Sari Nusseibeh, the highly respected president of Al-Quds University, told an Haaretz reporter that time to achieve a viable two nation solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is running out. He derided the latest Olmert offer which called for Israel to annex 7% of the West Bank while giving Palestinians some desert land in the Negev as compensation. Nusseibeh argues moderate Palestinian leaders for twenty years have been trying to persuade their people to accept a state based on 1967 lines while Israel has been doing everything possible to destroy that possibility. “You cannot negotiate anything about that status if you don’t talk about Jerusalem. Final status consists primarily, I believe, of Jerusalem and refugees. If you want to postpone Jerusalem, you postpone refugees. Really, you are not dealing with the problem. You have to discuss these issues and that is exactly where the trade-off has to be made.”
He insisted he still wants a two state solution, but if Israel refuses to enter into serious discussions about issues such as the refugee return or the status of Jerusalem, “you start to think about what the alternatives are.” The university president believes Israel must become realistic and recognize that east Jerusalem has to be the capital of a new state of Palestine. “The ideology that Fatah has adopted over the last 15 years– a two state solution– seems to be faltering and with it Fatah is faltering. So, it is time maybe to rethink, to bring Fatah around to a new idea, the old-new idea of one state.”
Nusseibeh is convinced unless there is a breakthrough by the end of this year, many Palestinian leaders like himself will simply walk away from the two state concept and opt to become part of Israel. If that occurs, the worse nightmare for Jews will come true. In fifty years a majority of people living in Israel will be Muslims.