| 1000 | Autumn 2011 | International Journal || Brent E. Sasley & Mira Sucharov |
eventually having to ratify it at home. This becomes clear as we consider thelong history of breakdowns in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Part of the explanation is the failure of each side to let go of maximalist positionsout of fear of alienating segments of their domestic support base. In thecase of Israel, the government’s inability to deal effectively with the Jewishsettlements in the West Bank is among the thorniest problems.
The Israeli government has no choice but to account for the demandsof the settler population. They number in the hundreds of thousands;have sympathizers among the broader population, including state leaders;and themselves occupy decision-making positions in the civil service andthe Israeli armed forces.
Without understanding the dynamics of settleridentity, observers cannot provide workable ideas for inching Israelis andPalestinians toward a nal agreement.Thinking about how collective identity inuences the view of publicspace, this article starts from the assumption that, while it is certainly notinevitable, a two-state solution is the most likely arrangement on whichboth sides will reach agreement.
It follows that to make way for a likelyPalestinian state in the West Bank, the Israeli government will have to movetens of thousands of settlers across the green line into Israel.
3 Good discussions o the origins o the settlement enterprise and the inherentdiculties Israel has had in dealing with settlers include Gershom Gorenberg
, The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth o the Settlements, 1967-1977
(New York: TimesBooks, 2006); and Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar,
Lords o the Land: The War Over Israel’sSettlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007
(New York: Nation Books, 2007).4 Oded Haklai, “Religious-nationalist mobilization and state penetration: Lessonsrom Jewish settlers’ activism in Israel and the West Bank,”
40, no.6 (June 2007): 713-39; Zertal and Eldar,
Lords o the Land
.5 This assumption orms the bedrock o all ocial Israeli-Palestinian negotiations,as well as the reports o a number o nongovernmental organizations. Others havecertainly oered alternate arrangements, including a one-state solution without anynarrow ethnic-religious-national identity. See, or example, Virginia Tilley,
The One-State Solution: A Breakthrough or Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Deadlock
(Ann Arbor:University o Michigan Press, 2010). This is a minority position to which Israel hasnever given any credibility.6This has been the conclusion o both ocial government peace talks (e.g., at CampDavid 2000 and Taba 2001) and track-two diplomacy (e.g., the Geneva initiativeannounced in 2003, www.geneva-accord.org; MarkHeller and Sari Nusseibeh,
NoTrumpets, No Drums: A Two-State Settlement o the Israeli-Palestinian Confict
[NewYork: Hill and Wang, 1991]; and the “people’s voice,” launched in 2003, www.mikad.org.il).