The two-state solution is not the only road to peace

Other options exist for resolving the dispute and granting the Palestinians self-rule and governance, including autonomy, federation, confederation, condominium, and co-imperium.

It is patently evident that the Gaza Strip cannot and will not, after the present armed conflict, return to being a brutal Hamas terror hub.

Similarly, it is no less evident that the hopeless, hapless, corrupt, failed, and incompetent Palestinian Authority, whether revitalized or renewed, could ever be capable of administering Gaza any more than it has been capable of administering the West Bank areas.

However, despite these self-evident facts, the absurd “two-state solution” buzzword is still, nevertheless, unbelievably being blindly and increasingly repeated day in and day out.

One wonders how and why serious international leaders, including the US president, secretary of state, the UN secretary-general, and the EU leadership, as well as international leaders and parliamentarians, can in good conscience continue to spout out the absurd “two states” cliché as if it were a sort of magical panacea that, if repeated often enough, will somehow move out of the sphere of wishful thinking and magically materialize into the sphere of reality.

Since, clearly, it is inconceivable to imagine that the leaders of the international community could be so naïve, irresponsible, and feckless as to imagine that a viable, peace-loving Palestinian political entity could materialize out of the vacuum of the present Middle East realities, then one may only assume that they are either ignorant of the history and realities surrounding the vague and imaginative “two-state vision,” or are deliberately deceiving themselves.

There appears to be a distinct lack of awareness of the background, history, practical implications, and the feasibility of a “two-state solution” in the context of the history and the changing realities of the dispute.

Interestingly enough, while the idyllic vision of “two states living side by side peacefully” has figured in international documentation since what became known as the “Clinton Parameters” (2000), followed by the 2003 “Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution” and repeated in a 2004 letter by president George W. Bush to prime minister Ariel Sharon, it has never in fact been agreed to by the involved parties themselves – the Palestinians and Israelis.

On the contrary, as agreed in the still valid Oslo Accords, the permanent status of the territories remains an open negotiating issue. The accords make absolutely no mention of any Palestinian state entity – whether this be one, two, or three states.

As such, repetition of the call for a “two-state solution” both prejudges the potential, future outcome of a permanent status negotiating process and seriously underestimates regional realities.

Clearly, a two-state solution could not be imposed on unwilling parties. It could only emanate from a negotiated settlement between Israel and a unified, fully representative, responsible, and capable Palestinian leadership, and not a conglomeration of terror groups.

Nor could it be a result of any off-the-cuff political declaration or resolution imposed by the UN, EU, or by any other source, or from vague and ignorant calls from naïve international leaders for a “two-state solution” as a form of political correctness or collective wishful thinking.

A politically and economically unstable and non-viable Palestinian entity would represent an open invitation to more Iranian meddling and intrusion in much the same way as is occurring in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. This would constitute a constant and even greater threat both to Israel’s security, as well as to regional and international stability.

It is inconceivable that serious and responsible world leaders could even seriously consider such a solution. By the same token, a viable, credible and logical solution would not necessarily require Palestinian statehood, which remains a dangerous, unreliable, unforeseeable, and impractical alternative in light of the Palestinian incapability of developing any unified and accepted leadership.

There are other ways to secure self-rule for the Palestinians

OTHER OPTIONS exist for resolving the dispute and granting the Palestinians self-rule and governance, including autonomy, federation, confederation, condominium, and co-imperium. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians, nor even the international witnesses to the Oslo Accords (the US, EU, Russia, Egypt, Jordan, and Norway), committed themselves in those accords to establishing a Palestinian state.

In any event, based on experience from previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, any viable, realistic and long-term solution, whatever it may be, will need to be accompanied by solid, credible, and reliable international guarantees – legal, political, and security. These guarantees would have to ensure that an agreed solution will not be abused, undermined, violated, or abrogated by such dangerous regional elements as Iran, or by any future Palestinian entity or regional grouping.

Above all, any such guarantees would have to assure Israel’s sovereignty and the security of its population.Regrettably, it is highly unlikely that any potential UN framework, whether temporary or permanent, would ensure one iota of guarantee of regional stability. The proven, total incompetence and uselessness of the UN, as indicated by its regrettable history in the area are adequate testimony to this.

This is borne out by the fact that rather than dealing with the welfare of Gaza residents, UNRWA has become a vehicle for prolongation of refugee victimhood, as well as a front organization for assisting and fueling Hamas terror.

Similarly, this is evident from the abject failure of UNIFIL to prevent the presence of Hezbollah in proximity to the border between Lebanon and Israel pursuant to Security Council resolution 1701 (2006).

Such UN incompetence and duplicity, rather than assisting and encouraging peace in the area, have proven to be central contributing factors to the present conflict.

International leaders, if they genuinely wish to find a viable solution to the conflict as a means of restoring, maintaining, and guaranteeing regional and international peace and security, cannot continue to deceive themselves with the delusion of a “two-state solution.” They need to face reality and to pull their heads out of the sand.

The question is whether they are capable of doing so, or whether they genuinely wish to do so.

The writer served as legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry and as Israel’s ambassador to Canada. He was involved in the negotiation and drafting of the peace treaties with Israel’s neighbors and the agreements with the Palestinians. He presently directs the international law program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

February 11, 2024 | 9 Comments »

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9 Comments / 9 Comments

  1. After reading the comments, there are a few open points:
    @EvRe1: there are numerous US sites that present Israel’s current war with the Gazans in a very different light. These sites are viewed by lots of people, especially the preppers, who consider themselves able to protect themselves in the face of current government policies like removing the right to bear arms etc.
    @Carl Goldberg: your point is well taken. Those Arabs migrated to the region due to the employment offered by the migrating Jews who arrived in the mandate region mostly after Herzl’s famous speech in Basel in 1897 when he said, “If you will it, it is no dream.” They are no more Palestinians than the Jews who lived there before Israel was declared by David Ben Gurion. The only issue is how to talk about them in a concise manner. Please suggest an appropriate name.

  2. Similarly, this is evident from the abject failure of UNIFIL to prevent the presence of Hezbollah in proximity to the border between Lebanon and Israel pursuant to Security Council resolution 1701 (2006).

    Although there are more than 100,000 rockets placed close to the internationally recognized border between Lebanon and Israel, these UN troops have not managed to find one and dispose of it or even report on it.
    There is only one real comment, “SHAME ON YOU!”

  3. as agreed in the still valid Oslo Accords

    These accords are only still considered valid by the US and the EU. The Palestinians, especially Abu Mazen, declared them void and Israel is committed to upholding them although they don’t believe in them any more due to the numerous “events” caused by the Palestinians like the Intifadas, rockets etc.

  4. serious international leaders, including the US president, secretary of state, the UN secretary-general, and the EU leadership, as well as international leaders and parliamentarians

    What an Oxymoron!!!

  5. I think this is the last gasp of the globalists to try to destroy the sovereignty of the State of Israel. Ever since the Iranian Revolution the globalists behind the US have had a policy of empowering Iran at the expense of Israel and of the other nations of the Middle East.

    With Trump as President a mortal blow was dealt to Iran both financially and through the development, with Bibi, of the Abraham Accords. Iran was on the skids until the coup that selected Biden attempted to undo the good done by Trump by spending billions on Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, the PA, and UNWRA.

    Now the globalists are seeing their dream of destroying Israel’s national sovereignty is crumbling because Israel is more united than ever, and more determined than ever to destroy Hamas completely.

    Thus they have switched from veiled threats to block aid to Israel to outright threats of instituting a Two State Solution without any agreement by the Israeli government.

    This, should they attempt to execute it, would be a direct attack on the sovereignty of Israel.

    This is not likely to happen in an election year, but it is possible that people inside the Obama-Biden administration or in the shadow government do not care about Biden’s election because they see his election as impossible. Even so, there would be no democrat to take Biden’s place who would have the support of 75% the Democrat Party if Israel is attacked directly by the US. It would cause a crisis in the US like no other that has ever happened. Even the Civil War was not anything compared to the crisis that would happen if the US attacked Israel directly, since 75% of Democrats AND 80% of Republicans SUPPORT ISRAEL. Now you have most of the country who would be completely up in arms. You might have Americans coming over in droves to support Israel against the US shadow government! I know you cannot fix stupid but they cannot be THAT stupid.

  6. Please stop referring to Israel’s local enemies as “Palestinians”!

    Israel’s local enemies are no more “Palestinians” merely because they call themselves that, than a biological male is a woman merely because he calls himself that. Israel’s enemies are Arab Moslems some of whose ancestors lived in the territory of the British Palestine Mandate. They were not “Palestinians” then, and calling them that now only helps to legitimize their claims to be the sole rightful owners of the entire territory of the British Palestine Mandate from the River to the Sea – which excludes Israel and the Jews. If you have to use the word “Palestinians”, at least put it in quotes, or add “so-called”.

  7. International guarantees have been proven time and time again to be useless. For example, Ukraine delivered its nuclear weapons to Russia in return for an international guarantee that its sovereignty would be respected. Both Russia and the United States were among the guarantors. But Russia’s its solemn pledge to respect Ukrainian sovereignty proved not tobe worththe paper it was written on when it first intervened to back the Eastern Ukrainian separatists in 2014, and then launched a full-scale invasion in 2022. The United States, Britain and other international guarantors did not enforce the guarantee, which would have required direct military intervention to force a Russian withdraw. The dribs and drabs of military assistance to Ukraine and the partial sanctions on Russian imports and exports (far from complete) did not genuinely enforce the guarantees made on 1991.

  8. No one has deceived themselves about the peaceful intentions of a future Palestinian state. The goal of the international community and all others is to destroy Israel or erode its strength in order to control it. Israel’s current tactical success has only strengthened opposition to a viable state for the Jews. This analysis is correct for any visible successes shown by Israel. The Jews are too strong military, too strong economically, too strong politically, too independent and perhaps worst of all, too happy in their lives. That is why there exists this quite unnatural attention received by Israel at all times and in so many places. Opposition arises frequently China, Chile, Britain, Norway, and the powerful United States and the majority of UN members. They are not deluded. The are determined.