Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the United States, the emerging foreign policy spokesman for Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party, has come out for the two-state solution, The Jerusalem Post reported.
“We all want the same thing, we want an Israel that is strong, an Israel that is democratic, an Israel that is Jewish, we want an Israel that is economically prosperous. Peace is the means for achieving that goal. Peace is not an end in itself,” he said on Wednesday night.
Taking up a theme long dear to the Israeli center-left, Oren said that in the current diplomatic vacuum, it is up to Israel to take the initiative.
“In Yehudah and Shomron today there is de facto Palestinian sovereignty over large segments of the territory,” he said. “There is in existence what is in essence a two-state situation. Not a two-state solution, but a two-state situation. It is not formal. I say take this situation and strengthen it. Make it better.”
He also said Israel should “focus” its building in the region to blocs that are widely assumed to be part of Israel in any peace deal, and cites the 2004 letter from President George W. Bush as the legal basis.
Oren painted Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett’s proposal to annex large parts of Yehudah and Shomron as grim fantasy:
“Annexing of Area C brings an immediate international embargo on the state of Israel, and I’ll tell you unequivocally, it will not be acceptable to both houses and both parties, so it’s also going to be a major problem for our relationship with the United States,” he said, ruling out alternate allies as wishful thinking.
“Anybody who thinks there’s a substitute for America as Israel’s supreme ally is deluding themselves. There is no substitute.”