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.