Depending on whom Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been talking to in a series of Middle East meetings this week, she either thinks Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to limit but not stop West Bank settlement construction is an “unprecedented” offer that Palestinians should jump at, or completely insufficient. Now Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator, is trying to lay down the law: he said at a press conference today that if “the Israelis believe they want to partition the West Bank with us” instead of giving it up, his government may have to drop the goal of a two-state solution altogether. P.A. president Mahmoud Abbas, he said, needs to “tell his people the truth, that with the continuation of settlement activities, the two-state solution is no longer an option.” But then what? Well, according to Erekat, the P.A. would have to move on to Plan B: “a one-state solution where Muslims, Christians, and Jews can live as equals.” Problem is, as Hussein Ibish, a fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, told Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg last week, everyone except a few utopianists knows that Plan B is way harder to achieve than Plan A. Which means Erekat may have just driven off a rhetorical cliff.
Ari M. Brostoff is Culture Editor at Jewish Currents.