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Israel's settlement push kills two-state solution, leaving Palestinians few options

Israel's settlement construction in the E1 corridor and East Jerusalem sends a clear message. Unless President Obama stands up to Israel, he and Benjamin Netanyahu should not be surprised if Palestinians charge them with the death of the two-state solution and seek other paths.

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An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man pushes a shopping cart past a construction site in Gilo, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, Dec. 20. Op-ed contributor Mustafa Barghouthi says that 'Israel’s planned settlement construction makes a contiguous Palestinian state virtually impossible', noting that 'Israel largely rejects...diplomacy,...suppresses nonviolent resistance, but makes minor concessions to violence...'

Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

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The two-state solution is dying. The Palestinian effort late last month at the United Nations to attain non-member observer state status was overwhelmingly approved – 138 to 9 – by the international community. Israel, however, warned that the vote would be purely symbolic and change nothing on the ground. This was a calculated and misleading statement.

In fact, Israel immediately took revenge for the Palestinians’ temerity in seeking to improve our lot by announcing “zoning and planning preparations” for illegal settlements in the sensitive E1 corridor in the occupied West Bank. This week Israel put out tenders for thousands of new settlement units – the most aggressive activity in the area in years.

Israel’s planned settlement construction makes a contiguous Palestinian state virtually impossible. Bethlehem and Ramallah will be cut off from East Jerusalem if the E1 project goes forward, though Israel argues that we can make do with connecting tunnels and elevated roadways, as if that is tolerable. The Israeli plan also closes the settlement semi-circle around East Jerusalem and builds settlements in it – our would-be capital. The north and south of the West Bank would be effectively bisected and Israel would control the key.

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