The winds of change are sweeping across the Middle East. Decrepit and sclerotic regimes are crumbling. A constant however is the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Will the broader political upheavals in the region help bring about a solution? Perhaps. But round after round of U.S.-led failed peace talks and a simultaneous huge increase in illegal Israeli settlements have left Palestinians desperate. Maybe Ariel Sharon’s prediction of some years back has come true. He said, “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich out of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years’ time, neither the United Nations nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.”
Ilan Pappé is professor of history at the University of Exeter. He was formerly a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa and chair of the Touma Institute for Palestinian and Israeli Studies in Haifa. He is the author of many books including The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, On Palestine with Noam Chomsky and The Biggest Prison on Earth: A History of the Occupied Territories.