that Israel has “accepted” is Israel’s own unilateral interpretation of the resolution, which is contrary to its actual meaning.
The Zionist interpretation—rejected by the US in 1967 when the resolution was passed but adopted by the US since at least the mid-1970s—is that Resolution 242 calls for Israel to withdraw from only some of the Palestinian territory it has occupied since 1967, and then only after Israel and the Palestinians have hammered out a final peace agreement.
Naturally, Resolution 242 in fact does not require the Palestinians to negotiate with the Occupying Power over how much of their own territory they can retain for their own state while the Occupying Power continues to prejudice the outcome of those negotiations by building Jewish settlements inside occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law. It does not grant Israel such a veto power over the Palestinians exercise of their right to self-determination.
Resolution 242 is a key legal foundation for the two-state solution, so understanding the Security Council’s intent is critical for understanding what the two-state solution is.
Regrettably, the US has been able to dominate the discourse over what it calls “the two-state solution”, such that Israel’s unilateral interpretation of Resolution 242 is nearly universally perceived as being in accordance with the will of the Security Council.
In reality, the Security Council explicitly stated its intent that Israel should withdraw to the lines it held prior to June 5, 1967, when it committed aggression against Egypt with a surprise attack. (Israel also occupied the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and the Syrian Golan Heights during the war.) The resolution emphasized “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”, called on Israel to withdraw “from territories occupied in the recent conflict”, and called for an end to “all claims or states of belligerency” and mutual respect for the equal right “to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force”.
The popular Zionist argument is that the absence of the definite article “the” before the words “territories occupied” means that the Security Council did not intend for Israel to completely withdraw. This is utter nonsense. As simple point of fact relating to English grammar, the absence of the article has no effect on the meaning of this clause inasmuch as the extent of withdrawal is concerned. The extent was determined both by the principle emphasized (that acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible under international law), by the plural noun “territories”, and by the prepositional phrase “in the recent conflict”.
The Syrian Golan Heights, the Egyptian Sinai, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) were all “territories”, plural, that were occupied during the war and hence territories from which Israel was required to withdraw, in keeping with the emphasized principle of international law.
The Zionists’ argument is also patently self-defeating: it obviously defies reason to assert that since the clause doesn’t say “all of the occupied territories” it must therefore be understood to mean “some of the occupied territory” (no longer plural). (The French delegate at the time also pointed out the absurdity of this argument by noting that the French version of the text, equally authentic as the English, did contain the definite article.)
Israel was trying to push its interpretation of the draft resolution before the vote, and it was explicitly rejected by the Security Council, which was unanimous in its view that Israel was required to return to the 1948 armistice lines (also known as the 1967 lines or the “Green Line” for the color in which it was drawn on the map).
In the parlance of the “peace process”, which was founded on the false Zionist characterization of the meaning of Resolution 242, the clause about the need for “secure and recognized boundaries” applies exclusively to Israel. It is also falsely regarded as a precondition for the supposedly partial withdrawal.
In sum, a foundational premise of the “peace process” is that international law must not be applied, but Israel must rather be allowed to continue its occupation until the Palestinians finally agree to the demands of the Occupying Power, which include, among other preconditions, the surrendering of major swaths of the West Bank where Israel has illegally built settlements, establishing “facts on the ground” intended to prejudice the outcome of what are euphemistically termed “negotiations”.
This is the reason for the Obama administration’s insistence that the Palestinians must accept negotiations “without preconditions”. This phrase is simply another euphemism meaning “while the occupation regime continues to increasingly prejudice the outcome”. Under the framework of the “peace process”, time is on Israel’s side, which is why there yet remains no peace; Israeli policymakers prefer to continue their oppressive occupation regime in furtherance of their political goal of annexing more territory and coercing the Palestinian leadership into surrendering the rights of their people.
Of course, to accomplish that goal, the right Palestinian leadership had to be found. The PLO under Yasser Arafat ultimately acquiesced to the Oslo Accords, which established the Palestinian Authority (PA) as Israel’s collaborator in enforcing the occupation regime. Upon Arafat’s death in 2004, Mahmoud Abbas became the approved Palestinian leader.
Naturally, under this arrangement, the Palestinian people were forbidden from democratically electing an unapproved leadership (one that refused to accede to the rejection of international law and Palestinians rights’ that forms the basis of the US-led “peace process”). Hence the US and Israeli efforts to overthrow the Hamas government elected in 2006. The US and Israel backed a coup attempt by Abbas and his Fatah party, which backfired and resulted in the expulsion of Fatah from the Gaza Strip and complete takeover of that territory by Hamas.
While it was a partial victory in that the US and Israel had managed to successfully divide the Palestinians and keep the West Bank under Abbas’s now illegitimate leadership (his illegal attempts to overthrow the Hamas government aside, his term expired long ago), the goal of overthrowing Hamas failed. Hence, in a final bid to complete the job, Israel, with the support of its superpower benefactor, turned to punishing the civilian population of Gaza for having Hamas as their leadership. This is the purpose of Israel’s ongoing blockade of Gaza, a policy of collective punishment in violation of international law.
With an understanding of the true origins of the state of Israel and the meaning of Resolution 242, it is possible to correctly interpret the “six principles” John Kerry outlined in his speech.
Deciphering Kerry’s “Six Principles”
Most of Kerry’s speech was intended to preface the heart of it, which was the Obama administration’s “six principles” ostensibly intended “to preserve the two-state solution”. It was necessary to place the policy outlined in the context of the Zionist mythology underlying the “peace process”. The purpose was two-fold: one, to sustain the public illusion that US policy is not rejectionist, but supportive of the two-state solution; and, two, to make one final attempt to clearly communicate to the Israeli government (and dense members of Congress) that it will no longer be politically feasible for the US to continue to support its crimes against the Palestinians if Israel doesn’t moderate its behavior.
Principle 1: Israeli Annexation of Settlement Blocs
The first of the six principles Kerry outlined was to “Provide for secure and recognized international borders between Israel and a viable and contiguous Palestine, negotiated based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed equivalent swaps.”
His very next sentence was the second reference to Resolution 242 discussed above, and his meaning should now be clear to you: international law must not be applied, and instead the Palestinians must be forced to acquiesce to Israel annexing the most desirable land in the occupied West Bank in exchange for whatever part of the desert Israel feels it can part with to appease the other governments of the world, which have to at least feign to be interested in fairness. For the Palestinians to retain all of the 22 percent of former Palestine comprised of Gaza and the West Bank for their own state is off the table. They must accept as a precondition that Israel will not withdraw as required by Resolution 242 and will annex large swaths of land encompassing its major settlement blocs.
Kerry paid lip service to the equal rights of the Palestinians by saying that “No changes by Israel to the 1967 lines will be recognized by the international community unless agreed to by both sides.” It’s just a matter of finding the right carrot and a big enough stick to coerce the Palestinian leadership into acquiescing to Israel’s demands. Hence the reason for the US and Israel’s precondition that Israel will only negotiate with a Palestinian leadership that they approve of.
Principle 2: Acceptance of the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine as Legitimate
The second principle was to “Fulfill the vision of the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of two states for two peoples”.
That is to say, US policy is premised on a rejection of the equal rights of the Palestinians. It is in this context that Kerry reiterated the US’s position that the Palestinians must recognize Israel “as a Jewish state”, meaning that they must agree to surrender their right to return to the homeland from which they were ethnically cleansed in 1948.
Principle 3: Rejection of the Palestinians’ Right of Return
The third principle is to “Provide for a just, agreed, fair, and realistic solution to the Palestinian refugee issue, with international assistance, that includes compensation, options and assistance in finding permanent homes, acknowledgment of suffering, and other measures necessary for a comprehensive resolution consistent with two states for two peoples.”
His use of the words “just” and “fair” might seem to allude to another General Assembly resolution, Resolution 194, but for his inclusion of the word “agreed”. Resolution 194, passed during the 1948 War, recognized the right of refugees of war to return to their homes. Kerry, on the other hand, was reiterating the US’s longstanding rejection of that right. The solution the US envisioned was not in accordance with Resolution 194, but one that was “consistent with two states for two peoples, and cannot affect the fundamental character of Israel” (emphasis added).
That is, US policy is explicitly racist. While the US allows that Jews who have never stepped foot in the land formerly known as Palestine have a “right” to take up residence in Israel, it rejects that Arabs who had long called that same land home and who were ethnically cleansed from their towns and villages in order for the “Jewish state” to come into existence have a right to return to their homeland where their families had been residing for many generations.
Principle 4: Maintain the “Peace Process” as an End in Itself
The fourth principle is to “Provide an agreed resolution for Jerusalem as the internationally recognized capital of the two states”—with the caveats that it was imperative to maintain “the established status quo” in East Jerusalem, and that the US’s position during negotiations would remain that “Jerusalem should not be divided again like it was in 1967”. (The US made explicitly clear to Palestinian negotiators during talks in 2009 that its policy toward East Jerusalem was synonymous with Israel’s.)
How does one reconcile the contradiction between saying, on one hand, that Israel must recognize that East Jerusalem will be the capital of Palestine and, on the other, that the US supports Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem?
One doesn’t, of course, as they are irreconcilable. These words are intended solely to lure the parties back into negotiations under the US-led so-called “peace process”. The message to the Palestinians is: Hey, look, you’re going to get your capital, if you just come on back and talk to us some more around the negotiating table. The message to the Israelis is: Nudge, nudge; wink, wink. Of course, during those negotiations, we’re going to be advocating for you, so don’t worry.
The fact it is so obvious that both the Israelis and the Palestinians will see right through this serves to illustrate just how desperate the US is to try to preserve the “peace process”.
This desperation is understandable, as the consequences of it crumbling are dire: the governments of both the US and Israel have made it very clear that they tremble at the thought of the Palestinians pursing legal remedy for Israel’s crimes against them through the international institutions now available to them.
Since the UN General Assembly recognized Palestine as a non-member state on November 29, 2012, the Palestinian leadership has had recourse to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). The reason Abbas hasn’t pursued this route is because of his status as the approved collaborator with the occupation regime. Abbas knows that to walk away from the Oslo Accords would mean eliminating the PA’s own raison d’être. He has a relatively cushy position, as far as Palestinian standards of living go, so why would he risk everything he’s obtained for himself for the good of his people?
At the same time, the US and Israel fear a situation in which public pressure might force Abbas to do the right thing for his people, just as it was public pressure that drove him to the UN in 2012. It would be disastrous for Israel if the PA were to fall apart or the PLO were to dismantle it, for reasons Kerry himself elucidated quite succinctly:
“If the occupation becomes permanent, over time the Palestinian Authority could simply dissolve, turn over all the administrative and security responsibilities to the Israelis. What would happen then? Who would administer the schools and hospitals and on what basis? Does Israel want to pay for the billions of dollars of lost international assistance that the Palestinian Authority now receives? Would the Israel Defense Force police the streets of every single Palestinian city and town?
“How would Israel respond to a growing civil rights movement from Palestinians, demanding a right to vote, or widespread protests and unrest across the West Bank? How does Israel reconcile a permanent occupation with its democratic ideals? How does the US continue to defend that and still live up to our own democratic ideals?”
(Note Kerry’s acknowledgment that the US has been defending the occupation regime, implicit in his question of how it would be able to “continue” doing so if the Palestinian leadership ceased its collaboration with Israel.)
Principle 5: Rejection of Palestinians’ Right to Self-Defense
The fifth principle is to “Satisfy Israel’s security needs and bring a full end, ultimately, to the occupation, while ensuring that Israel can defend itself effectively and that Palestine can provide security for its people in a sovereign and non-militarized state.” The Palestinians must be “without a military of their own.”
Here again, the US’s rejection of Resolution 242 as a legal foundation for a peace agreement—that is, its acceptance of the Zionists’ unilateral and invalid reading of that text—is clear. Were Resolution 242 to be properly applied, after all, it would mean recognizing that the Palestinians have an equal right to “secure and recognized boundaries”, as well as an equal right to individual and collective self-defense.
Included in Kerry’s formula, of course, is the usual euphemistic use of the word “security”; which, when appearing after the word “Israel’s”, refers to the false Zionist mythology about the meaning of Resolution 242. (That is, it reinforces the precondition placed upon the Palestinians that they must negotiate with the Occupying Power over the extent to which the oppressed people might be allowed to exercise their rights.)
It is striking how, in the US formula, the party that has for five decades been enforcing a brutal occupation and is responsible for the preponderance of the violence remains irreproachable, while the powerless people living under that occupation must renounce, first, their legitimate right to armed resistance against foreign military occupation and, second, their right to collective self-defense.
(These demands of the Palestinians to surrender their rights are additional, of course, to other demands, such as to surrender their right to return to their homeland.)
The fact that this striking hypocrisy passes without comment in the American mainstream media reflects how totally the standard narrative about the conflict equals Zionist mythology.
Principle 6: Permanent Renunciation of Palestinians’ Rights
The sixth principle is to “End the conflict and all outstanding claims, enabling normalized relations and enhanced regional security for all as envisaged by the Arab Peace Initiative.”
The reference is to an initiative of Arab leaders offering normalization of relations with Israel in exchange for Israeli withdrawal and recognition of Palestine. Kerry is saying that the US shares the aim of achieving “normalized relations”, albeit not by the same means as the Arab Peace Initiative proposed.
What this principle reiterates is that once the Palestinian leadership agrees to renounce the rights of its people, that’s it; there’s no going back. Once renounced, those rights will be gone forever. They can never go back to the land from which they were ethnically cleansed in 1948, they must cede even more of the land they want for their own state to Israel, and they can never exercise their right to collective self-defense. These are all preconditions for negotiations.
The problem for the US government is that for this plan to work, for this “peace process” to succeed in coercing the Palestinians into acquiescing to the demands of the Occupying Power, the Palestinians actually have to get something out of it.
Kerry communicated this to the Israeli government by explaining that it came down to a question of “whether the land can be connected or it’s broken up into small parcels, like Swiss cheese, that could never constitute a real state.” In the US calculus, the Palestinians can still be forced into accepting Israel’s demands so long as they could get a small but viable state out of it; but there is no chance they will accept permanent occupation and effective apartheid, with their lives being restricted to small, non-contiguous, Bantustan-like enclaves surrounded by luxurious Israeli settlements interconnected by highways offering unrestricted travel only to Jews.
Kerry emphasized this message to the Israeli government by pointing out how Netanyahu’s policies—such as “legalizing” Jewish “outposts” deep within the West Bank intended to prevent a viable, contiguous Palestinian state—were destroying any semblance of credibility that the US’s “peace process” might have left.
While Kerry was criticizing the Israeli government for taking its rejection of the equal rights of the Palestinians a step too far, he was also offering his assurances that the US would support Israel’s demand that the Palestinians cede more of their land.
The reason Kerry gave for why the Palestinians must accept this precondition is instructive: because Jewish settlers now living there want to remain citizens of Israel and not of Palestine.
That is the stated basis for the US’s vision of rewarding Israel for ethnically cleansing Palestine; for enforcing a brutal 50-year occupation, demolishing Palestinian homes to replace them with Jewish ones, and expropriating private Palestinian property; and for collectively punishing the people of Gaza with a policy of intentionally inflicting upon them an abject standard of living.
As such criteria make clear, the US-led “peace process” is premised upon a rejection of international law; it is founded on the idea that the starting point for negotiations must be what Israel wants, rather than what it has a legal right to; it is grounded in the beliefs that might makes right and that the Arabs of Palestine are worth less as a people and must therefore not be allowed to exercise equal rights as the Jews of Israel.
It follows that the Palestinians must reject the US’s “six principles” and refuse to participate in the very “peace process” that has served as the means by which Israel and the US have long exercised a veto over their exercise of the right to self-determination. Israel’s obligation to comply with international law is not a matter for negotiation. The equal rights of the Palestinians is not a matter for negotiation. The path forward is for Palestine to leave Oslo behind and pursue legal remedy through the international mechanisms now available to it. If that spells the end of the PA, so be it.