Nathan Thrall, 21 January 2021
Diplomats and well-meaning anti-occupation groups greet every new act of Israeli expansion with dire warnings that it will be a ‘fatal blow’ to the two-state solution, that ‘the window is closing’ for Palestinian statehood and that now, on the eve of this latest takeover, it is ‘five minutes to midnight’ for the prospect of peace. Countless alarms of this kind have been rung during the past two decades. Each was supposed to convince Israel, the US, Europe and the rest of the world of the need to stop or at least slow Israel’s de facto annexation. But they have had the opposite effect: demonstrating that it will always be five minutes to midnight. European and American policymakers, together with the liberal Zionist groups that lobby them, can thus maintain that the two-state solution isn’t dead but merely embattled – and, therefore, permanently ‘alive’. In the meantime, millions of Palestinians continue to be deprived of basic civil rights and subjected to military rule.