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Netanyahu's two-state bluff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated his willingness to adopt parts of the Arab Peace Initiative, conveniently ignoring the essential parts of Palestinian statehood along the 1967 borderlines.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Israel's defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman (L) during a special Cabinet meeting to mark Jerusalem Day in Ein Lavan Spring located in the outskirts of Jerusalem 02 June 2016. REUTERS/Abir Sultan/Pool - RTX2FAFI
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It was a theater of the absurd: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, minutes after Liberman took the oath of office May 30, talking to the press about their desire/agreement for a “two states for two peoples” solution and about recognizing positive elements in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which the government would be ready to negotiate. Netanyahu actually believes that he can fool all the people all the time. Indeed, he succeeded this time, at least partly: The press was taken by surprise, Liberman’s entry into the Defense Ministry went over relatively smoothly in the world and not a single government publically called his bluff. The main purpose of these statements was to convince the US administration to take a more balanced position at the June 3 Paris conference in order to avoid a binding timeline.

Yet a bluff it was. There is no two-state solution process without a settlement freeze and a readiness to accept the 1967 lines with mutual land swaps as a basis for the negotiations. The Palestinians and the Arab countries will not engage anymore in negotiations for the sake of negotiations.

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