ANTALYA, Turkey (Rahnuma) : A two-state solution is the only wide-scale sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a top Turkish diplomat said Sunday.
“I don’t mean to say that [a two-state solution] now has very clear prospects in the region,” Ufuk Ulutas, head at the Center for Strategic Research of Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, told a NATO meeting in Antalya, in the Turkish Mediterranean. “But it still is one of our best options to find a durable solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
Ulutas laid out Turkey’s position on Israel-Palestine conflict, as well as obstacles blocking peace between Israelis and Palestinians, at the three-day NATO meeting, which ends Sunday.
Lawmakers, military officers, and foreign mission chiefs from NATO member states are among participants at the 99th Rose-Roth Seminar, and Mediterranean and Middle East special group of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, hosted by Turkey’s Parliament.
“In every instance of peace-making, efforts to reach a wide and sustainable solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Turkey has either become a mediator, a facilitator, or supporter of the whole process,” said Ulutas.
“We can call Turkey a strong proponent of peacemaking in the Arab-Israeli conflict,”
“The whole process of peacemaking, at least the efforts, in the Arab-Israel conflict has been reflected very positively in the Israeli-Turkish relationship,” he added.
Ulutas said there are five obstacles to resolving conflicts between Israel and Palestine: the U.S. Mideast policy and especially on Palestine and Israel, the radicalization of Israel politics, regional divisions in the Mideast and their effects on Palestine’s politics and economy, ongoing clashes in Palestine, and the lack of initiative among the international community.
“U.S. unilateralism is one of the problems that we’ve had so far in the Arab-Israeli conflict,” he stressed, decrying U.S. President Donald Trump moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and his recognition of the occupied Golan Heights as an Israeli territory.
“With these steps, the U.S. chose to be a part of the problem instead of the solution,” he said.
Ulutas said the rise of far-right political parties led to the radicalization of Israel politics and gave them a bigger say in Israeli politics.
Last week saw the electoral victory of longtime Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following his pledge to annex parts of the occupied West Bank as well as the Golan Heights.
‘Making peace impossible’
“Certain segments within the Israeli political establishment see the current situation both in the region and in the world as a window of opportunity,” Ulutas said.
They see the Trump administration as an “opportunity to push more, to find more territory in Palestine, to create their own realities on the ground, to make peacemaking and a two-state solution almost impossible.”
“I think they have a stronger footing in American politics and they can push American politics into a purely Israeli perspective,” he said.
Ulutas also said Israel’s attacks made Palestinians “lose their vision for any possible peace in the near future.”
According to Ulutas, another obstacle is the fragmentation within Palestinian politics.
“Geographical divisions inside Palestine unfortunately deepened the political divisions,” Ulutas said.
The Syrian crisis and 2013 coup in Egypt made the Palestinians “even more vulnerable” to outside influences, as well as worsening the country’s economy.
Ulutas decried the international community’s lack of participation in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, saying: “It’s as if the whole fight of peacemaking in the Israel-Palestinian conflict has been given to the Americans, the U.S.
“The other international institutions, the EU for example, have been quite passive about finding a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.”