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Palestinian ambassador blasts ‘two-state delusion’ at London conference

SAM TOBIN reports from the Jerusalem: Legalising the Occupation conference in central London

PALESTINE’S ambassador to Britain Manuel Hassassian said at the weekend that there is currently no hope of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, only “two-state delusion.”

Mr Hassassian told the Jerusalem: Legalising the Occupation conference in London that Palestine and Israel had “never had real negotiations because negotiation is between two symmetrical powers.”

Israel has long benefited from US diplomatic and military support, receiving $3 billion (currently £2.17bn) a year in military aid, which former president Barack Obama boosted to a promised $4bn a year from 2019.

Veteran Israeli Knesset member Dr Ahmad Tibi said that US President Donald Trump’s decision in December to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem had been a “bullet in the vision of the two-state solution.”

Dr Tibi said Mr Trump had “totally adopted the Israeli narrative” claiming Jerusalem as its capital.

“One of the most dangerous elements” of Mr Trump’s announcement of the move was his claim that Israel has “the right to decide its capital because the government, parliament and the supreme court is there in Jerusalem.”

That made any “ultimate deal” impossible, Dr Tibi said. “Telling Israelis: ‘You have all,’ and telling Palestinians: ‘You have nothing,’ is to say there will be no deal.”

Mr Hassassian nonetheless thanked Mr Trump for bringing attention to Palestine after six years “lost within what’s called the Arab Spring.”

Daniel Levy, who negotiated for Israel at the scotched Taba summit in 2001, said that the “structural flaw [of] the asymmetry of power between Palestinians and Israelis” was more significant than Mr Trump’s decisions.

But he warned that it could set the tone for the future, and “what we saw on Jerusalem will be replicated on every other issue.”

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