9 december 2014, peaceful parastine further away than ever

Palestinian liberation had two basic phases: violence, characterised by gross massacres such as the avivim school bus bombing and munich and negotiated settlement, of which oslo was the apex. As that froze and fizzled, the palestinians zig-zagged between the two tactics; the hamas gaza break-away kept violence in continuous competition for leadership with the mainstream's ever dwindling returns from diplomacy. A big chip was palestinian statehood. Yasser arafat stayed his hand for promises never delivered (see 16 april 2011, signing palestine's birth certificate), but more recently his successor, mahmoud abbas, made remarkably transparent, sustained and consensual progress (see 1 december 2012, yet another small step to parastine). When decade-long talks collapsed this spring (see 4 april 2014, timecheck: quarter to trouble), a key contributor to the barbarity of this summer's gaza conflict, the push for statehood was renewed. The pressure not to undermine negotiations long kept pro-independence sympathies bottled up. Now they seem set to explode, the push coming strongly from europe. The now-fallen swedish government went first, followed by the veritable british parliament, the irish, spanish, danish, belgian and european parliament itself. The rationale is sound: supposed supporters of a two state solution must support israel being a state, and support palestine becoming another. It needs to come into being the same way the state of israel itself did, or more recently kosovo. Time, the settlers' rise and the israeli-only infrastucture and security that surrounds them have viciously and remorselessly cut away at a realistic prospect of a palestinian state alongside an israeli one, forcing both sides to seek alternatives. The proposed jewish state law that broke the israeli coalition was exactly part of that emerging rightist stream of thought: listen to naftali bennnet, its leader. With the most right-wing government in israel's history now in (caretaker) power until next march, these are perilous, perilous times, with all signs, on all sides, pointing in the wrong direction.